Connie Inglis, 23, has battled anorexia for 13 years and was hospitalised 3 timesAt her lowest point, the student weighed as much as the average five-year-old She is now in recovery and has used Instagram to document her journeyTold the BBC she uses "honest" posts to show other sufferers...
- Connie Inglis, 23, has battled anorexia for 13 years and was hospitalised 3 times
- At her lowest point, the student weighed as much as the average five-year-old
- She is now in recovery and has used Instagram to document her journey
- Told the BBC she uses ‘honest’ posts to show other sufferers what it’s really like
A recovering anorexic who was sectioned when she weighed as much as a five-year-old girl has revealed how she now helps other sufferers through social media.
Connie Inglis, 23, was given just weeks to live when she was admitted to St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, in 2015, where she was fed through a tube and could not move without the help of a wheelchair.
Speaking candidly about her illness in a new documentary, Connie tells how she has spent the last two years in recovery and now helps others by using Instagram to document her journey.
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Connie Inglis, 23, was given just weeks to live when she was admitted to St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, in 2015 (left at the lowest point in her battle). Right, the student is now in recovery
She tells BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire: ‘I don’t use photoshop and I don’t use editing on Instagram. I don’t put filters on there.
‘I do comparison photos about breathing in and out, sitting down versus standing up, just the different way the body moves. Not everyone has to look like a Victoria Secret Model all the time.
‘I really love helping people and I think that it’s really important for people, those going through recovery especially, to realise they’re not alone in their struggles. No matter how hard it gets they can always get better.
‘I think people follow me because I try to be truthful on my account rather than just show the positive sides of recovery. I show a lot of the negative sides and how hard it is.’
The 23-year-old has spent the last two years recovering from the crippling illness and now helps others by using Instagram to document her journey. Pictured, Connie wearing the same dress during her battle with anorexia (left) and now after putting on weight, right
Connie, from Leeds, shares her personal story on a BBC documentary that airs tonight
Connie, from Leeds, started her Instagram account my_life_without_ana in 2016, and has amassed more than 87,000 followers.
On the account she shares photos of her holding her stomach, posting photos of ‘unflattering angles’, and showing how many images on the site are photoshopped.
Her heartfelt and honest posts about learning to love her body have resonated with many young women also suffering from anorexia.
One follower commented on a recent post: ‘Can I just say how inspiring you are? Whenever I feel bad/upset about my body I think of something you’ve said, or one of your glorious photos.’
Another added: ‘Thank you for being so open and real. You are very brave and strong.’
Connie tells how she is careful to post photos that are unedited, and reflect the setbacks of recovery as well as the victories. Pictured, an example of one of Connie’s social media posts
Miss Inglis, who is in her final year at Leeds Arts University, has struggled with anorexia since she was 10 years old, and has been hospitalised three times in nine years.
Writing in an online post, Ms Inglis said the most recent time, in 2015, was the worst.
‘My experience in the last year has been the most scarring,’ she wrote in 2016. ‘My weight dropped dramatically in December 2015.
‘I had to be emergency referred to a general ward for tube feeding (my BMI was below 13) but I was too ill for this and couldn’t see that this was what my body needed so I fought against it.
Connie uses Instagram, pictured, to write candidly about her long journey to recovery
‘I was sectioned and transferred to a specialist ward for eating disorders where I stayed for the next six months, slowly starting to do things for myself again.’
Speaking to the BBC, she tells how at her lowest point she did not care if she died. ‘I didn’t really care about living or dying, I didn’t mind,’ she says.
‘I just wanted to lose all the weight. It had got to the point where being in hospital wasn’t good enough, the only thing that would have been good enough was if my heart had stopped.
‘That’s the only thing that would have satisfied my anorexia.’
Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. Less than half of sufferers will fully recover. It has been two years since Connie was last admitted to hospital and Connie still worries that she might relapse.
She said the NHS does not have enough cash to fund treatment for the underlying issues that have caused her eating disorder.
She adds: ‘I have asked for further treatment, not to do with my eating disorder but to do with the initial problems that caused my eating disorder, but the NHS doesn’t have enough funding to help.
‘It’s very annoying because it seems like if I’m not starving myself then no-one is going to take me seriously.’
Miss Inglis told the programme her final university project is examining the pressures on women to be thin using Barbie and Bratz body pieces made from boiled and coloured sugar.
She said: ‘If Barbie was a real woman she would not have half her organs, she would be classed as severely anorexic if not dead. It’s just ridiculous.’
Miss Inglis’s story will be shown BBC Inside Out in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire on February 5 at 7.30pm on BBC One. The programme will also be available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.
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