When I became a teenager I started to suffer from social anxiety, constantly feeling like I had to make people like me and I had to hide who I was. I’d be put on a persona, trying to be fun and exciting. I was racked with body hatred by the time I got to puberty, I was the tallest curviest girl in the class and I got my periods first. I freaked and I wanted my old body back.
At this point I became anorexic, I was obsessed with exercising and burning everything off. I got taken to the hospital by my parents and I almost got sectioned. From the age of fifteen onward I became stuck in a pattern of bulimia — I ate an incredibly restrictive diet, with only a few safe foods. Food was my coping strategy for everything that happened in life.
It didn’t even resonate with me that I was ‘anorexic’ until February this year about twenty odd years later, it sounds insane but there’s nothing an anorexic person wants less than to acknowledge that they were anorexic — I never took on this label. It wasn’t until February this year that I acknowledged that I had anorexia. But if you saw a picture of me it will be so obvious, I was tiny. when I decided to take the big step to work for myself last year my eating disorder hit rock bottom, I didn’t realise it at the time but I was binging and purging myself to death.
In September last year, I came across a 12 steps programme, it’s a spiritual recovery programme for people who addicted to anything, there is one for anything you might be having trouble with, alcohol, weight, gambling, drugs, sex etc. So I got into that because I wanted to help others who have the same problem as me and as a result help myself. A really big theme of my journey is helping others and getting out of the self and into service.
The transition from its all about ‘me’ to its all about ‘we’ has helped my mental health. helping others is the single biggest thing that I do for my mental health. Since I started doing the 12 steps for people with eating disorders my whole life has completely transformed multiple times over. I have found peace and freedom.