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Eating Disorder, Identity & Me by Lottie Bolster

Eating Disorder, Identity & Me by Lottie Bolster


I was conscientious, polite, academic, and small...

These were the 'positive' attributes I identified with most whilst growing up. And the greatest of these was small. 

The baby of three siblings, slow to grow, and even slower to put on weight, I could firmly identify myself as small. Anything else I could see in myself was subject to my precarious emotional wellbeing. Even my faith.  

Eventually my body shifted, I grew, I put on weight. Now when I could see no good in myself what was left?

Photography by Lottie Bolster, expert by experience

Feet, small girl and older person

I am a mother, an artist, and a mental health activist.

These are words I use to introduce myself. 

During my pregnancy, depression crept up on me again and I became increasingly dependent on getting comfort from food and exercise. I was referred to a perinatal mental health team, and subsequently onto another eating disorder team. I began to refer to myself as 'having relapsed' into anorexia.

Photography by Lottie Bolster, expert by experience


Am I anorexic? I don't know.

Whilst I’m not sure I’m anorexic I do identify as having an eating disorder. In some respects, the eating disorder identity serves me: I find myself using it to justify myself, my behaviour towards food and exercise and my work. But it’s not me and I know I mustn’t let it define me. What defines me? One aspect of my identity which is more fundamental to my being than all else is that which I am given through my faith as a Christian. Throughout my life I have had a growing faith in God and my security in Him.  Now when I see no good in myself, I hold onto the understanding that He sees me as so much more. It is armed with this identity that I believe I can and will let go of the eating disorder.

Photography by Lottie Bolster, expert by experience

Lottie 2