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Student who nearly died due to anorexia helps others with social media campaign

Connie Inglis was given weeks to live, but is now using Instagram to tell others “they’re not alone in their struggles”.

A student who was given weeks to live due to her severe anorexia says she used social media to spread the message that “no matter how hard it gets, they can always get better”.

Connie Inglis, 23, from Leeds, was sectioned two years ago and admitted to hospital as she weighed the same as an average five-year-old.

Now Miss Inglis has used Instagram to create a visual record of her recovery and has more than 87,000 followers.

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She told BBC Inside Out how she could not leave her bed at St James’s Hospital, in Leeds, without a wheelchair and was fed by a tube.

“I didn’t really care about living or dying, I didn’t mind,” she said.

“I just wanted to lose all the weight. It had got to the point where being in hospital wasn’t good enough, the only thing that would have been good enough was if my heart had stopped.

“That’s the only thing that would have satisfied my anorexia.”

Miss Inglis said her social media story is intended to inspire body confidence.

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(Connie Inglis/BBC/PA)

She said: “I really love helping people and I think that it’s really important for people, those going through recovery especially, to realise they’re not alone in their struggles.

“No matter how hard it gets they can always get better.

“I think people follow me because I try to be truthful on my account rather than just show the positive sides of recovery. I show a lot of the negative sides and how hard it is.”

Miss Inglis, who is in her final year at Leeds Arts University, has struggled with anorexia since she was 10 years old, and has been hospitalised three times in nine years.

She said the NHS does not have enough cash to fund treatment for the underlying issues that have caused her eating disorder.

She said: “It’s very annoying because it seems like if I’m not starving myself then no-one is going to take me seriously.”

Miss Inglis told the programme her final university project is examining the pressures on women to be thin using Barbie and Bratz body pieces made from boiled and coloured sugar.

She said: “If Barbie was a real woman she would not have half her organs, she would be classed as severely anorexic if not dead. It’s just ridiculous.”

:: Miss Inglis’s story will be shown BBC Inside Out in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire on February 5 at 7.30pm on BBC One. The programme will also be available to watch on the BBC iPlayer.

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