Saturday 24 May 2014


Reader Poppy talks honestly about how her life spiralled out of control... and how she is getting back on track.

Poppy says:
I happy at school until Grade Six; when my friends moved up to high school, I had stay behind because I was younger than them, and was put in a class where I didn't know anybody. They already had their friendship groups and I felt so alone. I changed the way I acted and dressed and finally made some friends, but I knew I was putting on an act - I just couldn't be myself around them. By the end of last year, I was really depressed; I tried talking about it but nobody understood. I began starving myself and over-exercising, and people began to comment on how skinny I was. My parents took me to the doctors and a few days later I was put in hospital, diagnosed with an eating disorder and told I had put so much strain on my heart I could have died. In hospital I was not even allowed to walk to the toilet.

I had to stay in for over a month and had to gain at least 1kg a week. If I didn't eat my meals I was given a high energy drink, either orally or through a nasal gastric tube. I am at home now and trying to get back to the things I love. I still find every meal difficult but I want to get better; I don't want to go back to hospital, and I am seeing my old friends again, which helps.

To anyone out there struggling with this illness, please DO NOT change yourself to fit in with others. It is the inside that counts - inner beauty shines through better than any other. If the people you are around can't cope with who you really are, then they're not true friends - be with people who accept you and make you happy. If you do feel you're getting hung up on weight and body image, see your doctor who can help you work out if there is a problem and offer support.

If you are uncomfortable with your body and aren't eating properly, please listen to me - EATING DISORDERS SUCK. They take up all your time and get out of control and end up with hospitalisation. When you are starving, you feel cold all the time, like a freezer, even when it's quite warm. You're tired all the time, you can't concentrate and your heart slows down to conserve energy. It can even stop. Mine didn't, but I got close... too close. There's a quote that has really helped me through all this: 'Don't lower your standards for others; instead, wait for them to rise to your expectations.' That's what I will be doing from now on.

Cathy says:
Poppy's story shows how quickly an eating disorder can take hold... and the damage it can cause. I think Poppy's been very brave in sharing her experience to try to help others. COMMENT BELOW if Poppy's story has struck a chord with you, or if you'd like to offer her your support and good wishes for a full recovery.


  1. Good Luck Poppy ( nice name ) I hope you get better as soon as possible. Emma :)

  2. I can sympathise with Poppy's story as I was borderline anorexic when I was 13. Food is one of my favourite things so, by denying myself food, I was punishing myself for being a horrible person - and, if I'm honest, I wanted to be skinny. I've always been the skinniest in my class/friend group/whatever. It's all I felt I was good at. An achievement of sorts, although I know how twisted that seems. It never got so far that I had to go to hospital or even the doctor but for 6 months, I restricted my calorie intake to 500 per day, skipped breakfast, sometimes lunch (if I did have lunch, it was a pack of light crisps) and, if possible, dinner. I exercised excessively too which is kind of funny as I completely refuse to exercise now. I don't know what happened to change it but I guess I was tired of having so many secrets. I was pushing my friends away and I was always cold and tired and I just felt sick of everything. I sort of slid back into my normal eating habits which, while not what I would call healthy, do provide adequate nutrition. It's the best thing to do. However bad you feel, this sort of self-punishment/control is never the answer. It causes so many problems, as Poppy said. I hope things get better for Poppy and that she is able to defeat this disorder. From what she's written, she sounds really strong and I know she can get better. She's definitely going the right way about it, seeing her old friends and doing stuff she loves. I wish her all the best and hope she recovers well. Good luck Poppy! :-)

  3. My friend got an eating disorder before because her ex-boyfriend said she was fat. Bullying really does get to people and not eating makes it sooo much worse! Get better soon Poppy!!!

  4. I have had great struggles with my mental health and some of that revolved around eating. I know how hard it can be to speak out. Poppy is so so brave for what she's doing and I hope she continues in recovery. You are an inspiration Poppy!

  5. Well done Poppy!! You did great! It must have been hard to write that. Get better soon!

  6. Well done Poppy! I hope you get well soon.

  7. Good Luck Poppy xx

  8. stay strong poppy, u r so brave. Hamdi:)xxx



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