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An Article on my Anorexia in Today’s Daily Mail

Me versus my anorexia: a newspaper headline getting it wrong

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.' (You can read a more detailed account of this little episode here.) It's funny how, despite this distinction between myself and my anorexia being the key to what she said, the stand-alone completely ignores it, reading ‘Emily's mother told her she wasn't welcome at the family home while she was in the grip of anorexia. So did tough love work?' As my mother also says, she never thought of it as ‘tough love' - she'd simply run out of ideas (and she had tried many), got sick of my wraithlike presence, and was determined not to have it invading the new home she was about to make with her partner. I, as the person with anorexia, the anorexic, of course couldn't see the distinction: to me a rejection of my anorexia was a rejection of me, because I couldn't distinguish between them.

I'd also like to emphasise how my mother's comment was only one of a great many stimuli to change: my physical weakness, the OCD symptoms, the fear of brain and bone damage, my friends' fears, my eternal hunger, at last losing all its thrill (though it still felt like bidding farewell to a faithful friend when I finally started eating). There was no magic moment at which I ‘wanted to eat again' - simply, as for my mother, no other options left.

To anyone else out there doubting or even despising the idea of getting better - take the possibility as a challenge to turn all your infinite will power in the direction of eating instead of not eating, and watch and feel as your body thanks you for letting it live again.