I never knew what an eating disorder was until a friend said I had one. I was in year 9, and we will were learning about eating disorders. I remember thinking this sounds similar to me, but I thought it was normal to want to eat healthier. My ‘healthier’ eventually turned into restrictive eating, obsessive thoughts around food and weight, ridiculous exercise regimes, isolation and cancelling on friends due to food at social events, mental breakdowns and increased anxiety/depression. My mind was consumed and my body was the battle ground.
A year later, the Butterfly Foundation came for my school for a workshop and spoke about the signs and symptoms of eating disorders. I sent an email that night. I spoke via email for several months and they guided me to get help from medical professionals.
Even with support, my condition became worse and I developed bulimia nervosa. My life was taken away from me at this point. Everything I thought I was, was taken from me. I felt lifeless. I was hospitilised shortly after. I still had to push through year 12 and try to achieve an ATAR to get into university. It was one of the hardest challenges of my life, but I did it.
After grad, I lost all my support networks from my adolescences and relapsed quite rapidly. I couldn’t tell anyone, including my family as I was too ashamed of myself. I hid it for 3 years. Those three years were the most mentally draining. I was constantly trying to hide.
Fast forward to now. The road was a long pot hole filled journey but, I managed to learn how to cope better with my anxiety and learnt how to sit and defuse my urges. I have 2 fantastic jobs, study nursing full time and even have made the academic deans list. Before this all seemed impossible.
I have learnt so much from my eating disorder. I learnt resilience, trust, hard work and empathy.