23rd June 2020
My name is Lucy and I am in recovery from an eating disorder. I was 15 when I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in November 2018. A year has gone by and I still find it very hard to accept. I find it hard to talk about. I find it hard to look at pictures of me. It was a dark time in my life. The scary thing is, I don’t know how I ended up in the position I did. I know that if I hadn't received the help I did I wouldn’t be writing this today.
Growing up I was always the bigger girl but I didn’t mind. When I started to develop into secondary school I got more interested in social media. I always compared my weight to others. It started with healthy eating which was fine, it made me feel more confident. Then I got addicted to the numbers on the scales and became obsessed with preparing my own food. I also developed anxiety and I shut myself off from family and friends. I wanted to stay in the bubble that I created.
My parents started to worry and to be honest I didn’t understand why because I didn’t see the damage I was doing to myself. I remember my parents taking me to the doctors and I didn’t want to talk. I remember going to therapy and I didn’t want to talk. Finally my parents had enough and they took me to CAMHS. That day was the worst day of my life. I remember sitting in the waiting room having never felt that alone in my life. I went in to the room with my mum and I sat down with one women and two men. They took my weight, blood pressure and heart rate that day. They sat down with me and said you are the lowest girl in weight we have ever seen at your age. If you do not do what we ask I’m afraid you’ll be taken to hospital for recovery. I looked at my mum her eyes were so red and I could see she was holding her tears in. I sat up, looked at the floor and cried. That day CAMHS took me on straight away, I didn’t even have to go on the waiting list.
The days after I had been diagnosed with anorexia were tough and hard to deal with. I was afraid and alone, or so I thought. During the following months I had so much time off school. I was also so close to doing my GCSE’s which are stressful on their own. I dedicated all my time to getting better physically and mentally. It involved daily updates, meetings, food plans that I had to stick to. It has taken me over a year to speak about my eating disorder with family and friends. I am not fully recovered from my eating disorder. I think a part of me will always be damaged but what I’ve learnt is you don’t have to struggle in silence. There are people who want to help you. It’s okay not to be okay. I’ve had to learn and grow all over again.
Throughout the past year people would ask ‘why don’t you just eat’, I could never answer but now I can. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, not lifestyle choices. What I want you to think about is the fact that girls and boys develop eating disorders because our culture has developed a standard of beauty that they couldn’t obtain by being healthy. When unnatural thinness became attractive, girls and boys did unnatural things to be thin.
Be patient, Be gentle, And always be kind.
Thank you for hearing my story.