Aug. 17, 2023 – The desire to avoid eating informed almost every decision I made. I came late to dinner plans, parroting that “I wasn’t that hungry” or that “I’d eaten at home”. I’d shamefully tip full plates of food into the bin, pretending I hadn’t let any go to waste. But however hard I pushed myself to skip snacks or adjust the levels of what I was allowed – and not allowed – to eat, my struggle was an internal, quiet and solitary one.

All of it was shrouded in secrecy because I worked hard to keep up appearances. Everything had to seem normal. Like so many people who have disordered eating patterns, I desperately wanted to keep up appearances – even if this is not usually considered a main feature of the illness.

So, for me, the most recent series of the LGBTQ+, coming of age, romantic comedy Heartstopper – adapted from the graphic novel by Alice Oseman – is revolutionary. In the second series of the Netflix show, we watch Charlie support his boyfriend, Nick, on his coming-out journey. But as his classmates become progressively more interested in their relationship, the attention and stress starts to weigh heavily on Charlie, reminding him of his earlier experiences of being bullied at school.