"I thought only girls got eating disorders"
16 April 2019, 11:54 | Updated: 16 April 2019, 11:58
Ben Robinson's been sharing his experiences of battling anorexia to beat the stigma.
A man from Bolton's hoping to break the stigma around men suffering eating disorders by sharing his story.
24-year-old Ben Robinson will attempt to swim 5km in two hours in Lake Windermere to raise funds and awareness for the eating disorder charity Beat.
Ben himself suffered from an eating disorder from the age of 15.
Speaking about why he wanted to raise money for Beat, Ben said "Beat is a charity that is very close to my heart, due to me personally suffering from anorexia nervosa from the age of 15. I spent one year as an inpatient in a specialised adolescent unit, at a very low weight and having physical health complications due to the strain and starvation I put my body through.
"When I was told I had anorexia, I thought everybody would think 'he's mental' or 'what a weirdo', so I kept it very quiet that I had an illness. It was only till I spoke about having anorexia to my friends and family that I realised that I wasn't mental or a weirdo and it was just a case of having an illness, just as someone who suffers from diabetes or epilepsy.
"I have now been recovered from anorexia for two years and have now chosen this challenge because I want to show not only the people who suffer from eating disorders, but also everybody who is going through a tough time with their own mental health issues, that you can be at rock bottom, but still overcome something that you once thought was impossible."
"Mental illnesses need early intervention to prevent them going to the extent of the people needing inpatient treatment. So hopefully by doing this swim, I will show others that it's ok not to be ok, come forward and get the help they need and help them realise that they can overcome their illness rather than think they can't."
An estimated 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from eating disorders, serious mental illnesses that include binge eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia and other types.
Beat's Community Fundraising Officer Emily Battersby-Case said "Ben is doing so much in raising awareness and money to help ensure that eating disorder sufferers get the support they need. His courage and determination are inspiring and will mean more people get help soon.
"Last year Beat directly supported over 17,000 people and this year we will help more than 30,000. The dedication of Ben and other fundraisers like him is essential in achieving that goal."