Eating disorders


Age at interview: 25

Brief outline: Craig was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at 22 and has also suffered from depression and anxiety. Through practical help from a community psychiatric nurse, and his own proactive choices in life, he describes himself now as 'slightly recovered'.

Background: Craig is 25, currently unemployed and doing an Open University course in Psychology. He is single and lives on his own. White British.

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The roots of Craig’s eating disorder date back to teenage years. He was bullied in school over a long period of time; he was quiet and reserved and bullied for his appearance at a time when he was growing up and filling out. Craig was also going through difficult time at home with his parents’ divorce. Craig describes eating disorder as a coping mechanism to deal with it all, as losing weight made Craig feel “numb and desensitised”. First Craig started skipping school meals, saving his lunch money to buy a guitar but things escalated quickly, like “an avalanche”. At 19, Craig remembers going through all week without eating anything, and would only eat on Sundays.
Craig first saw a GP after a long term girlfriend confronted him about his behaviour. For Craig, protecting other people and their feelings was a big motivator for getting help. He says though that it took him four years to accept the help and support offered to him. Craig got a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa when he was 22 but over the years he has also experienced binging, as well as depression and anxiety. Craig sees a community psychiatric nurse (CPN) and has also been an outpatient at an eating disorders service where he saw a therapist and a dietician.
Craig made a very conscious and active decision to change his life and to move on. The most helpful things for Craig have been the practical help he’s got from the CPN and keeping himself busy through writing, playing music and working for an Open University course. 
Craig says recovery is a long process and hard work and he describes himself now as “slightly recovered” as he still struggles with some everyday tasks. He feels frustrated about how the eating disorder has damaged work opportunities and relationships over the years. Craig wants to challenge common misconceptions about eating disorders and how they are not about just eating, or putting on weight, and definitely not about image, but about ways of thinking and seeing the world. 


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