By Rebecca Drew
THIS inspirational young woman has beaten her anorexia and suicidal demons after being admitted to hospital after she became dangerously obsessed with being healthy.
Personal trainer and model, Amanda Essen (21) from Turku, Finland weighed just 5st 7lbs at her lowest. Her journey to anorexia started slowly through a desire to be healthier, but due to her tall 5ft 8.5in frame, her parents and school soon noticed that something was wrong.
Amanda wore children’s clothes and would play football several times a week, only eating small portions of vegetarian food. Now, she doesn’t deny herself of food and only does strength training at the gym and has gained more than three-stone since she was in hospital.
“It started slowly, I wanted to be healthier and I started eating vegetarian food, training more and reading health-magazines. I had always been tall and very tiny, so my body changed quickly and my parents and the school got worried,” said Amanda.
“I was almost immediately admitted to hospital. I was fighting for life but I thought I was going in the right direction. However, I just got worse, I lost even more weight and the hospital started calling me anorexic, so I believed in it.
“I didn’t even know about anorexia before this. In the hospital, they treated me really bad and I don’t think I would have survived if we hadn’t escaped to Sweden, for better help. In Sweden, we found an eating disorder unit that finally saved my life and it was here, we started to go to right direction.
“I suffered from anorexia for about a year, but I never became really sick in my head like a lot of other people do because anorexia can take over your head completely.
“I was able to get rid these thoughts and behaviour quickly because I got help almost immediately. When I got out of hospital, I wanted to live the most normal life ever, start school and meet friends, I tried to leave every thought about food, exercise and control at the hospital.
“I did manage this for a couple years until I got deeply depressed and started to get suicidal thoughts daily.
“It was at this time that the gym and strength training saved my life, I not only found happiness and the will to live but I also gained more than one-and-a-half-stone which made me feel strong and capable to survive anything.
“Over the years, through depression, anorexia, suicide attempts, the uncertainty of my life, playing with food, arguments with my family and loved ones, I have learnt a lot and have arrived at the place I am today.
“Today I’m confident, independent, happy, grateful, free, healthy, strong and I can honestly say I enjoy every second of my life now, whether it’s a good or bad day, I’ve learnt to be thankful because I live.”
When she was in the throes of her eating disorder, Amanda says felt like she was living in a nightmare but now she is free and the happiest and healthiest she has ever been.
“I have recovered from being a weak, anorexic, sick, depressed and burnt out girl to a strong, both mentally and physically, happy and inspired girl that wants to help others and hopefully have a positive impact on people and make difference,” added Amanda.
“The most difficult thing about my recovery was forgetting the time I spent in hospital and having to fight on my own because although I had support and help around me, it was my own fight.
“Before, I was shy, insecure and wanted to do everything right and hated myself for everything but now I love being different, I am brave and confident and am able to forgive and learn from everything, I do not like to use the word mistakes, because there are no mistakes, only lessons where opportunities can grow.
“I am so thankful that I was able to overcome this.”
Amanda says that her recovery was difficult but her friends and family are so proud of how far she has come. She shares her progress on Instagram under the handle @Svagtillstark
“No one understands the pain and fight you go through every day. You have to do hard things, the things that scare you. That is the secret to success. You’ll be amazed at how strong you actually are and you are able to do and accomplish much more than you think you can,” she said.
“You need to choose recovery over and over again, do it for your own sake. Not for others but for yourself. You have worth and you need to respect and love yourself, don’t let anything or anyone change that.
“Be brave. I know you are strong enough. If I could make it, you will as well. I know that.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/svagtillstark