Anorexia survivor speaks out; describes living with eating disorder

Posted at 9:38 AM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-25 18:14:41-04

(WFLA, NBC NEWSCHANNEL) At 24-years-old, Lissa Barnett looked like death, and even says she smelled like it.

"As a nurse, I have been around death. I have been around dying people and they have a certain scent. I was constantly surrounded by that smell. Come to find out my flesh was decaying. I was actively dying," she says.

Battling anorexia, she was down to just 62 pounds.

"I knew I was about to die," she says. "I remember stepping up the one step and I felt my heart literally having a heart attack."

That would just be the beginning of a dark road to recovery. Two treatment facilities later, a relapse and a once-rocky marriage, Barnett calls it the battle for her life.

"I am faced with this constant demon, this constant battle in my head and I have to proactively choose the right thing to do," she says.

Social media didn't make it easy then and certainly, doesn't now.

While Barnett battles every day, every meal, every snack to stay strong, her message to you is a simple one. "I did have people in my life that didn't know how to approach me and they didn't say anything at all and that is one of the worst things you can do. You must say something."

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. 

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from an eating disorder, you can call a confidential helpline at 1-800-931-2237. 

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