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Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall opens up about anorexia battle

"Doctors told me that I would die if I kept doing it."

2019-08-12

Little Mix's Jade Thirlwall has opened up about her experiences with anorexia, revealing she was told by doctors she would die if her battle with the eating disorder continued as a teenager.

The 'Bounce Back' singer and staunch LGBTQ ally, 26, told the BBC's Life Hacks podcast that she was left in a "horrible state" after developing anorexia prior to finding fame on The X Factor in 2011.

She told podcast host Katie Thistleton: "Anorexia was my own dark secret and I guess I was sort of satisfied with that. It was my own thing that I could do to myself and nobody knew about it.

"I obviously became very small and my ribs were sticking out. I was very gaunt and I used to wear a lot of baggy clothes to hide that.

 
 
 
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"In my head, I felt so down and depressed about everything that was going on in my life, I really just wanted to sort of waste away.

"I got in a really horrible state. The turning point – and the reason why I first told my counsellor – was when I got tired of hating myself so much. The second turning point for me was when I was at hospital and the doctors told me that I would die if I kept doing it.

"To hear somebody say that to you is actually quite scary and I started to realise how damaging it was for my family."

Jade, who along with her bandmates received the 'Honorary Gay' Award at the Attitude Awards last year in acknowledgement of the group's LGBTQ advocacy, explained she had decided to speak out about her experiences in order to help others who may be struggling with an eating disorder or body image issues.

"I'd become so selfish with how I felt about myself I forgot that I had family and friends who were also really hurting because of what I was doing," she recalled.

"It sounds really weird, but I saw anorexia like an angel on my shoulder. Anorexia for me was control, and if I was controlling something then I was winning.

"It wasn't until I had therapy about it that I realised anorexia was actually the devil on my shoulder. That it wasn't my friend.

 

"I really struggled to understand that at first, because I was so isolated and didn't talk to anyone."

"I’d got so used to hearing that voice telling me, 'Don't eat that' or 'Don't look in the mirror', 'You're still ugly, you still have a long way to go'.

"It took a long time to realise that voice wasn't good for me any more."

Meanwhile, Jade was recently confirmed as a guest judge on the inaurugal series of RuPaul's Drag Race UK, set to kick off on BBC Three this October - click here to find out more.

If you or somone you know is struggling with an eating disorder visit beateatingdisorders.org.uk or call the Beat helpline on 08 08 801 06 77.