A young Pinner woman suffering from a dangerous eating disorder is speaking out to raise awareness for other sufferers.
Zohra Allana, 25, suffers from diabulimia, an extreme form of bulimia where the sufferer has type 1 diabetes and refuses to medicate themselves with the insulin they need to survive.
Zohra, who was 19 when she was diagnosed with type 1, began depriving herself of insulin when it caused her to go from 34kg to 51kg in a few months.
At her lowest point, Zohra was below the American size 0 – but at the time, she felt she was at her best.
She said: “I was literally only giving myself a bit of insulin when I knew I would die without it.
“I was always tired and out of energy, but at the time I thought I was doing fine. Part of the illness is that you think you look great and you want to keep losing weight to look even better.”
When Zohra wanted to go to Romania with friends for a holiday last year, doctors were so concerned for her wellbeing that they threatened to call the police to prevent her from going.
She went anyway and enjoyed it, despite her friends becoming concerned for her health.
It wasn’t until Zohra was admitted to an eating disorder unit last December that she realised how desperately she needed to change.
She said: “As soon as I got there and saw people being drip fed and essentially being treated like babies that I realised I needed to take control of my life and be strong.
“It was sheer willpower to get out and have a life for myself. I quickly realised I had to change.”
While she still has her ups and downs, Zohra is now a healthier weight and has a balanced diet with insulin.
Thanks to people like Zohra speaking publically about their struggles with diabulimia, NHS England is putting just under £1million into two pilot projects to help others suffering with the illness.