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'I would hide in the library on my lunch break so that I wouldn’t have to eat'

'It’s true, anorexia makes skeletons out of people, but eating disorders are mental illnesses, they’re more than a body image issue. I’m Alice, an anorexia survivor, and here’s how I survived. Like too many young people growing up, I was struggling with the pressures of school, social life and society telling me I should act a certain way. At sixteen I developed a terrible habit of hurting myself which I was deeply ashamed of. Controlling what I ate seemed like a much healthier strategy to stay above water, and I went deeper and deeper into restriction and weight loss. What I hadn’t reckoned with was all the hell that comes with an eating disorder. I didn’t have the energy to socialise at school, and would hide in the library on my lunch break so that I wouldn’t have to eat. Meeting friends on the weekend wasn’t an option because they might offer me food, but I could go running with my dad provided we didn’t stop at a café. I only wasn’t feeling sadness because every waking moment was wasted counting calories and worrying about the next time I got weighed. I know now that an eating disorder is a car crash waiting to happen. For some sufferers, the crash point is being pulled out of school or work. For me it was hospital, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

My advice is this: Take the first step: commit to trying to get better. You don’t have to be sure you want recovery, you just have to make a start with it. That’s where I started. Now I’m at university and going out with friends. I’m happy to have no time for counting calories. The future is bright. And I’m honoured to be able to inspire other sufferers through my Instagram @recovery_daughter.

To anyone out there who is struggling, keep fighting. You are not alone.'

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