Anorexia: Bethan's story

Bethan became anorexic when she was 14 as it made her feel more in control. She eventually realised that anorexia was stopping her from being happy. She started her 'Recovery Road' and hopes her story inspires others to get help.

"I saw anorexia for what it really was: an illness"

"Looking into the mirror made my blood run cold. I looked like a ghost in more ways than one. My skin was pale and I had purple rings around my sunken eyes. My eyes themselves looked like glass... no colour, no life, no me. I knew I was inside there somewhere, but I looked empty, and so sad. That was the day I began my very own 'Recovery Road'.

"Recovery doesn't come easy and sometimes it felt impossible, but as long as there is determination and a glimmer of hope it's very, very possible. I was given a therapist a few years ago and since then I have continued to work on my recovery.

...in reality I had no control and I was in too deep before I realised.

"Working with professionals meant I saw anorexia for what it really was: an illness. Starting to eat again, increasing my food intake and trying new foods was very scary - but it has also been amazing. Gaining weight has been beyond terrifying. Anorexia would scream at me when I stepped on the scales and the numbers went up. I have spent the last few years trying to ignore that voice and its constant criticism. Sometimes I've given in and relapsed - but I've got myself back on my 'Recovery Road'.

"I call it my 'Recovery Road' as I believe it's a journey. It's about getting my life back and finding myself again. I've been masked by anorexia for so long. Life has passed me by. I know now that I want to recover and I definitely know that I do not want anorexia in my life.

"Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, and there were a lot of times that I needed someone to hold my hand and walk the road with me.

"I've found it helpful to write positive things down and create posters for myself - positive quotes, positive things about myself and positive song lyrics. It's all helpful to have when you are going through a really rubbish patch. Having people to talk to, who understand and care has literally saved my life and kept me on that road.

Having people to talk to, who understand and care has literally saved my life and kept me on that road.

"I've found it helpful to write positive things down and create posters for myself - positive quotes, positive things about myself and positive song lyrics. It's all helpful to have when you are going through a really rubbish patch.

"Having people to talk to, who understand and care has literally saved my life and kept me on that road.

"My road is all curvy and there are lots of obstacles, but it's a continuous journey and there are amazing things along the way. I have learnt so much about myself, about what I want for my future and also what I don't want. I have learnt that there is a lot to live for.

"I have also learnt that whilst food is important in your life, it doesn't have to rule every single moment of every single day. To be able to do things without turning to food as a control is a massive step in the right direction.

"Recovery has been a case of learning to live again. With anorexia I wasn't living, I just existed. I want more than that. I want to be happy and healthy. I want to be able to do the things that I dream of. I want to be able to wake up and get through a whole day and have energy left at the end of it.

"I want to have a mind, a body and a life free from anorexia - and I will. I am determined that this is going to be the best journey of my life!"

This story first appeared on Beat – a site where you can find more information, inspirational recovery stories and message boards.

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