“Everything probably started without my awareness, when I was really young, around eight or nine years old and I was fully unwell when I was around fourteen. At that time, I really didn't think that I was unwell. I believed that I was in control and that it couldn’t really be the case. When I was at my secondary school, teachers and friends starting to intervene, but I just resisted all of that, in a really genuine way, because I didn’t think that there was anything in it that wasn’t right at all”.
Portrait of Amy. 1996, London, United Kingdom.
Still-life of Amy’s journal (2008). 2016, London, United Kingdom.
“When I was a child my internal world was something that was very safe and very important to me. Genuinely, I was always within my own world, but there was one moment, when I was around fifteen, that I realized that my internal world had become very dark. Not having a safe space for me was extremely frightening. I lost it, my internal world was no longer safe”.
Portrait of Amy, when she realized that her internal world had started to became dark. 2006, Little Wymondley, United Kingdom.
Still-life of Amy’s journal (2004). 2016, London, United Kingdom.
Still-life of Amy’s journal (2004). 2016, London, United Kingdom.
“One day, when I was fifteen, I came home from school and all my family, my mom, my dad and my brother were sitting in the kitchen around the table and they staged a family intervention. That was a massive shock. I remember the conversation around the table and I remember admitting rather than lying that there was something wrong. But I remember doing it from the wrong point of view: now that the worst part has happened, now that this problem is being brought up and I admit that it's a problem, I will actually be able to get away with it without having to keep secrets and I can actually have that problem rather than saying that I need help”.
Recreation of Amy’s kitchen where she had a family intervention in 2007. 2016, Little Wymondley, United Kingdom.
“There was a lot of weird disconnection in the recovery process. I don’t think that my family, and certainly not my friends, really acknowledge that there was a real problem at that time. They thought that I was overdramatizing things just because I was looking for more attention. But the thing is that, if you do not live these problems directly on your skin, it is difficult to make someone understand that the suffering that is inside you is much more than just attention seeking. It was at that time that I started to rebel away from my family rather than to seek for their help. I realized that I had to take care of myself, and that made me realize that I would have to recover myself or I would go only in one way. Therefore, when I was fifteen, I moved in with my aunt and uncle for two years”.
Amy’s aunt and uncle’s house, where she moved in after the family intervention in 2007. 2016, Little Wymondley, United Kingdom.
“I felt fragmented, I felt like I needed to hold parts of myself in containers and that I couldn't ever make them fit together. This was terrifying. I felt broken and that I would never make sense for myself. I've always been an intense person, ambitious, passionate and caring. But at that time, I had no self-worth, because I had no self”.
Pictures Amy took from her webcam when she was relapsing. 2008, Little Wymondley, United Kingdom.
A page of Amy’s journal (2008). 2016, London, United Kingdom.
“When I was 16 I did actually overdose so I realized that was the real switch. I understood that if I didn't get better, I was lost. It literally became a question for me of life or death. I had to do something or I would give up completely. My internal stage no longer felt the way it did before. If I wouldn’t do something, I would do nothing forever”.
The swings in the park Amy used to go to, alone or with her best friend anytime she felt the need to talk or think. 2016, Little Wymondley, United Kingdom.
Untitled. 2016, Little Wymondley, United Kingdom.
“University was a massive life changer. Everything in my life was tumbling from one place to the next with the same issue and I was trying to reshape, but always with that issue still being there. But when I went to university it was like.. BAM! It took me away from everything to do with my life up to that point. It's where I grew my confidence and found my passion, psychology”.
Middlesex University, where Amy studied Psychology. University was the most important change in her life. 2016, London, United Kingdom.
“Every week we used to meet to chat and, all I could think about during the days we were supposed to meet, was the chair in his office. When anything would go wrong I used to say to him that all I thought about, from the moment I woke up, was getting to this chair and then, when I was sitting there, I had no idea of what to say or how to express myself. We had this sort of joke: when I came into his office he would ask which chair felt right for me or swop it with another one. And we wouldn't start talking until my chair was fine”.
Michael’s office, where Amy used to have therapeutic conversation with him. Throughout these meetings, she fully learned what the underlyingcauses to her eating disorders were. 2016, London, United Kingdom.
“I see my life as having just begun. I've found my place and my grounding. It feels also a little bit disorientating, but now there is so much more hope than there is darkness. Right now, I feel most light in myself. My vulnerability and when I have a moment of darkness and down it doesn't change me anymore. It is an acceptable part of me. I have more self-worth; I know myself and this is who I am and I am happy with that. I am part of the world now and I’m myself in it. Even if it's a beginning, it's full of capacity. I feel whole and congruent and there's strength, authenticity and capability in me now. I’m feeling a strong, positive and grateful person. I feel authentic to myself”.
Letter to Ana pt. 1 (2008). 2016, London, United Kingdom.
Letter to Ana pt. 2 (2008). 2016, London, United Kingdom.
Letter to Ana pt. 3 (2008). 2016, London, United Kingdom.
“I took a trip to Hemsby Beach, in Norfolk, when I was in the middle of the end of my recovery and I went by myself for the first time to take some space. It was when I was re-adjusting my perspective on the world and my place in it. It was very existential for me. I went to the beach every day and I sat in front of the sea, watching the water and being in that moment. I had a kind of conversation with the sea. It was very calm, very healing. I had this profound realization about being a cog in the universe rather than being the purpose of the universe. It was an explosion in my mind of understanding. When I came back to therapy and they asked me to describe my safe place I used to describe always that spot”.
Landscape from a spot on Hemsby Beach, where Amy used to sit every day during her first trip alone. She was trying to discover herself. 2013,Norfolk, United Kingdom.
“I really want to keep doing what gives me purpose which is to helping other people. It's really important to me to focus my energy in supporting other people and helping them finding their purpose. And no matter if you have bad days, because this also means that you can also have good days. When things are bad they can become good and all this is possible if you believe in yourself”.
Portrait of Amy Lucas. She overcame anorexia and, after a degree in Psychology, she is devoting her life to trying to help other people who aresuffering from eating disorders. 2016, London, United Kingdom.