“THERE are lots of common misconceptions and stigma surrounding eating disorders - it can be seen as a fad that young girls go through and snap out of.”
Annabelle Rose Harris understands the heartache of those affected by disordered eating having suffered since the age of ten with what was finally diagnosed as anorexia nervosa, when she was 14-years- old.
Now recovered, the 23-year-old spoke out to highlight Eating Disorders Awareness Week, in the hope that others will also break the silence surrounding the conditions.
The Broad Oaks Road resident said: “ I can attest from first-hand experience that having an eating disorder was not something I chose to have -it is a serious mental illness and can result in serious health complications, including death.
“It was after three trips to my GP that I was finally diagnosed at the age of 14 and I found it hard to accept and believe,” added the former Solihull School pupil.
“Between then and the age of 21, I have suffered on and off and been hospitalised three times. I gradually made progress and consider myself to have been fully recovered.”
Annabelle is currently a Young Ambassador for B-eat, the eating disorder charity and is looking forward to starting medical school at Kings College, London, in September.
Today she can barely believe she has come so far.
“I never thought then I would be the sort of person who could be a doctor but it does mean I can empathise with people.”
If you have concerns about yourself or others, speak to your GP or contact B-eat for information and support on www.b-eat.co.uk, helpline 0845 6341414 or the youthline on 0845 634 7650.