Eating Disorder Recovery Stories: Lara (Anorexia)
“I still fall victim to stress and often look at my body image critically, but at least I am happy.”
On Results Day two years ago I finally acknowledged what my parents and school had tried to get me to realize for months: I had an eating disorder.
Having achieved the best AS results I could have hoped for I sat in my room crying, pressingly aware that I could not achieve my dream of applying to Cambridge while slipping down the slope I was on.
My mum, worried since she had received a letter from my doctor at the beginning of summer (saying 53kg was too little) comforted me, made me some toast and I woke up the next morning determined to reject all admission of my problem.
I was deluded.
I carried on running, eating like a bird until I went back to boarding school and was forced to be weighed. I drank 4 litres of water and was almost sick because of it. I stood on the scales and reached 50kg. I knew I was in trouble and so booked myself an appointment at our medical centre thinking if I went to them declaring my (false) intent to recover then all would be fine and I would be left to my destructive routine. The school doctor was aware of my game, however. She unexpectedly put me on the scales which showed 47kg, 3kg under my weight from the day before and immediately pulled me out of sport.
As an enthusiastic runner this was heartbreaking. Each week I would go back, terrified, to be weighed.
Initially I merely maintained my weight – I personally viewed this as an achievement for someone who hadn’t stopped losing weight all year. However, everyone was scared for me and this fear manifested itself in rage.
My mother once stopped on a busy road, locked the doors and yelled at me for my lack of progress. She said I’d never get into Cambridge. The latter was very accurate. I couldn’t focus in lessons; concentrating was like trying to hold down something intent on flying away. All the books I read I couldn’t understand and I desperately looked up synopsis’s after to try and compensate.
I was desperate.
There was a field behind my school where I used to go and sit and cry for hours. I’d take off my shoes and run around it in the attempt to be given back some of the freedom I was being denied. I went to my interview still hopelessly skinny and gave it the best shot I could. I didn’t get in.
My last resort before recovery was self harm.
I felt alone, helpless and depressed.
Only when I started to recover did I realize the importance of doing so. I was allowed back one gym session a week, my concentration improved tenfold, my teachers inspired me to no end. I fell back in love with my subjects, read voraciously. Distracted myself from myself with issues that suddenly became much more important and interesting.
Suddenly I had passions again!
I finished the year with excellent results and two academic prizes.
I’m not fully recovered in that I still fall victim to stress and often look at my body image critically but at least I am happy.
My family and friends are the most wonderful people on the planet in my eyes. I pushed them away and yet they’re still here for me to this day.
I wish I was brave enough to post this to let them know how grateful I am but for now I will thank them from afar, in my own little head, where everything started.