As I moped the kitchen floor on Bank holiday Monday at the end of work, the song “I’m not gonna write you a love song” by Sara Bareilles came on the radio. I hadn’t heard the song in ages and as I moped the floor, I was instantly taken back to my time in St Ann’s, when I would sit at the dining table with the other patients; starring at my plate of food, unable to put any of it into my mouth. Sitting there, feeling overwhelmed and terrified by the food, the nurses trying to blackmail me into eating with the threat of double calories down the tube if I didn’t, in the background on the radio most days would be that song “I’m not gonna write you a love song.”
Coincidently, hearing that song on the radio on Bank holiday Monday coincides with exactly 9 years to the week that I was first admitted to hospital because of my eating disorder, with the 4th June 2008 being my transfer to St Ann’s. Little did I realise at the time that 9 years later I would be in the situation I am in now, having spent years in and out of hospital and having my life taken over by anorexia. This time 9 years ago I was still full of hope. For one I was convinced I wasn’t anorexic and that I would have a very short admission in hospital, regain the weight I needed within a matter of weeks and return to university and athletics in September. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Anorexia had started to seep its poison into every part of my being and within the first few weeks of arriving in St Ann’s, I had labelled anorexia as my ‘God’ and I would do anything and everything in my power to hold onto it. Anorexia has never been so strong in my mind as it was the year I was in St Ann’s and the following few months on discharge. I wasn’t Rebecca…I was possessed by an evil demon. And I swore I would never ever let anyone take anorexia away from me…the more they pushed, the more I was going to fight for it.
And I did fight. I fought to the brink of death. Over the past 9 years, anorexia completely destroyed every part of my being, both physically and mentally. At an all-time low in 2010, having come to the realisation that anorexia was not my ‘God’, that there had to be more to life to than this, instead of fighting to the death for anorexia, I started fighting for life.
Whilst my initial thought when I heard the song as I moped the floor on Monday was “I cannot believe St Ann’s was 9 years ago. What a waste of 9 years,” rather than feel resentful and regretful, I thought about what I have actually achieved in that time. 9 years ago, I was in bed in hospital being fed through a tube, unable to walk, unable to function. And now I have just completed a 50-hour working week and have been in full time employment for over 2 years, I have graduated from university, I own a car, I go out occasionally with friends (which often involves going out for dinner), I go on sport science courses and am doing work experience within sport, I am back running on the track (albeit very slowly but I am back doing it). Life is a lot different from 9 years ago…from even 3 years ago. I was full of false, misplaced hope 9 years ago. Now my hopes are different and having fought through everything over the years, I know my hopes now can be achieved. Anorexia is still there as the devil on my shoulder but it doesn’t possess me like it used to. And I hope this will continue to improve. Life is out there to live. I am going to keep fighting and hopefully soon I will be living it. Happy and free. You have to think positively and you have to have hope. You can achieve in life whatever you want and I will not let anorexia stop me again.