Lydia Davies was a 19 year old studying in Newcastle when she became anorexic. At one stage she was eating just 13 calories a day, plummeting to a weight of just 4 stone 11 pounds.
Just like the majority of teenagers, the prospect of a new experience at university was one she relished. But the student lifestyle was a major factor in her descent into anorexia.
Now she is on the road to recovery and has spoken out about her eating disorder,
I wanted to explain my deepest thoughts and how I overcame them.
I hope that others suffering will relate to it, and that other families watching their loved ones will be touched and understand more deeply how an eating disorder really feels.
She recalled spending her teenage years wishing she was slimmer, but claims her anorexia started after a specific event during here student life.
After contracting an STI from a one night stand during her first year as a student in Newcastle, Lydia felt ashamed. She started to loathe herself and this affected her appetite,
I felt so self-conscious and disgusted in myself about that.
It was only my second time with someone but afterwards I hated my body.
I started trying to eat really healthily to counteract how I was feeling.
Living in a student house didn’t help as I started to feel awkward eating in front of other people.
When I went home mum pointed out that I was eating less but I didn’t give it much thought.
She recalled how she started to like her appearance,
At the end of first year someone called me skinny and it stuck in my head.
It made me feel good about myself.
And gave details about her diet on a holiday with her friends,
I went on a girls’ holiday to Zante and lived off Diet Coke.
My friends noticed but I don’t think they knew what to do
At one point she was eating just three tea-spoons of soup a day back at University in Newcastle.
I thought I was going to die.
But still I would eat nothing.
One night I went downstairs, my stomach was hurting and my heart didn’t feel right.
I poured a centimetre of milk into a mug and then decided it was too much so I poured myself a millimetre instead before crawling back upstairs.
Her friends, worried for Lydia’s health, decided to contact her parents.
It took five or six doctors for me to get diagnosed with anorexia, when to everyone else it was blatantly obvious
One even prescribed me appetite-increasing pills
However, the threat of hospital resulted in her developing bulimia. She would binge eat prior to appointments with the doctor, only to make her self sick after the weigh-in.
Some nights I’d tear up the kitchen, eating everything in sight before making myself sick.
There were times when I looked in the mirror after a shower and was frightened by what I saw, but mostly I was too blinkered to realise.
I started drinking too, which only fuelled my appetite and purging.
I would drink secretly in my room, maybe two bottles of wine a day.
My parents found 40 bottles under my bed that I was hiding
Fortunately, over the past year she has been making a steady recovery and has now written a book to share her experience with others, hoping that it will help young people understand their own unhealthy eating problems and prevent people from suffering like she has.
Many friends and people I know have shown me great sympathy, following my journey with interest and concern, and not judged at all, and I feel so lucky for this, and am truly amazed by people’s compassion
Eating disorders are so common now, yet so few people understand them.
People need to see what is behind the sad eyes of someone suffering with these illnesses, rather than see only ‘bones’
Lydia’s book is available at Amazon for only 99p. Click the blue text to view it – Raw: The diary of an anorexic (HarperTrue Life – A Short Read)
Visit the Eating Disorders Support charity website if you are suffering from, or want more information about, an eating disorder. Alternatively call them on 01494 793223