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Florence Welch Opening up About Eating Disorders gives Hope to Others
by Harriet Frew on August 31st, 2018

​Florence Welch Opening up About Eating Disorders gives Hope to Others 

The recent comments from the singer Florence Welch about how she “started to starve herself” at the age of 17 may have shocked some– but they will have resonated with many others regardless of whether they are fans of her music or not.

Someone in the public eye opening up about an eating disorder - and documenting her struggles in a recent song, Hunger – should be applauded.

She’s young, successful – and proves that eating disorders can affect anyone. 

The charity Beat believes about 1.25m people in the UK have an eating disorder with the condition often developing during adolescence.

Florence’s words certainly struck a chord with me. I’m a therapist now, but when I was 17-years-old, I had bulimia.

My eating disorder started out as an innocent diet, following painful rejection from my first love. 

It could have remained as just a diet, but I was already vulnerable. The seeds of meagre self-worth and inadequacy - sown years previously – meant my resilience was limited. Emotionally, it was devastating.

Restricting my eating was an attempt to feel better, as it was Florence. It was a coping strategy, although I didn’t realise it then. So what can we learn?

An emotional issue
Eating disorders are not about vanity or being a certain dress size. They are emotional problems. They are complex, psychological illnesses – and the numbers are rising.

Masking something far deeper 
We know that young people are under intense pressure. Research from the Prince’s Trust shows that some feel powerless, and are anxious about their future. So they look to the things they can control. But an eating disorder is an often unconscious plaster concealing a much deeper wound.

Help and hope is out there
Eating disorders are treatable illnesses through psychological treatment, and – as with all physical or mental health conditions – the earlier the intervention, the higher the opportunity of a full recovery. 

Personally, I recovered in my mid-20 through a combination of sources - therapy, friendships, reading and trial and error. Today, the condition is much more recognised and understood. Psychological therapy gives people the tools for change.

We can’t hide from it – and it can no longer be taboo to talk about.

More people like Florence Welch speaking out will help others gain the strength to know they are not alone and seek help.


Thanks Andy Burrows at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust for input on this blog post.




Posted in Eating disorder, Loneliness, Motivation and change    Tagged with florence welch, florence and the machine, hunger, eating disorders, Eating Disorder, starve, florence welch, song


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Counselling support for eating disorders and body image.