In November last year, I was diagnosed with anorexia and the following six months were the hardest months of my life.
After essentially growing up on social media since the age of nine, all my life I have been bombarded with images of the ‘perfect body’: small waist, curves in all the right places, cheekbones so sharp that they could cut you — and since age nine all I’ve wanted was that perfect body.
I remember crying one night when I was twelve saying everything will be okay once I am skinny, because I genuinely believed that. But the most worrying thing about this is that I was already skinny. I’ve always been between a size 8 and 10 and yet I didn’t like that, I wanted to be thinner.
As I started to develop anorexia, I became obsessed with ‘being healthy’ but gradually that desire to be fit became the desire to just be as skinny as possible. I looked around at my school friends wondering if I was the skinniest one amongst them, and despite that being the case, I didn’t think so, and that’s when it started to get dangerous. In the end, I was only eating a slice of wholemeal bread with no butter because butter makes you fat (according to anorexia), and I expected that to keep me going for 24 hours.
And so, to now say that I beat anorexia, to say that I realised it was feeding me lies so I would stop feeding myself, makes me so happy and I am so proud of myself. Even though anorexia controlled my life for six months, I gained so much from this experience.
I have a much better relationship with my parents than I could ever imagine — the one big thing I had to do to recover from anorexia was to trust them, and now we are closer than ever. Recovery has made me a more resilient person. After recovering from anorexia I honestly believe I can do anything. I have learnt that my self-worth shouldn’t be based on my looks but rather my talents and who I am as a person.
And the best thing I have taken away from it is self-love.
I never thought I would be truly happy with myself, especially if I didn’t have a certain body — but ironically, striving for an impossible body made me the most miserable I have ever been. Now when I look in the mirror I smile because I know there is no such thing as a ‘perfect body’, I genuinely love every bit of myself because I’m me, and there is no one out there like me, so why should I try and change myself?