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Recovering anorexic turned her life around after suffering a breakdown

Tinker Taylor, 22, from Newcastle, developed an eating disorder after spending years feeling like an outcast in school. She is now in recovery and reveals the important role exercic

A receptionist has revealed how she overcame an eight-year battle with anorexia after suffering an emotional breakdown in the middle of the street. 

Tinker Taylor, 22, from Newcastle, developed the eating disorder aged 14 after feeling like an outcast as she struggled to make friends in school.

She saw her weight plummet and the extreme stress on her body left her feeling tired, depressed and anxious. At her lowest point, Tinker's body went into shock after a construction worker started using a pneumatic drill just feet in front of her, leaving her vomiting and screaming in the street.

Now, with the help of counselling, weight-lifting and a balanced diet, Tinker said she has a 'strong' body that she feels 'proud' of and is speaking out in the hope of helping others facing their own battles.

Tinker Taylor, 22, developed the eating disorder aged 14 after feeling like an outcast as she struggled to make friends in school. Pictured left during her battle and right today

Tinker feels 'strong, happy and proud' of herself and credits counselling, weight-lifting and a balanced diet with helping her recovery

She said: 'I can socialise again, go out for food with friends and I'm not bothered about being around food with people.

'I love who I am. I know I have weaknesses I want to work on, but I am proud of where I have come, what I overcame and everything that has been put in my path.' 

Tinker described how the battle with the eating disorder was sparked by feeling rejected by her peers when she started year eight of secondary school.

She said: 'I felt left out, different, picked on, stupid and like I was letting everyone down. I didn't want to tell anyone because I thought it was all my fault; like I brought it all on myself.

Transformation: Tinker pictured during her battle, left, and today, right

'But no matter what I tried: being nice, sticking up for myself, making an effort - nothing worked. I had a lot of things going on in my personal life too, so I probably acted on emotions a lot of the time - which wouldn't have helped.

'I found myself controlling what I was eating because it was the only thing in my life that I could control. I was really depressed at such a young age, and couldn't find happiness anywhere other than the netball court.'

When she was 14 Tinker started eating lunch alone in the locker room because she was too scared to sit with anyone in the canteen.   

In the depths of her illness Tinker said she 'felt left out, different, picked on, stupid and like I was letting everyone down'. Pictured, left during her battle and right today

Tinker had grown up playing sport but quit netball aged 16 because she 'didn't have any energy'.

'My life got worse,' she continued. 'Without netball as my source of happiness; I spiralled down-hill.' 

Support: Tinker, pictured while battling anorexia, relied on professional help

'I didn't look small, but I wore baggy tracksuits to school and hoodies, so no one would see, but at this point, my body mass index (BMI) was unhealthily low and my periods had stopped.

'When I went to university, it all changed. I had a great group of friends on the cheerleading team and I was away from yet another unhealthy relationship.'

As long as the process has been for Tinker, the mere thought of changing her perception of eating was her most difficult part of the journey.

'The first step - eating. I was petrified of food, I loved the way my body looked but my face looked ill and lifeless. I felt sick at the thought, sight or smell,' Tinker said.

'Going to professionals wasn't the biggest hurdle, I knew they would help me, I knew the way my mind was working wasn't normal.

'Physically eating, overcoming my mind telling me not to was the hardest battle I have ever had to face. 

Speaking out: Tinker, who documents her story on Instagram, hopes to help others facing eating disorders

'I still, to this day, remember for the first week, feeling fat, ugly, worthless, unattractive just because I was feeding myself, giving my body the nourishment it needed to recover.

'After that week, I felt amazing. My energy levels were incredible, my positivity soared, my body and mind were starting to feel healthy again.

Glamorous: Tinker stepping out for a night out

'My mum tells me most days how proud she is of me, my sister is an emotional person so we don't really talk about it because it makes her sad, but she is also very proud.

'The first thing I would suggest, to anyone in this situation; whether they struggle to eat or struggle to not eat, is to seek professional medical help.

'This is daunting but also very easy. I knew I would back out, so I told my best friend and she made sure I went.

'When I went quiet to my doctor she stepped in, and they referred me to a councillor. This councillor changed my life.

'I felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders and just from this, my eating restrictions disappeared. I did have to fight the urges to restrict and still sometimes do, but it is a lot easier now.'

'In second year, my eating problems seemed to have completely subsided and my periods came back. Third year came and I started a full-time job as an intern.

'No matter how long I worked there, I couldn't seem to get the work done. I wanted nothing more than to impress my new boss and make life easier for my new team, but I really struggled and the restrictions started again.'