Today starts #EDAW2017 Eating Disorders Awareness Week! This is a week to help raise awareness and reduce stigma surrounding eating disorders. It is estimated that nearly 720,000 people suffer with some form of eating disorder in the UK; It's a shocking but a very real fact. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorders, which makes it more essential that it's caught early and proper medical attention is given.

As a young tenager girl, I was consumed with negative body images and had little self confidence. I struggled with a poor relationship with food and my health suffered. Like many young women and men, I didn't receive the right help and my eating disorder continued into adulthood.
Although I am now in control and have a much healthier relationship with food and exercise, I constantly have to monitor my urges and negative body image.

In my blog today, I write about all the things I wish I could have told my teenager self.

Oh how I wish I could go back to my teenage self and tell her so many wonderful things. How I didn't have to restrict and purge to make herself feel beautiful or wanted. Calories didn't measure my self worth, and the number on the scales didn't matter. 
Consuming your time with calorie counting and learning unhealthy eating habits did not give you more control - it just fueled the uncontrollable eating disorder. You didnt have to distance yourself from family and friends, to lie about your food intake, or to throw away your lunch, it was an illness, not your friend. The voices in your head were not true; they told you, you looked ugly that you were fat - they were lying, you were beautiful!

I wish I could tell myself not to pick up that razor blade and cut to take away the pain. Or how the answers don't come by taking large amounts of sleeping pills. Alcohol wasn't your friend. And I didnt need to prove my worth by what men told me. I wish I could tell my teenage self that the voices I heard were not real, the negative commentary I heard was a lie.

So many things I wish she knew, so many things I wish I could tell her!

Maybe if I had known all these things then, I wouldn't have to struggle as an adult with bipolar or an eating disorder?

I question the input camhs had on my health, how the psychiatrist and psychologist didn't pick up on early warning signs. Maybe if they were more attentive, my mental health wouldn't have deteriorated to the point of me being sectioned, and for me to spend most of my adult life in an acute psychiatric ward.

So many theories and so many thoughts.
But I guess, I can't change it, I can only accept what happened to me and look forward to a brighter future. I can't tell my tenager self not to restrict, purge, self harm, overdose but I can tell myself now.

 I can be kind to my adult self and learn from my mistakes. I can seize the day and make a brighter future for myself. I don't have to live this way, in a self destruction world. I can live a happy and fullfilling life. I will get through my struggles and my poor mental health wont hold me back forever.

 And most importantly I can tell others the same message: "Love yourself for who you are. Because you are unique and beautiful in whatever way you come."

Sending love to all those in recovery.

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