Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

“It was an incredible thing to do”: the random act of kindness that helped this woman overcome anorexia

anna wyatt.JPG

Inspiration can turn up in the most unexpected of places. And for one young woman, it appeared in the form of a note from a complete stranger in her local Waitrose when she needed it the most.

Twenty year old student Anna Wyatt was shopping one day when she was handed a note that ended up changing her life. 

At that time, Wyatt was suffering from anorexia and weighed a mere six stone. Her eating disorder was so bad that she had to postpone her studies at the University of Exeter and move to her hometown (Norwich) to seek treatment from her local NHS service.  

Above: Anna Wyatt on the road to recovery

Wyatt told the Eastern Daily Press that she was undergoing both cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive analytic therapy there, which focused on changing her mindset.

But she wasn’t able to respond to treatment and her weight continued to plummet.

“Having anorexia is like having the conscious part of your brain put in a very small box, which is surrounded by a much larger fog swirling all around inside your head,” she says.

“You know what is sensible but there is something that stops you from doing it.”

It was not until she was handed a note by a stranger - fellow anorexia sufferer Ella Crouch - that she finally saw some hope. Crouch handed Wyatt the paper directing her to her own blog which outlined her struggles and road to recovery.

Crouch had received the help she needed from a personal trainer, Leon Bustin. 

Wyatt explained that this physically approach to overcoming her illness caught her attention, and she decided to contact him, slowly building up muscles and gaining weight through exercise, which gradually lead to an improvement in her eating habits. 

Above: Anna's Good Samaritan and fellow anorexia sufferer, Ella Crouch 

“I had a look on Ella’s blog and for the first time thought ‘this is the way the to go’,” Wyatt says. “If she hadn’t given me that note I think I’d have been hospitalised pretty soon as I would have kept losing weight.

“I found I needed to put on weight first, and then the mindset could change.”
“It was an incredible thing for the person to do, to be brave enough to walk up to a stranger and offer that help.”

Naturally the road to recovery is always a difficult one, but Wyatt explained that 18 months after the act of kindness had “changed my life.” She is now planning to trek Machu Picchu in Peru next August in order to provide equipment to a hospital in northern Ski Lanka. On her Just Giving page, she wrote:

"It's an important goal physically and mentally for me too. 

"Over the last few years I've been recovering from severe anorexia (with the help of an awesome personal trainer), and now that the worst is behind me I find that challenging myself to complete physical and mental challenges is something that motivates me every day to keep going and to hopefully prove to others out there suffering that the world is a much more fun place when your body is strong enough to enjoy it."

Anorexia falls under the umbrella of eating disorders, which is estimated to affect 1.6 million people in the UK. It's a serious mental health condition and is statistically more likely to affect women, with the onset of the condition most likely to occur at the age of 16-17.

For more information and support on overcoming eating disorders, check out NHS advice here.

Related

amalie lee instagram recovery.JPG

Woman documents her recovery from anorexia on Instagram

friends.JPG

The greatest ever, most inspiring acts of kindness to give you a boost

ThinkstockPhotos-158570101.jpg

Anxiety sufferer receives touching note from anonymous student

SATC hero.JPG

The one free thing that’s proven to fight and prevent depression

267_ns_feat_mentalhealth_v1.jpg

Stylist hears first-hand what it’s like to live with mental illness

finetattoo.jpg

Woman's tattoo illustrates what it’s like to suffer from depression

615x330_rexfeatures_1531259a.jpg

Why are women going under the knife?

ThinkstockPhotos-179018587.jpg

How much water should you really be drinking?

Lucy141_rt.jpg

Lucy Mangan: “Why I Asked For Help For My OCD”

Comments

More

Piers Morgan is finally quitting social media

If only it was forever

by Amy Swales
22 Mar 2017

Louis Theroux on the one documentary he had to abandon

“I would still love to do it. The world’s my oyster.”

by Georgina Wilkinson
22 Mar 2017

Meghan Markle on the importance of embracing mixed-race beauty

“A face without freckles is a night without stars.”

by Moya Crockett
22 Mar 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Chrissy Teigen's Moroccan adventures to Adele's call for support

by Nicola Colyer
22 Mar 2017

Mariah Carey’s most famous song is being turned into a film

And it all sounds *so* Mariah.

by Moya Crockett
22 Mar 2017

Ellen DeGeneres on how two glasses of wine sent her to A&E

“Just think of any curse word and I said that. I invented three new ones, actually.”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Mar 2017

Theresa May finally explains why she held hands with Donald Trump

“He said it might be a bit awkward”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Mar 2017

Lena Dunham hits back after being red carpet shamed

The Girls creator does not tolerate jibes about her appearance

21 Mar 2017

Stylist meets feminist powerhouse Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Talking feminism, fashion and everything in between

by Susan Riley
21 Mar 2017

Rio Ferdinand on coping with panic and anxiety: ‘I thought I was weak’

The footballer struggled to cope following the death of his wife, Rebecca, in 2015

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Mar 2017