Audio file coming soon...!

I was asked why I wrote this audio play and what message I hoped it would give out. Honestly, I never intended to share it this widely. I originally wrote this piece on scrawny scraps of paper in my childhood bedroom, and then hurriedly pieced it together on my laptop so that it could be submitted to an online writing competition, just hours before the deadline. The competition theme was ‘identity’ – and the truth is, I had no idea who I was, for my only identity had been my eating disorder for so long. So, that’s what I wrote. I wrote about how anorexia threw a blanket over the old me, and how I am still learning how to take the blanket off, so that I can breathe a little easier. I ended up being longlisted, but around the same time I shared it with Paul Bellany from Creative Walden at the Writer’s Room I attend every week. That same piece has now been produced and directed by him and Laura Sommerville, the principle of stagecoach in Essex, in the form of an audio play. Some of Laura’s students played the lead roles within the play. Now that it is no longer just for me, for the competition, or for Paul, I suppose now I have a chance to explain what I want my message to be:

I’m not going to pretend that anorexia no longer affects me or that I’m fully recovered; I still have to be weighed weekly and I still get upset over meals all the time. However, I think it’s important for other people that might be struggling to hear that you can be trying really hard, at the same time as not being there yet.

It’s amazing to read and hear about people that are now fully recovered and are no longer affected by it, and I hope that one day I will experience that too. However when I was really struggling, I simply couldn’t relate to that. It was hard to hear about really sick people because of the nature of the illness, with comparison being a huge trigger for me, but as I said I was often left feeling helpless when hearing about people who used to struggle like me, but had done the seemingly impossible thing of leaving their eating disorder behind to live a fully recovered version of their life.

Even now, I’m neither of them, I’m somewhere in the middle, I actually think that most people are, and I think that that’s okay.

Sometimes I feel like a bit of a fraud for promoting recovery through my book and audio play when I’m not free from it yet myself, but I want to show people that recovery is messy and it doesn’t have to fit into a box. It’s hard work, I have to work on rewiring my brain every single day but I want people to know that they can do it too. I’m not saying I’ve been and there done that, now it’s your turn - I’m still navigating it myself. I want people that are in a similar place to hear that I’m making my way through it alongside them and neither of us know what lies ahead, but we can begin to choose and continue edging towards recovery anyway.

We don’t have to be a really ill before or a fully recovered after – maybe one day.
But for now, all we are doing is moving forwards, and taking small steps every day.

For me, one of the small steps was sharing my writing. A bigger step was publishing it in a poetry book, and producing an audio play dedicated to my experience of both living with and being in recovery from anorexia, and an even bigger step is speaking to and in front of people about the very thing that has taken up so much of my life, and in many ways continues to do so.

I’m not recovered yet, but that’s okay. I’m on my way.

I was ashamed of my diagnosis for so long, but I hope that by speaking up and sharing the play we can help to encourage an increased awareness, knowledge and understanding of eating disorders.

Reducing the stigma around mental illness and food-related disorders such as anorexia will save lives.

Visit if you would like to find out more about available support, for both sufferers and carers, and please do not suffer in silence.