Well, where to begin? I guess it would help if there was a clear beginning, but, as with the majority of mental illnesses, there never is. Sadly, you find they just creep up on you without you even realising.

Going right back to being a young child, I remember being consciously aware of my physical appearance, in particular of my legs. I always felt they were slightly larger than all of my friends. Bodily changes then came as I transitioned from a child to a young woman. My hips widened, and along came some “puppy fat that would go”, as it was justified to me.

I can’t remember whether at this point slight changes in my eating began but I know feelings of self-consciousness and dislike were definitely present at this point(around the age of 14).

Time passed and before I knew it, it was GCSES...A stressful time for all young people as they face their first lot of exams that actually matter...

At the same time, my Nan, who I have a close relationship with, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and was undergoing intensive treatment to save her life... Staying positive was tough but I knew it was essential to help pull her through.

On the up side anyway...There was prom then a long summer filled with holidays and good fun to follow after the tedious slog of GCSEs. Or was there?

Unfortunately this didn’t end up being the case for me, entangled within the thoughts of an Anorexia brain...

I guess, like I said, it was something that just crept up on me overtime. I began to loose some weight and felt a little bit better in myself. Comments about how well I looked came as people began to notice my slight weight loss.

However, the weight loss continued; this was achieved through very restricted food intake and excessive exercise. With the unstructured life I was living at the time, due to hospital visits, revision etc, the restriction became even more do-able. I’d use them as reasons in my head why I couldn’t eat, and just bury my attention into them, drowning out the painful feelings of starvation within.

This proceeded, though the comments of compliment had stopped. Instead, they changed to people asking, out of concern, if I was ok? Even comments were made about me being ‘too thin’. However, nothing really was apparent to me. In my head, I felt I was fine and I’d even say I was proud of what I had managed to achieve.

So for that reason, I continued on...This is where the mental battle really came. Looking back, summer was spent non-stop movement with little intake. I really don’t know how I survived off one banana that I ate on some of the days. The feelings of starvation though gave me great satisfaction within, spurring me on, despite my energy levels being at an all time plummet.

The holidays went out the window due to my Nan’s illness, but, in all fairness nothing that didn’t involve my own world of Anorexia where food was limited and exercise was compulsive, took my interest. Only that, and for the remaining time, sleeping, as that’s where all my feelings disappeared.

Battles had begun at home. Worried family around me had started to say things to me, but, it soon just turned into an argument. I never argue over anything but this was something else. I was still in complete denial of what was going on. To me, I was normal, fine and just wanted to be left alone.

September 2016 I returned back to my school, only to be called in a few days later. My Head of Year wanted to chat about my awareness of my weight, as many staff had noticed it had significantly reduced over the summer holidays. At this point, did I break down, as I finally stopped and realised that I couldn’t go on much longer. Even if I couldn’t see it, there was clearly a problem...

A trip to the school nurse brought about a referral to CAHMS. Much to my family’s relief as they too had finally got what they had wanted for me....


The greatest and most important thing you need when you are facing such a battle. As much as you may not want it, without help, it is even more challenging. Unfortunately as well, due to the cunning nature of such mental things, you convince yourself that help is not needed. There’s nothing you can see? You’re not ill? In actual fact though, you need help just as much as anyone with a physical problem. You are ill.

This didn’t hit home until I was told that my state was so poor, it was unsafe for me to leave the hospital.

At this point did I feel that everything had shattered around me. It seemed like I had lost the control instantly over something that I had greatest control over; I relied upon this when external things seemed to be falling apart yet there was nothing I could do about it. However, there was a small part in me that knew this was it, change was needed. For me. For the people around me. For the things around me. But more than anything, for my health.

Scarily now looking back, there wasn’t much time left that it could have continued without it being seriously detrimental....

But, I still felt fine? Well, that’s what my friend Anorexia Nervosa was telling me anyway...

6 weeks later I was discharged from hospital. Though my physical state had improved, there was still a long way for my mental state to go. Regular visits to CAHMS and a private counsellor proceeded for around 2 years after, to provide me with tools to cope with any daily struggles that I may run into.

This brings me to where I am today...I can proudly say that the battles I once had, have significantly reduced, aided by the love and support I’ve had around me, as well as my own self determination. This has allowed me to return to doing things that I love doing including running. However, like with any mental illnesses, some days are tougher than others...

But, always keep in mind the good days; these remind you of all the wonderful pleasures that life really does have to offer.

Also, don’t be afraid to call on people around you. Mental illness is not something that can be combated alone. Remember you are battling with something just as strong, if not stronger, than your own mind. It’s tough. People will want to help.

To finish, I’ll answer the question, “would I change the whole situation if I could?”

I guess in hindsight yes. Understandably, no one wants to be ill (remembering that even though it’s mental, it is still an illness). However, unfortunately illness can not be avoided (remembering mental illness is not a choice someone consciously makes), so please don’t ask the question, ‘why me?’, nor look for things to blame, including yourself. Be kind.

Instead, you are best to endure the journey, as tough as it may be, and be grateful for the important things that you learn along the way. These will serve you well for a lifetime.

It has also inspired me to want to help others experiencing similar things. I feel my ability to empathise has now been enhanced more so. No one should suffer alone.

I want to highlight to people that recovery really is possible. Always keep faith that you can do it. Hit it head on and just go with the flow.

Thank-you for taking the time to read my story. I am more than happy to talk about anything so please feel free to contact me at any time.

Best wishes,

Brooklyn xx