My biggest battle was one that was the toughest I had to endure and in a way its made me the person I am today. My battle started when I was 8 1/2 years old who never had a care in the world. I was your typical 8 year old who loved to be outdoors and enjoying each day. That all changed and took me on a dangerous journey .
I never minded going to school I struggled but I loved doing PE and various other tasks which was hands on. My attitude soon changed when the bullying started. I was the small fat girl with glasses. I became a victim and I didn’t understand why. Every day I was tormented because of who I was. It firstly didn’t bother me but over time looking back it ground me down. The bullying got worse and it started to become physical. They would push me around like I was a ball, while doing this I would be slandered. Whenever I would say something it made it 100 times worse. They would often push me or deliberately trip me up. That wasn’t the worst, they locked me in the girls toilets and would often take my glasses away so i struggled to see. They broke them on several occasions so it meant having to get them repaired. Looking back i wondered if it could get any worse and it did.
The bullying made me feel so self-conscious at a young age and this was often because I had a good appetite and I still do at times. For me eating at school was an uncomfortable affair especially as the bullying intensified. I would sit at the table minding my own business with my pink lunchbox with my favorite stickers plastered on the box. The bully’s would always make sure that i’m in there sights I would never get a moments peace. They would make snide comments like “whats piggy got for lunch??” or “no wonder shes so fat!”.Hearing those comments would sit and play on my mind even when I went to sleep. There was days that they went in my lunch box and took the food. Not going to lie lunch time was now some thing i wanted to avoid, and that’s when I pretend to eat my lunch and throw the rest away or eat very little. I started doing it and I really didn’t care, the bully’s saw and they loved what i was doing. I was doing this for roughly 3 weeks and a teacher noticed that i was in and out of the canteen very fast and I was caught red handed. I had to explain why I was throwing my lunch away. My mind saying tell them about the bullying even though nothing was being done about it, but No i said “I wasn’t hungry”.
The teacher never accepted that so I was made to sit with the teachers every lunchtime, great more to add to the bullying. Being made to sit and eat with the teachers was sometimes a blessing, especially as one loved all my stickers (personally I think it was to make me more comfortable). I remember eating my lunch and I would have a feeling of being sick to my stomach and it actually happened being physically sick after eating. My stomach had shrunk over the time of me not eating and then being made to eat.
Me being sick after eating then became the new normal in my everyday life. The bullying was still really bad i would have bruises on my legs and arms, i used to say I fell over. I was terrified and I would protest in going to school, even making myself sick so I could stay at home and play with my Polly pocket or barbie dolls. I was made to go to school and have to endure the bullying. With me eating my lunch I was finally able to avoid the teachers table, but I would secretly go off an make myself sick. I then slipped into a dangerous routine and hole that could potentially kill me. I was even doing it at home without my mum knowing at first any way.
Over time I lost control of what I was doing and the sickness and routine became overwhelming. Next thing I knew I was at school then I collapsed to the floor. I was rushed to hospital and placed on a drip. It turns out my body was under nourished and the truth came out of what I was doing. The doctors didn’t have much knowledge at the time so I was referred to a specialist unit in Great Ormand Street Hospital in London. The specialist unit was called ABC (Anorexia and Bulimia Care) unit and in there that’s when I was diagnosed with Anorexia. My mum was given all the information of what the condition entailed and what the treatment would be. She was informed that if I didn’t change my ways and fast my body was on the verge of shutting down. My vital organs was struggling to cope with what i was doing, in which my heart would eventually go into cardiac arrest resulting in me dying . I had never seen my mum break like she did and looking at my weak body with all the fluids replacing all the nutrition my body craved for.
It was down to me to fight this personally and tell the voices in my head I wanted to be better. The getting better was the hardest part on 2 levels, firstly accepting I have a problem then eating. I made a promise to my mum to get better but it meant staying in hospital. I was on the drips for a little while and bed rest to ensure my body was slowly recovering and allowing the nutrition to get into my system. The toughest of the battle was about to start and that was eating and not being sick. It was so tough to not be sick and at first it was natural instinct to be sick. I soon learnt to resist the urge to be sick then anorexia made you feel tremendous amount of guilt as your trying to get better. Ill put my hands up and yes i did make myself sick as the guilt was a huge amount bare. But with the right help I learnt that the guilt would soon go away and it did.
During my time at GOSH I made a friend called Mi-mi as she loved to be called and it made the recovery a lot easier to bare. We became very close and we would laugh a lot and we were close very fast. Me and Mi-mi had a fair amount in common with how we got into the situation and that was bullying. At meals times we was monitored and we would sit together often swapping our juice or fruit, they didn’t like it but we always made sure we ate everything. So we made a promise with each other that we would both get better and stay in touch. When we had tough times in the recovery we was able to cheer up each other, this made anorexia a lot easier to deal with. One day Mi-mi disappeared and I wondered where she went. I was told she was able to go home, It made me more determined for me to go home and I maybe able to see her again. It turns out she passed away and I was told on my very last appointment, even to this day I have never forgotten her.
The treatment for the anorexia was so tough, especially when you have to resist the urge to be sick. You get horrific tummy cramps and I often cried. I remember trying to wriggle out of the nurse who held me back to make a break for it to be sick. When you went to the bathroom you was being watched to make sure you wasn’t doing something you shouldn’t. I remember walking into a room and in front of me was a tall mirror. I was asked to tell them what I see. I reluctantly walked to the mirror and I stared at my recovering body scared I said clearly ” a small fat four eyed freak” while saying that I heard the bully’s laughter very clearly. I could have burst into tears as the hole was a dark place for me to be in and it was sucking me in further. It turns out anorexia changes how your mind and your thoughts. This makes you see you at previous state and in fact your completely the opposite. Part of me didn’t want to get better but i fought hard. I didn’t want to die i wanted to live, this was battle was hell.
Over time I gained weight and the psychiatrists helped me to learn to love who I was and how to channel the negative thoughts. I gained enough weight to be allowed home and I was excited. Being able to eat knowing it does your body good and not feeling guilty seemed strange at first but it was amazing to be back on track.
Going home was the best feeling with knowing I wasn’t going to have blood tests everyday or being constantly asked “how are you feeling today?”. But i was still being monitored with my eating but I was getting better, and slowly adapting to the new me. Before long I felt happy and eating like nothing changed. I was told your going back to school and I felt physically sick. My mum sat me down and explained i had to face up to the bully’s and go back to school. The first day was hard even though I never lost out on lessons as they taught you in the hospital it was knowing that was how it all started.
I was petrified but I walked into my classroom for the first time in months and the bully’s had gone, i felt relief but confusion. It turns out that they was kicked out as they beat up another child. I was watched for a while with my eating till I was trusted and it wasn’t long before I was free from being watched all the time. I was bullied though out my primary and secondary school but I was able to deal with it a lot better without going back into the hands of anorexia. I know if I was to ever go back to anorexia that I wouldn’t come out alive this time, but I have learnt a lot and im never going back down that dark hole.
Since my battle with the condition I believe I am a stronger person and have a better perception of life. I am one of those people that would talk about my time with the condition to hopefully inspire someone to get better. I have a heart that if I can help someone then I will. The doctors wasn’t sure of what my future would be as anorexia harms the body a lot. I have been lucky thankfully no serious damage was caused. I was lucky in 2015 to welcome my son Lucas into the world. My pregnancy went well but i was closely monitored even though i have been fully recovered for nearly 15 years.
The only downfall would be end of 2011 into 2012 I used to have flashbacks 10 years after being recovered. I would wake up feeling frightened and confused. The voices came back and the feeling of deja vu. I was on edge and very panicky, I struggled to breathe. So I made the decision to quite college and go to work full time. I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic attack disorder. They placed on medication which made me feel worse. So in the end refused to take them and deal with the situation at hand. I spoke to a specialist and she couldn’t believe that anorexia was tying to take hold again so long after recovery. But I kept to my word and I always ate. My weight has been stable and iv’e been pretty healthy.
I like to think that learning and recovering from this ordeal has made me the determined person I am today. I’m never afraid to talk about this as its a mental health condition which can have catastrophic physical effects. It wasn’t an easy recovery as I could have gone backwards but I didn’t. That is why I am able to hold my head up high and say “I SURVIVED AND STANDING STRONG”. Unfortunately eating disorders go on though and is an everyday occurrence and some never make it to the other side of recovery. I would like to say if anyone is reading this please you are able to get better. You are all strong and worth it in this world. Being recovered is a blessing and you will be stronger and better for doing so. Your not alone and never will be, hold your head up and you’ve got this. I’ve learnt to love myself and I’m learning what i truly am capable of mentally and physically.