SUCCESS STORIES

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My battle with Anorexia Nervosa

  • My name is Melissa, I live in Queensland, Australia, at the time of writing I am 24 and was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa last year; I have come a long way since then.

    I have always had low self esteem, I have also been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression, which I believe played a large part in the development of my eating disorder.

    I moved out of home at 21 and was excited about the freedom of eating any food I wanted and got carried away with the junk food and snacks, I loved food. This, however, caused me to gain weight fairly quickly. It wasn't until I was at the highest I had ever weighed, that I began researching health, fitness and weight loss and started to count calories after calculating how many I needed to lose weight safely.

    I was in a period of self-loathing over the way I looked, and it was around this time that I was first diagnosed with Depression. This negative perception of myself motivated my weight loss, a little too much.

    Over the next couple of years I became more and more obsessed with counting calories, controlling and restricting my food intake and any other weight loss methods I could find. I lost my love of food, my weight dropped rapidly, I was sick every day, I was underweight and dropping. I had developed Anorexia Nervosa.

    This is a mental illness, but it often felt like an addiction. There was a certain high I would get when I only ate 40 calories that day, even though I physically felt awful. I always had to go lower in calories, the lower I went, the better the 'high' felt. I felt like I had achieved something good and that feeling fueled it, along with body dysmorphia and very low self esteem.

    It took fainting and hitting my head on the tiles in my bathroom for me to get help from a doctor, because my boyfriend at the time was worried I might have had a concussion. I was diagnosed a couple of weeks later after they monitored my weight, which kept dropping, and I was referred to a Psychologist and Dietitian who were very understanding and really made me feel comfortable, even though I felt embarrassed and afraid.

    During recovery I realised that I hadn't achieved anything good by restricting my food, the 'high' was not worth it. I was starving myself to death, I hated myself, my family and friends were worried about me. I needed to recover and I needed to be healthy, if not for myself then for those who cared about me.

    It was a difficult journey, especially while working full time and studying, but I have recovered to a healthy weight now. I couldn't have done it without support from family, friends, medical professionals and the trusty internet.

    I still have bad days, but I hope this community will grow and turn those days into positive ones. We can beat this together.

    MELISSA SUGDEN
    MELISSA SUGDENfounder of RecoverED.org, graphic/web designer

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