Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Understanding Eating Disorders- Anorexia | #SpeakUp

Understanding Eating Disorders- Anorexia  | #SpeakUp blogger UK lifestyle NHS mental health support BEAT help

Tody's #SpeakUp post comes from the lovely Robyn. Robyn is going to be discussing an issue which is actually quite close to my heart. If you read my 'Body Confidence Journey' post you will know that my weight and relationship with food is something that I have personally struggled with for a number of years.

Unlike Robyn, I managed to get out of it without the help of medication or therapy. I was never diagnosed with anorexia, although I did display many of the symptoms. Robyn describes how anorexia feels absolutely perfectly- better than I could ever do. Anorexia is all encompassing, your whole life revolves around food, calories, exercise etc. It interferes with your normal daily routine and stops you leading a happy and healthy life. 

Unfortunately, the media doesn't portray this side of anorexia. Like Robyn discusses in this post, painstakingly thin models are used in magazines and in fashion shows, which negatively influences young girls and boys into thinking this is the norm and in order to be accepted by society they must look like them. Robyn does a fantastic job in discussing what anorexia feels like, so I really hope you learn something or feel like you understand anorexia a little bit better from reading this post.  

Hi, I'm Robyn from OhSoDaisy! In this post, I'll be talking about eating disorders (more specifically anorexia) and how social media portrays them. 

I have anorexia. I'm sure everyone reading this has a mild understanding of what anorexia is, but in case you aren't aware, here is the definition from the NHS website:

"Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental health condition. It's an eating disorder where a person keeps their body weight as low as possible. People with anorexia usually do this by restricting the amount of food they eat, making themselves vomit, and exercising excessively. The condition often develops out of an anxiety about body shape and weight that originates from a fear of being fat or a desire to be thin."

So what is it like to have one? 

It's difficult to put into words, but the best way I can describe it is this:

It's like something has taken over your brain, and now you question everything you do, whether it's food-related or exercising. Ironically, all you think about is food, and your brain turns into a little human calculator, and you find yourself constantly adding, subtracting, and dividing calorie numbers in your head. A little voice seems to appear in your head and dominates exactly what you eat. That little voice is completely in control of you and soon becomes what feels like your only friend. 

Anorexia takes over your life so much so that you no longer have time for a social life, so you isolate yourself. In terms of hunger, my eating disorder got so bad that I no longer felt hungry when I wasn't eating, I just felt constantly hollow, exhausted, and depressed.

The way you look at yourself suddenly changes too. It's like looking in the mirror at a funfair, where everything is warped and out of proportion, and you can't see past it. 

I've had this since I was around 14, and I'm 16 now. Even now, eating something as simple as a McDonald's can send me into a panic and I start to stress about the amount of calories and fats and sugars that I'll be eating.

Understanding Eating Disorders- Anorexia  | #SpeakUp mental health illness support help BEAT

The way social media portrays eating disorders is awful. In the past few years, it seems as though it's become 'fashionable' and 'cool' to have some sort of mental health problem. Eating disorders are appearing to be some sort of strict diet, an extreme way to lose weight. Photos of painfully thin girls with sunken-in stomachs and their hipbones jutting out are almost idolised. I've seen these photos with people saying that they're 'body goals' and wished that they looked like them. Believe me, I've reached that stage and it is not fun. You're constantly tired, exhausted, but still don't believe you're thin and 'pretty' enough yet, so you continue on. 

No matter how social media presents it, an eating disorder is not glamourous. It's not a case of "Yay! I've lost a few pounds!" and then be done with it. It gradually consumes you, and then you're suddenly in a tainted world where a little voice in your head dictates exactly what and when you eat.

I also think social media seems to also brush over anorexia as though it's not really a thing.

"All teenage girls (or boys) seem to go on diets nowadays, don't they? This sudden fear of food isn't real, as soon as they quit the diet, they'll be fine, right?"

Wrong. It's like smoking, once you start, you can't stop, and it becomes somewhat of a game or challenge: see how long you can go without food, or try and live off of 500 calories for a day. 

You cannot just simply stop anorexia, for me it took months and months of counselling to beat this and repair my relationship with food, and I still go to these counselling sessions now. 

Eating disorders don't disappear in an instant, I'll probably always carry it around with me, but right now, I'm much better and that little screaming voice in my head is becoming quieter and quieter.

I hope this post helped you understand eating disorders more, and if you have any questions or just want to speak, my email is @daisydarling2225@gmail.com and my Twitter is @0hsodaisy. Thank you for reading!

Further information regarding anorexia and eating disorders (plus some charities/helplines you can go if you feel like you are struggling with anorexia or any other kind of eating disorder:

Beat- UK leading charity supporting those affected by eating disorders Helpline: 0345 634 1414
NHS- Eating Disorders 

Thank you so much to Robyn for writing such a fantastic and informative piece on anorexia. If you would like to share your story about a topic or issue that affects young people's health and wellbeing than email: speakup.campaign@mail.com

You can check out Robyn here: Twitter Blog Bloglovin

Thank you for reading, as always x

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26 comments

  1. Thank-you for this Robyn. Although nearly everyone has heard of anorexia, it is so widely misunderstood. It's why i'm determined to share my own story - both to raise awareness and support others going through it too xx

    Bumble & Be

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    1. I would love to hear your story and I know that Robyn would too xx

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  2. This post was so inspirational to read.

    I can relate to so much of it too and it's comfort to know you're not alone in what you're going through. I hope you find peace in knowing that I'm no longer suffering and even though it's always there in the back of my mind, I can now live without it taking over my life as it once used to.

    Thank you for posting about eating disorders, they definitely need more coverage in schools and the media.

    Mollie x

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    1. I agree that it needs more coverage in schools and in the media! I am glad you found comfort in this post x

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  3. Thank you so much Nicole for letting me be involved! I hope this post has helped raise more awareness about anorexia and helped some people gain a better understanding of what an eating disorder is! xxx

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    1. That's okay lovely! It definitely has! Thank you again x

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  4. I think mainstream media displays so many issues incorrectly and a good example of this is anorexia. It was interesting to hear it from someone who has it to help others understand what it is actually like xx
    blossomofhope.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes I agree, Robyn did a great job of accurately portraying what an eating disorder is like xx

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  5. Thank you Robyn for a beautiful post about such a hard topic. 7 years into chronic anorexia I still struggle everyday - some times are better than others, but like you say, Robyn - it is a bit like smoking (which I need to stop doing, too!).

    It is so important that we stop seeing eating disorders as 'glamorous' and something desirable. Some of the health complications I have at the age of 20 are both gross and pretty depressing for my age. There is no beauty in it.

    Keep fighting, darling, and thank you for being strong enough to write this post. You should be very proud :)

    Alice | Whiskey Jars Blog

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    1. I am sorry to hear you have had to go through this but I hope Robyn's post helped you out! Stay strong and keep fighting xx

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  6. Wow I never knew this about you Robyn, thankyou for being brave and sharing this with us, truly inspirational xx

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  7. I haven't struggled with it myself but I do have friends who are in a constant fight daily. It's important to understand more about it and raise awareness so people can get the support and help they need <3 Thanks for this article, Robyn. Thank you for sharing it on your blog, Nicole <3
    xox Nadia
    www.mielandmint.com

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    1. She did a great job! That's okay, that's what #SpeakUp is here for- to share important topics like this one x

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  8. This was such an interesting read and so great that you feel confident enough to talk about it! Amazing. I can relate to some of this! Xxx

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    1. Robyn is very brave for sharing her story x

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  9. This post is amazing. It is so hard to grasp a full understanding on eating disorders by the way it is portrayed from society in general. I'm happy that you are properly educating and stating the facts to help make a difference!
    Omnivogues

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    1. Yes, I agree Robyn did an excellent job with this blog post x

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  10. This was such an informative post ... I have not personally suffered with anorexia but I have seen friends go through and it is so tough to see but also important to know you are never alone !! Such an inspirational post .. It's definitely a topic that needs much more exposure .. As people can have so many misconceptions ! Fab post :)
    Saira
    www.throughtheglitterglass.wordpress.com
    Xxxx

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    1. Robyn did an amazing job! I agree, more people should share their stories to help spread awareness x

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  11. Very helpful post and hopefully eye opening to people who may not understand anorexia as an illness! I dealt with it all my teenage life until about two years ago. Every now and then I have thoughts and I relapsed countless times before I got better. I think the key to recovery is WANTING to recover. For so long the anorexic voice in my brain had taught me that I didn't deserve better and I didn't want better, but realising that there's a whole life out there to grab is really life changing.

    Thank you for your wonderful post Robyn and how sensitively you touched on these topics!
    Sarah xx
    scarletstate.co.uk

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    1. I am sorry to hear that you have had to go through this too but I am happy to here that you staying strong and fighting! You should be very proud xx

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  12. The strongest people I know are the ones that have to fight with their mind every single day. I have watched as friends have been hospitalised and feel like screaming every time someone puts down mental illness. It's ridiculous that society doesn't take these issues seriously until someone ends up in the hospital. These posts are so important because they provide much needed insight into the harsh reality of mental illness. Thank you for sharing. You are so brave!
    xo, Rowan | rowanmorrissy.com

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    1. Yes, I couldn't agree more! I fight my brain everyday and I wish people took mental illness more seriously x

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  13. The media in all its forms is obsessed with thinness. I've known women who think of nothing but exercise and dieting where it encompasses every waking minute of their day. As time goes on, they look more and more sick, just the opposite of what they think. I can only hope that they seek help before it's too late.

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  14. Hello! I love your blog so much; you have a really beautiful design! I really love the fact that you're posting about these important things alongside fashion posts because naturally your blog attracts the younger readers and it's really important for people like me to read about these problems and be informed, so thank you. I have followed your blog because I think it’s so good!!! I've actually added your blog to my most loved blog list ecause I desperately want to keep reading, I would love it if you had a look at my blog; I’m a very passionate blogger but I’m quite new and really need the support! Perhaps we could become friends? Thank you so much, Jeani xxx www.jeanithoughts.blogspot.co.uk

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