Rose Anne Evans is a first-year French, German and Linguistics BA student here at the University of York and she’s written a book, Fight For Freedom, to raise awareness about Anorexia Nervosa.
So you’ve written a book!
Yes, I have! It’s called Fight For Freedom.
It’s got three sections: one about my own story; one for sufferers of eating disorders, their families and professionals; and there’s some poetry at the back. Everyone experiences things in different ways and so I’ve written my personal story to give people one vantage point to this struggle.
Great stuff. What was your inspiration to write the book?
When I was around sixteen I developed anorexia and when I was eighteen I went into hospital for around eight months. During that time, I had a lot of therapy and I realised that all the worksheets were a bit bland. I’m all about colour and creativity, and I found it hard to process the printed advice I was given. I started making my own sheets based on the provided material. I wanted to make the advice more accessible. The illness itself means that you find it hard to process things. The easier and more readable advice is, the better. It’s particularly hard for those supporting sufferers to understand what’s helpful and what’s going on. It’s not something I even fully understand but I wanted to provide advice and a testimony.
Having gone through a counselling course, I went back to my old school to help students with eating disorders. As I found that people appreciated and were encouraged by my stories and personalised worksheets, I thought maybe I should make this into a book.
And so what would be the book’s core message?
Those suffering with eating disorders can recover. Even if you can’t see the way out, things can change for the better.
Your style is really interesting, it’s got a ‘rough around the edges’ feel. What drew you to that?
It’s all about accessibility. I did my own illustrations and put the advice and help I’ve been given in my own words. I wrote with an aim to open up my story in an honest way. Many parts of the book touch on my hobbies, beliefs and particularly my Christian faith. I hope I do this in a natural way that allows people to see hope within the hardship.
How has your faith helped the process of recovery and allowed you to share your story with others?
I wasn’t healed immediately but I was given the strength to carry on. There’s a stigma to mental health disorders in some Christian circles – they see it as a ‘sin’. I was initially afraid to share this struggle with my church family but I found them so encouraging. The faith I have has helped me see the struggle with perspective, that there is a reason for things.
I found the music of Christian songwriter, Stuart Townend particularly inspiring. I’ve quoted his song Vagabond in the book:
I was cautious not to make the book too faith-based as it’s not for a Christian audience alone but for all those who are affected by eating disorders. Further down the line I’d love to write a book about this that is more faith-related.
I’m excited to see what else is down the line for you. Can we expect to see more books?
I’m part of the BBC’s ‘Time to Change’ initiative as a Young Champion. I’m also currently planning to do some filming for various things.
I have something planned a little different from this, focused particularly on sufferers of eating disorders, but I’m working on lots of projects. The book took long enough to format and release, just taking one project at a time!
Thanks so much for chatting to us Rose, congratulations on the book’s publication and good luck with all that’s next!