Yesterday was Mental Health Awareness Day and it’s a very close subject to me. Mental Illness runs in my family .I found out a couple of years ago that my aunt suffered from schizophrenia and it was only until last year that mental illness effected another family member who I’m extremely close to , my twin sister . In a couple of days it would be almost a year since she had the official diagnoses of being servarly anorexic. Since then it’s been the toughest year of my life. Although it’s nearly a year since her official diagnoses, she recently told me that she has been suffering with the illness since she was 15 (nearly 6 years). It’s hard to think that I didn’t know this. I should know this I’m her twin sister she tells me everything right? At the time she kept it well hidden. Looking back now I can see the warning signs. It’s hard to think looking back to when she was younger this would happen to her now. But this is the thing with mental illness it can happen to anyone at any time and at any point in their life. It’s really hard to explain to someone the daily struggle that the person with the illness goes through and how servarly it effects everyone around them. It’s even harder when the person suffering is your twin sister. The bond between twins is fascinating and unique; it’s different than the bond between other siblings. It’s really hard to explain it if you’re not a twin. Being the older twin I’ve always been protected of her and seeing her change. Not only physically but mentally into a different person has been difficult. At the time of her diagnosis I was a month into my second year at uni. I remember the endless skype sessions and calls trying to calm her down when she hit rock bottom .People have so many misconceptions of anorexia. It’s not a weight disorder it’s a mental disorder. Not only is she diagnosed with anorexia but she also suffers from anxiety and depression. At the time watching my sister slowly kill herself and not being able to do anything to help was so agonising and painful. The thought of her going to bed and not waking up the next was constantly in the back of my mind. I felt so guilty that I was going on nights out and she was stuck in her room at uni or in hospital alone and suffering. I think seeing her in hospital was the worst thing for me because that’s when I knew that the illness had fully taken control of her. I remember visiting her at oxford where she was getting treatment and trying not to cry when I saw her.
I get so angry when I read comments telling anorexics to "just eat" or advising parents to force feed someone suffering with anorexia. Like I said before it’s a mental illness not a weight disorder. If it was that simple then Anorexia wouldn’t have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. It scary to think that my sister could be in the 20% that will die prematurely from of the illness. I’m so proud to call her my sister though , She the bravest and strongest person I know and I know she can beat this xxxxx
P.S I did get Becca's permission to post this and all stats are from be-at.co.uk