The ‘anorexic’ girl [original poem]

Don’t call me that,
The harsh judgement in your tone.
Don’t use it as an excuse,
Oh she can’t help it, she’s anorexic.

Don’t separate me from everyone else,
Isolate me due to our differences,
Don’t stop and stare and whisper,
‘She’s anorexic

Don’t give me names,
Don’t stare me down,
Don’t treat me any different.
I’m just like you.

Don’t snigger as I mull over meals,
Each bite painful.
Don’t tease me when I’m down,
Don’t judge before you know me,
‘The anorexic girl’

Don’t call me selfish,
Attention-seeking, sad,
We all have struggles,
Mine are just expressed differently.

Stare instead into my hollow eyes,
The girl scared to exist,
See that I want love and support,
Like any other.

See my open arms ready to give,
See the hope in my eyes,
The smile trying to escape,
Help me be me.

Anorexia, now that is an illness.
But there is a girl,
And there is her illness,
They are not bound together.
There is no anorexic girl.

A meaningful goodbye

Today was a hard day, because I had to say goodbye to my psychologist, whom we will call L.

We exchanged goodbye letters and a few tears were shed, but I’ll never forget what she has taught me and I will forever remember our time together. It is so sad and hard saying goodbye, but this isn’t the end: I am still in recovery and on an ever changing journey, and you never know, one day our paths might meet again.

Here is my letter to L.

Dear L,
It’s hard to know where to start.
Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me, you’ve helped me so much and made me realise that I am not alone. There are two types of people in this world: those who know their limits and accept them, and those who know their limits but do not let that stop them or define who they are. I may be more susceptible to mental health issues than others, but you’ve assured me that things can change and that, although it hard, you can always overcome your issues.
I might not easily find the ‘middle ground’ that we oh so love, but, like anything, hard work and practice should get me there.
I’m not saying all my problems are sorted and I’m going to waltz myself through life, because that is unrealistic. I still have some way to go, but you have helped me open up doors I didn’t even realise were there. You’ve helped me realise things I felt or thought that I didn’t even realise I felt. And most importantly, you’ve been there for me. You never gave up on me and for that I can never thank you enough.
You’ve allowed me to talk through my fears, no matter how small or silly they may seem, and you never judged me.
Goodbyes are hard and I hate them, because you really have changed my path or at least helped me along the right one. Without your incredible support who knows where I’d be now?
Goodbyes are hard at the best of times, but it’s even harder when the person you have to say goodbye to has made such a big impact on your life. I trust you more than I trust anyone except maybe my mum, and it is hard to leave that.
I will forever remember our times together; from laughing about the elusive middle ground to shedding a few tears. But as you say, that only strengthened how close we felt and how we were able to connect.
You must get heaps of patients thanking you and telling y how much you’ve helped them, big I just had to say it because it’s the genuine truth. We all thank people who, let’s face it, we don’t particularly like or value, but my thank you is sincere and I honestly could never thank you enough.
And finally, I hope you have an absolutely incredible time in X. I am sure it will be a wonderful experience and a new and exciting chapter of your life.
I know we don’t talk much about you in our sessions, but I really hope you live a happy and fulfilled life, because you really deserve it. You’ve given me a chance and I’m sure you’ve done the same for many others, so don’t forget to put yourself first and have some fun.
Life is too short to worry about the small things, that’s what you’ve taught me. And for every bad there is a good, so I’ll try hard not to forget that.
Thank you ever so much for everything you’ve done for me, and I wish you all the very best.”

And here’s poem I wrote for her representing my journey through our time together from first day of therapy to last:

Day 1 A scared and frightened girl
Day 2 Another day gone
Day 3 She nervously looked away
Day 4 She cried she’d never belong

Day 5 Scared, she opened her mouth
Day 6 Began to talk
Day 7 Let unleash the demons within
Day 8 Nothing went wrong

Day 9 She finally looked your way
Day 10 Smiled
Day 11 She took comfort from your words
Day 12 The time was worth your while

Day 13 progress began to take its place
Day 14 A glimmer of hope finally found
Day 15 She had a good night’s sleep
Day 16 Their friendship, tightly bound

Day 17 The time came to say goodbye
Day 18 But there was no time for tears
Day 19 For throughout all the pain
Day 20 You were always by my side

One of my favourite quotes from her letter to me:
“I hope you can continue this journey you have taken the courage to begin. If in doubt, be nice to yourself, compassion at the times we feel in pain, have stumbled, made mistakes are important. Practice this new voice, ‘I am nice, good, likeable’ and remember THE MIDDLE GROUND!”


I drew her this. It may look simple enough, but the meaning behind it was the important thing. She gave me hope when I had none, and she’s helped me grow in so many ways. I drew this in biro without any guidelines or rubbings out to challenge my perfectionism just for her. I think she welled up a bit then.

If you’re reading this L, I truly hope you liked my essay of a goodbye letter, drawing and poem, and the present. You truly are incredible. I’ll miss you but I’ll be thinking of you and you’ve adventures. I won’t forget you and I hope you don’t forget me. Thank you for everything.

Anyway, so I have a new therapist/psychologist figure who we’ll call S, who I’ve met briefly but not had a session with yet. Fingers crossed things go ok, though even if it all went terribly I am still thankful for the wonderful help and support of L these last 6 months and beyond.

Thanks for reading.

Mental Health Q&A : I

Firstly I would like to apologise for being absent from blogging for so long, I have been so busy and finding it hard to motivate myself. It takes me so long to get out of bed because I’m tired and I simply lack the motivation to do so. But I’ve ploughed though and here I am.
From now on I have set myself a goal of blogging at least once a week, so hopefully you’ll hear from me weekly.
Raising awareness of mental health has no breaks, it is important and I want and need to do it.

Today I’m doing a slightly different post, which is a mental health Q&A.

After much deliberation I have created a recovery
The reason I was cautious is because, as you are probably already aware, many people get anonymous hate, are bullied and sometimes driven to even kill themselves due to this abuse.
You can set your Ask to only have registered users (i.e. No anonymous questions), but I think it’s really important that anyone should be able to ask about mental health without having to say who they are.
Thus I concluded to create an open, but I will review it regularly and possibly delete it if I get abuse or I feel it is not helping me or those around me. But for now, I hope it will be a place people can go to ask about mental health, anonymously or publicly, and I will help them as best as I can.

You can find my here. I am more than happy to answer any mental health related questions or general questions too, so feel free to pop me a question.

Here are a few questions I’ve selected and my answers, I hope this is helpful in understanding mental health and answers the questions suitably.


What made you start recovery? What happened to make you accept it and agree to it?
It takes a long time in ‘forced recovery’ as I call it (CAHMS and parents involved etc) before you actually decide you want recovery. Anorexia is very manipulative even to the sufferer themselves, so for a while I thought I was in recovery etc but really I just wasn’t committed enough; I was still lying about my weight, restricting, lying about food etc.
It wasn’t until I was rushed to hospital after I admitted I was lying about my weight that I realised how serious this disorder was. But even then I didn’t fully commit to recovery, I was too ill, not strong enough to fight it.
So 6 months after I had been diagnosed and been going gradually downhill, I was admitted to a day patient programme then an inpatient one. When I knew that I was getting help, that was when I committed to recovery. Before I never thought I could do it on my own so didn’t bother trying, but when help was offered I grabbed it with both hands, despite how much my eating disorder hated me for it.
Recovery is different for everyone, but for me it was realising that I didn’t want to spend my whole life in hospital, that I was sick of not being able to do things I wanted, that I was too underweight to go to school, that I wasn’t even allowed to run anymore (when I was impatient you weren’t supposed to run at all, so even on walks we had to keep a steady pace and I felt so confined).
Sometimes I want to give in and go back to being thin again. But it wouldn’t just be losing weight, it would be losing freedom.

My sister has anorexia, but she won’t admit it or accept it. She’s very underweight, you can see all her bones sticking out and she refuses to eat. My mum is totally distraught. How did your family help to make you see ur ED?
I am so sorry to hear that, obviously your sister is in a very difficult place, and having been in a similar position I understand how hard it is for the surrounding family to be there and watch as they get worse, feeling powerless.
Firstly I want to emphasise that eating disorders (and any other mental illness) are extremely hard to overcome and are very powerful, horrible things. It is very hard for a sufferer to accept help, as often eating disorders are linked to low self esteem, resulting in them feeling that they do not deserve help.
People are also often in denial, refusing there is a problem. This is often because they do not want to face the fear or problems driving the illness and do not want to lose the control they feel they have.
It is important to be patient towards them, don’t say things like “just eat” or get angry over them over a meal where they eat little. Instead try things such as talking to them away from food and expressing how worried you are, and maybe talk to their close friend(s) if possible to see if they’ve noticed anything strange.
Whether she does or doesn’t open up or admit there is a problem, it is important that you ask your parents to book a Doctor’s appointment for her as soon as possible. Eating disorders need treatment and it sounds like your sister is in a very bad place not just mentally but physically too. Give her the opportunity to go in alone, maybe she’ll open up if she doesn’t have to be worried about upsetting the family. She undoubtedly cares about you a lot and more than likely this is another reason she doesn’t talk to you, because she doesn’t want to hurt you.
Ask the Doctor’s to transfer her to a specialist adolescent eating disorder service such as CAHMS. They will be able to properly asses her and are used to speaking to people who refuse to believe they are ill and can be very helpful.
I am very sorry your sister and family are going through this, I wish her the best of luck and you too; if you have any more questions feel free to ask and I will answer them as best as I can.

How are you doing at the moment? Do you still wobble or are you recovered? Sometimes I feel like recovery isn’t possible. Ive heard that once you are anorexic, it stays with you at the back of your mind for the rest of your life 😦
I am doing okay at the moment thank you. I do still have wobbles and am up and down at the moment, I still struggle but I am fighting and more able to cope with difficult things thrown at me than before. I wish I could say I am recovered but unfortunately I am not. Recovery takes a long time and is a battle, but I am still committed to it which is a positive anyway I guess. Body image is still terrible and I want to lose weight, but luckily I am now able to accept those thoughts without acting on them. With time I hope they will go away completely.
People have said that to me before too, I think it’s sad people believe they can’t recover, because I honestly believe you can. It takes years unfortunately and there will be triggers in your life so it is possible the thoughts might come back at very stressful periods of your life, but for the most part I think it is possible to be without the thoughts of an eating disorder. I just keep fighting the thoughts and doing things that I enjoy and helping other people and get on with my life, hoping that it will pay off in the end. But if you want to recover fully I think you have to believe you can. If you think it’s not possible then you’re more likely to give in to your thoughts, and it might be that keeping the disordered thoughts going rather than it not being possible to fully recover in itself.
I hope this helps and I’m more than happy to help if you have any other questions.



Thanks for reading.