Anorexia Is a Physical Illness of Starvation

Regaining weight is the prerequisite for mental recovery from anorexia, not vice versa, because most of the symptoms of anorexia are the symptoms of starvation.

What's the Difference between Being Fussy and Having an Eating Disorder?

These days it's hard to avoid people who have ‘issues' with food. But is there a clear boundary which some people overstep and others don't, and which marks the progression of mere fussiness into a fuller eating disorder? And if so, where precisely does it lie?

Learning how to relax after anorexia

Last time I was on the Greek island of Corfu I was in the midst of the process of finally deciding that life with anorexia was so untenable that I had to try to escape it. What I find now so hard to comprehend, though I remember it so clearly, is how that anorexic semi-existence felt like the only possible way of living, and how certain I was that to change anything would make life unbearable.

Constructing a character after anorexia

What does it mean to create a character for oneself, a character not defined by an eating disorder? Is it active construction, or more like falling into, or letting emerge?

Anorexia and today's world

It's impossible to dampen the human ambition for progress, for ease, for choice. And the closer we come to achieving total ease, infinite choice, and complete 'modernity', the more glaring will its down-sides become: the obesity, the anorexia, the mental illness.

My mother and I: a radio interview on anorexia

Read the transcription of an interview about my anorexia for the BBC Radio Scotland series 'A Life in Limbo'.

Not Only Stopping Starving, But Starting Living Again

What allowed me to get better from anorexia when so many sufferers never do? I list the factors I believe are necessary to full recovery.

My Mission Statement for Keeping on Recovering

The process of recovery is a process, and still needs monitoring and directing if it's to remain in motion. Here is my mission statement for leaving anorexia ever further behind.

Anorexia and the invisible changes to its immovable rules

I'm spending some time on my own at the moment, for the first time since my boyfriend and I have been together, so I have a degree of control over what I eat and when that has been a little odd: uncomfortably reminiscent of when these things had such immense importance, and of how routines became immovably destructive and took such great efforts of will to dislodge.

A history of anorexia while skiing: Part Three

I read diary entries from that ski holiday and wonder how my parents could bear to keep inviting me to come with them, paying for me even, when I made things as awful as this. The only answer is, I suppose, that it would have been too painful an acknowledgement of the state I was in: almost a relinquishment of hope: if Emily stopped coming skiing, we'd have to give up on her. 

A history of anorexia while skiing: Part Two

Yesterday I talked about what the family ski holidays meant in the early years of my illness. 2003, when I was 21, was something of a turning point.

An article on my anorexia in today’s Daily Mail

My mother and I have just done an interview for the Daily Mail on my anorexia and her role during my illness and my recovery. The journalist was especially interested in what my mother said to me on the phone one day just before she and her partner moved house: ‘You are welcome at our new house, but your anorexia isn't.'

A history of anorexia while skiing: Part One

Ski holidays are important in the history of my anorexia: they're a heightened state of ordinary life, with the whole family gathered together as it never normally is; and they're dedicated to the pursuit of an activity which is just physical, not intellectual. In this sense, they're quite unique for me.

The end of feeling my hunger becoming nausea?

Everything in me rebelled against eating: I didn't want to be here with my boyfriend at all, could hardly speak to him or even look at him for my anger, and the sight of him eating repelled me as it never had before and never has since. 

A night with friends, overshadowed by food

My boyfriend and I have just come back from a night in London with friends, a couple like us. I've got on so splendidly well with them in the past, but this time everything felt subtly different, and food was mostly to blame, I think.

My second grown-up Christmas, eating

This is the second Christmas I've had as an adult, eating. It's been lovely and slightly stressful by turns. I find it funny how the normality that I have achieved, just eating with my boyfriend or with my colleagues or with friends, every day, has now been turned into something of a novelty, even while remaining still completely normal.

This autumn and last: from student to tutor

The difference between the autumn term of this academic year and that of last year seems to embody my recovery more fully and vividly than anything else. But my thesis still remains an insidious thread connecting the two.

Bumps in the road to recovery

A friend came to dinner, and her comments about food plunged me back into old emotions, old anorexic insecurities and competitive instincts; but she didn't notice, or think twice, and why should she?

Having the strength to cope with what life throws at you

It's easy - when you're still suffering from anorexia yourself, or when you never have done - to imagine that such an illness affects only the food-related parts of one's existence. But although that's where it starts, and is the most obvious sphere of sickness, in the end it is no more than the epicentre to deeper patterns of turmoil.

Eating, Continued

In my first week of eating, I went to a conference and had many food adventures. And so the solitude, the late late nights, and the food-centred obsessions began to shift.

How It Feels To Eat Again

I'm terrified. Not least by my great hunger. Why eat more if it just makes you hungrier? But I'm calm too. I've done what I'm meant to. I ate a meal outside and in the daylight.

Defying My Own Conventions: The Day I Started Eating Again

Friday 19 July 2008 is a date that I will never forget: it was the day I decided I had to start to eat again.

Escaping from Anorexia

Some of the reasons why I couldn't keep on with my nocturnal life of starvation, and why I won't ever go back to it.

Facts and fictions: stories of a hunger artist, and lettuce

Back from a weekend away with my boyfriend, I'm struck by how different my life is now from the one I wrote about in a story about an anorexic girl, her cat, and her lettuce...

Five Anorexia Myths Exploded

I explain and explode five major myths about anorexia, for the benefit of those who can't understand, and those who wish they were better understood.

After a Decade of Starvation…

Less than a year ago, the idea of living as I do now seemed entirely impossible. I still get overcome by the repeated miracle of eating with other people, at normal times of day.