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Learning to open up…

Going to my GP in March of last year was something that I knew I had to do. Don’t get me wrong, I was so scared and nervous about how I would tell someone I didn’t know that I was struggling with eating and coping with social occasions which involved food. It took a lot of convincing myself that I had to be open and let it all out…

A month or so later I was referred to an outpatient eating disorder clinic. I remember the day of my first appointment: I was dreading it and would have backed out of the appointment had my mum not been there with me. My first appointment was really tough for me – I received a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa and at first I couldn’t believe it. I think finally having someone confirm that I was struggling allowed me to see that this was so much more serious than I had previously thought. That first appointment was in April and believe it or not it seems like years ago now... I had a whole summer of therapy, medical checks and meetings with dieticians. At some points I felt so low that an eating disorder was taking away everything I planned to do.

I think what was particularly hard for me to process was that I was due to be studying abroad in September. As the summer progressed my illness worsened and it soon became clear to those at the clinic, my parents and most importantly myself that there was no way I would be able to cope living on my own in a foreign country for eight months. This resulted in me having to suspend my studies for a year in order to try and get better. I was so disappointed in myself. Having to tell my friends why I wasn’t going was really hard for me. Thankfully they have been so supportive and never made me feel alone, even though the illness can be so isolating. I still have times when I feel disappointed that I’m not with my friends abroad, but I know that the best thing for me right now is to be at home with my family and on the path to recovery.

Sitting here writing this I am so happy to say that I on the path to recovery from an eating disorder. Towards the end of last summer I turned twenty and promised myself that I was going to try to get better for myself, because I don’t want to spend my life living with an eating disorder. I have since been trying really hard and committing to three good meals a day. I have slowly regained the weight I lost and can say that I feel much better physically and mentally. I am beyond proud of myself.

The reason I wanted to write a post on this website is because I want to tell other people who are struggling that once you open up about your problems and continue to be open throughout whatever treatment you have, it is possible to recover. I once wouldn’t have believed that but now I can see that by sharing my story I feel less alone.

I know I have a long way to go until I am fully recovered but in the meantime I want to use my experience of an eating disorder to help others. Recovery is a journey with no time limit. I am now on the path, and I must be kind and proud of myself. I know that I will someday get back on track with my studies; I just have to give it time and respect how I am feeling.

Contributed by Claire

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