I didn’t even realise I had an eating disorder. I wasn’t someone who wanted to purposely be skinny or stop eating. To be honest, I didn’t even realise I lost the weight, last time I checked I was a healthy 8stone. I was on a girls trip in Barcelona and the day I got into a bikini my bestfriend said to me my bones were showing and I had lost so much weight. When I looked in the mirror, I felt like sh*t but I denied to her I had have any kind of eating problems but when I sat and thought about it, I probably was restricting my food for some time. When we returned to the UK she forced me to see the GP and came with me. It took the professionals 8 months to diagnose an eating disorder because I was someone who wanted to eat and I wanted to be a healthy weight. After being seen by different doctors and psychiatrists I was diagnosed with severe anorexia nervosa and was weighing 32kilos, after therapy I realised my food restrictions all came from stress and grief, My ED was all about how my emotions control my appetite. I allowed toxic relationships and situations to take over my food intake, it was nothing to do with how I looked, I wanted to have fat on my body. I knew I’d never be a thick girl, but I was happy with my chubby parts.
I was on a recovery programme and was doing well until October 2018 when I was arrested for an offence and was handed a suspended sentence for 18 months, The stress from this knocked me right off of recovery and I was limiting my food due to stress and not sleeping again – I cut down my meals, I would often secretly hide my food or throw it on the floor and pick it up when no one was looking and when I did eat I felt so sick I had to make myself sick to get it out of me. It got to the point I was limiting my food so much my friends and family started to come round to cook and have dinner with me. I wasn’t able to shop in my normal shops and had to shop in the kids section and was fitting only into age 9 or 10 years which honestly, made me loose my sh*t, I’d cry for hours in the mirror – Iv never cried to my dad, but I shared a special moment with him when my age 10 jeans started to become big, I couldn’t believe I was dropping down to age 8, younger than my niece!
My anorexia came with so many side affects, While in Dubai I done a lot of walking and drinking alcohol, probably not eating correctly and I became really poorly, I was walking to dinner approx a 20 minute walk and I started to have palpitations a feeling I’d never had before, I felt really sick really quickly. I was weighed out there and I had lost a whole stone within 2 weeks. I was admitted to an eating disorder unit in April 2019 after my veins and organs started to shut down, and I was at high risk of cardiac arrest I had blood tests every 4 hours, I had to eat every 3 hours and was monitored. I looked like death, I could feel my body shutting down. I prepared myself incase my body didn’t start to repair it self and I had a lot of time to reflect on my life and how I got to this point. I felt like I still had so much more to do with life. I was immediately put on vitamin and calcium replacement. I was given a course of potassium tablet and thankfully my body started to repair itself and is giving me a second chance although Iv had to accept a lot of changes within my body through this journey like loosing 4 of my teeth, loosing My hair and the fact I’ll probably never become pregnant but I am grateful to God everyday for giving me a second chance at life. Iv been restricted from so much because of my ED, from flying abroad to being able to go drinking with my girls, had to stop going to the gym, that I just cannot wait to have my life back and live my 20s like I should.
I pray we don’t live another 5 years in a society that is stuck in the stigma of mental health and eating disorders. They are the same as any illness -It needs to be spoken about so younger girls have more awareness of what restricting your food can do to your body, need to be spoken about not next year or next decade. Today, Now.
I was unlucky enough to meet girls as young as 13 with an ED and women as old as 32 on my journey, it makes me really sad that this is going on in our community’s and it’s not being highlighted. When I became more open on my social media about my illness I had girls contact me I’d never thought would have a food restriction problem, people I thought wouldn’t understand an ED – And just goes to show you it can happen to you at any point, any time in your life.
Sending all girls & women secretly battling an ED all the love and prayers. Keep going, and remember you are bigger & badder than your ED.
Love Brooke x