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When life knocks you down with an eating disorder, you can pick yourself up

Five years ago, I left my studies at university, gripped by depression and anorexia. I was living a life of darkness, shame, misery, hopelessness, helplessness and grief over a long-term relationship that I couldn’t admit to myself was falling apart.

It was the lowest point of my life. I remember vividly one time lying on my bed in the dark, with my mum and stepdad calling me down for dinner. I lay there, crying, feeling my pain, my physical and emotional discomfort, which I couldn't release and couldn’t let go. It’s not that I wanted to look this way – far from it. I was ashamed of it, of me, and what I had done, but the acceptance of changing didn’t seem possible. 

I had no energy to think, no energy to feel motivated enough to make a difference, to change my situation and get better, because in my head what was the point. I’d already let myself down, my parents; people already thought a certain way of me. I was lost – utterly and completely lost. Although I was not suicidal, I know the situation I was in could have meant that I had something like heart failure, which would mean I wouldn’t wake up the next day, and I will admit that this at the time seemed a better option for me.

I remember my mum coming up, and she sat and lay down with me, and she hugged me. She didn't say anything – she didn’t have to. I knew how much pain she was in. She just hugged me and gently stroked my back, and I remembered at that moment who I was fighting for. I had to get better for her and for my stepdad, who I was slowly destroying by destroying myself.

I recently wrote a post on Facebook to help some of my friends and my partner, who are going through their own battles, realise that I was not always a positive, happy and gregarious girl that I am today, and that my past has meant that I still sometimes relapse. I know, though, that I will not go back to where I was the day I left university and had to accept and realise what changes I had to face. I wanted to share this with you and my story to help others realise that they can change if they truly believe; they can get better and they can live a life of love, happiness and joy. Belief is the key to success. No journey is easy, but it is definitely worth it. And remember that relapses can happen, but be honest with yourself, recognise your weaknesses, and don’t be ashamed of yourself for making mistakes. We are only human, and no one is perfect.

Altogether, my past has made me happier, stronger, and now a better me. Tough times make tough people, and yes, I was depressed and I had anorexia for a period of my life, but no, I am not defined by my past and I will not let it destroy my future ever again.

Keep believing you can achieve whatever you want, and one day you will overcome your biggest demons and your worst inner critic.

Contributed by Jules

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