24th June 2014- Five years ago today I was discharged from outpatient services at the adult eating disorders unit as I was well on my way to recovery. Today I can still say I am 90% recovered and have never relapsed which is an achievement itself. It’s true that with anorexia I had nothing; recovery gives me everything and so much more. And if you’re ever in doubt about recovery just think about me: as if I can do it, you can too!
25th June 2014; My Being Alive Day - Today is what I like to call my ‘Being Alive Day’. Ten years ago I was severely ill with anorexia and was told in my first appointment by the children’s unit that I was weeks from death. What followed was several years of hard work, tears, struggles, taking risks and pushing myself to gain back my life. Through dedication, determination and support from family & friends I managed to recover and become me again. Ten years on I’m 90% recovered, live life and enjoy my freedom. You don’t always hear about the success stories which is one of the reasons I speak out now. Don’t ever let anyone tell you recovery isn’t possible; I am living proof that it is!!
To round off our set of blogs for Eating Disorders Awareness Week, one LifeMentor who has recovered from an eating disorder talks us through this photo which represents what recovery means to her.
WHY THIS IMAGE MEANS RECOVERY TO ME:
1) The butterfly toy represents a return to feeling…
An eating disorder totally consumes you until you no longer reassemble the person you once were. Anorexia became my whole identity; I no longer knew who I was; I no longer had a voice. Recovery gave me my voice back; speaking out about my experience gives me my voice back. And I’ve almost found out who Rachel is again - it’s been fun finding out who I am!
Eating disorders are not about vanity, being thin or wanting attention. They are serious mental health illnesses that people develop for many reasons. One of mine was the wish to be invisible. At school and college I was bullied by my friends; at school a boy called me ugly and a dog every day and because I’d never had a boyfriend I thought it was true. I wanted to disappear; I wanted to not be noticed.
Recovery is everything I imagined and more. I never thought I’d be how I am today - I eat all anorexia’s ‘forbidden foods’; I never count calories or check the fat content of foods; I eat whenever and whatever I want; I am not dictated by clothes size; I wear clothes that flatter and show off my shape; I have boobs; I live life to the full & enjoy new experiences; I’m not ashamed of the fact I used to have an eating disorder - it has shaped me into the person I am today, and recovering has helped me to make amazing friends and given me amazing opportunities. Anorexia does not control me. I will ALWAYS speak out about my eating disorder as how else will people know how absolutely amazingly awesome recovery is!!!!!