Video from organization beat
This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week here in the UK, with the aim of raising awareness and increasing knowledge about eating disorders. Many of us know someone who is or has been affected by the disorder, or maybe you have been suffering from an eating disorder yourself. I spent my teenage years plagued by anorexia and I am now passionate about raising awareness not only about eating disorders but mental illness in general.
Earlier today I saw a someone on Twitter saying that 'An eating disorder is a reaction to life. Food and the relationsip with it is the symptom, not the cause' (@JayneMCox). For me personally that is exactly how it was. Losing weight wasn't a goal in itself, but a way to regain control of my life - and then I went on to losing control in every way imaginable. I became a master of tricking and deceiving my family and friends to think that I did eat and managed to squeeze in obsessive exercising at all times of the day. When I was at my worst I didn't even allow myself to use lipbalm as I was afraid that I would gain weight if I swallowed some of it.
For the sake of this story it would be good if I could say 'the turning point for me was....' but I can't do that. I didn't have a specific turning point, just an increasing feeling that I was wasting my life. I wasn't out there enjoying my life as my friends were, but stuck inside my own head with its crazy ideas. Eventually I had to make a decision - to stay in the claws of the illness or fight myself out of those claws. I decided to fight, and although I now like to call myself an eating anorexic instead of saying that I'm completely cured, I'm now taking on the world and all its challenges. I think that with my very prominent Type A personality and overactive thinking I will always have to watch myself not to fall back into any kind of obsessive behaviour but that wont stop me from living my life to the fullest.
Last year I ran the Edinburgh Marathon in aid of the Mental Health Foundation and I'm very proud to say that I managed to raise over £700.