Isabella's Story

Every meal is still a struggle, but every meal had brings me one step closer to recovery


Thinking back on my life, it is so refreshing to remember the days when I was utterly carefree and had fun, because these were the days that consumed little of my life. Having only a few good friends, not participating in many sports, and being a little too independent for my age was always my thing, maybe because I was an only child and loved my own company or maybe because even as a child I did not feel confident within myself. As far back as I can remember I was happy though, I didn’t care I didn’t have the best of everything because what I did have was a mother who loved me to bits and that was all that mattered to me.


That all changed when I was 9. Mum and dad got divorced and our family was forced to start over with nothing. Due to this I became a very timid and anxious child. This is where I feel the body dysmorphia started to rear its ugly head. I say this because I can remember clearly when I was about 10 looking in the mirror and thinking how FAT I looked in my swimsuit, yet this was a distorted vision as I was always a slim child.


My Anorexia Nervosa began in the most harmless of ways. I felt a little uncomfortable with my body during my pre-teen years, so I decided to take the steps to become more “healthy and fit.” This consisted of going for walks with my dog and eating “right” by becoming vegetarian. Yet it was a lifestyle that would quickly and forcefully snowball into a pure nothingness of Anorexia and the person it made me, or the person it took away from me. I know it was my extremely unfortunate biology and genetic makeup that ultimately sent me into the oblivion of Anorexia, but it was also the bullies and unfortunate early life experiences that made me this way.


I was admitted to my first hospital admission in October 2011 and tube fed for six weeks. I was sent home with no resources, mum having no idea how to manage me at home and was expected just to get better without any psychological help. It was two years until I actually received any psychological help for my illness, two years of mum and I fighting over food, two years living in an alternate reality, where food controlled my life because to me it was the only control I had in any aspect of my life. Yet I managed to stay stable at home for those two years, because of my Mum who never stopped fighting for me despite the system letting me fall through the cracks.


In June 2013 I relapsed, was admitted to hospital and mum was told if she had of brought me even a week later I may have died. I still couldn’t see how sick I was until I see pictures of me from that time. After 6 weeks inpatient at two separate hospitals I was discharged under the care of the adolescent team, and a private psychologist. I started Maudsley with my psychologist and mum, and continued treatment for 7 months when I was classified in recovery.


From September 2014 until January 2016 I spent the majority of my time in hospital whether it be public wards, public outpatient programs or private inpatient programs. The longest period I was home for during this time was 16 days the shortest was 3 hours. I was in a constant cycle of restricting & self harming at home, to being force fed in hospital and this happened over and over again until January 2016 when I first attempted to take my own life.


Fast forward a year later, and I have finished year 12, I got into University. Despite all this I am still struggling. Anorexia made me scared and frightened and I lashed out at everyone who tried to help. I screamed when food was put near me, I had panic attacks about the wrong brand of ham being brought, I memorised calories and threw food across rooms. I was tube fed and put in and out of hospital because I couldn’t eat or drink at home, I believed I would put on weight by smelling food.


Every meal is still a struggle, but every meal had brings me one step closer to recovery and every meal skipped takes me one step closer to the grips of Anorexia. It is a constant battle.