A few years ago, I severely suffered with an eating disorder. I am male, so I felt extremely ashamed at the time, as I thought that these types of mental illnesses only affected the female population. How wrong was I?!
It all began with stress during my a-level examinations, whereby I would revise from 6am-9pm at night. Upon completion of my a-levels, is where the problems began. I had nothing to focus my thoughts on other than food and exercise, thus exacerbating the negative perceptions I had of my body. These distorted thoughts fed the obsessive traits within my personality and food began to pre-occupy my mind on a daily basis. In addition to this, I would look at cover models on magazines and aspire to look like these, despite the fact that these images were airbrushed and unrealistic.
After 3 months, I dropped body fat and weight rapidly. I began weighing my food, eating the same types of food and exercised daily for 2 hours. The problem worsened, and I started to feel guilty after every meal I ate, no matter how healthy it was. From what started as a minor diet and exercise routine had soon turned into a ruthless mental illness.After speaking to my family, I decided to seek help, as my illness was out of control. I began attending a young person’s support group every Wednesday at First Steps Derbyshire, which helped to significantly change the way I felt about myself. Whilst attending these support groups, I was provided with the tools I needed to both fight and recover from this exhausting eating disorder. Gradually, with time, things began to improve. I gained body weight at a gradual rate over the year and my negative thoughts and pre-occupations about food and my body started to disappear.
Once I had recovered from my eating disorder, I started volunteering at First Steps Derbyshire and was offered a part-time job position the following month. I now support individuals whom suffer with eating disorders on both a group, and individual basis. My job role at First Steps Derbyshire also involves providing training to schools on positive body image and self-esteem, with the hope of reducing the number of young people who are at risk of developing an eating disorder.
Now I’m recovered, I would never, ever go back.