'People see a tin of soup as a light meal, but I couldn't even eat it' ... Amelia Smith battles back to health after eating disorder
When Amelia Smith was sitting in her kitchen, staring at the ingredients on a tin of soup, she realised it had gone too far.
"There was a night where I thought I'd eaten too much that day," 19-year-old Amelia says.
"I was reading the calories and I started crying because it was so overwhelming.
"Most people would see a tin of soup as a light lunch but I couldn't even eat it."
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Although she knew she had a problem, she still did not recognise it as an eating disorder.
Now, Amelia she can see she has been practising disordered eating for seven years.
This week, Eating Disorder Awareness Week is putting the spotlight on these invisible conditions, where every case is different.
For Amelia, it started at secondary school, when she had her first sniff of independence.
"That was the age when I could choose what to eat, without anyone watching me," says Amelia, who lives off Beverley Road in Hull.
"When I felt like I was losing control, it was a way of regaining it."
She was suffering from anxiety and depression prior to that and food became a way of dealing with it.
Although everybody knows what anorexia is, spotting the first signs is hard, namely because for the sufferer, accepting they have an illness is almost impossible.
With Eating Disorder Aware- ness Week putting the spotlight on this invisible condition, every case is different.
A common myth is that it is only susceptible young girls who are prone to eating disorders.
Founder of Seed Eating Disorder Support Services, Marg Oaten, said the biggest chunk of those she supports are aged between 20 and 30.
Pat Bazlinton, 33, did not start to starve herself until three years ago.
It followed a series of traumatic events – her husband was diagnosed with a mental illness and Pat then found out they could not have children.
"It was like a bereavement to me," said Pat, of Anlaby.
She restricted herself to 300 calories a day, burning her arms if she had too much to eat, and using laxatives.
Taken into hospital regularly for burns treatment, she could not hide the marks from her husband.
Starting out as a size 16, what began as a diet spiralled after she had so many compliments about her weight loss.
When she turned skeletal, her sister-in-law took action, taking Pat to Seed. Still in denial, it was not until Pat heard these stories that she realised where her own path had taken her.
"It was the first place I'd come into contact with sufferers and I realised I had a lot in common," she says.
Amelia was not strong enough to start the steps to recovery but when her boyfriend, Joe Duncan, found her collapsed in the shower, she was rushed to hospital.
"In the hospital they tried to make me eat and I panicked so much," Amelia said.
Previously, when her family pointed out that she was far too thin, she got angry and thought they had an agenda, even though her BMI was only 15.
This was the turning point and when it was spotted by a nurse, Amelia was referred to Seed.
She uses their online support and is building up to going to the support groups in the future.
"I would love to be able to attend a group, that's my dream," Amelia says.
"Thoughts come into my head that now I'm not really thin, they'll just laugh at me and say there's nothing wrong with me."
Pat has now been in recovery for a year and attends Seed's support groups regularly.
"I've had lots of different therapy and therapists, and without Seed, I wouldn't be where I am now," she said.
She doesn't even know how much she weighs now.
"I gave my scales to my sister- in-law. It was a really big day for me," said Pat.
Amelia is now concentrating on her goal of becoming an RAF nurse, which she has longed to do since she was young.
"It felt nice that they could say it has a name, that other people knew how to deal with it," she said.
"It doesn't feel like I'm in it alone anymore."