Rachel's Story

Eating disorders are not always a single diagnosis


Poetry is my biggest outlet, I can speak freely and have found sharing them bring people hope and sense of belonging.
I wrote this at the begging of the year, and why I wrote it is after the poem.


“I am lucky now
To be able to say my eating disorder is at its “boring phase”
That my life is no longer meal plans, hospital admissions, day programs, dietician appointments, being supervised though meal times.
I can now look at food and no longer see exercise broken down into how many reps would burn off the calories I ate, picturing the food turning into fat on my depleted body, being scared that the one glass of water would increase my size.
Now I see food as nourishment for my body and mind, a basic human right that I deserve.
My story isn’t as dangerous as it was.
I am not a walking calculator; there is nothing for me to count anymore, let alone notice those numbers on the back of packages.
I now count moments of joy, laughter and smiles.
I am not a shell of a person; no longer cold, empty and lifeless. I have light in my eyes, dreams to chase, warmth in my heart.
Developing an eating disorder, unhealthy weight loss and engaging in behaviours is not a success story.
Recovery is the true success.
Life is the success story.”


-RCE Poetry


I consider myself lucky when I look back over the past 9 years of my life, the various mental illness diagnosis’, the months spent in hospital, the eating disorder that took more than weight.


My struggle with anorexia developed as a coping mechanism, initially thinking changing up my diet and exercise would help my depression. It didn’t. It drove me further down the eating disorder road. Anorexia became a way to numb my mind, yet it did more damage. I admitted to having a problem, so the focus was on eating and gaining weight, but my depression was ignored. I may have left hospital with a different body, yet I had the same mindset.


Years into this, road blocks, twists, turns, wrong exits, I have now learnt that using my eating disorder to cope with my mood and numb mental pain only redirects the treatment and the main issue to treat in the front of the minds of my treatment team, family and friends. It was there but gave me nothing in return. Now I am able to stop, reflect and think before I act.


If you take anything away from this:
1- Eating disorders are not always a single diagnosis, those who struggle often have other mental illness’ that aren’t always acknowledged during treatment.
2- Recovery is giving yourself a second chance. You deserve the sense of freedom I have now. It didn’t happen overnight, but the time spent gaining it is worth it.
3- Be honest with yourself and others, you can do this.