While disordered eating is often thought of as a weight loss problem, it is a much more complex mental health issue that leaves sufferers spiralling out of control.
For Hannah Blackburn, her anorexia threatened to take away her entire life, robbing her of family moments and simple pleasures as it dictated every step she took.
Now, on her road to recovery, she helps others in similar situations by reminding them that their bodies are valid and sharing her own tips on how to trust food again.
Despite Hannah’s eating disorder making her feel trapped, she said she was determined to fight back as she didn’t want to feel like she was “dying all the time”.
Hannah explained: “I want to actually be able to walk again without passing out, have a bath and wash my hair without help, go out with my family for the first time in years without crying and end up leaving as I can’t eat or drink anything with them.
“I want a free and happy life without being supervised and monitored everywhere I go, without panic attacks over cheese, milk or an extra rich tea biscuit.”
She continued: “I want a life. I want my life. I want freedom. This is terrifying and I know that recovery isn’t ever going to be easy, but I know I’ve got to at least try it if I ever want to create a better life for myself and not be miserable and sick like I have been for so long. I’m going to do this.”
Documenting her journey back to wellness, Hannah talks about the ups and downs of reintroducing nutrition and speaks openly about the tears that often accompany mealtimes.
In one particular post, the 18-year-old chats candidly about one of her fear foods, ham tortellini, and the immense terror she had in the build-up to eating it.
However, once she picked up her fork and took that first bite, the feelings of fear fizzed away.
Hannah said: “It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I enjoyed every bite because I wanted it and food tastes so much better without restriction and compensation.
“I ate a fear food and absolutely nothing bad happened to me, it made me feel good and gave me energy. I can’t even give you a valid reason as to why I was so terrified of it before. It’s stupid.”
She added: “This is proof that you can’t trust a word your ED says. You have to feel the fear and do it anyway because you are always going to be scared, so you may as well just do it.
“The first bite is always the hardest but if you never start you’ll never move forward and you’ll miss out. Rediscovering food again is truly incredible.”
Continuing on her mission, Hannah opens eyes to remind her followers that their personality and quirks are what truly make them who they are as individuals.
Determined that they don’t get sucked down the path that she did, Hannah also lets them know that it is okay to gain weight and that it does not spell your worth.
She said: “Don’t let diet culture trap you in its lies, your health and happiness are by far more important than any number on a scale or size in your jeans.”
As they say, if you have been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked, try approving of yourself and see what happens…
To get your mojo back, click here: Hannah Fights This.
For confidential advice, visit Beat or call their helpline 0808 801 0677 (from 9am–8pm during the week or 4pm–8pm on weekends and bank holidays).