Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world, and its consequences both mentally and physically are nothing short of devastating and often fatal.
Unfortunately, with pretty much everyone having some sort of social media presence online, it is very easy for young people with deep-seated body image issues to access the kind of ‘motivational advice’ that encourages their damaging relationship with food and exercise.
This is especially rampant on Instagram where pictures of young, emaciated girls are shared on a daily basis, with very harrowing hashtags such as ‘#thinspiration’ and ‘#thighgap’.
However, it isn’t all bad – in fact, Instagram can actually be used in a very positive way with regards to recovery from eating disorders.
Twenty-two-year-old Emelle Lewis from Yorkshire, England is an anorexia survivor who sincerely believes she has Instagram to thank for the recovery she made a number of years into her distressing disorder.
Lewis, who is currently a psychology student, first became ill when she was 15 years old and weighed a miniscule 70 lbs at her lowest point.
“It started in high school when I wanted to lose weight because I always felt fat growing up,” she revealed.
Lewis has confessed to constantly feeling “fat and ugly” because her friends managed to find boyfriends whereas she continually remained single.
It wasn’t long before Lewis began to connect her lack of romantic relationships with her physical appearance and from that point, her relationship with food totally spiraled out of control.
At the height of her illness, Lewis, like many other sufferers of eating disorders, deluded herself into thinking that she had everything under control. In reality, she was losing her grip on her emotional and physical health and risked driving herself to an early grave.
“When I was ill, I didn’t believe there was anything really wrong with me,” Lewis recalled. “I genuinely believed I could maintain at that weight and still live a fairly normal life. I didn’t want to get rid of my eating disorder.”
“I refused to comply with treatment and was convinced that everyone was against me, lying to me and trying to ruin my life,” she continued.