Sunday, January 30, 2011


 Annaleigh, before the illness

Hi, I've been meaning to do this for a while, and I’ve wanted to share my story and I hope one day that all the bad things I’ve been through can help other people.

My name is Annaleigh. I'm from Dorset, UK.

I wish I’d had hindsight before embarking down this terrible road...Anorexia took my life from me, all the things I could have been, could have done. They died because my life became Food, Calories, Weights and Numbers and nothing else.

This is me now, and the picture I am holding is the girl I was before Anorexia took me.

I’m 20 now. I was 16 in that photo. 4 years of anorexia has torn me to pieces. I’ve lost so much. In that picture I seem a happy, healthy, school girl. I even think I look pretty.

Now I’ve become a shell of my former self and I hate what I’ve become. Even though the smile in the picture was fake, I can see the health and the glowing skin in that girl.

I’m currently still in treatment for my eating disorder. I attend a day patient unit now, 9-7 pm. 3 weeks ago I left inpatient treatment at the same hospital and I thoroughly believe it saved my life and has given me the opportunity of recovery. I am so thankful to them.

Pictures of myself over the years:

I developed anorexia at 16, but I was already ill, but no one could see. At 15, I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and I’m certain this was the trigger that set off my eating disorder.

I was sexually abused from the ages of 13-15 and I suffered mentally on my own. I was self-harming, overdosing, and feeding my pain with food. It was during the abuse the binging and purging started, although I was never diagnosed at this point.

After going to the police, and the abuse ending I decided to stop eating, I decided food was the cause. I thought things would be better if I lost weight. I didn’t know what anorexia was but I thought losing weight was a solution and it would take away my pain.

I started off 5'6 and 14 stone (196 pounds) in April of 07 and by the November that year I had dropped to a mere 5 stone (70 pounds), losing over half my body weight. Nobody was taking action and by that point the first option was a general hospital where I was tube-fed for the first time. I don’t remember much of that stay. I just didn’t understand.

Since then I have been hospitalised on numerous occasions. I’ve had 3 mental health sections from my eating disorder. I’ve been to the depths. I’ve been drugged, held down, force fed and lapsed over and over again.

It’s only on this admission I have seen the light and am actively trying to recover. Sometimes I think u have to go to the depths of hell before u realise that there’s gotta be something better. It may feel absolutely shit to go against the Anorexia but in the end I know now the alternative of going backwards is far worse and now I hope for something more. I've glimpsed there is so much more to life, so much more. I’ve started to see friends enjoy life. My demons from the PTSD still follow me but I know now my eating disorder is not a solution.

Being thin doesn’t make you numbs the pain for a while. I ran away for a long while into the illness but now it has made life worse and the past harder to deal with.

And I wish I’d had this hindsight before I got ill, because now it is so hard to fight when it’s been my entire life and all I have known for the past 4 years. It took me a long time to get into this mess and its gunna take a long time to get out, but I have hope now to do it. I have so many dreams and aspirations in life....

The rise of Pro-Ana and the rise in eating disorders upsets me. I don’t think people realise how UGLY this disease is, it’s not glamorous.... and at 20 I never I thought I’d be left with arthritis, osteoporosis, no periods, having severe stomach problems.... I feel like a granny even though my nutrition is better!! This life is not beautiful. it's an ugly ugly thing.

A recent photo of me

This is a little poem I look at to remind myself to have hope that it can get better.


Sometimes we walk along a path,
Beneath a cloudy sky
There's nothing to the left or right,
To lift our spirits high,

And then we turn a corner,
And there bursts into view,
A scene of light and beauty,
A world so fresh and new.

So hold this little thought and hope,
Wait for the skies to clear,
For Beyond the dark and stormy clouds,
A sunny day is near....

Thank you for listening.


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Anonymous said...


I am sure that you are hoping that your story will help others, and I wish you the best in your recovery. Unfortunately, your pics. and numbers will more than likely trigger those who are in the midst of their anorexia to lose more weight. It is unfortunate that those of with anorexia have a tendency to compete at being the sickest, skinniest.
I hope there will be a day that I can look at someone who is emaciated and no longer feel jealousy. I know that is sick, but I can't stop it.

Anonymous said...

dearest Annaleigh
your story reminded me a lot of mine, except sweet you're only 20 if you can recover you have years left to carve your path! don't be like me in 10years still languishing in limbo land. Please stay strong you are an extremly beautiful girl don't give up!

Anonymous said...

Dear anonomous, its annaleigh here, in reply to ur comment about pics being triggering all I can say is, I guess even though I'm still ill I'm in a different place, I no longer feel jealousy or competiveness, I know ther r people far iller than me, but I don't care I do not envy them because they r ill and that's where I don't want to be I can see its ugly now, sorry if I have triggered u, its hard to describe what iv been thru, where iv been and where I am now without those pics and numbers, people don't realise and I think it shows how it destroyed me .... I went into anorexia overweight if I had talked to someone maybe it would hav been recognised before this all happened .. I'm sorry to go on.
I basically jus wish I'd had hindsight.
I'm getting better mentally now and I will continue to fight,

Best wishes

Anonymous said...

I struggle with this evil disorder AN and bulima from the ages 12-15 my struggled ended when I decided for my self that i wanted to live. I was so young and did not want to die from a heart attack. I lived a dysfunctional childhood with lots of abuse and chaos. I meet my hero my dad when i was 13 and my life changed forever..for the better. I just lost my hero and angel to cancer and was really scared that i would fall into it all again but i have leared to control it no it controling will be a life battle that is for ever on going but it does get better and easier to battle with time..
I am now 29 and have been fighting and will contiune..but for now i am and have been at a healthy weight for 13yrs or so.. YOU CAN DO IT..but you have to want to for you and no one else can make you..

Best of luck with everything!!

Julie said...

Hi Annaleigh.
I just wanted to express my admiration for how you've gained so much wisdom and perspective, even if you didn't have the foresight you wish you had years before. And to be frank, it takes some serious balls to share a true story, a name, photographs; and bravery and honesty are the two I personally respect most.
So with these things considered, I'm fairly confident you'll find a way to make yourself healthier and happier --- you've got it in you.
And this is neither here nor there, but I think you're beautiful on the outside as well. Even if you don't believe any of it yourself, at least believe that I believe in you, even if we don't know each other. And if we did, it'd be an honor to know you.

goinchat said...

Dear Annaleigh,
your inner beauty shines so bright
your will to fight in a flaming heart

i wish you well,n happy days'delight
as the recovery going to start
and all the pain is going to depart

a simple poem i write
hoping to make u smile a lot..

Don't give up there!
a healthy mind is all u need to start..

u have it all
now let's get on the ride
to beat this anorexia out!

ha!! wat u think of my poem? :D hehe..

p.s : I read your post gurl!! :D and my prayers are with u too! fight!! and please smile.. please? :D hehe...

Annaleigh said...

its annaleigh,goinchat that poem was awesome and really made me smile im sorry i took months to see and reply to your comment. hugs thanku sweet x and thankyou everyone else for your kind words.
since i posted my story iv have come on leaps and bounds, its all been part of me going into recovery , i am now starting university in like a month which i never thought ever be able to-do, i am now excited bout what the future holds without anorexia. I know its going to be a long fight but i see light at the end of the tunnel now.
Im going to re-build the life anorexia claimed from me..... continuing to fight this illness each and everyday.

Mary said...

Hi Annaleigh,
my name is Mary and I just read your story. I just wanted to say that I hope you continue to get well because you have your life ahead of you. I am 37 and have been battling anorexia since I was 13. I am FULL of grief about the life I have lost - I cry every day about the life anorexia has taken from me.... the fact that I have never had a serious boyfriend because I've always been so sick and thin - and that I will probably never have kids. I've spent my life in hospitals... So PLEASE realise that you have only "wasted" a small amount of time in the scheme of things, and DON'T let this illness take ANY MORE from you. You are beautiful and intelligent and there are so many more important things in life for you to spend your time and energy on. People used to tell me this and I was so caught up in the illness that never listened... so I am HOPING the same won't happen to you. I often went through phases where I THOUGHT I was about to get better and then went backwards again... IT'S SO EASY TO SLIP BACK INTO IT, so MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T SNEAK UP ON YOU AGAIN!!!

I noticed it's about 9 months since you posted your original comment so I'm hoping you are still doing well.

Love and all the strength in the world to you.

Anonymous said...

Annaleigh, you inspire me to get well - just hold onto that feeling forever and shine it upon others and you will continue to prove you really do wish this for yourself...

hope to see you soon again x

Anonymous said...

hey :)

I'm suffering from an eating disorder too, I spent around 18months in/out of hospital and eating disorders units. To put it lightly, it sucked, big time.
I'm not exactly "recovered" as such - but now I've got stuff to keep going for. I'm not saying there's a simple "cure" as such - because I really get that it isn't that easy. But I hope anyone who's trapped at the darkest, horrible depths of their illness - whatever form it takes - can find comfort in something to look forward to as well.

Sending you all lots of love and big hugs :)

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - it was on a card that I took with me to the dining hall at a centre and reminded me that when things seem awful - it's just part of the path that we lead.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having the courage to post your story so openly. I was diagnosed with anorexia 11 months ago and am now in out patient therapy couple times each month. I was also overweight prior after overeating to coup with years of trauma and thought that if I lost the weight I would be happy. Never did I think I would ever be diagnosed with an ed. My family had no idea and even braged to people how i have lost how weight and encouraged me to lose more. It all came out one day and I was forced into treatment.

Although I have gained enough weight now and am physically stable I am still fighting the urges and guilt everyday. It helps to be reminded that there is so much more to life and hear what others have gone through and be reminded what the consequences are if you continue to listen to your ed.

I hope you are doing well and wish you the best on your road through recovery. Stay strong.


"Everyone dies but not everyone lives."

May H. said...

hey please read my blog, my story was published here thanks to medusa!! hope you like it..

Unknown said...

You went to Highcliffe? Me too! Ive been anorexic since I was 7 (now 21). I can relate to what you have written and applaud you for having the strength to keep trying. X

Anonymous said...

Keep moving, you can eventually emerge healthy out of all of this. Although I do not have any experience with eating disorders, I can all but try to encourage you move through your tough phase in life. It is wonderful to know that you are doing better. Anorexia is a serious problem and cutting it out is hard. Putting out anorexia is like trying to put out a forest fire, and the longer you wait, the more it spreads, but it has been but four years in comparison to those who have been struggling for tens of years. You have so much time to make things better for yourself and those around you. Be strong. Move on. And best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna Leigh,

I just wanted to say that I've read your story many times, but this time is the only actual time I payed attention to it. My anorexia started when I was 12, and I used to read stories about it. I can't really remember much about when I was ill but I do faintly remember coming across this. I'm 13 now and I had my birthday in an eating disorder unit and have since come out to prove to them I can recover in the community. Reading this story has inspired me to keep going, and I hope you keep going too. Thank you so much, you're truly inspiring and beautiful inside out. Best of luck for the future x

Anonymous said...

I think it's a very brave thing to write this, and although it can be triggering I do think it's important to share your story. I think it may save some people heading down that route. You are beautiful and strong sure will have a happy future ahead of's never too late