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Player Stories: How I Tackle Mental Health

Chapter III

Taking control of my recovery

When I was a teenager, I suffered really badly from anorexia.

There were financial worries in my family, and I started to simply skip lunch. From there, it soon developed into a control issue, with hunger being the only thing I could control in my life at the time. I was failing my exams; I wasn’t fuelling my brain; I wasn’t able to help my best friend, who was very ill; and all of this meant I was going through a very hard time, while also struggling to come to terms with my sexuality and where this left me with peers.

One of the best things for me was reading a story about someone who is also suffering and about how they had been using hunger as a control element. Once I was able to identify that, I realised why I was starving myself and I could start working on healing and recovery.

Healing takes time though, and at that point it was too late for my physical health. I had made myself quite ill and I couldn’t continue to do a lot of the sports I wanted and really enjoyed doing. But by no longer letting the control rule me, I was able to slowly start to move forward. This was boosted when I came out and realised that no one actually minded that I wasn’t like those around me.

It’s taken me a long time to recover, but I think the best thing I can do is to promote the broad reason why people are anorexic, especially in males. There’s this preconceived and limited notion that it’s always about body image or calorie counting, but it can be so much more; it can simply be what’s going on at home.

Joining Taexali and starting rugby has been amazing for my confidence . It shows me how far I’ve come.