Nikki Grahame

!-- Background and Growing Up

June 5, 2010

Nicola Rachele-Beth "Nikki" Grahame was born on 28th April 1982 in Watford, England.

She has a sister Natalie who is 2 years older and her parents are Susan and David Grahame.

Nikki and her sister were raised by their mum after their parents separated. The split affected & hurt Nikki badly, a feeling that was compounded by the death of her grandfather from cancer around the same time, with whom Nikki was very close.

It was during this time that Nikki attended gymnastic classes and it was in one of these classes that a fellow gymnast told Nikki she looked fat in her leotard. This remark stuck with Nikki and - together with the hurt & insecurity she was already feeling over her parents split and grandfather's death - triggered Nikki's start with the crippling illness anorexia nervosa.

From the age of 8-19, Nikki went from hospitals to institutions and back to more hospitals in her long life- threatening battle with anorexia:

* The Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital, London, where she was for 6 weeks

* Upon release she continued to starve herself and a month later she was rushed to Hillingdon Hospital, Middlesex where she was force fed through a nasal tube

* Nikki was then transferred to Collingham Gardens Children & Family Psychiatric Unit, West London, where she stayed for 8 months before being allowed home

* For the next 18 months Nikki attended Northwood Secondary School, Middlesex, but she couldn't escape the grip of her anorexia and her weight began to fall again and so she was readmitted to Collingham Gardens Unit where she stayed for 6 months.

* From there Nikki was sent to Great Ormond Street Children's hospital where she was put on a Psychiatric and Eating Disorders Ward.

* It was at Great Ormond Street that, depressed and full of self loathing, Nikki first tried to kill herself at the shockingly young age of only 12 by swallowing 22 paracetomols she had stolen for this purpose.

* Nikki's weight fell so dangerously low that she went into a coma. She was so ill that Doctors told her parents they were sure she was only about 15 minutes from death.

* Nikki had a feeding tube that ran from her nose through into her stomach. But Nikki, determined that she would not be fed, would constantly rip the tube out. At one time 6 (male) doctors had to hold her down as she fought to stop them feeding her.


* In the end the doctors had to sew the tube into her stomach to stop her from ripping it out. The scar from that tube is still very visible today.

* One of the doctor's treating her said Nikki was the worst case of anorexia he had seen in 32 years.

* All during these years in and out of hospitals & institutions Nikki was allowed only minimal contact with her parents. And she never had any toys and never had any friends. Unsurprisingly as she had spent many of her most influential and learning years institutionalised Nikki had learnt very little or no social skills

Nikki was eventually admitted into Rhodes Farm, an Eating Disorder's Clinic in North London and it was here that Nikki began to improve and for the first time she could see how the illness was destroying her and her family and she made a conscious decision that she wanted to get well, "I woke up one morning and thought 'what are you doing to yourself' "? This was the turning point for Nikki.

* At 16 Nikki had managed to increase her weight to 6 stone 4lbs and was allowed home - although at 18 she had a little relapse and voluntarily admitted herself, as an outpatient, into an Adult Eating Disorder Ward to keep it under control.

* It was around this time that Nikki developed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), an illness that's very commonly linked to anorexia and that which she still has today. In Nikki's case her OCD manifests itself in a chronic fear of germs.

Nikki is still not free of her anorexia and every day is a battle. But she's strong and determined and she has vowed to herself that she will never allow herself to get that ill again or to ever go back to hospital.

Today Nikki still visits the hospitals where she stayed to chat to other anorexia sufferers to give advice and support.

Previous and Related Stories

June 4, 2010
Image for - Nikki Grahame interviewed on BBC Ouch! Talk Show
Ouch!, the BBC's disability talk show podcast, is presented by Mat Fraser and Liz Carr and Nikki joined them in the studio for a very thought-provoking conversation about living with anorexia. She talked about the early development of the illness, her treatment in various institutions, how she managed to turn her life around before entering the Big Brother house and on what made her apply to be on the show. The second part of the interview concentrated on her time in BB, Princess Nikki, writing…
June 3, 2010
Image for - Nikki Grahame in OK! Magazine - Lost Inspired Photoshoot
Nikki is in this weeks OK! magazine. As the magazine prepares for the end of an era 8 former housemates are gathered for a LOST inspired photo shoot. Titled "LOST WITHOUT BIG BROTHER", "Will our favourite housemates be stranded in oblivion when the reality show ends?" The cast for this brilliantly done LOST themed photo shoot are Nikki Grahame, Spencer Smith, Michelle Bass, Brian Bello, Sam and Amanda Marchant, Kinga Karolczak and Stuart Pilkington. Jade Goody is also there represented by her portrait.…
June 2, 2010
Image for - Nikki Grahame in Celebrity Soccer 6
Nikki again took part in Soccer 6 on Bank Holiday Monday, May 31st, at Charlton Athletics ground in SE London, to raise money for The Samaritans. The organisers had promised that this years event was going to be even better than before. And it was - around a dozen teams took part in the competition at The Valley, and attracted a very young and enthusiastic crowd of around 4,000 supporters. As well as Nikki there were many well-known names competing in the female tournament including girl groups…
May 30, 2010
Image for - Nikki Grahame on Big Brother Exposed
Nikki featured in Big Brother Exposed - The Inside Story which aired on E4 on Friday 28th May. This is the 2nd of two documentaries recorded in April. Big Brother Exposed is a documentary charting the highs and lows of the reality TV show as former housemates and producers reveal the stories behind the headlines, and Davina McCall and Dermot O'Leary present their personal take on the programme. Nikki said when she first went into Big Brother she was going through this weird phase of her life, and…
May 26, 2010
Image for - Nikki Grahame in NEW magazine
Nikki is also in NEW magazine this week as part of a glitzy glamorous photoshoot to mark the last ever Big Brother which is around the corner. NEW gathered 10 of their favourite stars over the last 10 years and have added a tribute to Jade Goody with her portrait in the background. In Nikki's interview: You've had weight issues. How are you now? I know I'm too thin at the moment and I'm trying to put some weight on. But it's all in check. I have quite a healthy diet - I eat three meals a day and…