I've suffered with mental health issues my whole life, anorexia in particular has been a constant struggle.
If you ask my mum I was anorexic from birth, I wouldn't eat and I think I ended up in hospital.
As a young child I was a fussy eater and frequently refused to eat things. Growing up with a chef as a father meant food was a big deal in my family but I wasn't able to find any pleasure in food.
As a teenager things got worse, it was never about thinking I was fat - I think people assume that's what it's about. I was always praised and told how lucky I was for being slim and it actually felt like something I was good at...maybe the only thing I was good at.
When I was at my worst (when I weighed about 6 and a half stone) I hated how my hips stuck out, but it didn't stop me, it was something I was in control of.
I was never formally diagnosed with anorexia, I never let it get so bad that I ended up in hospital, another thing I was good at.
My breakthrough came when I was about 23, my mum literally screamed at me and I saw what I was doing to her, it wasn't just about me anymore I was hurting the people I loved. Now it wasn't an overnight fix, I spent weeks/months forcing myself to eat when I felt like I was going to be sick. But slowly and surely I got to a healthy weight, sure I still had the odd day or two here and there where I didn't want to eat but the rational part of my brain started to dominate.
I eventually had a good relationship with food and enjoyed trying new things, however, karma was about to bite me in the bum...
In 2003 I suddenly developed major food intolerances, possibly a reaction to the damage I had done to my body in the past. In 2 weeks I lost a stone and my relationship with food was damaged yet again. It took several years to finally get it under control and know what I could and couldn't eat.
Back at a healthy weight for the last few years karma was yet again ready to bite me, big time.
My current bout of depression was triggered by the end of a relationship, it wasn't my decision and I wasn't allowed any say in the decision. I couldn't control what happened, so after years of 'recovery' I found myself needing to control something and food was the easy option.
It's amazing how I was able to fall back into my old habits, how I could work out how little I needed to get through a day without passing out. It is made easier by the fact I live alone so I don't have to hide it. The rational part of me is still there and tells me how stupid I am, but this stubborn controlling part of me needs something to hang on to. I need to be good at something no matter how twisted.
The ironic thing is my cat stopped eating and immediately I was worried and have been trying anything to get her to eat something. Yet when my mum does it (she frequently turns up with food parcels) I get really annoyed.