‘Death felt like a relief’: Anorexia survivor shares story
At an age where life should be carefree and happy, Lexi Crouch was beginning a mental health battle that made life hell for years.
Aged just seven when she first got symptoms, Ms Crouch was officially diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at 13 after her illness thrived in a boarding school where, away from her parent's eyes, her eating disorder rapidly spiralled.
"I went away to boarding school thinking if I moved away I would flourish in a new environment. But I really slid under the radar," she said.
"I was away from friends and family and it gave my illness that environment to thrive. I had up to 25 hospital admissions for my eating disorder. There were so many moments of despair and I had no life outside of it.
"I just did not think there was a way out of this disease. It was a 24-hour ticking time bomb in your head. Death felt like a relief."
Ms Crouch, now 32, said the recovery journey has been long and hard but she beat the illness in her mid-20s after studying nutrition to change her attitude to food.
"I started recovery about 17 times along the track but something that really got to me was that I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired," she said. "I recovered with a lot of different methods like yoga and nutrition and a lifestyle of health and feeling good."
The clinical nutritionist and yoga teacher is now nine years into her recovery and thankful to have survived the illness, which has a very high mortality rate.
"Nine years on, I'm living a total life free of that. I wake up every day so excited that it isn't an issue for me anymore," she said.
Her advice to sufferers: "Find someone who will listen. There is nothing more important than someone being your cheerleader when you can't do that for yourself. We have come such a long way and we are finding different methods of therapy."
Originally published as 'Death felt like a relief': Anorexia survivor shares her story