NAME: Hazel Robinson
LOCATION: Bromley, Kent*
OCCUPATION: Studying Pharmacy at The University of Reading*
“Since the age of 12 years old I have suffered eating disorders. Instead of my experience being one episode that occurred over a short period of time, for me to realise I need to recover and then have been well since, I have actually relapsed throughout my teenage years flittering between compulsive exercising, self induced vomiting and in one circumstance- a severe case of anorexia nervosa. At 12 years old, wearing size 14 womens clothes, my Mum decided it was high time that I cut down on my food and began to take control over my eating habits, which I then took to the extreme. In Year 7, I came 32nd out of 34 in cross country and by the time I was in Year 8, I was 5th. My P.E. Teacher was the first person to notice I had a problem, seeing me throw my lunch into the bin before a training session near the end of Year 8- by which point I was 13. She began to notice my habits, such as making excuses to use the gym more frequently, and a constant self-obsessive attitude when passing mirrors. She watched my rapid weight loss and then called my mother who accused me of being a “deluded child”.
Being caught out made matters far worse for me and I soon learned the art of self-induced vomiting. I can remember the first time I binged; I had dieted for a year (didn’t really lose as much weight as I’d hoped to) and one day the thought popped into my head: Surely I can eat what I want and not digest it if I just throw it up? That’s when the downward spiral of my adolescent years began. I was hooked. Gorging as much as 3000 calories a day- sometimes more, in rapid moments, anything I could find: cereals, milk, chocolate, sweets, bread- it was what could be described as pure insanity.
I soon became a lost cause, throwing up up to 14 times a day, my mother then stepped in and the doctor referred me to the Maudsley Hospital, where they classified me as the worst children’s case they’d seen. They tried to give me prozac- I still threw up, CBT- I still threw up, a food diary- I still threw up, group work- I took down their numbers and ended up sharing tips on how to be an awesome bulimic. I then deduced it was absolute bollocks and refused to turn up anymore after a year and a half of being there between the ages of 14-16 and took matters into my own hands.
This same cycle continued on and off throughout A levels and my boyfriend (at the time) would intervene when he thought I was using the toilet to throw up. I left him before I turned 18 and somehow the bulimia just went. I was sick of being sick, throwing up blood, having brittle nails and hair. I soon began to blossom and for some reason the link became clear to me why I was bulimic: food was the enemy. I then went the complete other way: anorexia. The weight loss gave me a total high, I was in control of bulimia, of my appearance, of my life and for the first time I wasn’t a fat bulimic chick anymore, I was hot stuff and I loved it. It soon took over my life and I became a hollow empty shell that had to leave behind a Pharmacy degree at Portsmouth University. I was so bony at 5ft 8 weighing 50kg over Christmas and it felt like I was sleeping on razor blades; the coldness chilled me right to the bone. And I was so tiny I was wearing my sisters clothing- three layers of it. I went back to the Maudsley, the moment I started eating again the taste for food sent me into a frenzy I couldn’t stop and I soon found the guilt of eating unbearable and acquired bulimia all over again.
So where am I now? Still bulimic and seeking help, I don’t know what can make me stop. It’s not as bad as it ever used to be but it’s still a major part of my life that beats me down to this very day.”
Update (2017): At the moment, I am really turning things around, studying hard and trying to maintain my social and work life. I’m on anti-anxiety medication at a really low dose and slowly getting better pretty much. My relationships at University have massively improved and I’ve got a job here working for major club chains and I’m a well-known face now!
Inspired by Hazel’s story? Leave a comment below!
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