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Student speaks out about battle with bulimia
BATTLING anorexia and bulimia is not easy on your own, as Georgey Routen found out.
The 20-year-old became ill with eating disorders when she was 14, but insists it was never about looking model-skinny.
Now the Oxford University student is calling for others to speak out to get the help they need, ahead of the start of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week on Monday.
Miss Routen, who lives in Abingdon Road, Oxford, said: “I can’t pin down what caused it, but I remember feeling like the world was rushing past me at a hundred miles an hour.
“So I controlled what I ate to feel like I had control.
“It was never about looking thin or like a celebrity – it was about controlling my world rather than it controlling me. If anyone tried to talk to me about it, I would blow up. “I couldn’t function, couldn’t socialise because going to the cinema meant popcorn. It is a very isolating illness because you cut yourself off.”
The second year history and politics student became skeletal before she managed to gain weight, but doesn’t talk about numbers of stones or pounds because it doesn’t help with recovery.
She added: “I wasn’t living my life, I was just breathing my way through it. “When I realised that, I got myself back to a healthy weight but felt awful. That was when bulimia took over.
“Those were the darkest days because I was fighting two illnesses but looked fine.
“It is not a very nice way to spend the day – being sick.”
Miss Routen was determined to get better before starting her Oxford University degree course. She has been doing well for one and a half years and is now a young ambassador for the Beating Eating Disorders (Beat) support network.
Nicky Boughton, the lead clinician at Cotswold House, an NHS specialist eating disorder clinic in Headington, said they were seeing more extreme cases than previously.
Ms Boughton said: “There are people who are very unwell, living with severe anorexia. Some of them come in on the point of death and we try and help but sometimes it is something they will always be dealing with.”
She said the clinic sees about 250 patients a year referred from Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.
For worries or advice about eating disorders contact the Beat helpline on 0845 6341414.