How an Eating Disorder Can Affect Your Life in Mind

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Eating Disorders can affect you in many ways. Nicole*, Ballari* and Sophie** discuss how it has affected them physically, socially and mentally.

Physically

Twenty-one-year old Ballari*, who is now recovered from anorexia nervosa, describes the physical effects that the condition had on her, saying, 

“…my eyesight started to deteriorate…my period had stopped, you get things like your hair falling out, and then your teeth aren’t great, you’re weak, you’re dizzy, you’re fatigued, you’re freezing all of the time, and you’re cold, and you’re tired and you are so incredibly hungry…”

Nicole*, 19, who is now going into her third year of recovery from an eating disorder, says,

”I would spend my days and nights sitting against the living room radiator wearing two pairs of socks, a thermal, a jumper and a coat, just to try keep myself warm.”
“There was twice where I actually lost feeling in my legs… I couldn’t stand which was really scary.”

As a dance student,  Nicole remembers,

“when I came out of hospital I had to do a bone density scan to make sure my bones were strong enough to take the impact of dancing again, but that got the all clear luckily.”

Mentally

When talking about the mental impact of her anorexia, Ballari says, 

“I found myself quite withdrawn, very quiet…just not feeling myself at all. I was numb… it was almost like there was a void that just couldn’t be filled and all around me all I could see was just darkness.”

Nicole says of her experience,

“I became so scared at the sight of food. There was one time a banana was placed in front of me and I started crying and that’s something that when I look back on I’m like ‘why would I cry at a banana?!’ But at that time it was petrifying.”

Twenty-six-year-old Sophie**, who is still living with an eating disorder, explains how her condition affected her ability to concentrate at university. She says,

“I'd be trying to listen to lectures and take notes, but I'd end up planning out meals and counting up the calories I'd taken in.”

Socially

Sophie explains that her eating disorder has also impacted upon her social life, and she confides that she often feels guilty about the impact her eating disorder has on loved ones. She says, 

“If we have family celebrations and a meal out is planned, the first thing that family members ask is ‘will Sophie be okay eating here?’ which is sad because it should be about the celebration and that makes me feel guilty.”

Friendships have also been affected over the years for Sophie. She remembers,

“On my 17th birthday I invited friends to my house to watch films, but I’d been off school for a while and only one person came, which was quite upsetting.”

Ballari also found her social life was affected due to her anorexia, saying,

“I would avoid normal teenage things like going to parties and going out for someone’s birthday, going out for a meal, going to the cinema, going to someone’s house for a movie night, I just wouldn’t do it because I was so terrified food was involved.”

*Ballari & Nicole are both Youth Ambassadors for eating disorders charity b-eat

**Name changed to protect privacy