Rosie's anorexia story
(Newcastle upon Tyne)
Happy and healthy
I am 20 years old now and have been fully recovered from anorexia for 6 or 7 years now. I have always wanted to share my story, but have never known how or had the courage to do so. So here goes ...
I was always a happy child, who loved food. I was naturally skinny, never needed to worry about my weight and ate whatever want. I was a shy, timid child and to this day, I am still anxious and awkward in social situations (but not to the extent that I was), but I had close friends and a loving family.
However, I was quite self-concious from a young age. Although outwardly happy, I was worried that I was never as clever,pretty talented or had a good personality like everyone else. I think I was predisposed to an eating disorder looking back; I was an all-or-nothing person and a worrier. My insecurities came to a head when I started middle school. I was bullied quite badly for my appearance and I began to lose the person I once was. I also thought the girls in my class were cleverer and prettier than me. I thought I was the fattest one in the class (although looking back I wasn't), so I figured that if I lost weight I would be a better person. There were also a lot of factors around that time that I think pushed me into my eating disorder - studying nutrition, exercise and weight in science classes; feeling my parents were too strict and feeling that losing weight would allow me to be in control of my own life.
Firstly, I began to cut down on junk food, as I snacked frequently on chocolate, biscuits and other confectionery. I did not always manage to do this, but before long I was setting myself targets i.e. one month without junk. If I succumbed, I would feel extremely guilty and do sit-ups in my room. At the start, my parents weren't worried;I told them I was trying to eat more healthy, not that I wanted to lose weight. However, once I had managed to cut out sweets for an extended period of time, I began to cut out other foods and cut down on my portion sizes.
My eating disorder is a bit of a blur, but I will describe how I was at my worst point. Having already been to the GP two times without being taking seriously, my parents were at a loss for what to do. Every night after school, they would plead, beg and threaten me in order to try and get me to eat a decent meal. I felt that they were trying to make me fat and felt so trapped in my situation. Every weekend we would have pizza and I would always end up crying - my parents would tell me that I couldn't leave the house if I didn't eat pizza and that would petrify me. I would pack a massive lunch for school, then only eat the fruit and throw the rest away. I would eat lunch alone, so that my friends didn't tell my parents. The remainder of my lunchtime would be spent in the toilets, to hide from the bullies who tormented me. At home, I would watch over my Mum as she cooked, shouting and screaming at her if she added cream, butter or others fats to the dinner.
Just after Christmas, things came to a head. I was spending my break-times at school clinging to the radiator, I was unable to concentrate at school, teachers noticed I wasn't eating at lunchtime and were becoming concerned. My every thought was occupied by food and weight, my BMI was dangerously low and I was surviving on next to nothing. My Mum took me to the GP, who referred me to a psychiatrist. My mind took over, I was terrified; I didn't eat for two weeks before going into hospital. Before my stay at a child and adolescent psychiatric hospital, I stayed in a general hospital for two weeks. Dehydrated, irregular heart beat, low blood pressure, low potassium levels, lanugo, low white blood cell count, ripping out nasogastric tubes, trying to escape from hospital, shouting, screaming, crying; physically and psychologically I was a mess.
There is a lot I could talk about, but I have gone on long enough. My total stay (both inpatient and outpatient) lasted less than a year, but it took a while after that to fully recover mentally. I wouldn't have got through this time without the support of an amazing family and friends. While life has it's ups and downs, I feel so much happier now that I am recovered. Whilst in a unit, I felt so angry and trapped; I didn't want to recover, I thought people were against me, I hated my freedom being taken away from me and I was furious at my parents for admitting me to hospital. But now, I am incredibly grateful for what they did for me. I feel comfortable in my own skin and am lucky to have met some amazing people. There will always be people who put you down, but the people who matter will accept and value you for who you are. To anyone out there suffering: it will get worse before it gets better, but recovering is the best thing you will ever do. You deserve and need to get better; it is the only way to get the most out of life. I wish you all the best in your recovery Xxxxx