The following poem has been submitted anonymously from an inpatient, describing her experience with anorexia nervosa and treatment at Nightingale Hospital. 

Anorexia and I have a strange connection 
One that is filled with hatred and affection 

This September I pray it’s one of the past, and by that I mean one that was not like that last

My body doesn’t deserve coldness, disgust and starvation 
But unfortunately, this disease affects 1 in 10 women in the population 

I feel quite broken, lost and endorsed by this disease
So much so that I sat shivering most nights in tears, letting myself freeze 

One day I’ll be better and life will be more precious than before
I won’t take for granted the times I can go about my day where my brain isn’t constantly at war 

My future seems scary, unknown and unpredictable
But moving forward with my life, leaving behind this disorder won’t be regrettable 

Soon I won’t be walking into school, Bendall Mews* or my familiar bedroom door
But I’ll be dressed in my scrubs, much stronger with a new world yet to explore 

I’ll remember mum and dads words when I wake up feeling defeated, hurt and vulnerable
The time when I sat in my old flat crying, my mum shouting down the phone that this disease is recoverable 

I can’t sit and say that recovery is what I definitely want at this moment
But realising I won’t know till I stick at it is all but one component

Recovery means more hands to hold, hugs to have and coffees to drink
Becoming a nurse, being a role model and not forcing my body to shrink 

Not eating and hurting myself is never going to fill the void
Depleting myself of things I loved and foods that I once enjoyed 

Life is more than a two-digit number that appears when you step on a scale
I never felt small enough, even when I entered the Nightingale ill and frail 

It’s harder than it seems because words hurt more than people believe
Despite the amount of times you shout down my ear that I won’t be able to conceive 

I still feel extremely invalid despite spending weeks in hospital
But the thoughts that run around my head every day just aren’t logical 

Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and my heart skips a beat
I miss my sick body and despise myself from my head to my feet 

My heart sinks to the bottom of my chest as I see my bloated stomach and fat on my arms
But knowing that responding to this anger and restricting is only going to cause me further harm 

My time at the Nightingale would never have been so effective
If it wasn’t for the people I met who reassured me and helped as a collective

For my friends in recovery who don’t believe they were ever ill enough
Just know that I’m here by your side, hearing you when weight gain gets tough 

The Nightingale gave me safety and security from the thoughts in my head
Knowing I would be cared for and understood allowed me to sleep when I went to bed 

The song angels, and the scraping of forks still sends shivers down my spine
Knowing I’ll be on Bendall Mews for longer the more things I decline

I wanted to go home and screamed down the phone for hours on my first night
But the girls knocking on my door and slipping a note under made me feel all right 

No one will know the pain I felt as my family drove up the road of Bendall Mews
As the nurses searched through my bag taking away things that I would abuse 

I lay on my bed as the doctor came to check my bloods
I spoke to him with a lump in my throat as he administrated my drugs 

I couldn’t help but compare myself, guilty I was taking up a bed
“Trust the process”, “Everything will be okay” is all that people said

Thank you to the Nightingale and my family for lifting my back onto my feet
Admitting I was poorly and that I needed help was the first leap 

*The eating disorder unit at Nightingale Hospital is situated on Bendall Mews. This is a separate, self-contained unit that backs onto the main hospital. 

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