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Teenager Becky Petley on the road to recovery after anorexia battle
AT her worse she could not leave the house.
Last year Becky Petley’s anorexia was so bad that she could barely stand. She spent her days on the sofa, watched over by her anxious family.
This time last year she had been admitted to Southampton General Hospital as a result.
It seems like a lifetime ago to the confident 18-year-old from Southampton.
And she has launched a campaign to focus on anorexia recovery and raise awareness about the availability of day support programmes that she says were key to her recovery.
She also wants to raise funds with a skydive in February for April House eating disorder service in Southampton, without which she doesn’t think she would have recovered.
Becky’s eating disorder began when she started secondary school, but didn’t take hold fully until she started college in 2010.
“The causes were complex,” she says.
“I had quite negative core beliefs about myself and we had some difficult times as a family. I think these things combined led to an opportunity for anorexia to develop.”
The eating disorder raised Becky’s anxiety levels and she was unable to cope with college, leaving shortly before her exams last year.
It was at this point that her mother said she had to go to her GP.
“At first I was a bit shocked that she thought I had an eating disorder,” she says.
“It hadn’t occurred to me that it was an illness.”
Becky was given support, and after her health had deteriorated, she was admitted to hospital where she was put under the care of April House.
She spent every week day there, getting the support and help that she needed.
“The intensity and the amount of insight and tools I was given really prompted my recovery.
“Now I’m the happiest I’ve been in years. The eating disorder was building up and almost had to get really bad in order for me to recover from it.”
To show that people can get better, she has launched a website, Freedom to Fly, telling her own story.
“When I was trapped in it, I couldn’t see a way out. I want people to realise recovery is possible.
“I think it’s important to be completely pro-recovery. Part of my campaign is not to use figures about weight, etc.
“When I was ill I found that incredibly triggering because of the competitive side of eating disorders.
“When I was in April House people said how encouraging it was for them to see me recovering.
I thought if I can share my story, maybe I can help even more people to recover.”