Anorexia: Katie's story 

Katie, 21, had anorexia between the ages of 14 and 19. She shares her experiences of life with anorexia and explains how she recovered.

Learn more about anorexia nervosa

Transcript of Anorexia: Katie's story

I'm Katie. I suffered from anorexia from the age of 14 to 19.

I've been recovered now for two years.

When I was 14, I started to be bullied

by the boys who were in my class

and my self-esteem just shattered, basically.

I became really depressed and paranoid and thought,

"I'll make a resolution to lose a little bit of weight."

"If I lose weight, perhaps things will change."

So I made this New Year's resolution and cut things out of my diet,

sugar, normal milk,

all the things with fats, including butter, eggs, everything like that,

and had a really restricted diet.

I also started exercising obsessively

and it became a real power thing for me.

I suddenly had this new control and it was wonderful.

After about three months, I started to hear this voice

that started to control my every move.

Everything I did during the day, it would control it.

But I didn't see it as being negative.

I thought, "This is fantastic. This new friend is helping me."

I didn't tell anybody about it. I just kept it to myself.

My parents started to notice a change, obviously, in my eating

and my behaviour, because I was becoming very sullen and very quiet,

and I'd spend almost all my time exercising or in my room.

Eventually my parents thought, "This is getting serious now."

My mum noticed my periods had stopped and my hair was falling out.

She used to find it in the bath and clumps of it all over the house.

So she made me go to my GP and said,

"There's something really wrong with her."

Then I had a small heart attack.

That's when the GP really took notice and referred me to a psychiatrist.

She thought, "We have to get you to hospital."

The first three months that I was in, they were just trying to feed me up,

because I was so weak and so ill.

I was still listening to the voice constantly.

They really focused on just bringing my weight up.

When I was at a very low weight and I was looking at these pictures,

to be honest, I still saw this fat, blubbery mass.

I didn't see the bones. I didn't see the thinness or the emaciation.

To me, it was just a big lump, basically.

It's only now that I've recovered,

I can really see the true image that's there.

The day I was admitted into hospital,

I started keeping a diary of my hospital days there.

I kept diaries for years beforehand,

but this one was specifically for hospital.

And then five months later, when I'd just got off bed rest,

I thought, "I've got a substantial amount of information

that could be useful to people in my diary."

So I thought, "I'm going to make this into a book."

So that came about like that. My first book I self-published.

My second one, fortunately, was taken on by a publisher.

Really, the book was a real healing process for me.

I believe that in completing that,

it really helped me to get over the last stages of my recovery.

I think a lot of people have the wrong idea of what anorexia is.

They think it's just about cutting off calories and just exercising,

and it's not, it's about controlling your entire way of life.

It is a mental illness and it does dominate every waking thought.

When you fall asleep, when you wake up, you're thinking about it.

It even controls your dreams, you dream about anorexia,

and people have no idea.

I think support groups are vital in the recovery process.

My mum's set one up now for the northeast.

They get loads of parents going there for support.

I've learnt important lessons, I know,

but I would have given anything not to have been ill.

But now I'm well, I'll never waste another second.

Every second is important.

Six years ago I'd never have imagined myself going to university.

I'm passionate about my writing.

I can do whatever the heck I want in my life

and nothing's going to stop me.


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Overcoming eating disorders

Find out about eating disorders and the support available for people who have problems with food