The Vagenda

On Anorexia

Anorexia. Been there, done that, bought the size 6 t-shirt. Yawn. Anorexia is totes passé. It’s all about taking pills that give you anal seepage now. Or compulsive zumba. Who are the women who zumba compulsively? How do they hide it from their loved ones? Oh you think your work mate is listening to Lisa Hannigan on that i-Pod, but she’s not – it’s bad generic Rhumba-Salsa-Samba and the minute you leave the office she’ll be swivelling and gyrating as if her pelvis were possessed by the spirit of Ricky Martin. You can spot a compulsive zumba-er by her eating habits too. Are her kitchen presses full of Old El Paco tortilla combi-packs? Does she smell of cheap guacamole? Have you seen her order anything other than Nachos at the pub after work for the last three months? Complusive Zumba! Now there’s an eating disorder a writer can really get her teeth into.
We’ve become a bit used to anorexia: there’ve been documentaries and exposés and confessional articles galore (you’re about to get hit with another one, you lucky dog). The prevalence of anorexia and other forms of disordered eating has been accepted as a sad fact about our society. While it’s an unpopular point to hammer home, body image problems are strongly linked to media, advertising and commodification of the human body. The all party parliamentary report on body image, published last week, states as much. If you’d like something a little more academic-tastic, as some are unhappy about the report’s rigour (I think it’s pretty ace actually, but that’s another article), Grabe et al.’s meta-analysis of 77 existing studies in the field delivers some convincing evidence. 
You get the old anorexia-media link deniers – those who point out that anorexia has been a feature of human societies for a long time, or those who claim that it’s insulting to anorexics to suggest that cause of their illness is so simple. To the former, I say yes – self-starvation has existed throughout the ages, often linked with religious fervour, and the history of anorexia is fascinating. However, the frequency of eating disorders in our society outstrips anything that came before. One in ten. One in freakin ten people! As for the ‘it’s insulting to anorexics to make a link between their illness and the media,’ crowd – bollox. I used to be anorexic, and, while I acknowledge that a multitude of factors lead to my eating disorder, I’m insulted that no-one holds the media to account for what it did to my teenage body and mind, nor for the years of horrible psychological shit that I had to wade through before I got better.
I still find it a little bit difficult to admit that I was anorexic in my teens. Mostly, I think, because it gives people all sorts of strange ideas about me. A significant number of people have linked my eating disorder to my mother’s parenting, which pisses me right off. When in doubt – mother blame! It’s not like I had a male parent or anything. Whassat? Might the fact that I had been bombarded by media images of idealised and idolized thinness all my life have had anything to do with my anorexia? Nah – definitely Mammy’s fault.
Another reason I find anorexia somewhat difficult to talk about, I suppose, is because I feel like a bit of a fake – as though my eating disorder wasn’t serious enough to count. I never ended up in hospital or anything and I was only ever scarily underweight for about a year. Sure, I dieted myself down to six and a half stone, my periods stopped, my hair fell out and my bones cracked, but by the time I was 18 I was back up to a reasonable (if still waifish for me) 8 stone and everyone stopped worrying. 
But weirdly, and I wonder if other ex-anorexics or recovering anorexics have experienced the same thing, the worst part for me was not the bit where I got really skinny. That part was, well, it was good actually. I was pleased with myself for sticking to 1000 calories a day or under (1200 on Sundays – you have to have your treats!). Also, for about the first 6 months or more of compulsive dieting, I got a lot of positive attention and praise for my dramatic weight loss. People made remarks about me losing my puppy fat (although I’d never been fat) and generally reacted admiringly to my shrinking physique. Our thinness obsessed culture made the people around me blind to the fact that a girl of 16 should have been growing into bigger jeans, not squeezing into smaller ones. 
So the weight loss wasn’t the struggle. The worst part of anorexia happened after I regained a healthy weight. It was a cycle of binging and dieting that went on well into my twenties. It was secret psychological distress, only visible when the diet went too far. Food was guilt. My body was something to be disguised by the right clothes. The diet always started on Monday. By Sunday I would have binged spectacularly, the resultant self-disgust necessitating a stricter diet the next day. It was hell. But I never talked about it – I took pains to create the illusion of a healthy, carefree relationship with food. 
Slowly, slowly, with a lot of hard work and frequent relapses, I got better. One weapon anorexics have in their arsenal is willpower. I banned dieting. I actually wrote myself a contract and signed it (what? – that’s normal). It was hard, and I stumbled shitloads of times along the way (but it’s okay – there was a clause in the contract for that). And I got better. Or maybe, because ‘I got better’ is a bit passive, ‘I made myself better,’ would be more precise. 
Before I could make myself better, I needed to want to get better, and this meant two realisations: 1. Even though I was a healthy weight most of the time, my relationship with food and my body constituted an eating disorder; 2. I was never going to achieve the perfect weight and then be able to stop dieting – that was a fiction. If I didn’t stop dieting and accept my body as it was, then I could be stuck in the cycle of binging and crash dieting forever. I could be 30 and still doing this. I could be 40 and still doing this.So I stopped dieting, but I couldn’t stop binging. Binging is a behaviour epitomised by the loss of control. And with binging comes the almost irresistible desire to diet again. But dieting was banned, so if I binged I just had to put on weight and deal with it. This is what I did, in spite of anorexia screaming blue murder in my ear. And I felt disgusting and I didn’t want to leave the house, and I knew that going on a diet would make all these feelings go away, but, somehow, I stuck with the programme.
One day, about a year after the signing of my odd contract, I was brushing my teeth in the little flat I shared with my best bud Dee and I froze – stock still – and realised that I hadn’t binged in about 4 months. After more than a decade of dieting (I went on my first diet when I was 12), I dared to hope that I had broken the cycle. 5 years later, I don’t have to hope anymore. I haven’t dieted in five years, and my body and mind, perhaps aware at some subconscious level that a period of starvation is not on the horizon, no longer compels me to binge eat. The special free gift that I’ve received along with ending anorexic thinking and behaviour is respect and love for my body. See the body I have right now? This is what I look like when I’m happy.
I do have to stay vigilant. Still now, at the grand old age of 28, if I’m going through a difficult or stressful time anorexic thinking will come knocking. But I have strategies to deal with it. Firstly, I have to recognise when it’s happening. I have to never EVER listen to the logical little voice that labels the current diet a ‘detox’ or tells me that this diet will be different. It’s not logic – it’s anorexia. Secondly, if I’m starting to feel guilt about choosing a food, I make myself eat that food. Ergo, if I catch myself thinking ‘ooh I’d like another biscuit, but maybe I shouldn’t,’ then I have to eat another biscuit. You’d think this would mean I end up eating unhealthily – but it doesn’t. It just means that I don’t deny myself anything. Little denials lead to further restrictions, and further restrictions lead to dieting. Maybe it’s a trick that wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works for me.
It’s not always easy. When I was finishing up my doctorate (a period of my life so stressful that I forgot how to breathe without counting), Anorexia often tried to pay me an unwelcome visit.
ANOREXIA: Knock Knock
ME: Who’s There?
ANOREXIA: Anorexia
ME: Fuck Off
ANOREXIA: You’d look better a half stone lighterME: I’m fine the way I am
ANOREXIA: It’s not a diet if you just cut out junk for a while
ME: I’m not cutting out anything
ANOREXIA: It’s not a diet, it’s healthy
ME: It’s not healthy to obsess about food
ANOREXIA: Look, let’s just count up how many calories you consumed today with junk food, then think about how many you would have consumed if you hadn’t had that fruit scone for elevenses
ME: A fruit scone isn’t junk food!
ANOREXIA: Come on Emer, it’s flour, sugar and fat, topped with more fat and sugar. Why don’t you just have a banana at 11 instead?
ME: Hmm, maybe a banana would be more healthy…
ANOREXIA: Yes. Good girl. Now let’s make a plan for what you’re going to eat tomorrow.
ME: Wait! No! I see what’s going on here! You’re a sneaky shit anorexia. You’re only hanging around because I’m a bag of stress. You’re a vicious, opportunistic, ‘kick ‘em when they’re down,’ horrible psychological manifestation. Feck off!
ANOREXIA: Breakfast – bowl of cereal and small glass of orange juice, 350 calories. Snack – banana, 100 calories. Lunch – Sandwich and two pieces of fruit, 550 calories. Dinner – Wholemeal pasta and Salad, 750 calories. Only 1750 calories – that’s quite good isn’t it? You’d lose that extra half a stone quite quickly that way, wouldn’t you? Without the sugary fatty fruit scone? Hmmm? Hmmm? Count with me!
ME: Anorexia, I’m warning you.
ANOREXIA: Why? What are you going to do? Let’s plan what you’re going to eat the day after tomorrow! That’ll be fun. Maybe you could cut out the banana!
ME: I have this packet of trail mix and I know how to use it.
ANOREXIA: No! No! Not trail mix – do you have any idea? Any idea how many…
ME: Om nyom nyom nyom. Now I have eaten ALL the trail mix
ANOREXIA: But the calories! Feel guilty! You must feel guilty. I need you to feel guilty. 
ME: No. I don’t feel guilty. I feel proud of eating what I like and not worrying about my weight.
ANOREXIA: I’m melting! I’m melting. Oh what a world, what a world…
ME: Ace. Anorexia vanquished. 
Sometimes, when I tell people I used to be anorexic, they find it hard to believe that I’m really better. ‘Once an anorexic, always an anorexic,’ an acquaintance once snidely remarked. But that’s bull – it is possible to kick anorexia’s ass. And, in fact, because I understand the dangers of dieting and because I’ve worked so hard to free myself from anorexic thinking, I believe I have a healthier relationship with food and my body than many (perhaps even most) other people I know. Bonus. So to all the lovelies out there still working through this shit, I hope that serves as some sort of encouragement.

34 thoughts on “On Anorexia

  1. This is a really great article. BUT the calorie counts freaked me out badly and I struggled to get to the bit with the kicking anorexia’s arse without going ‘WHAT WHAT WHAT? All I can see is that number and start comparing myself’. Now I realise that’s my issue, not yours, but also not everyone is as far along their path as you and I know numbers can cause the voice to come back for many people, so any chance you could change it to something less comparison-worthy?

    I have only realised I have an eating disorder in the last year despite it probably kicking in about 17 years ago. Everyone around me knew but that amzing ED willpower also made me unable to see or hear it because I was too busy giving my attention to Vogue and Hollywood actresses who describe anorexic tricks as ‘dieting tips’ and being in thrall to shops that now only stock a 6, 8 and 10 on the shopfloor and make you ask for a 12 and above as if you should be wearing a Scarlet Letter for having slipped out of starvation and into the binge-shame spiral.

    I’m glad I’ve now realised the problem because now I can tackle it. But the thing I find hardest at the moment is looking back and seeing how much of my life has been tarnished by this. I could sob for the teenage girl who grew to hate herself that much for that long. She should have been doing happier things for the last decade and a half.

    • Hi Gherkin-girl. I’m not the editor of Vagenda, so when they’ve posted something of mine, it’s kind of out of my hands and beyond my power to edit it. (Which is good for me, because I’m an obsessive editor!) I’m really sorry the numbers made the voice come back for you – it’s just that counting calories was such a major part of how I experienced anorexia that I wouldn’t know how else to describe my unwell psychological state. And I think we need to start describing these experiences, and describing them in the context of an illness, because too many people think these thought patterns are normal.

      I can totally relate with looking back and wishing things had been different. I wish I’d watched myself grow into a woman with awe and delight – instead I dieted away my periods and breasts and shaved off my body hair and generally engaged in a socially sanctioned assault on my sexually mature physicality. I can’t go back and instil my teenage self with joy at the strange and wonderful things happening to her body, but I can appreciate the peace of mind I’ve carved out for myself today, and I can endeavour to create a world where my children grow into their adult bodies with pride and confidence.

      Best of luck on your journey sister. If you see that Anorexia fecker lurking around, give it the middle finger from me xx

  2. This is a fantastic and incredibly important article. Thank you so much for writing. I think especially your refute of ‘Once an anorexic, always an anorexic,’ is incredibly important. I think one of the worst things in media portrayal of anorexia and related disorders is the idea that you will always have to fight it – it will never be fully in remission. Like you, I strongly disagree this and it has not been my experience.

  3. Great article Emer, thankyou for writing it. I had a very similar experience with eating disorders, scarily similar. I’m so glad i’ve got to a point now at 27 where i don’t have any of those voices in my head anymore!

  4. Thank you! This sounds so much like me. I was also anorexic in my teens, stopped menstruating for a year, fainted of hunger, planned my diet for the next few days, counted every single calorie (I stopped using lipstick in fear that I’d eat it and refused to take communion when I was still a catholic), wore clothes from the kids’ department and, worst of all, got complimented on my supermodel figure every day. And now I’m trying to stop the dieting-binge eating spiral and convince myself that nine stones for 5 feet 8 is not fat. But the media (labelling Victoria’s Secret models “healthy” and “curvy”) seems to have a different idea.

    • Ooh can relate. Struggling through recovery now, and even at my lowest weights (when I was wearing children’s clothes, jeans belonging to my ten year old brother ffs! My hair fell out, my skin was grey, I could count my ribs, I still have no period, no boobs, no bum, mad, depressed, constantly cold, dressed in so many layers I looked like a walking jumble sale) I was STILL complimented by people saying ‘oh you’re lucky to be so slim!’ While I do not blame the media for ‘making’ me anorexic, my illness came from other factors (struggling to cope after the death of a friends and so on.)

      I believe that there’s something wrong with a society that praises a perfectly healthy girl (I was 9 stone at 5 foot 4, not fat!) for losing weight! Yet I’ve gained weight, yes, I’m trying to restore my weight, but it’s not like I get praise for it, or weight gain is encouraged, yet dieting sadly is the norm… terrible =(

  5. I’m not anorexic, but have suffered and struggled with OCD for my entire life. Only last year I decided once and for all to get help in telling my abusive partner OCD to fuck right off. It’s a horrible, painful up hill struggle, and it was a comfort to read this article, and anticipate the day when I am brushing my teeth and realise I haven’t done any of my compulsions for four months!
    Oh, I also have massive arguments with OCD, just like yours with Anorexia. I wonder if they are friends? my guess would be definitely.

    • Ha! I reckon my Anorexia and your OCD are probably in a BDSM relationship. It’s a bit difficult for them though, because they both want to be dom all the time.

  6. Thank you for such a sane analysis and assessment of the dieting curse. I’ve battled with disordered eating for over 40 years now and it really helps to read articles like this so I can hold on to the hope that I can change my relationship with food.

    • Glad to have struck a chord. So sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with anorexic thinking for so long. Sending you loads of good energy – you can beat it!

  7. Thank you so much for this article. I´m 45 and still doing this. You have given me a strong push and a good clue where to go next with this. Thank you.

  8. This was such a great article, I can relate to this so much. I started starving myself when I was 11 – I’m 20 now and it’s only in the last two years or so that I’ve managed to (almost) stop dieting. I find it very difficult to talk about also – I completely get the feeling that perhaps my eating disorder wasn’t serious enough to count. It was only when I first started that I was really underweight, but as with you the following years were definitely a much greater struggle. Whenever I tried to let go of the dieting, it was impossible to stop the obsessive calorie counting that would take over my mind. That last conversation with anorexia sounds very familiar! Thank you so much for writing this.

  9. Thank you for this article, it’s really given me some insight. I had a friend who was anorexic when we were teenagers and I felt so shut out by her and unable to help that since then I sometimes can’t help but feel an anger towards it when I see others doing the same. To be totally honest, I have struggled not to feel angry towards the sufferer which is completely wrong and this article has helped me to better understand the way an ED can affect their thinking.

    I have very recently started to see signs in another very close friend and I was wondering if you had any advice on how to approach the subject with her?

    • Moo to you too.

      It’s such a toughie isn’t it? I’ve seen friends displaying worrying behaviour around food and their bodies and, even though I’ve been through it myself, I still found it difficult to know what to say.

      I do think it’s worthwhile to say something – anything. Let the person know that you’ve noticed a change in their behaviour. Ask them if everything is okay. You might get vehement pissed off denial, but at least you’ll have made them think. If they do admit there’s something wrong, maybe remind them that they can speak to a counsellor through the NHS.

  10. Loving your article, most especially for the fact that it addresses the longer term effects of anorexia that are not evident by weight. I achieved a slightly ‘healthy weight’ almost four years ago, but now am the heaviest I have ever been, and still struggle daily with my food and body obsessions. It’s awful, but no body has a clue because I ‘look ok’. I no longer look like a mobile bag of bones. I’d be so interested in hearing more about how you pulled yourself through, as it’s such an undocumented part of the illness, and so, the most lonely part.

    • I think the most important thing for me was the diet ban. When I was no longer allowed to restrict food, plan food, count calories or weigh myself, a healthier relationship with food just followed. Not immediately, and after lots of fuck ups, but it did follow.

      Another psychological switch that flicked and helped me to get better was the realisation that every body is as unique as a face. We’re so bombarded with identikit airbrushed fem-bot bodies that it’s easy to start regarding our own figures as something inherently flawed that need to be fixed. When I stopped thinking of my body as flawed and started thinking of it as quirky and unique, I turned off the eternal drive to fix myself and became a lot happier with what I saw in the mirror.

      Another thing that happened that pushed me to conquer the evil anorexia demon was hanging out with an older friend of mine. I was 22 and I could see that she was still doing at 30 what I was doing. It freaked me out, because somewhere at the back of my mind I believed that I would just diet down to my ideal weight and happily stay there forever. I realised that this would never happen. I got scared that I’d be stuck dieting and binging and obsessing over food and hating my body for the rest of my life.

      And the final thing that really helped me to get out of anorexic thinking was when a friend got food poisoning. she lost loads of weight and afterwards she was all like ‘i’m going to keep this off – I look great!’ I said to her ‘that’s what you look like when you’ve been sick for 10 days. What you look like the rest of the time is what you look like when you’re healthy.’ I realised that I might as well be critiquing myself – what I look like after a diet is what I look like when I’ve been hungry for weeks. What I look like now is what I’m supposed to look like.

      Anyways, I’m blabbing on. It is a lonely stage, and I hope you’re okay. Remember that there’s counselling out there too (free in the UK on the NHS). I think lots of people are like ‘oh no, i’m not as serious as all that.’ But if it’s affecting your day to day happiness and well-being, then it really can’t do any harm to talk to someone about it. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk about your relationship with food is a real wake-up call.

  11. Thank you for writing this, Emer. You managed to put into words what I’ve been struggling to explain to people for years. I guess I never wanted to label my relationship with food as a disorder as such, even though deep down I knew that’s what it was. Your article really hit home. I cried. Thank you for the release.

    People have told me I don’t have a disorder, because I’m actually bordering on overweight. However, I skip meals and hide food almost every day. I don’t particularly want to be skinny, though sometimes I think it would be nice. I just can’t face the idea of having to chew… swallow… taste. It repels me.

    I was skinner a few years ago, to the point where my parents were very worried. However now I’m on birth control, I don’t lose the weight – if anything, I’m constantly gaining it – so it’s easier to disguise the fact I’m not eating properly at all.

    I hope I can find the strength and courage to conquer it in time.

    • Hi Johanna,

      It sounds like you’re going through a really difficult period with food. Sending you loads of sympathy. It really is a crap psychological place to be, but you don’t have to be there forever. It’s so sad that people tell you there’s nothing disordered about your relationship with food and your body when there very clearly is.

      I’m not a medical doctor or psychologist or anything, but my advice is not to carry on as though there’s nothing wrong. Admit that there’s something wrong and think hard about what you can do to change it. Would it be helpful to talk to a counsellor? Would it be helpful to start identifying negative thought processes and behaviours that you adopt towards your body and food. When you’ve identified these you can start changing them.

      Anyways, very best of luck. I know it’s crap, but you can fight your way out x

  12. Thanks for such an insightful and hard-hitting article. I have always had a relatively healthy attitude to eating but I do find I have to struggle against the thinking of calorie counting and ‘a better healthier body’ which seems to be assumed. A lot of people seem to have the attitude that dieting = healthy unless it crosses the ‘obvious’ line into anorexia but, without wanting to seem like I am belittling the seriousness of the condition by comparing it to ‘normal’ dieting, I don’t think the line is quite so obvious. I think it’s a long slippery slope and all this obssessing over getting a ‘healthier’ (read thinner) body through counting calories is a small step on that slope. I think your article shows that the climb back up this slope again shows a complete ‘re-wiring’ of how you think about food and means not thinking about the ‘snack-swaps’ and ‘easy’ diets that are prevelant in magazines and trying to ignore the positive reinforcement you get from others if you do loose some weight.

    • Hey Ms D – I completely agree that the line between dieting and anorexia is blurred and I don’t think you’re belittling anorexia at all by comparing it to ‘normal’ dieting. My anorexia started as ‘normal’ dieting. The recent parliamentary report on body image (linked in the article above) looks at the negative effects of dieting on body image and pulls up stats for how rarely it actually makes people lose weight in the long-term. I also agree that we need to re-wire the way we thinking about thinness, healthiness and weight loss. That’s a really good way to put it.

  13. Firstly – that was a bloody brave and fascinating article. I am utterly convinced that the media bombardment of women is a huge factor in making women feel crap about their bodies. The thing that totally convinced me was my own self imposed media blackout. It wasn’t on purpose; I decided that women’s mags were shite in my twenties and gave up looking at them. Then I got really middle aged and gave up on most telly except documentaries and gardenening and the odd drama I liked the look of. In a few short years I had avoided viewin model sized women more than once a month by accident on a news programme about the fashion industry or similar. I happen to have large boobs and have bought my bras from a specialist catalogue for over a decade so the only images of pretty women selling me clothes are large busted and therefore have to have fat on them – boobs are all fat so skinny models just wouldn’t be able to model G cup bras. Then one day I happened to buy something for my daughter from Next and they sent me a catalogue – I nearly vomited in shock as I skimmed through an entire catalogue of sick looking women. I had completely realigned my concept of a healthy looking women without realising it – models look like shite they really really do. Spending all that time away from media crap means I really rather like my body and I rather like food too. Now I’ve just to find a way to stop my daughter falling victim to the media bastards as she grows up. Sorry for lack of paragraphs or editing but vagenda really doesn’t seem to like my iPad and won’t let me go back and change stuff.

  14. Thank you so much for writing this article. As someone who rarely talks about their anorexic past (this is the first time I’ve ever commented on a blog!), yet still battles with body image and identity on a daily basis, I found your attitude towards anorexic thoughts truly admirable.

    Although I am a “healthy” weight, anorexia still makes her mark on my body through severe IBS (internal intestinal damage that has required surgery), low blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. And as a 30 year old woman with irregular periods, I still do not know if I will be able to conceive.

    Life is too short and too precious for Anorexia. Thank you for reinforcing this notion.

  15. Emer, thank you for writing this! I am in recovery from anorexia and currently trying to gain the last few pounds to a healthy weight. I love the dialogue you’ve written between yourself and the eating disorder, because it totally, totally sums up what the battle is like. You have given me renewed courage and determination to keep fighting, and I fully believe that one day I will be completely and utterly non-anorexic, just me, as I should be. I grew up attending dance classes and being told how important it was to be ‘pretty’ and ‘slim’, and, although my ed was related to difficult emotions and particular events in my life, I think the cultural factors definitely contributed towards anorexia, rather than something else, being my poison of choice. I am so pleased that you’ve reached a healthy place and I wish you every happiness.

  16. Ah, thank you, that made me feel so much better! I recognize myself in a lot of what you’re describing, feeling the best at my lowest weight (although I was never extremely underweight, never in a hospital or anything like that) and having more issues while being at a healthy weight, etc. The thing is, I’m a at a healthy weight right now. But I feel like shit about it. I haven’t quite gotten over the restricting and denying myself certain foods part yet, but I’ve been thinking of it as being healthy. I now realize that it’s not me being logical (and a good girl!….), it’s that ugly eating disorder.

    Sometimes I’ve thought about just eating exactly what I want, when I want it. But the advice I’ve gotten have been stuff like “Oh, well maybe you shouldn’t eat junk if you feel so guilty about it..” and “Maybe take up running, that way you could eat what you want and it wouldn’t matter?”, and so I figured it might just be normal to live your life like that. Worrying and avoiding black listed-foods, excersise to eat instead of eating to be able to work out without passing out..

    But fuck it, I don’t want to worry. And thanks to your article I’ve realized that I don’t have to, and that it’s not a normal, healthy way of life. So thank yo again!

  17. Hey, I feel weird posting this so late after you wrote the article but I just discovered it recently on the website and I really love it. I study at a pretty tough university and just came home from my first semester with a bmi of 16 and my mom was just like „ok you’re anorexic“. Then suddenly my holiday was taken over by compulsory family meals, appointments with psychologists and psychiatrists and a week in a daytime clinic. Now im meant to start going to an overnight clinic next week and Im kind of pissed off about this because firstly this is meant to be my resting period where I can chill and party before going back to uni and secondly because i feel like everyone is going over my head and i have no control in any of the decisions being made about my condition. I accept that i have anorexia, i want to put on weight and not think about food all the time anymore but i hate this powerless situation and its making me resent the forced eating, which is why ive actually lost weight since being in treatment. What impressed me the most about your article was how you „made yourself better“ through the contract you made with yourself. I really think I can make myself better and i genuinely still enjoy eating but right now my parents are putting a shitload of pressure on me to go into treatment, but i know if i go ill be going for them and in that case wouldn’t the treatment be totally pointless anyway?

    • Hey Holly – I’m just seeing your comment now. I’m so sorry you’re at this horrible stage, but it’s so good that you’ve acknowledged the problem. Some people never do. I hope you’ve managed to talk with your parents and work out a solution that works for you all. I’m not sticking up for what seems like their pretty autocractic handling of the situation, but they’re probably just worried sick and want a quick fix, which I can understand (if not condone). I’m not going to lie – getting better is a long and difficult process, but everything, and I mean everything, is so much better when you work yourself out of the obsessive head space. Very very best of luck on your journey. You can do it!

  18. As the sibling to someone who suffered with anorexia navosa this artical is a beacon of hope for me. Amazing story, thank you so much for sharing. What strength of character. All my love A X

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