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A Reality of Uni Life with an Eating Disorder (REALLY LONG, NO REGRETS) Watch

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    SIT DOWN AND BUCKLE UP BECAUSE IF YOU'RE HERE, YOU'RE HERE FOR THE LONG HAUL.

    I am a student at The University of St Andrews and I am sitting in my room at 12am completely overwhelmed with unheard of emotion which can seemingly be released only by giving an account of living with an eating disorder.

    Prior to moving into halls, I had been two years free from a mixture of anorexia and bulimia and my weight was at a healthy 65kg - I was eating well and remained fairly passionate about running (I very much looked forward to reenacting the scene from Chariots of Fire on West Sands). My previous experience with eating disorders had resulted in my requesting catered accommodation which I felt would prevent a relapse and ensure that I always had food on the table.

    I loved (and still very much continue to love) my hall - the community is fantastic, the hall itself is beautiful and I have made many friends who are more dear to me than anyone at my high school ever was. One fantastic young adult I found myself to be friends with openly recounted her dealings with anorexia and how it led her into hospital dying, at that point I was very relieved that I had managed to sort out my eating habits; at that point in time I was dealing with negative views of food but her stories and encouragement, unknown to her, kept me eating.

    Until one day, this incredible and bight student who was cherished by all passed away.

    With nobody to motivate me to refrain from relapse, the inevitable occurred and I began to purge, not often but it was happening. It wasn't that I stopped eating, I would just purge if I felt the meal had a carbohydrate content which was too high, or I had consumed too much fat or sugar.

    Five weeks of winter break with my family came and it was terrible. My parents have never really been supportive of me and there were far too many arguments and accusations against everything I did. I decided to utilise some of the christmas money I had received to buy a beautiful and expensive dress in the January sales. I bought this dress a size too small as motivation to lose weight and when it came and I tried it on it was slightly too small, but I would change that.

    At the beginning of February, only a week after moving back into halls, my eating disordered mind had come back with a vengeance and one thing on it's thought track - I will fit into the dress and look beautiful come the annual ball. From that day, I starved. Living off yoghurt and fruit in the morning and soup and salad for lunch and dinner - barely consuming 800 calories per day and panicking when there was no soup option for lunch. I began to run more too, at least 3km per day and always at night - that way, nobody would see me on the streets to laugh and more importantly, when I returned I could physically collapse running to the top of the stairs without anyone finding me.

    One night I drunkenly told my friend what was going on, she and everyone else I sit with had obviously has their suspicions. She's very supportive of me but doesn't really know what to do - and neither do I.

    The annual ball came at the beginning of March and I was eager to get into my dress. To my disappointment, I slipped it on to find that I had lost too much weight and it was loose. (I was called beautiful by a lovely gentleman so my night was complete anyway). I was also very pleased the next day that it had been loose as it was indicative of progress. My snapchat story that night was also pretty tragic - I must've laughed over it 20 times the following day.

    Where am I at now? I weighed myself today - 58.9kg, 170cm, my lowest weight since 2012. I am still panicking and still running further and faster. My aim is to consume as few calories as is possible and be discreet about it. We have a tradition where on May 1st we run into the sea at dawn and my eating disorder wants to look good in a bikini. It wants me to be below my lowest weight of 57.5kg, easy. It's not uncommon to find my subconsciously prodding at my "fat" or for me to cry over my "huge body" in the bathroom at 7am when nobody else is awake. The worst thing about this is that you can see my bones protruding through my skin but it's not ever good enough.

    I really want to recover, but I want even more to be skinnier and that mindset is more compelling because right now I'm not skinny enough to have an eating disorder, I don't restrict enough, I am still walking and talking and working right?

    Sometimes I'd like to approach my friends, student services or the pastoral team in the hall but then I feel ridiculous and mentally ill, after all - I'm not underweight and people have worse problems than me. This mentality will kill me.

    Here's some advice: a) If you think someone you know has or is developing an eating disorder, speak to them or speak to someone you know will help them (they'll hate you for a bit but after they'll forgive you); b) if you feel at risk of developing an eating disorder or have any concerns about eating, make it known to someone; c) if you're at my stage and haven't followed (a) or (b) then good luck because I don't know what to do.

    I apologise for this rather extensive piece but it is something I felt that I needed to say in my enraged and sleep deprived state. I am just so sick of having an eating disorder consume me (LOL EATING RELATED PUNS). I now have a month to lose more weight. Don't aspire to be like me. And now it's 1am and I need to sleep because I've spent an hour bashing out this article and that's really obvious in the deterioration of my coherence, writing ability and grammar (I'd say spelling but thanks autocorrect).
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    Have you ever considered talking to your GP or counselor?


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    If Ethereal World has time, I'm sure she will be able give you a few words of wisdom.
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    If you ever need someone to talk to, OP, feel free to PM me.
 
 
 
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