What it’s like to live with an Eating Disorder

Paintings by Sarah, Beat Young Ambassador


We asked Beat Young Ambassadors, young people who have recovered from eating disorders, what it was like living with an eating disorder – what they could remember and what they noticed at the time.

“I painted this picture of me when I was at school. It shows how anorexia made me feel so disconnected from everyone around me. I was lost and alone…

Anorexia tried its very best to smash my family into smithereens.  Like ivy, anorexia stealthily grew round our house, imprisoning all of us. We were being suffocated by the ketotic toxic breath of anorexia. It was war between anorexia and health. As a child of war, I was manipulated and brain washed onto the side of anorexia. My family, the enemy. My best friends, the enemy. Me against them. I was alone…” Sarah, Beat Young Ambassador



“I painted the picture of my wonderful Mum, to show the terrible impact that my eating disorder had upon not just me but her too…
n eating disorder is a constant war in your head. Like war, there was no end. The war persisted for many years, with periods of hope and remission, but felt like there was no end. Like a prisoner of war, I was trapped and lonely. Like a victim of war, I was suffering; I was cold, hungry, confused and hurting. Like an initiator of war, I was imposing suffering on the opposing side – my family and friends. It felt like I was responsible and imposing all suffering on both sides, yet I had no control. I wanted to stop it. I tried to stop it. I couldn’t.
At the time, I was guilty and I still hold the guilt for hurting my strong, beautiful Mum. The anorexia monster that had grown inside of me and controlled my actions, behaviours and thoughts rendered my Mum exhausted and lifeless
Sarah, Beat Young Ambassador


“My eating disorder wasn’t me. It felt like someone was taking over my body. I was confused and helpless. All I wanted to do was eat, but when food was placed in front of me the fear took over my body. I would just stare at the food and it was like my body was paralysed. I couldn’t physically put the food in my mouth and I never understood why. I wanted to but I just couldn’t. It wasn’t me. It was a monster! My eating disorder was eating away at not only my body and soul but spreading its darkness into the loved ones around me watching my body become a fragile frame. I felt like my body was switching off and it was giving in to the eating disorder…I felt hollow, I had no personality anymore, it had taken my identity.”
Nicole, Beat Young Ambassador

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