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Why can’t you just eat like everyone else?

It’s a typical Sunday morning when for the first time in a while I am not concerned about the calories I am eating and I am just listening to my hunger and what I want to eat, and not what is wrong or right. “But that’s just so weird, can’t you just eat like everyone else?” says everyone around me, but no, it’s just like that. But today I am proud of where I am, as it is already very far for a person recovering from anorexia, so let me tell you my story.

Actually, I’ve always been living my life to the fullest, with a few extra kilos, but I did not care. No one did! But in summer 2014, I left for Canada, a new school, a new life. It did not do me good as I didn’t like my course. After having applied to a new university, I decided to leave Canada and go back to France. There I had free time, a loooooooot of free time, to lose weight. I started running, being careful about what I ate, became vegetarian, became vegan, and three months after, I most of all became anorexic. I had lost a quite significant amount of weight, but I did not notice it. The pain was not something I was considering because all I saw was my weight going down until my parents got worried, as I had unexplained bruises on my legs, thin hair, pale skin, tired eyes. But it did not worry me.

My parents were lost. They did not know what to do to help me; they saw the distress in my eyes but I refused any sort of aid. I pushed my body to the limits. Moreover I was working on a beach restaurant 10 hours a day in bright sun. I understood the problem when I collapsed one night. The emergency firemen had to come over and wanted me to get into hospital if I did not gain a bit of weight and decide to get better. I refused to go with them and that triggered me. This was last summer. I had to stop my job, stop seeing my friends and stop going out – fun, right? I gained just a few kilos – not much, just enough – went back to London for my studies and the fight was still going on. For the whole year, I was battling with the voice in my head telling me not to go out because there would be alcohol or food, finding comfort in isolation and what my “safe foods” were. I was stressed over weight still so I was running again, more and more to make sure I would stay this image of the skinny girl. But that image has got a price: pills, medications, blood tests, fatigue and isolation.

But summer 2016 changed it all, as I had really decided to not only get better and survive but finally get out of this deadly spiral! I went out more, ate more, had more fun, cared less and gained the kilos I finally needed to change my life.

I can’t say it has been easy and without problems. Of course anorexia or the envy of purging comes back a lot, but you need to be stronger than this voice in your head that is not yours. You are the only one who can decide for yourself, the only one that needs to take the right decisions, and once you understand this, everything will get better! I wish I had realised earlier, but hopefully some will, and will realise that life is too short to waste it over eating disorders!

Contributed by Louise