And through it all.. she recovered
I first noticed that I was engaging in unusual behaviours when I was 12. It was at this time that I was transitioning from primary school into high school.
I remember my mother taking me to see her regular general practitioner (GP) who examined me. My mother explained my symptoms to the doctor and straight away my vitals and weight were recorded and I handed over a food diary I had been keeping for the past couple of weeks.
When the GP asked me if I had noticed any weight loss like my clothes becoming looser on me I couldn’t confirm it. What I had noticed though, was that the veins in my arms were becoming extremely visible like I had never seen before. I wasn’t aware of lanugo (the fine body hair that grows to keep the body warm when malnourished) but I had that too.
A few weeks later I saw a psychologist and I explained my life story to her. It was an initial session so she just listened to me. Unfortunately before I got to see her again I was already in hospital with the diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa.
Hospital was scary and uncertain. I had never been admitted to hospital before this, apart from when I was 3 which I obviously can’t remember. In the emergency, almost immediately a cannula was inserted into my arm and the pathologist said that I had such good veins. What a surprise, or not! My heart rate and blood pressure were also low so I was deemed a priority patient. I got tended to pretty instantly.
When I was lying in a bed in emergency a registered nurse working with the eating disorder team was sent down and spoke to me a little bit and a lot to my Mum in an isolated area.
A few hours later I was transferred into a ward. I wanted to walk to the ward- because of my addiction to exercise, but I was forced to stay in bed and got wheeled there. When I got to the ward a nasal tube was inserted into my nose and down my throat. I had a sore throat after that and it hurt to speak.
I was put on the Eating Disorder Program (EDP) and had a psychiatrist and psychologist working with me helping me to become healthier in the body and mind.
Along with anorexia came body dysmorphic disorder. I found it incredibly difficult to look in the mirror as I’d analyse every part of my body and pick out all that ‘I thought’ was wrong with it.
I was in and out of hospital for the first 3 months of my diagnosis and after one year I got better physically and mentally. I engaged in physical activity for the first time after my admissions, played basketball- which I did at a representative level before my diagnosis. I felt like life was so much easier as I didn’t have the vicious voices in my head controlling what felt like my every movement. I relapsed 2 years later and got diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Now I am 19 and have recovered from anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder. I still have GAD which creeps in sometimes but I know how to manage it. How I am feeling has been the most significant change. I am 100 times stronger both mentally and physically. I no longer restrict my food intake or have the image of my ideal body composition in my head. I know that having outlets for my mental and physical health will help keep me in a good head-space along with healthy, balanced and non-restrictive eating.
So, if you are struggling with anything, please seek help. YOU deserve it and are so worthy. Without this support I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I am so thankful for everything I went through, the people who supported me throughout it because I have learnt so many incredible life lessons and now have a passion to help others.
Remember, YOU are special and the chosen one. This battle just might be teaching you a valuable lesson if you’re strong enough and willing to fight it. Keep fighting and stay strong.
I hope my story resonates with you in some way.
Thank you for reading this.