Our board member Jack Jacobs is on a crusade to spread a #nolimits mindset having battled and defeated Anorexia Nervosa. Jack wants people to understand their own personal abilities and strength of mind to help develop the ultimate version of themselves every day. He strongly believes this can be achieved through a positive attitude, pushing boundaries and being limitless.
Jack, when did you realise that you had an eating disorder?
I was in denial for over a year. In October 2011, I completely broke down and finally admitted that I had developed a problem with my relationship with food and exercise. I realised that I needed help, I was completely stuck in this rut, this vicious circle, I felt like I was trapped.
At what age were you diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa?
I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa at the age of 14.
Can you explain what Anorexia Nervosa is?
Anorexia Nervosa is a serious mental health illness. It is a state of mind. The by-product of this state of mind is weight loss and many other serious, horrible and life-threatening side effects. Anorexia Nervosa for me is a break down of an individuals relationship with two fundamental things in life, food and exercise. They are both easily controllable and can be used to manipulate your emotions, feelings and ultimately your state of mind. However, Anorexia Nervosa is different for everyone. We are all unique individuals and are triggered by an array of factors and therefore, I don’t have a single definition, I can only draw from what I felt at the time and how I feel now.
“Do I grow, or do I crumble?”
What treatment did you receive?
I was an outpatient for 6 months at CAMHS in London. I was provided family support and various meal plans. I did not feel like I was treated as an individual, I was told to do things that I did not agree with and was told I would never get better if I was argumentative by the psychiatrist. I left CAMHS and embarked on my own journey to recovery in August 2012. I have now fully recovered from Anorexia Nervosa.
How did that make you feel?
It was horrible. They didn’t believe me. They thought I was constantly lying. They told me I couldn’t do my GCSEs. I was once told to go to Starbucks twice a day to get a muffin. They cared more about my weight and the numbers than I ever did and actually made me worse, which is why I decided to leave.
Anorexia statistically has the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness, how does that make you feel?
It’s saddening. I’m grateful to have had a defining moment where I actually wanted to change. If you don’t want to change, you won’t, which is why the vicious cycle keeps on repeating itself over and over again until, unfortunately, it’s too late. I do what I do because I want to inspire others who may be experiencing an issue of any kind to take action.
When did you decide that change needed to happen?
In February 2012, my heart was 33 bpm, my blood pressures 70/40. I asked the nurse if I was going to die and she said we needed to go and speak to my dad. I was subsequently taken up to the fourth floor where the ward was. I remember standing there with an Ensure (meal replacement drink) and to my left, there was individuals my age being fed by tubes. I had a choice, do I grow or do I crumble? On that day, at that moment, I decided to grow.
Can you explain a little about your recovery?
I saw Anorexia as a state of mind. I broke it down into smaller segments. I started to dig deeper into myself, ask myself why I would act in certain ways, why I would feel a certain way and what emotions led to these feelings and actions. I was constantly scanning myself and the environment I was in to understand how and why I was triggered. Building self-awareness and emotional intelligence is the key to your life. I have recovered because I understand myself. I understand who I was, why I was feeling the way I was and who I am now.
What is your outlook now, and what contributed to making you feel this way?
I believe that the only limit is the one you set yourself. We all have a choice in life, we may start at different places and end in different locations, but i’s the journey that counts. The question is, what do you want to be remembered for?
My experiences and surroundings have contributed to me feeling this way. But me doing what I do every single day reminds me why I feel this way and how powerful the NO LIMITS mindset is.
“Building self-awareness and emotional intelligence is the key to your life”
What would be your advice to anyone going through what you did?
Don’t be scared to ask for help. It’s not weak, it’s the strongest thing you can do. Once you admit you have a problem and/or ask for help, you are 70/80% of the way there. Now it’s time to take action. Remember, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Turn the negative emotions, feelings and actions into positive ones.
Change your mindset, change your life.