By Rebecca Drew
A HIGHSCHOOL student has revealed how she’s gained three-stone after finally breaking free of the anorexia demons that tormented her for two-years and left her in hospital.
Doriane Vidal (18) from Toulouse, France, first started over exercising and reducing her calorie intake to no more than 1,000 calories a day in January 2015 when she began to avoid carbs, cheese, chocolate and sweets whilst making sure she drank plenty of water. A natural worrier, Doriane’s restrictive behaviour made her feel as though she was in control of her life, thinking she would be able to snap out of it any time she wanted to but she was soon trapped by her eating disorder.
As her behaviour spiralled out of control, Doriane was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for four months from February 2016 as her weight dropped to 5st 9lbs and she would wear clothes for 10-year-olds. However, it wasn’t until January 2017 that Doriane decided she wanted to recover for herself to start living again.
Now a healthy 8st 11lbs and UK size 8, Doriane is more confident than ever and has realised that life is about more than obsessing over body shape and food consumed.
“I suffered from anorexia for two whole years. It started because of a lot of different things. I had always been a shy and over stressed girl, always anxious, never really relaxed,” said Doriane.
“I was the kind of person to worry about everything, from the way I looked to the grades I got at school. Besides, I did not have a lot of friends so I wasn’t feeling good at school.
“At first, I felt really good, as if I were finally controlling something in my life. But I quickly realised that something was going wrong, even though I would not have admitted it.
“I thought I would still be able to increase what I ate but I found it impossible to do. In fact, by the month of May, I knew that I was doing a bad thing but I already felt trapped. It kept getting worse until 2016.
“I didn’t really decide to overcome anorexia, at least at first. I was sent to be an inpatient in a mental hospital, where they literally locked me up in a room for two months, waiting for me to put on weight.
“At this moment, I wanted to gain weight only to get out of the hospital, but not because I wanted to recover. I really took the decision to recover in January 2017, because I was tired of not enjoying the present time.
“Overcoming anorexia changed everything. When I was deep down in the illness, I thought I would never be able to be happy. It sounds cheesy, but I thought I would forever be sad and would forever feel useless and pointless.
“When I recovered, I discovered that life could be about way more than just food, weight and body shape.
“I started overcoming my shyness and started having a real social life, with a real group of friends where I was no longer the girl who listened to the jokes but rather the girl who made the jokes.”
The hardest aspect of recovery for Doriane was accepting her weight gain and she still has her down days but she is looking forward to seeing what the future holds and shared her advice to others.
“The most difficult thing about recovery is accepting the weight gain because it means that you’re no longer the one who controls. Maintaining a really low weight was the only thing that I was proud of because I felt like I was in control of my body, while in fact I was controlled by my ED,” she added.
“Seeing your body change, having a woman-like body, getting your periods back, they are all signs that shows that everything is getting back to normal, but when you are anorexic, you feel like you lost control. That is maybe the worst thing; not realising that you actually need to lose control and feeling forced to eat.
“There are a lot of things I would say to someone in that situation, because one thing is not enough. Advising that person to talk to someone is the best thing I could do but I know that most of ED-suffering people are so ashamed or unaware of their situation that they do not want to reach out for help.
“I’d rather advise the friends and family of this person to not let her or him down. I lost a lot of friends and my sister let me down because of my ED and that destroyed me. I felt even more alone than I already was.
“Support is the best thing you need when you are in that situation. However, to someone suffering from an ED, I would tell her/him that recovery is possible. It takes a lot of time but still, you have to fight for it.
“Fight your fears by confronting them not by fleeing. Easy to say, but that’s the only solution. You won’t recover if you don’t accept the fact that you have to change and get out of your comfort zone.
“A lot of ED-suffering people think they are recovering but they are over exercising or eating only a bit more; that proves that they are still in control of everything and still not really changing anything.”