Laura Freeman had the eating disorder since her teens, but the enticing food conjured by Charles Dickens and Laurie Lee set her free
Laura Freeman was first diagnosed with anorexia aged 14. A decade later she had begun to rebuild her life but still struggled with her attitude to food, eating small portions of the same thing for months on end. “At 24, I’d got to the point where I was recovered enough that I could eat, but only in a very formulaic way,” she says. “I had a pretty boring diet. It was more about getting through each day.”
Then one day she read a passage in Siegfried Sassoon’s 1928 Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man describing “a breakfast of boiled eggs eaten in winter”. It changed everything.
Becca had to relocate to get treatment after being told she would be put on a waiting list
Eating disorders: NHS reports surge in hospital admissions
Even though an eating disorder has disrupted many aspects of Becca’s life, she never expected to have to relocate because of it. But after a spell in hospital while at university, she could not move back home.
“My inpatient unit said I had to start treatment within two weeks but when I approached services in Norfolk, where I am from, I was told I’d be put on their waiting list … I didn’t know how long that could take,” she said.
Exclusive: Experts say NHS services are failing those in need of help as admissions nearly double in six years
‘People shouldn’t have to move away’: getting care for an eating disorder
The number of admissions to hospital of patients with potentially life-threatening eating disorders has almost doubled over the past six years, amid warnings from experts that NHS services to tackle anorexia and bulimia are failing to help those in need.
Related: What are your experiences of eating disorder treatment? Tell us
It began at school, with A-star expectations and a horror of failure. Now we’re on social media platforms, locked into a game of mutually assured depression
During many job interviews, it’s common to be asked: “What’s your biggest weakness?” It’s a horrible question to respond to on the spot. We know it’s a trick, and the answer isn’t: “Sometimes it takes me more than two hours to stop looking at my phone and get dressed after a shower,” or: “I spend my free time constructing elaborate revenge fantasies.”
The cheat’s answer of choice, the panicky pick that puts you in a better light than the truth might, is along the lines of: “I’m a perfectionist.”