I Was A Boy Anorexic

Having successfully overcome anorexia, SIMON METIN now wants to help others facing similar problems.

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When I got my admissions letter to read medicine at the University of Cambridge, my life was changed forever. However, not in the way one might think. Although I blend into a crowd of 350 medical students, my story is one that is rather unique, but comes with a message of hope to others.

Being a teenager was difficult: having to cope with bullying, family issues and having few friends to confide in. For these reasons and many more, I developed Anorexia Nervosa, a disease that I first heard about when I was admitted to an in-patient unit where I would spend the next two years. Being male, anorexia is quite uncommon, but with all the problems at home, controlling what I ate seemed to be an obvious thing to do.

Over the course of 6 months I went from a healthy BMI of 20 to a life threateningly lower level and yet still had no perception of what was going on. All I could hear was my family and friends continually asking me if I was all right. ‘Yes’, I would reply in increasingly irritated tones, and by this point my body image had warped into one where I was getting fatter and more unattractive.

A headshot taken by the clinic Simon was admitted to, age 15

When I was admitted to Rhodes Farm clinic in North London, I was described as the most defiant patient the nurses had seen. With the control I had over food taken away from me, and with regular therapy appointments, eating became somewhat easier. At that time, I was one of three boys in the clinic, which was something many had never seen before. As a result of this, I was put into a BBC documentary called ‘I’m a Boy Anorexic’ which is still being viewed by people all over the world.

Over the next two years I began to understand that I was mentally ill and tried my best to get better, but sometimes the ‘voice’ would bring me back under. Prior to this experience I’d had aspirations of becoming an actor, but my time at the clinic persuaded me to devote my energies to medicine. This became a motivational force that drove me forward in my treatment. That may have been why I worked so hard to achieve the best GSCE and A-level results in school. When I received my acceptance letter from King’s College Cambridge, a college known for interesting people, it delivered the final blow in a long battle with my mind.

Healthy and happy, Simon has fully recovered from his disorder

I am now a third year medic who has kept this story to myself over the past two years. However, after the documentary was released I have received countless messages from people suffering from eating disorders and have coordinated treatment for a number of people all over the world.

This is why I have decided to make a YouTube blog about my story to show that there is always hope for full recovery. With the hindsight of an ex-patient and the knowledge I have now, I have also used my videos to answer questions people have about eating disorders. I can only hope that with enough encouragement and guidance, they too can strike down the afflictions that silently torment them.

Simon’s YouTube blog can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/smetin92 and follow him on Twitter: @smetin92