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I reached out to Beat hoping to become a volunteer about six months ago. Before that, I hadn’t heard of the phrase ‘sibling carer’ and had never really thought of myself as being one.
Take part along with hundreds of other brave fundraisers, and skydive together to help end the pain and suffering caused by eating disorders. Here, Abi tells us about her post-lockdown skydive challenge.
I was hugely unhappy and suffering with mental health issues all throughout my teens. In a very dramatic and extreme way, I learned the very hard lesson that I was not able to reach my full potential unless I started to accept and take care of myself.
Exam results certainly don’t define you. And exam results that were downgraded according to a dubious algorithm definitely don’t.
I first learned what a calorie was before I started nursery school. Not a unit of energy, not something we need to keep us alive, but something to evade, something dangerous that hid in food and was to be avoided at all costs
To this day, my relationship with food is a complex one, but I am very much of the belief that next year will be better, and the year after that will be even better.
The first time my mum worried I might have an eating disorder, I was 12. I was a competitive athlete, and a knee injury prevented me from training. I was terrified of gaining weight – I’d been afraid of being ‘fat’ throughout my childhood.
Everyone who is suffering with an eating disorder or any mental health issues should not be afraid to ask for help and get support.
Even now, years into my recovery, I struggle with anxiety around change and loss of control. Feelings that have been magnified by the events over the last few months. I can easily recognise how these current additional anxieties we are all facing could be extremely overwhelming for those still in the midst of their battle with an eating disorder.
I have also been frustrated with myself for making what I thought was ‘little’ progress in my recovery. However, I now realise that I need to stop criticising myself, and instead be proud of where I am today.
When lockdown came into force – what seems like a whole lifetime ago – I struggled. Like many people who experience eating problems, I felt so threatened by the changes in routine, the limited availability of certain foods, the massive uncertainty of it all
Be kind to yourself and give yourself a break – worrying and feeling guilty about food, exercise and weight gain is not essential and will make an already difficult and anxiety-ridden period worse.