Nine years ago, I was standing in a hospital doorway, my hair thinning, my skin a yellowish color. I was wearing a short denim skirt and a pink jumper that drowned me. Tears were welling in my eyes as my mum signed me in. I begged her to let me come home, begged her for one more chance. I promised her I would begin to eat. But mum said no. She couldn’t take it anymore: the lies and the deceit. I hated her then, and everyone around me. I couldn’t understand why they were interfering in my life. There wasn’t anything wrong with me. I had lost a bit of weight, yes, but I wasn’t that skinny. I was nowhere near thin enough to die.
The last week flashed before eyes. My heart had nearly stopped. I’d had an emergency ECG which had shown that my heart had no muscle left and was struggling to keep me alive. The blood tests came more frequently as my weight kept on dropping. My mum had been watching my every move, and I’d had to sit around for hours whilst the experts told me what was wrong with me. But it was simple really. Almost matter-of-fact. They said that if I didn’t start to eat soon, I would die.
For four years, I managed to keep my anorexia hidden, keeping dark secrets from friends and family. But then, on November 17th, 2007, my world changed forever. I was admitted to a mental health hospital. My heart nearly stopped. My skin was yellowing. I was barely recognizable. Forced to leave my family and friends, the hospital became my home. Over the next year, I faced the biggest challenge of my life. At my lowest ebb, I had to find the courage to beat my anorexia.
After the hardest year of my life, I was discharged and managed to maintain my weight, fight anorexia and stay well. I know it doesn’t always seem like life is better without anorexia but I guarantee you it is.
Talking was always hard for me to do but when I started doing it, it was amazing! I began to take all emotion away from food, and I began to share that I wasn’t okay which meant I didn’t have to show people I wasn’t okay by not eating. I have got better at this and recently I felt like I was tested with my eating again as she sucked me back in. But this time instead of giving in I spent an evening talking to my boyfriend about it. I cried a lot and shared all my worries. I felt embarrassed at first but it helped. Give it a go! I guarantee it will help!
Know your triggers. This is something I have learned along the way and learned to manage. So, I know that for me the main things I have to manage are exercise and when I have a bad day making sure I have people around me who support me. I monitor these by not exercising too much and if I start to slip I make myself go cold turkey for a few days. It is hard that but it works. I also find changing up my exercise helps and making it fun or working out with others helps manage this too.
Don’t give up fighting. Yes, it is hard at times. You feel lost, alone and as if no one understands you. But the fight is worth it. I can stand here and honestly tell you my life is so much better now. I used to think anorexia was my best friend, but in reality she pushed me down, trapped me and made me feel worthless. She was manipulative and didn’t care about me. She will try and suck you back in, seducing you when she has the chance but don’t let her manipulate you.
I can’t reiterate enough how worth fighting anorexia is. I used to be proud of how good I was at dieting and how good I was at having anorexia but now I am proud I have beaten her.
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