Hang on, keep fighting, know that you are NEVER alone – Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Thanks to Ellen Kelly for sharing her story x

Picture posed by model. Photo by Caroline Feelgood on Unsplash

“For the past few years on Eating Disorder Awareness Week I have sat down to write a post to, not only raise awareness but, allow myself to reflect.

This year is no different, but this is by far the hardest post I’ve ever written, and I’m yet to decide if I’ll post it…so know if you’re reading this, it took a lot of reassurance from my mum and dad, who I no doubt made read over this a million times before triple checking if it was the right thing to do by sharing it with everyone.

The 25th of Feb 2019 is a day I will remember for the rest of my life. It was the day I hit rock bottom and I don’t say that lightly. Everything had been building up, I’d been running from everything I was feeling but it had all caught up with me and knocked me right down, face forward on the ground.  

That’s the thing with Eating Disorders, they don’t act alone, often anxiety, depression and OCD go hand in hand, which a lot of people aren’t aware of.

It was the first day of my second-year teaching practise, my first one back after taking a year out due to being so unwell with anorexia. In the week leading up to it, things got very bad, but I was reluctant to reach out for help. I mustered up all the strength I could to drag myself out of bed and I did. I remember having to do my make up over and over due to tears constantly washing away any progress I’d made. I got through the entire day. I smiled, I taught my very first lesson in over a year, I chatted in the staff room as if nothing was wrong, but it was exhausting. At break and lunch, I cried in my teacher’s store by myself before pulling myself together and putting on that fake smile once again.

Picture posed by model. Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

I got through the day, still even today I don’t know how. I got home and after my mum asked me how my day was, I completely broke down. I didn’t even have the energy to pretend anymore. She immediately rang the doctor after begging me to go and I was seen right away. The doctor I saw was the most understanding and compassionate woman I’ve ever met and believe me I know how lucky I was as it’s not always the case that all doctors have an understanding of mental health. Mum made me promise before I went in to be completely honest with her and as hard as it was, I told her everything. Having to see the look in my mum’s eyes as tears streamed down her face, when I recounted for the doctor my suicidal thoughts and the plan I had decided on, is something I will NEVER forget. The home crisis team were immediately notified, and I was put on anti-depressants that night. Let’s just say I didn’t spend my 21st birthday on the 5th of March 2019 the way I had dreamed I would. Despite it all I never gave up, with two weeks off placement I decided to go back, determined to finish the year and not let my mental health win. It wasn’t easy I cried almost every morning, but with the support of my incredible family and friends, and the most amazing staff in the school I was in (who didn’t know the whole ins and outs of what I was going through but were so kind and understanding regardless) I DID IT. Fast forward just a little after a year to the day, I’m now more than halfway through my 3rd year of my teaching degree, currently on teaching practise and LOVING IT. After flying to London by myself at the beginning of the year, I’ve got my dream job to work at Walt Disney World this summer (102 days to go – not that I’m counting haha!) I have the most amazing group of friends at University who I could tell absolutely anything to and who I would be lost without, some of which I’m living with this year. I’m the furthest I’ve ever been in my anorexia recovery and I feel more like myself than I have in years.

So if you’re reading this and finding yourself in the position I was in a year ago, this is the proof you need, hang on, keep fighting, know that you are NEVER alone and I promise you even if it doesn’t seem like it now, things CAN and WILL get better x

Ellen Kelly

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