It’s now 18 months since being with The Recover Clinic and I can finally see that life is possible without my anorexia. Before my treatment I was sure that my life would be destroyed by my eating disorder. But now, at 22 years of age, I am feeling positive about my future and am excited about plans and opportunities ahead of me.

I never wanted to develop an eating disorder, I didn’t plan it, I just wanted to lose a bit of weight when I was at University. Unfortunately this selfish and obsessive illness took complete control of me. At the time, I didn’t think anything was wrong. Friends and family would regularly tell me that I was too skinny and forced me to go to the doctors but nothing made any difference, I didn’t listen. I thought people were making a big deal out of nothing, nothing was wrong, I was fine.

In October 2008 I was referred to The Recover Clinic, with complete reluctance from me, I thought people were over reacting. During the first months of therapy I couldn’t connect the illness with my situation. Just hearing the word ‘anorexia’ felt strange and I couldn’t comprehend the possibility that I actually had anorexia. People asked how I felt but I didn’t feel anything. I was completely emotionally detached from my friends, family, everyone around me, even myself. Looking back now I can see how much anorexia had taken hold and how lost I was.

Over time I began to admit to myself that I did have anorexia, a horrible life threatening illness and began to accept that I needed help, I knew I couldn’t get over this on my own. But, I was scared at the thought of eating what I considered ‘bad’ foods and couldn’t bear the thought of having to stick to a meal plan. There was no way I could do that. So I was deceitful, I lied to and manipulated everyone around me to avoid it. I was in a destructive relationship with anorexia. It destroyed my social life. Anorexia was my life.

But finally now, I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I have been an inpatient at The Recover Clinic twice now and it’s not that I’m ‘cured’ but I can see an end. Twice a week I see a therapist and once a week I attend a wonderfully supportive eating disorder group. I keep a (now honest) food diary and set weekly goals for myself. I’ve met people who are also in recovery that have become friends. They understand my unique struggle and I have lots of people I can always talk to.

Anorexia is still there but it doesn’t have the control over me like it used to. I don’t ever want to go back to that lonely and dark place.

Recovery is frustrating and exhausting. Nothing happens straightaway. The learning and healing I’ve had to do takes time but I believe it’s all more than worth it. I know I’m never alone and I can finally see all the great possibilities that life holds for me.

This patient story will remain anonymous but was provided by a patient of The Recover Clinic who provide eating disorder counselling and support for sufferers and their families.