Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Lauren's weight plunged to less than four stone in 2006 - she says problems stemmed from the early onset of puberty which led to bullying because of her size

"An anorexic woman who dropped to three-and-a-half stone* (49 pounds) after walking up to 12 hours a day has battled back to health. (Note: 1 stone = 14 pounds)

Lauren Bailey's condition sent her weight plummeting to that of an average five-year-old and nearly killed her.

The 26-year-old, who would obsessively pace the streets from 6 am to 6 pm, spent 18 months in hospital in a last-ditch bid to overcome her anorexia.

It has taken her more than a decade to overcome, and now the articulate young woman is speaking out about her ordeal to prove to others that they can battle back from the brink.

She said: "I have always suffered from anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder since I was a child.

"What triggered my anorexia was a combination of things. I was going through puberty at nine years old, which was very early then, and I was the only one - because of that I was bigger than the others.

"I was bullied because I was different - I was into rock music and playing my guitar.

"When it developed into anorexia, it was after someone told me I should go on a diet - at the time I was 14 and it is very young to be thinking about those things.

She spent 18 months in hospital to overcome her illness. The breakthrough came when she was allowed to dig her own grave

"It was then that my obsession with exercise started."

Lauren began walking 12 hours a day, and when she was at home she would pace around her room. Even when not walking, she would set up puzzles on her ironing board so she could remain standing up.

She said: "I was walking the streets from 6 am in the morning to 6 pm at night, or going up and down any stairs I could find.

"I really don't know how I did it, I shouldn't have been able to walk that far. It was the anorexic adrenaline."

Lauren only realised she was anorexic after reading a magazine article by a husband speaking about his wife's battle with her illness.

She said: "I thought, 'Oh my god, that's me - I do all of those things'.

"I always thought everyone else had the problem and I was doing the right thing. Everyone is obsessed with celebrities and diets and I thought everyone wanted to be like that. I was just the same."

Lauren says she wants to help girls beat anorexia and get on with their lives

"It got out of control. It wasn't about wanting to be thin, it was about wanting to disappear."

One of Lauren's worst points was in 2004 when she was 23 and her weight dropped to three stone (42 pounds).

Doctors told her mum Alison Williams, who now works for a mental health charity, they feared her daughter would die.

Lauren said: "I remember being transferred to an eating disorders unit and they didn't think I would make it through the night.

"My mum was so worried about me but until I accepted I had a problem there was nothing anyone else could do."

She managed to put on weight but when out of hospital her old problems returned.

In March 2006 she was again admitted to hospital after her weight plunged to less than four stone where she spent 18 months.

But even while on the wards in Addenbrookes in Cambridge, Lauren still was not ready to accept help and continued to continually pace round and round her room.

After months in the hospital, she finally made a breakthrough.

Lauren said: "They let me dig my own grave and let me get bad again. In the end they sectioned me because I insisted on going on leave when I was too ill to do so and I refused to give up my exercise.

"My mum and my friends were great but everyone else was getting on with their lives outside.

"I got to the point when I thought, 'This isn't getting me anywhere'. I was really miserable and I had no time left in my day because of my obsessions.

"I am a young woman and I was missing out on so much.

"I thought, 'I'm living the same sad life in hospital as I was outside. Life can't be any worse - why don't I just give it a go?'"

Lauren finally left hospital in August 2007 and since then she has been back on track. Although she does not like to talk about her weight, just a glance at her healthy figure shows how far she has come from the skeletal images at the height of her illness.

She also hit out at the glossy magazines sending out "mixed messages" to vulnerable teens.

Lauren said: "It annoys me that these magazines complain about size zero celebrities then the next minute they go on about slimming down for summer. It sends out a mixed message.

"I still have problems but I am enjoying life now.

"I want to give others hope that they can get over anorexia and rebuild their lives."



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alexiacortez said...

I am so proud of this woman and of those who helped and understood the difficulties to support her.

Raphaella M. said...

Wow, what an inspiring story. How wonderful to read that she is now doing well. Thank you so much for sharing that Medusa!

Anonymous said...

She is such a beautiful young woman. I'm so happy that she managed to see the light that many of us can't. She is quite amazing and a true story of inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, she's so GORGEOUS! I admire her so much, she's very important woman.

Anonymous said...

She looks so amazing in the last picture.

Anonymous said...

Medusa - do you know anything about the necklace she is wearing in the first two photos? Another anorectic girl I know of has the same one & I LOVE it.. I have not been able to find any info on it anywhere though & I figured you may know. Thank you.

Medusa said...

Anonymous, sorry, but I have no information at all about Lauren's necklace.

Anonymous said...

this was so awesome to read, being a recovering anorexic myself its an extra push to making me see how important it is to keep trying. she looks amazing now! great role model.

daszuĹ› said...

She's very strong woman. I'm agitated after reading this story. Beautiful.

Si said...

Lauren Bailey it's me Simi Varu from St Ann's Jay friend remember me call me 0794 457 2211 missed you loads so much to catch upon o left last year been a year since I left please text or call me