In this blog post, Sophie talks about her experiences of recovering from anorexia and how that informed her about not only personal acceptance, but what it means to be understood by others.
Accepting that you have a mental illness is a hard thing to come to terms with. Not only are you faced with the habits and problems that your illness has caused, but you also face trying to be understood by others around you. Going through recovery is a long process of thought and emotions as you begin to regroup back into the world around you, and it can be difficult to try and fit back in at first.
When I was beginning my recovery stage from anorexia and started studying my A levels at sixth form, I began to feel slightly lost during my daily routine around school. The previous two years during my GCSE’s were my loneliest because of my eating disorder. I’d spend my shorter break times between lessons standing around a group of people who some of my classmates were friends with, and I wouldn’t say a word to anyone unless they spoke to me first. At lunchtimes I would more often or not spend the hour on my own to eat such small amounts of food, whilst my friends would leave school to go and get takeaway foods for lunch. I spaced myself out from the environment around me because I was scared my own friends would judge me for having an eating disorder. Two years later, I found out that this wasn’t the case at all. Turns out that not only my friends I sat next to in class were concerned and wanted to help me get through my eating disorder, but also the people in my year wanted to help too.
When I entered sixth form, I realised that in order for others to help me, I had to let them and also try to help myself out too. It may sound so simple, but even just being acknowledged and being asked how I was by people I didn’t normally talk to so much, made me feel much better about choosing to recover. Those people probably don’t even realise that they made a huge difference to my recovery stage, but they did, and so I am grateful for their kind words and accepting attitude towards my illness.
It’s always reassuring to know that there are people who won’t judge you for having a mental illness, so value them, and never forget to say thanks.