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Climbing mountains was often a metaphor for challenge and achievement – especially Everest – but not every challenge was proportional. Bulimia was a completely different mountain.
I needed to find some way to disappear and become inconsequential, as if I did society maybe wouldn’t notice the disability. The eating disorder was the only way I could see to do this.
I always questioned “will I be taken seriously” or “perhaps I’m a just greedy person” or “everyone gets low and comfort eats” or “how can I have a disorder when I seem to have a normal life”.
Through the years post treatment, I have learned and educated people about the fact eating disorders are mental illnesses that are deadly no matter what the weight, shape, background, sexuality or colour of the person.
The myths of eating disorders are stopping people getting help. These myths are making people more ill and in my case these myths destroyed my 17-year-old life.
Anorexia persuaded me that my actions were completely normal. When others behaved differently, they were wrong and I was right.
Developing an eating disorder is never an active choice. No individual would willingly put themselves through the torture of this type of mental illness...
Throughout the years that I have suffered from an eating disorder, all the attempts that I have made at recovery, I would read other people’s stories and think, “what’s the point? It will never happen for me.”
I used to think that writing about my own story and struggles with an eating disorder was a bit self-absorbed or maybe even pretentious.
I believed no one understood my battle and dug myself a deep hole I did not anticipate I could re-emerge from. By definition, I was a person who was anxious and anorexic. I believed this was who I was, so it could not be changed.
In today’s society, so many people are loud-and-proud gym bunnies, constantly posting on social media about PBs, juice cleanses and gruelling, military style workouts.
Let's rewind five years. A young girl, just 17, her bags packed, sat in the car trembling with fear. Where was I going? What is this place going to be like? Did I really need to go?