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  My battle against anorexia
Updated 23 September 2003, 10.04

Pam's weight dropped to five stone after she got the slimming disease anorexia.

After a brave battle, she's now back to a healthy weight.

Here she tells us how anorexia changes your life.

"I've never been fat, yet when I started secondary school, I began to believe I was.

I cut out all junk food and meat, and began an exercise routine.

I ate less and less. My weight dropped from eight-and-a-half stone to six stone.

Psychiatrist

Six months later, I brought my weight back up to seven-and-a-half stone with the help of a psychiatrist, but the anorexia monster was still in control.

I began to get more obsessed about exercising. I would make up excuses and go to my room, where I would do running on the spot and loads of sit-ups and press-ups.

Hiding food

When I was alone in the house, I would run up and down for ages or skip hundreds of times.

I pretended to mum and dad that I was eating properly, but actually threw it away at school.

If I was at home, I would hide stuff in my room, quickly scrape food in the bin or have a hanky so I could hide the food.

Whenever I looked in the mirror, the anorexia voice would say: 'you've still got to get rid of that fat there.'

Stick-thin


Very soon my weight loss became very noticeable.

I was stick-thin, my face gaunt and colourless, my skin dry and rough. I lost all my confidence and bubbliness. I became withdrawn, moody and snappy.

If mum or dad wanted to weigh me at home, I would weigh myself and say it was more than it was or put weights inside my pockets.

In four months, I had reached my lowest weight of five stone. I was no longer able to attend school.

Getting help

Finally, I was admitted to a special unit for teenagers with mental problems and eating disorders. It was 20 miles away from my home.

Part of me - the real me - was relieved that I was getting help at last, but the anorexia part was very angry.

I had to stay in bed for two weeks to build my strength up.

The doctors told me I had burnt off all my fat and was beginning to burn off muscle from my heart.

Heart attack

They said I could have died from a heart attack at any time.

A member of staff had to sit outside my room 24 hours a day to make sure I ate all my meals and just rested.

I wasn't allowed to go to the toilet or bathroom alone in case I exercised.

I missed my family and friends, but they came to visit often and phoned every night.

Focused

Four months on, I managed to get my weight up to eight-and-a-half stone. It was tough, but my family, friends and the staff kept me focused.

I realised that I wanted to get out of there. I wanted to be normal again.

This was a year ago.

Anorexia still creeps back in, but thanks to my own willpower and my parents' help, I have never let my weight drop below eight stone.

I still love to exercise, but only to keep fit, not to lose weight.

I've learnt to be comfortable with my body."

Pam, 14, Yorkshire


Why don't you write us a Press Pack report - and get it published on the site?!

It can be about anything that's happened in your local area - or your views on the news.



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