When I was 12 years old I was hospitalised with Anorexia Nervosa, except I didn’t know it at the time. I was so malnourished, I had become paranoid and delusional. I don’t know whether I have since blocked it out from my memory or if my diagnosis fell on deaf ears at the time, but I never recall being formally diagnosed.
Somehow I believed that I was hospitalised due to a heart issue and I would be out in a couple of days and life would be normal again. Boy was I wrong. My heart was sick though. My body was beginning to eat into my heart for muscle, reducing my heart rate to a dangerous level. But in reality my whole body and mind was sick.
Two weeks in, the doctors ordered a whole body X-ray scan to see the damage my dangerous eating behaviour had done in just a few months to my little 12 year old body. It was only when I saw the radiographer, a mere stranger to me, wrote Anorexia Nervosa as my diagnosis on a standard medical form that I realised I had an eating disorder. This was after being in a ward of 8 teenagers for 2 weeks, all suffering from an eating disorder and many tearful visits from my friends and family. I couldn’t understand why they were all so upset, hospital was almost like summer camp to me at the time; I had spent Christmas and New Years in there. It amazes me how blind I was to it all and how much went over my head. But my head was not in the right place at the time and I was very young. When you are so underfed, it all feels a bit foggy and you can’t think properly about the consequences of your actions, about what you are doing to your body, and your family and your friends.
To the 12 year old me right now that is sadly out there suffering today, it’s going to be okay. I know it’s confusing and your emotions feel like a whirlwind right now, but this is the hardest thing you will ever go through – life only gets better from here.