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“Being trapped everyday with my own thoughts is really exhausting”- how eating disorders rage through the Coronavirus

For Zoe Burnett, a new num, a Tedx speaker, and an atypical anorexia sufferer, counting calories and excessive exercise are a coping mechanism and emotional avoidance, but when the world is in disarray, she finds herself desperately wanting a way out while clinging onto her old eating disorders practices.

First, panic buying started tearing apart each supermarket, which for her sent a wave of extreme anxiety and stress. Even in a normal circumstance, a trip to a supermarket is a challenging enough task. Now all the ‘safe food’ – the foods that she can eat when she is dealing with extreme anxiety – was nowhere to be seen, and she was just holding her shopping list standing in front of empty shelves, she could not help but went home empty-handed, as it is physically impossible for her to immediately come up with alternative foods to buy on the spot. “I get so stressed out at supermarkets at the best of times, but then to see the shelves bare with all my safe food…I really struggle with,” she said.

Later gyms and all the exercise facilities were shut, which again was something she found hard to cope with. Still reeling from the exercise addiction brough by her eating disorder, she had been on a regular schedule to swim several times a week. “From swimming three to four times a week to suddenly nothing, that was so hard to deal with,” she added.

Before March last year, she was on her way to nearly full recovery, but when lockdown hit, she was suddenly plunged into a dark pit. However she managed to stay well, because she was pregnant at the time with a girl, she tried her best, “I had to, I wanted a daughter for so long,”. After her daughter, Rosie, was born in September, and one lockdown followed another, she now finds herself completely powerless to pick up yet another battle. “I was so exhausted from the first fight, the first lockdown..and now I have just lost my fight a little bit.”

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