I am going to be honest and show you what life as a recovered anorexic can be like. I know that even though it can seem a long way off, you too can be free from your eating disorder as well.
When I come home from a night out, I always get some bread and margarine and a packet of crisps. When you are drink you need salty and greasy food!
I was incredibly hungover last Saturday when I was in London with my mam. I knew I needed to eat something to feel better. However I didn’t just do it because I had to; I actually wanted chips and they were amazing! I ate them with my fingers, straight from the bag, drizzled in vinegar and salt. And what a great view I had! Sitting opposite the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.
It is having an obsession with strawberry laces; or eating sweets in bed with a good book; it is having a huge ice cream outside the Trevvi in Rome (whilst there as a Beat ambassador!) and being so full that was your tea!
Of course I eat healthily too but I am not afraid of eating things that anorexia would have forbid
I am not afraid to try new things, eat out at restaurants or a other people’s houses where I have no control
From being at university and having a part time job in bars, I have learned to eat at different times of the day and eat more when needed for energy
I am sick of having weak bones and knees that click so to get healthy and to be able to continue my swimming, I am trying to have lots of calcium. Milkshakes, Babybel, hot chocolate etc.
I do not eat or drink diet stuff unless I actually prefer the taste
I can go swimming and not think people are staring at me
When I go out I wear skimpy dresses; little bra tops; halternecks; cut out dresses. I like showing off my body!
I have done a photo shoot in a bikini
I am not afraid to show boys my body nor am I scared of sex
I do not know my weight as why care? I go on how I look and how my clothes fit
I have gotten changed in front of people (In Australia there were no cubicles in the swimming pool changing rooms!)
I am tall and I embrace that
I have curves which I love and make a point of wearing clothes which flatter them
I exercise because I like it and want to be toned. It is not about losing weight and I am not obsessive about it
I know I can’t do extreme sport or a lot of it because my inflamed sternum flares up and my knees and ankles click. As an anorexic I would have ignored this and pushed myself
If I have seen pro-ana sites through research etc, I am not drawn into them. Instead I think not those silly sites! And click off them
My life does not revolve around my eating disorder
Looking at me you would never know I had had anorexia
I am not dictated by size. I have a range of sizes in my wardrobe as no two sizes are the same in shops. I know sometimes I need a 12 in coats and bikini tops as I can’t fit my boobs in!
I love having curves and bigger boobs. People compliment me on them and my gay friend calls me Tit tastic!
I hope you found this inspiring and helpful. I was honest and I hope people don’t think I was triggering or think negative things. I am a healthy, curvy size 8 who knows she doesn’t fit into every size 8 and I am fine with that. Recovery to me means living my life and challenging myself rather than staying safe in my anorexic bubble.
Recovery is for YOU. Make it YOURS and one day I hope you will be eating chips with your fingers too :)
At long last the Tumblr ‘powers that be’ set to work on taking down proana and promia and thinspro pages and work towards spreading PRO RECOVERY messages to help those suffering from Eating Disorders. A great move forward and let’s keep the ball rolling for TEAM RECOVERY….
Rach’s powerful post on her struggle with anorexia and her journey through recovery
This is a story about a girl who nearly lost the person she was to an illness that wanted her dead.
Nobody understood her; she was bullied by her own friends and called ugly by a boy at school; she felt like she didn’t fit in anywhere nor was she clever enough. She wanted to be invisible so nobody could pick on her anymore. So she listened to the voice that appeared in her head. The little girl’s voice that whispered, “You’re worthless; you’re fat; you’re disgusting; your life would be better if you were thin.”
The girl started to skip mealtimes and exercise up to 3 hours a day. She became obsessed with weighing herself, with losing weight and staying out of the house to avoid food. It got to the point that she could go four days without eating.
Her friends were worried about her but the only help they could find was on pro-ana sites. These sites promoted anorexia and told visitors not to listen to their friends and family, as everyone just wanted you to be fat.
The girl began to visit these sites daily, staring at the protruding ribs and spines on the girls shown in thinspiration photos.
Her mother desperately tried to find help; her father didn’t understand, believing she was doing it for attention.
The girl started to withdraw into herself more, until she could hear no-one but anorexia. Losing weight was something she excelled at.
She wanted to be in control, but sadly she did not realise that anorexia actually controlled her. Soon she couldn’t concentrate on her college work and she found it hard to breathe. It hurt to do her exercises but she forced herself through the gruelling hours. She was cold all the time, even on a hot summers day. It hurt to sit down and to take a bath because the bones in her back and bottom stuck out so much.
Soon anorexia and the health authorities caught up with her. Her BMI was only 12 and she was sent to a children’s unit. There, her life came crashing down. With no beds available, she was made an outpatient but she still had to obey by rules. She was a prisoner in her own home. She wasn’t allowed to go out; she couldn’t drive or go to work. She had to start eating three meals a day as well as drink three supplement drinks a day.
She hadn’t realised how much damage she had done to her body. She had osteoporosis, her brain had shrunk and her heart had started to eat itself. She was weeks from death.
The girls name is Rachel. The girl is me. It took me five years to recover from anorexia, the thing I once viewed as my best friend. Instead, she turned me into a selfish, lying, self-obsessed monster.
Although anorexia is the worst thing to have happened to me, it is also the best thing to have happened. I appreciate my life more now; I take risks and I do everything that I have dreamed about doing. I have been to New Zealand twice by myself; I have swum with dolphins and I have been in love. I have lived in France and I have a degree in French and German. As an ambassador for Beat (national charity for eating disorders), I have met inspirational people, I have given presentations at the House of Commons and various medical conferences.
Anorexia has also taught me more about the world and appreciating other people. I am closer to my family now and know who my real friends are. I am also happier with the person that I am. Although anorexia will always be a part of me, she is not my whole identity.
I believe that true recovery is obtained when you put yourself back into the real world, as it highlighted to me how much I was missing out on. It took me 18 months to decide I wanted to recover, a further nine months to reach my target weight and two years and nine months to be discharged from the unit, with the request that my therapist did not want to see me in there again!
Recovery was full of arguments, lies and fear. I argued about how much food I had to eat and I argued with my unit about my treatment. I lied to my mother about food I hid and the secret exercise. But most of all I was scared. I was frightened of losing anorexia as who was I without her? I also felt sick at the mere thought of food, looking as if I was being poisoned with every mouthful.
Through a lot of hard work, I realised I was more than just anorexic and I wanted to reach my potential. After all, eating disorders can be beaten.