I’m finally getting rid of you; my life is no longer dictated by you and your rules.
You lied to me; you twisted and warped my reality. Isolating me. Tormenting me. You told me that all I needed was to lose a few more pounds. But you were never happy. You made me hate myself. No number was ever low enough for you, nothing was ever good enough for you.
You told me once I reached the goal set you would be happy, but you never were. That goal just got lower and lower. You made me lose track of what really mattered around me and distance myself from everyone that ever cared for me.
But anorexia, now I know the truth.
You forced your way into my head and stole what should have been some of the best years of my life away from me. You took my freedom, my friends, my sport and my independence.
You pointed out every flaw I ever had; you made me think I was worthless. You stopped at nothing, making me leave university and putting me in hospital, when all I wanted was to ‘lose a few pounds’.
You told me that nothing else mattered; you told me no one would love me if didn’t do what you said. All I did was listen to you as you shouted out commands, knowing every action I took against you would have consequences.
But now I see the truth. Now I know that food is not the enemy. My family and professionals were not trying not trick me.
You were the only enemy; you were the bully.
I now know that my life isn’t determined by the number of calories in a biscuit, the number of sit-ups I can do, the amount of miles I can run or the size of clothes I can fit into. There is so much more to life. There’s impromptu meals with friends, late-night snacking and cinema trips.
For the first time in my life I been able to travel on my own, meet new friends, experience new cultures, taste new things and make the best of memories. And guess what? You are not in them!
Now I have decided to leave you, my life is filled with laughter and not tears, with friends and not loneliness, with health and not fear.
I have gone on adventures I never thought would be possible. I’ve experienced the beauty in the world I never knew was there and I’ve met people I would never have met if you were still in my life.
Yes, I know you will always be following me, like an ugly shadow, whispering in my ear. Yes, late at night, you still catch me off guard, but I can now confront most of your bullying words with the truth. I can stare at you in the face and turn my back to you.
Those dark days, months and years you put me and my family through have made me a better person, made me more conscious of the world around me and I hope I can use your taunts against you, to help others, so they don’t have to experience your torment.
So yes, anorexia, although you won many battles against me, and although I almost admitted defeat, I am no longer ashamed of this illness. I can stand proud and tell people, yes, I did have an eating disorder, but I have won the war.
You have to learn how to live again and, like with any lessons, you often have to fail to learn the best way or the right way...
In the past I’ve wanted to hide the eating disorders that are part of my history, but I want to shout from the rooftops: I'm proud of how far I had come!
What a year 2020 has been in general for everyone – it was a year no one ever could have imagined, from panic buying, toilet roll shortages, lockdowns and restrictions. Yet for so many, including me, the battle against an eating disorder continued.