Anorexia so nearly killed me

Shan­non hopes to in­spire oth­ers in fight­back from dis­or­der:

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - An­to­nia Ban­nis­ter News Re­porter an­to­nia.ban­nis­ter@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A YOUNG woman from Coven­try has spo­ken of her strug­gle with anorexia in the hope she can help oth­ers over­come their own eat­ing dis­or­ders.

Shan­non Fi­nan’s battle with food started at a young age. Even as a child play­ing with her friends she was con­scious of her size.

At 16, Shan­non was di­ag­nosed with anorexia.

Now 21, she told of her battle with from the eat­ing dis­or­der which nearly killed her. Shan­non said: “I al­ways suf­fered.

“Play­ing with friends as a child I would look in the car mir­ror at my stom­ach and think ‘why do I look like this?’”

She added: “I went from nine stone to six stone in the space of a year. I was just drink­ing cof­fee and liq­uids.

“Your mind goes once it’s taken over.

“I even con­tem­plated not be­ing here. But I have nieces and neph­ews and I thought I can’t not be here for them.”

As part of her re­cov­ery, Shan­non re­ceived both in and out pa­tient treat­ment. She said: “When I was re­ally ill I wrote to the Prime Min­is­ter ask­ing for help. I got the same re­ply ev­ery time and I re­alised he wasn’t go­ing to help.

“I needed to try and raise aware­ness my­self.”

The Coven­try na­tive’s through came af­ter hear­ing about an­other young­sters battle with self­es­teem is­sued. She said: “For me, one per­son’s story changed my life.

“I was watch­ing a doc­u­men­tary about Demi Lo­vato and it clicked that some­thing wasn’t right.”

She added: “Now I want to push my story out there and hope­fully it will click with some­one else.”

Since be­gin­ning her re­cov­ery nearly three years ago, Shan­non has made it her mission to help oth­ers over­come their body im­age demons. Shan­non said: “There is no bal­ance. You’re scru­ti­nised for ev­ery­thing – be­ing too big or too small.”

Through the group, Fix­ers, Shan­non has been able to share her story and re­cov­ery with the on­line com­mu­nity.

Shan­non’s story reached a wider plat­form when her Fixer’s video was shared on ITV news. Shan­non told the Tele­graph: “It’s been crazy since my video was on the news. It’s been shared through Face­book and got around 9,000 views in a week.”

Shan­non is now cam­paign­ing for bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion in school around the is­sues of eat­ing dis­or­ders and body im­age. She said: “My main ob­jec­tive is to get the Prime Min­is­ter to help me get school cur­ricu­lums to pro­mote pos­i­tive body im­age and self-love.

She added: “I never learnt any­thing about this, or what foods you should be eat­ing, at school.

“I also want to ed­u­cate my­self so I can give other peo­ple the best ad­vice.”

While she is well on her way to re­cov­ery, Shan­non still has days where she strug­gles. She said: “When I have a down day it There is no bal­ance.

“You have to pus though so you don’t a rut.”

Ev­ery year Shan­non marks her re­cov­ery day in Septem­ber by tak­ing on an­other chal­lenge. She said: “On the first an­niver­sary I did a sky­dive. Then I did a Wolf Run.

“Maybe this an­niver­sary I’ll do some­thing like go to uni­ver­sity, which I wasn’t able to do be­fore.”

Margo Hors­ley, CEO of Fix­ers where Shan­non helps spread her pos­i­tive body im­age mes­sage, said: “Young peo­ple across the UK are fac­ing an epi­demic of un­hap­pi­ness.

“Some 67 per cent of young peo­ple who be­come Fix­ers put men­tal health is­sues at the heart of the is­sue they want to fix.

“With this wor­ry­ing trend pre­dicted to rise, this is­sue is some­thing that so­ci­ety has to ad­dress.

She added: “Shan­non is a won­der­ful am­bas­sador for Fix­ers. We are proud to have Shan­non rep­re­sent­ing her area at the event next month.

“We are sure her hard work and pas­sion will en­cour­age more 16 to 25-year-olds to come to us with is­sues of their own they wish to cam­paign about.” ■ To find out more about Shan­non’s story, search Twit­ter for @road­2re­cov­eryx

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