At the height of my illness almost a year ago, I was as underweight as 'J'. The control I exerted over my food intake was of paramount importance to my peace of mind. In retrospect, with my weight and health almost restored, I realise that the more undernourished my body became, the more incapable I was of viewing anything as any healthy person would. My perception of myself, as well as everything around me, was totally distorted; loss of reason is a classic condition in anorexia and continues to deteriorate with dramatic weight loss.
Ms Patterson suggests that, as a 16-year-old, 'J' should be mature enough to make her own decisions. I can assure all Independent readers that age and experience have very little bearing in a disease such as anorexia nervosa, which renders the victim almost as helpless as a child, where treatment is seen as a terrifying prospect and always subordinate to self-control.
ALICE JANE BUTLER
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