Chloe Swinfield, I feel your anguish. I read the piece and wanted to give you a hug and say it can be OK.
I know because I've been there.
The stigma you are experiencing must make you feel desperately alone. Yet you are not. You are at an age where too many of your peers are feeling that same heartbreaking loneliness as they control and contort their delicate bodies into something they deem worthy. Of love. Of life.
Everyone's reasons are different. It might be an attempt to regain control of a life that feels like it's spiralling; it can be about expectation and wanting to fit in; it can be about seeking approval or peer pressure.
Disordered eating has increased two-fold in the past decade in Australia in males and females 15 years and older. Eating disorders now affect one in every 10 Australians.
You wish everyone would leave you alone so you could die. Yet they will not. This is because, hard as it is for them to watch the life slipping out of your fragile frame, they know you can get better.
I wish I could say the road before you, to get to that place, was easy. It is, unfortunately, a long road back from the brink. Anorexia claims more lives than any other mental illness and devastatingly, as many as one in three don't make it. But, you can get there; to a place where you believe your beautiful body belongs in this world. And that it deserves nourishment.
I was 12 when I stopped eating and spent the next two years in and out of hospitals where, like you, I begged my family to let me lie, so that I could fade away and die.
At 170 centimetres and weighing 36 kilograms I stopped walking. Atrophying in soul and body, I sought to make myself so small that I would cease to exist. My body was a tangible way of managing a mind that felt utterly out of control and unable to cope.
Fed through a nasogastric tube and on the verge of heart failure I was the subject of various ham-fisted, but well-intentioned attempts at fixing me and making me "fight". I don't know that they helped or hindered my recovery but, I did inch back from the brink. One step at a time.
Treatments and understanding of the illness are getting better. Australia is widely regarded as being progressive on this front. For all the people who don't believe it is a real illness, there are those who who do believe and do understand. There are also, of course, champions like your mum, who will fight to make your silent suffering heard.
So don't give up on that seed of life that is in you and don't stop allowing the love of those around you to nourish that seed.
Anorexia and the belief-systems that drive it are complex — as complex as the mind. But, the mind is also malleable. Just because it hurts or wills its own destruction at one point, doesn't mean that it always will.
Slowly, softly, patiently those patterns can be changed and the life that has closed around itself can open again. I know.