From Olympic hopeful to hours away from death, a harrowing yet inspirational story of suffering and recovery from severe anorexia nervosa.
Running Free: My Battle with Anorexia tells the unique story of how an aspiring athlete developed severe anorexia nervosa but, after several years of acute suffering from this dreadful condition, has managed to embark upon a steady process of recovery. Rebecca was first diagnosed with anorexia nervosa aged 19, although had started to show signs of anorexia in her early adolescence. She was a competitive athlete, being ranked in the top 30 in the UK as a teenager for the 400 metre hurdles, and hoped to pursue it as a career.
It was when Rebecca started at university and was training with professional athletes, that anorexia truly started to take over her life. Her dreams of becoming an Olympian slipped away as she fell into the grips of anorexia. Rebecca was admitted to an eating disorder hospital on the brink of death. For several years later, Rebecca was a revolving door patient and, on each admission into hospital, was told it was touch-and-go if she would survive. On each admission Rebecca was sectioned and tube fed, and during one admission ran away to Paris. Some of the treatment she received in hospital is shocking and hard hitting.
Rebecca reached rock bottom, both physically and mentally. She had repeated and lengthy hospital admissions and dedicated her life to anorexia for over a decade; a period which should have been the prime of her life. It was thought by many that she was a lost cause.
However, her last hospital admission was in 2011 and she is now in recovery. In sharing her ongoing recovery journey, Rebecca explains how far she has come and what motivates her to keep making progress. Rebecca is now in control and managing anorexia, rather than being controlled by it, and she uses her lived experience to raise awareness and understanding of eating disorders.
Running Free: My Battle With Anorexia is a memoir of suffering and ongoing recovery from anorexia. It provides hope and inspiration to the many sufferers, carers and families of this chronic disease and shows that recovery is always possible. It is also a unique memoir which breaks new ground and highlights the dangers and seriousness of eating disorders in sport, in which the prevalence of eating disorders is over three times that of the general population.