The Little Mix ladies aren’t ones to shy away from confronting and talking about subjects many people shy away from discussing in the public eye.
Jade recently teamed up with the popular Radio 1 Podcast “Life Hacks” to discuss her own personal experience of overcoming anorexia. In the thirty-four minute podcast, she visited an eating disorder clinic, where she spoke to patients offering them advice and support.
Please note that the podcast and content below could be triggering to some individuals, so please do proceed with caution.
Jade was treated for anorexia nervosa as a teenager. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. In the podcast, Jade meets two fans Megan and Marissa who are 14 years old and are currently in hospital receiving treatment for anorexia.
In the podcast Jade is very open and candid about her own struggle, she feels her anorexia stemmed from her grandfather passing away when she was 13 years old. She was getting bullied badly at school, her mum and dad were arguing a lot. She says “I felt there were so many things I couldn’t control.” ” I guess my anorexia started as a way of controlling something. I felt like not eating was the one thing I had control over.”
She goes on to say she was “quite a lonely person” who was “on her own a lot” and thought “it was normal”.
“It was like a dark secret I kept to myself.” Her Mum didn’t know there was anything wrong for over a year and a half. “It was my own thing that I could do to myself and nobody knew about.
In the frank podcast she goes on to describe how as her anorexia got worse, she began to look in the mirror and think she wasn’t skinny enough. “I sort of had this body dysmorphia, it was never enough to be who I was.”
At she was 15 and seeing a counsellor at school, she’d talk to them about other subjects but not her anorexia. “As I knew she’d do something about it.”
Jade admits she wore lots of baggy clothes to hide how small she had become and how her ribs were sticking out. “At that moment I was so down and depressed about everything that was going on in my life, I guess I sort of just wanted to waste away.”
Before she went to the hospital her mum staged a big intervention and included one of Jade’s best friends Holly (who she now lives with.) They tried to force her to eat, “I was horrible to everyone, it really had a damaging effect on my family.”
Jade finally spoke to her counsellor. “I think my turning point was I got tired of hating myself so much. I just sort of blurted it out. The relief I felt, it was like a weight had been lifted off me.”
She says her X Factor audition was one of the things that gave her the courage and determination to stay well so that she could change her life. “I don’t associate myself now with who I was before.”
If you really want to do what your dreams are or achieve something in life, then you have to get better!- Jade Thirlwall on her own personal experience of overcoming anorexia.
You can listen to the full podcast below.
While the podcast is quite tough to listen to, here at CelebMix we think if Jade speaking out about her own personal experience can inspire and encourage just one other person, to speak out and seek help if they feel like Jade ever has, then it’s one of the bravest things in the world Jade could have done.
Both Megan and Marissa’s stories highlight that you never know what another person is going through privately and we need to continue to end the stigma where we don’t talk about how we feel and keep it all inside. We also need to educate people more about eating disorders, the signs, what it does to you physically so that other young people like Marissa don’t have to find out via social media what she is doing to her body is harming her.
Thank you, Jade, for speaking out, thank you to Megan and Marissa for sharing your stories with Radio 1. What you have all done in being so open, is brave and it’s a huge, positive step for continuing to normalise talk of mental health and psychiatric disorders.
If you have been affected by anything discussed in this article and podcast please speak to someone or contact any of the charities below.
Beat– The UK’s leading Eating Disorder Charity, they have numerous ways to offer support including one to one web chat sessions.
ANAD– National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, offers support and help for people based in the USA.