I was asked why I wanted to write 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 from Creative Walden at the Writer’s Room I attend every week. Three years later, and that same piece is being 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 was ashamed of my diagnosis for so long, but I hope that by speaking up and sharing the play we can help elevate 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 beatingeatingdisorders.org.uk
if you would like to find out more about available support, for both sufferers and carers, and please do not suffer in silence.