Young woman uses Instagram to overcome anorexia
When Connie Inglis looked at herself in the mirror at the age of 13, she did not like what she saw. "Small boobs, belly folds, cellulite, little muffin top, thighs touching. But my least favourite part of me has always been my tummy. I wanted it to be perfect and flat. I wanted to look like the girls I used to idolize but it never happened no matter what I tried," she recalls. The young woman from Leeds spent the next 10 years battling anorexia.
Connie was doing everything she could to eat absolutely nothing, which sent her into a spiral of self-destruction.
"Not that anyone knew, I hid myself away in baggy clothes and blankets, refusing to leave the house and just telling everyone I wouldn’t eat because I didn’t feel well," she said. Her family had no idea that Connie had anorexia until the end of 2015 when her body could not take it any longer.
"I was getting treated for depression but not until I collapsed did anyone really consider anorexia," she explained.
Connie was steadily losing weight and had even cut her own belly to try to make it flatter. By the end of 2015 things were getting serious: "Anorexia had taken over my life and I just wanted to die," she admitted. When she was hospitalized for the third time, her condition was so bad that doctors had to hook her up to a nasogastric tube to get some nourishment into her body.
At the time, Connie was horrified by what people were trying to do to her, "I was forced to watch as the scale went up every week and I could do nothing about it (not that I didn't try). I hated everyone who put me through that!"
But what really saved Connie was the support of her family and her boyfriend: "Eventually I asked my boyfriend if it was ok if I ate, he told me I should. For the first time in my life I realized that I loved these people more than my ed*. So I fought, I fought like hell!"
Connie's recovery had started. And thanks to her Instagram account and a group on WhatsApp, Connie has discovered a new way to overcome her illness while encouraging the rest of the world to love their bodies.
By posting photos of herself that are often unflattering, Connie wants people to realize what is really important in life.
In the photo she shared from December 2015, at her lowest moment, she was terribly thin. It's amazing to see how much she has changed in just a year! But Connie wasn't sharing her story or the picture for sympathy. She knows that she is one of the lucky ones and that "everyone's struggle is valid."
And she adds: "Yes I still have the thoughts. But I am strong enough now to resist! Keep going! You can get through this hell and I will be with you every step of the way!!! We can do this together!!!!"
In addition, Connie has started a JustGiving campaign to help other people with eating disorders. Her life is now much better: she is studying art at university and she has met wonderful people. But she does admit that it's still a constant struggle: "Saying this she’s (anorexia) still really f*****g determined! Holding on tight with her little claws dug in! But I have decided that it is time, it is time for recovery! And I’m just going to dive in and hope like hell it all goes to plan!"
We wish Connie all the best with her recovery and look forward to seeing more of her beautifully natural photos on Instagram.
If you think that you or someone you know might be suffering from an eating disorder, speak out and seek help. Because as Connie's story shows, there is a way out!