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Ormskirk woman wins seven-year battle with anorexia

Lexi Callaway's dream of being a mum gave her motivation to beat disorder

Lexi Callaway, 24, from Ormskirk, with her dogs

BY KATE LALLY

A young woman from Ormskirk has won her seven-year battle with anorexia.

Lexi Callaway, 24, says she became completely obsessed with food and weight, sometimes taking up to 50 laxatives each day.

Now well on her way to recovery, Lexi says her goal of becoming a mum one day is what spurred her on to fight her illness.

Her ordeal began when she was 17, in her first year of college. A bout of depression caused her to lose a considerable amount of weight and she began to notice every inch of her body more and became obsessed with looking at ‘pro-ana’ (that is, promoting anorexia) websites.

Lexi said: “I remember comparing my body with my friends’ and also becoming aware that all my family were on diets and their relationship with food was not healthy.

“It played on my mind more and more until I socially withdrew from everyone.

“It was almost like the more weight I lost, the fatter I felt.”

Lexi Callaway, 24, from Ormskirk, during her illness, when she said she 'always felt cold'

Lexi’s GP referred her to a mental health assessment unit, where she was told they would not be able to give her the level of support and treatment she would need, so she was referred to a private eating disorder unit.

She said: “I literally had to be dragged there. Then they weighed me and told me my BMI was under 15, which secretly made me feel great.

“They wanted to keep me in an adolescent unit but, much to my relief, my family believed it was a phase I would grow out of and wanted me to finish education, so I went home.”

Once she had finished her studies, Lexi took a job as a nanny in London, so she could hide her disordered eating habits from her family. She became drastically sicker, surviving on nothing but fruit and diet coke, with the occasional binge and purge cycle.

When she returned to Lancashire a year later, Lexi became obsessed with the gym and spent around five hours there every day. A few months later, whilst attending ED day care, she collapsed at the wheel while driving and wrote her car off in a bad accident.

She said: “This still wasn’t enough of a wake-up call and my eating patterns and health both got worse and worse.

“One day I couldn’t take the hunger and I wolfed three slices of bread down without thinking. I felt so guilty and ashamed afterwards that I took an overdose.”

Earlier this year, the anorexia took a tight grip again and Lexi lost nearly two stone in just three weeks.

Lexi spent four months in an inpatient unit after being admitted with low haemoglobin, low WCC, neutropenia and low alkaline phosphaise and was given an NG feeding tube. With the help and expertise of a dietician, DBT psychologist and nursing staff, Lexi began to gain weight.

Lexi now considers herself ‘healthy again’, although she has osteoporosis and severe gastric problems from the damage the anorexia caused to her body.

She said: “Don’t get me wrong, when I’m stressed out or under pressure, it does rear its ugly head, but I fight it with everything I’ve got. My little dogs give me a reason to get up in the morning.

“Life is much better now. I can actually be involved with things my friends do because I’m no longer too weak and I’ve made huge progress with bonding with my family, who I pushed away for years.

“At my lowest point, I couldn’t even stand up without collapsing and passing out was a daily occurrence.

“I am thankful to many people but am so grateful to have the most amazing best friend Ally who practically saved my life by dragging me to the doctors earlier this year. She is the most supportive friend in the world.

“My biggest goal in life is to have a family of my own.

“I adore children and can’t wait to become a mum. I also want to make a difference to the lives of others and adopt rescue dogs.”

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