Edinburgh woman on noticing 'worrying difference' as an 11-year-old schoolgirl

An Edinburgh woman has opened up on her struggles with food after first noticing a change when she was only 11 years-old.

Holly White has told how she felt she may "never recover" while going through the worst stages of her eating disorder. She is hoping that by speaking up on her experiences, it will show other young woman that there is an end point to the struggles.

The 21-year-old explained that she first developed her insecurities when she was in school. She always felt like she was "bigger than everyone else". The situation then continued to escalate before she finally received therapy in 2022 for her struggles.

Read More: Edinburgh man attacked Starbucks staff in drunken tirade when asked to leave

Read More: Feral Edinburgh young team caught on camera 'raiding' Sainsbury's delivery van

Speaking to Edinburgh Live, she said: "I have struggled with my body image for most of my life, but it started when I was 11 and at that age, I didn't even really know what an eating disorder was.

"I would say, a good half of my life, I have struggled with it but during the summer of 2022, it got really bad. Throughout my life, hard moments would come and go and I would try and recover on my own but it was a lot harder when it felt like it was just me going through it and nobody else in my life really understood it.

"I grew up a bigger kid, I really enjoyed food and I always saw myself as being bigger than everyone else around me. I always remember this one moment in school when we were sharing jumpers and I noticed that my size of jumper was bigger compared to everyone else and I just continued to think from that moment that I was different compared to everyone else.

"I have also grown up being taller than everyone else too so I just always thought I was too big really."

She added that during the worst moments, she felt like she was "invisible" and that her eating disorder was the only thing that she could control.

She said: "I also struggle with depression and anxiety and I felt like I had no friends. I just felt invisible. I then turned to my eating disorder because it felt like I was the only thing I could control.

"At the time, I didn’t want to worry my family or make it a big deal - I always tried to hide it. Nobody really noticed but eventually I told my dad and he was really understanding. It was hard for him to hear that I had struggled with it half my life and he hadn't noticed.

Join Edinburgh Live's Whatsapp Community here and get the latest news sent straight to your messages.

"I finally got help at the end of 2022 and I then started recovery which allowed me to see where it was coming from."

Holly now hopes she can help others in a similar situation and show that there is a "light at the end of the tunnel".

She said: "I am so proud of myself now because for so long, I couldn't see myself ever recovering. I just want people to see that it is possible to see an end.

"When you have a big support group around you, it does help. The Instagram page is a place that will allow people to come and get advice and not be alone.

"I also want to have somewhere for people to go to for information because there is a lot of misinformation out there."

You can visit Holly's group, Edinburgh Recovery Club, here

If you are struggling and need help and support there are a number of organisations who can be contacted.