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Better Times Are Ahead - Charlotte's story

My weight and what I allowed myself to eat totally dominated my life at one point. I was extremely pale, had very little energy and was really miserable. I really like to be busy and involved with various things but I barely had the strength to get up from the sofa. I have struggled with disordered eating since childhood and it’s always lingered with me in some form.

My early twenties became very challenging – I changed into someone that I didn’t recognise as myself. I was very introverted, depressed and frustrated at myself with my lack of energy and with the extended periods of time that I would sleep throughout the day. I really felt like I was missing out but I wasn’t sure how to address the problem. I started seeing my GP on a weekly basis; he was so understanding and supportive, I felt like I was wasting his time but he said I was doing the opposite, and that it’s vital to reach out for help. He monitored me closely and also helped me to formulate goals that I wanted to reach; they were something to work towards and look forward to.

I was incredibly lucky to get further amazing support from an outpatient clinic for a couple of months, and soon my relationship with food really improved. I found foods that I genuinely looked forward to and enjoyed, ranging from meals like Spaghetti Bolognese and Pizza, to Sticky Toffee Pudding, which are still firm favourites! My energy levels increased and so did my happiness and productivity; I finally had the energy to really make the most of various things that I had wanted to do. These included lots of wonderful volunteering opportunities with animals ranging from dogs, rabbits, crocodiles, alligators, lizards, snakes, Galapagos tortoises, meerkats, a binturong, Tamarin monkeys and even some little pigs!

I also volunteered at various summer camps from across the UK, to Scotland for children and young people with health challenges, which also included their families and siblings. This was an extremely rewarding experience, I felt so lucky to be a small part of their experience at a summer camp, that they might not have otherwise been able to have, without the charity’s support.

My renewed energy levels enabled further involvement with some really great production and events projects, which I really loved! The dread that had been attached to eating changed into a sense of achievement; each meal was a step closer to my goals, and therefore, happiness. A number on a scale should not dictate the course of my life. Eating well enables me to live much more healthily, authentically and most importantly, happily! The battle can be really hard but keep going, the positive results are worth it.

Sometimes it can be comforting to know that others face similar struggles too, so please know that you are not alone. I’ve made friends that have gone through similar experiences to me, and seeing them recovered and more carefree was really inspiring and heart-warming. Seeking help is good and eating is a great strength, it’s the fuel to keep you going! Better times are ahead :)

I hope this helps in some small way.

Contributed by Charlotte

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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