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Anorexia

All stories

I am 16 years old and eating disorders have dictated my life from a young age, but not in the way many assume. My brother has suffered from anorexia for as long as I remember.

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Eating disorders affect people of all ages, backgrounds, and genders. But often people have narrow expectations about what someone with an eating disorder looks like, and this can lead to additional barriers to support and treatment for those who fall outside those expectations.

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Being diagnosed with anorexia when I was 17 was, I thought at the time, one of the worst things in the world. Over the past four years I've been pushing my way through recovery (and a degree) with the many ups and downs that come alongside.

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I can’t pinpoint the time or the day that I handed over control to my anorexia. The time that I would let the scales plummet as well as my happiness.

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Every year when Ramadan comes around, I open up about my experience with an eating disorder. It can be such a tricky time for those of us struggling.

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I’m 22 years old. So far, I’ve sat through: 25 GCSE exams, eight AS Levels, six A2s, four preliminaries, four ‘Finals’, two drawn-out pieces of coursework, and one 12,000 word thesis.

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You’re 15 and struggling with anorexia. I’m your 40-something-year-old self. You’re in a dark place, but it can get better. It will get better.

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At the age of 18, during the summer I finished my A-levels before university, I developed anorexia nervosa. It happens quite unconsciously: the obsessive exercise, the compulsive calorie counting.

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4 May 2018

Why wait?

There are so many reasons why it is important to speak out about an eating disorder as soon as possible, that I could go on forever. The longer that an eating disorder, such as anorexia, goes untreated, the more severe it becomes.

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Anorexia was never intended, never wanted and never fully understood. Yet in the September of my second year at university, I somehow found myself being taken on by an intensive outpatient treatment team.

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Eating disorders grow in the dark. Sharing my story might help or maybe inspire someone else to keep fighting. It may even help me to get closer to that finish line where I am fully in control.

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My anorexia started when I was just 11 years old. However, I wasn’t officially diagnosed until 10 years later. That is a decade of illness before I started treatment, by which time my ED was well and truly ingrained.

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