Battling and Overcoming Anorexia

Ever looked in the mirror and not liked your body shape? Well, imagine those thoughts ruminating in your mind all day, everyday. Everyday is a struggle with weight, you starve yourself to lose more weight, you exercise for long hours sometimes hiding it from your family so they don’t see. This is the story of someone who suffers with anorexia (I must add that everyone has a different experience and that they may not have gone through what I’ve just listed).

I was 15 years old when I began to starve myself. I had friends who were pretty and I was the ugly one of the group, I was teased for the way I looked and wanted to be pretty so I began my journey to prettiness with something I could change; my weight. I’ve always been a thin person so it was strange for everyone to hear that I battled with anorexia. It started off with just putting one less spoonful of food on my plate and exercising more and it soon spiralled out of control. I would exercise for hours, in hiding, in the bathroom and my room so that my family wouldn’t notice. The food on my plate slowly turned into nothing and my intake became less than a handful of cereal for breakfast, a peach at lunch and three dried apricots for dinner…and that was it. My weight plummeted to a mere 26 kg at its worst and my family feared for my life. The doctors told me I had two weeks to live – but as you can see I am here today writing this story so yes, I did survive. It wasn’t easy but after a year of starvation and a year of recovery I soon became free of the shackles of anorexia.

I remember my concentration at school becoming very low and my thoughts would ruminate always telling myself that I was fat and ugly. My GP referred me to a private hospital which was essentially a huge house full of adolescents with anorexia. This was my home for two months and it felt like prison. Because of my extremely low weight I was put in a wheelchair and wasn’t allowed to leave my room. I wasn’t allowed a phone to speak to my friends or family and I could only see them at certain times of my day. I was taken away from my life and everything I loved. The week before I went into hospital I won the 1500 m race at my school Olympics and a week later I was confined to a room and not allowed to exercise – this was hell for me. I was forced to eat meals and if I didn’t I would have had a tube put down through my nose to my stomach and fed via liquid food (thankfully I never had to go through this). My life was taken away from me and I wanted it back. Wanting to be back at school and to be with my friends and family motivated me to get better. Although I didn’t want to put on the weight I put up with it so that I could get out of the hospital. As the months went by I finally got out of the private hospital and then became an out-patient with the NHS and I was back in school, but only in part-time education. This was only part of my life back. I still battled with the ‘fat and ugly’ thoughts and as the weight increased I started to become suicidal – I hated my body so much and having to go through the weekly weigh-ins and missing out on school made me depressed. But I knew that the only way I could have my life back and gain happiness was to get better. So I started to work on my negative thoughts regarding my weight. It took time but I soon began to see the skinny body that everyone else would see. Whilst I was in hospital there was quote I saw that I still remember five years later and it was: The pill for anorexia is food. After battling through the obsessive thoughts day after day and continuing to eat healthily I soon became less afraid of food. I soon realised that beauty begins in my head and not in my mirror. Through continuous exposure to food and living a healthy lifestyle I soon became happier with myself and realised that I’d rather be happy and healthy and be able to live my life than to be put into the what seems like an inescapable cage that anorexia put me in.

It was only when I wanted to get better that I did but at the beginning I didn’t want to change and so I didn’t get any better. It’s a hard battle to fight but you can do this, the first step is realising that there is a problem. I remember thinking that everyone was crazy eating food and that what I was doing was right and everyone else was wrong. Having normal blood sugar levels helped to quieten down my irrational thoughts and the more of my life I got back the more the anorexia went away.

There’s no certain cure for anorexia and everyone is different but getting through those healthy meals each day and learning to love yourself and your body will help. It will take time but I know you can do it! I really hope none of you reading this with anorexia ever have to go through the horrible experiences I’ve been through and remember you can get through this, I believe in you!

User Comments

Some of the most beautiful women I've ever known thought that they were fat, and ugly. It's sad that we live in a society which encourages these kinds of thoughts, whether or not it's directly at fault. People in the situation like that which you were in need positive reinforcement, and that's just not out there; it's always "do more" and "do better" and "what've you done for me lately?" And of course the physical effects of anorexia only make the situation even worse. 

I'm so glad that you managed to find your way out of this. I hope you stay healthy, and that your message reaches a lot of other people, many of whom certainly could use the promise that things do get better.

I starved myself to lose weight for wrestling in high school. I used to wrap myself in plastic wrap and sit in hot cars hoping to sweat off those last few ounces I needed to drop to make weight. I worked out obsessively; everyone thought it was because I enjoyed it, which in a fashion I did, but I pushed myself far beyond that. I passed out a couple of times in the weight room. 

I'm glad you're doing better now. I hope that your story is able to spare a few other people their pain in the future. 

Anon-1

I'm not anorexic, but I have diabetes. I know what a seriously low blood sugar level can do to a person. I'm very glad you're on the mend; keep with that! You're a beautiful person, I promise you.

Anon-2

That turned into a very warm and supportive message by the end. Thank you for sharing your story; that kind of account -- from someone who understands the feeling -- is so helpful to others in the same situation.

Anon-3

I've struggled with my own body image for most of my life. It helps to be reminded that other people have been through the same thing. I wouldn't wish it on anyone of course, but it's good to understand that I'm not alone; there's knowing that I'm not, which I think everybody knows, but then there's *feeling* not-alone. 

Anon-4

I've only experienced the opposite of this; struggling with being too heavy. Well, not exactly the opposite; I imagine/assume that the feelings are similar. I've always comfort-eaten and, when I'm stressed anyway, I really binge. I don't follow up with a purge, and I pack on the pounds as a result. So from the other end of the see-saw... the one that's stuck on the ground... I'm glad you're doing better now. Thank you for posting your very supportive story.

Anon-5

I've never been able to understand eating disorders or body image problems like this. I'm not sure I do still, but thanks for sharing the story. I get that there's more to it than what I understand.