Trigger Warning – discussion of eating disorders

Sofia is a 21 year old student currently studying for a Masters in Environmental Science. We asked if she would share some of her experiences with eating disorders, and how she is finding the current lockdown.

I was first diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in 2018 after my first year of university and whilst I like to consider myself well on the road to recovery, lockdown has definitely had a significant effect on that journey. I think for a lot of us lockdown has left us feeling out of control, not knowing when things will be getting back to normal, and for me it’s this lack of control that at times, has meant that my old eating disorder habits have crept back into the forefront of my life. 

What I would usually do as coping mechanisms (like going to the gym or eating in a social setting with friends) have instead been replaced by feelings of intense isolation, the same daily walks around the block and even more time at home to sit with my own thoughts and feelings. Controlling my food intake and obsessing over exercise have been at times the only thing I’ve felt any control over. Although thankfully, I am now much better at stopping the old habits from spiralling. Recovery for me over the years has involved a lot of things: CBT therapy, antidepressants, anxiety medication, counsellors and the countless meal plans that I do now help me to feel much better equipped to deal with things than I used to be. 

Lockdown has been tough mentally for us all and so we should all be so proud of how we’ve coped in such uncertain times. It’s hard and unsettling to re-discover parts of your eating disorder that you thought you’d dealt with and so I think it’s always worth reminding ourselves that we’re not alone in this silent struggle. 

The road to recovery will never be straight forward, I’ve learnt that, but please never forget how far you’ve truly come. Speaking out, sharing experiences, talking to people you trust is never a wrong choice when it comes to your mental health. Be kind to your mind and, as we ease back into some sort of normality, don’t forget just how resilient and how strong you already are.