Victoria Linthwaite

How would you explain your identity differs now from when your ED voice was at its loudest?

To be honest, my Eating Disorder voice is still fairly loud! I’m certainly far from cured. This morning, I woke up at five worrying about food, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and my family are proud that I have eaten half a tin of beans on one slice of toast. A child doesn’t do that, and I’m a grown up.

But weirdly, even though I have embarrassing habits like that, I now care less who knows I’m anorexic. I don’t try and hide it anymore, and I certainly used to. When I can’t eat a slice of bread, a square of chocolate etc. I now admit it’s because it’s because it scares me, because to me it’s like the poison apple in snow white, because it’s like I’ve killed someone, or that I’ll get ill.

I’m not proud of how I am now, and I know I need to change (and am looking to), but my eagerness to hide (because mental disorders are stigmatised and viewed differently to broken legs) has certainly gone away.

Did you still feel like there were parts of yourself (hopes, dreams and passions) throughout the time you were struggling with your ED?

None of my hopes and dreams have ever changed, regardless of my eating. I’ve always wanted a house, a family, and have an excessive need to please people. I still have these, they don’t go, but unfortunately they don’t motivate me enough to kick anorexia either. As soon as I began to struggle with my eating I wanted to be free of those thoughts, they’ve never been good company!!

Let’s just hope one day I make it!

If you could give advice to someone experiencing something similar to what you experienced, what would you say?

I’d say admit it sooner. Don’t be scared to say that you think you might be getting a problem. If I’d admitted cheese in sandwiches was worrying me, then I could have got help before sandwiches terrified me altogether. Don’t let stigma of mental illness stop you.

Be open, be honest, and treat it like you would if your leg hurt. If you cut your knee you’d get a plaster, you wouldn’t wait until it went green and septic before getting help. If you won’t let your leg go green, don’t let your brain go green either.

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