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You are enough - Harriet’s story

On my 18th birthday, people around me knew that I wasn’t well. I kept pushing people away, trying to fight the disorder on my own – trying to not let those worry who were around me. After months of fighting, I couldn’t do it anymore and sought the help I knew I needed. It was Good Friday 2021, and I rang Beat's Helpline as I needed help. I needed someone to talk to urgently. It was a struggle to type the number in the keypad; however, to this day I will never look back.

A few months later I was admitted to hospital for extra help and support where I was informed my body was shutting down and potentially had only a few days to live. From this day forward, I knew something had to change. I wasn’t letting a bully win, and I wasn’t going to let this eating disorder defeat me. As each year that has passed since this day I look back and realise how far I have come and how different my outlook on life is and what it looks like now.

When you find yourself in the depths of Anorexia, your whole life is put on hold. It isn’t just food that anorexia controls – it’s much more than this. It can affect your career, friendships, holidays… it changes your emotions and mannerisms.

Everybody’s journey can be totally different, and recovery can look so different to everyone. For me, I look back at the life I lived and see a lonely girl who had no physical strength, couldn’t walk her dog, had multiple doctors, therapy and mindfulness appointments a week. She had no events to look forward to, her hair was falling out in huge clumps, and she was not able to join in with friend meet ups. I had to rethink about going to uni or getting an apprenticeship as I wasn’t physically well to do either of those things and had to take my career one step at a time. I needed to get better, and I needed to be happy within myself before I focused on anything else.

The reality of almost 3 years since phoning Beat that day is that I now have a loving, supportive and caring group of people who I choose to surround my life with. I owe so much to them. Some of them were with me throughout this time and they’ve never given up on me. I’ve met and have created some amazing friendships over these last few years too – they’ve supported me since the day we first met. I now have a career that I have worked so hard for and will continue to do, I love and thrive in my career and will continue to provide the service I do knowing that every day I will become more knowledgeable and support people in new ways. I can enjoy days out again, go to the pub, enjoy the gym, walk my dog and the life I have now is far more precious than I could ever imagine. It has taken a lot of gratitude and strength to get to this point, but the only person who can change your life is yourself, and that’s what I did.

Anorexia is no longer my whole life; it is a tiny fraction of my life. It has shaped me into the person who I am today – I am a strong, independent woman who will not let anything bring her down. I wouldn’t ever let it dictate my life again or take over who ‘Harriet’ is now. I have so much to look forward to and so many opportunities to grab. Life is too short to let something control you and I had to step outside my comfort zone and give the big ‘L’ to anorexia and fight hard every day to get where I am today.

Don’t get me wrong, I think every day is a day where you must fight, and I wouldn’t ever say you are fully ‘cured’ with an eating disorder. But you know how to fight it – you know how to ignore it and there is just simply too much to lose to ever let it win.

I am so glad I never abandoned the sunshine and made that decision to reach out to Beat to start the process of seeking that extra support. They were incredibly helpful and provided me with the clear guidance I needed, if it wasn’t for the lady Louise on the end of that phone, I don’t know where I could be today.

You are enough and don’t let anyone or anything tell you different.

Contributed by Harriet

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, or are concerned for yourself or a loved one, you can find support and guidance on the help pages of our website.

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