Teenager shares her experience living with an eating disorder on Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Trigger warning: this post contains subjects of eating disorders and self harm. Please read at your own discretion.

I wasn’t the one that noticed something was wrong my parents were. I had started my first year and I was settling in well then about 3 months passed and I started to eat less and wanted to lose weight.

Once I finished school for the summer I was brought to a counsellor who specialises in eating disorders and had to get my bloods done every 2 weeks. By the end of the summer of my first year, I had lost a lot of weight and making little progress with my counsellor as I was in complete denial that anything was wrong. I stopped going and getting bloods drawn and I didn’t want help.

When I started my second year I wanted to try to eat more as I had become underweight, but that just turned into restricting for the whole day and then binging in the evenings. I slowly gained the weight back and I wasn’t happy.

Then lockdown happened and I started to try to lose weight again as social media was filled with losing weight. I started becoming very anxious and stressed out as I had school work and I wasn’t losing weight as fast as in my first year. I also was falling slowly into depression and then I started self-harming as another way to cope with everything that was going on. When we were allowed to socialise again I didn’t want to. I had a sense of fear and anxiousness. But I was made to go anyway.

Then I went into my third year and I started having panic attacks nearly every night on a school night as I was struggling to keep up with the work and catching up on what I missed the previous year.

This was the point I finally plucked up the courage to tell my counsellor what I was doing and then my parents had to find out and was brought back to my GP to get put on the waiting list for CAMHS. I finally realised that something was going on and that I did need help. My school was notified about my health problems in November 2020. It is now March and I’m trying to get better and I’m trying to stay a healthy weight but it’s hard and with no proper support at the minute, all I can do is try my best.

I try to eat more regularly and I’m trying to not self-harm as much but it is hard without any professional help as my parents don’t fully understand.

I was adopted when I was 2-years-old and I moved to Ireland. We don’t know anything about my background story or who my biological mum is. That has always left me feeling that I wasn’t good enough. I also have a brother who was adopted too when I was 9, but we know a bit more about his background.

I also did acrobatic gymnastics at the age of 9 and was moved up to one of the higher classes and competed in many competitions but I stopped when I went into my third year as I was afraid of coaches seeing my scars and they also questioned me about what I had eaten before classes as they could see I was losing weight.

I’ve also played hockey for as long as I remember and I still am, and from the ages of 6-9, I did Irish dancing and ballet. My English was quite delayed as I only moved to Ireland when I was 2 and I struggled a bit with work throughout my school years.

The advice I would give to anyone else suffering from an eating disorder would be to try and get help early on. If I had accepted help earlier I might not have seen food as such an enemy.

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