Therese's Story

Miss B and me


From the time I entered my mum’s womb, my dad was unwell; Schizophrenia was rearing itself insidiously for my father and family. My mum endured endless stress while I was growing in the womb. I was a Hyperactive and happy child facing stigma and bullying. I was full of Joy and energy. I don’t remember caring what people thought too much about me. When I started watching, I felt different. Some People were cruel. I always had my beautiful village, though. I remember love and good times and being with family. I remember sadness but have been privileged and lucky to have so much joy in my life thus far.

I think an essential part of the journey is that I clearly remember, as a child, always wanting the leftovers of my sister’s food—especially dinnertime and the favorite meals that I love. I was known for this. In no way am I disrespecting myself by telling this story. I wholeheartedly believe unpacking and understanding this has been pivotal in my healing. I can hear myself running to the kitchen bench, waiting eagerly for the girls to leave their dinner. I can still hear my breath, my pants, and my desperation. It is intensifying in my stomach as I write. It still is a tangible feeling. I was a fit child and swimmer, rarely carrying extra weight. Maybe I was growing, I am not sure. I remember this “appetite for destruction” insidiously developing as I reflect and remember. I have to take a moment here; I can feel the emotion in my stomach as I sit in the café, typing furiously, passionately, and eagerly as I smile at the strangers and feel this love for that little girl starving for something more. I stop momentarily because that feeling in my stomach has been my nemesis. That angst that I had no idea what to do with. It has only been the last seven years that I have started befriending it in this journey of survival. All these intricate parts play a part in the pie, the puzzle, excuse the pun, but the purge—the development of my disordered eating, identity, and belonging.

10 to 20

It was a huge decade. Mum and Dad separated when I was young at the tender age of 13. I have researched that this can be a vulnerable time for a young girl and her developmental state. It can be a vulnerable time for eating disorders to develop. Dad passed away when I was 17. I clearly remember when binge eating began in this decade. I loved cooking and being creative, and I still do. I clearly remember cooking in Home Ec at age 14 and eating the food I had eaten on the bus home. It was furious, fast, like a lion; there was so much anxiety in those moments. Well, that is how it felt in my head. It never stopped from then. I was still a little people pleaser with anxious twitches. Boundaries and speaking up for myself were challenging. At 17, Dad sadly passed, and we were left to put the pieces back together. Dad was a beautiful man. We all love him so much. I suppose this fuelled my spiraling and feeling out of control.

20 to 30

Chaos, binge drinking, sadness, grief, love, healing, adventure, Bulimia, escaping, denial, fear, frantic pain, healing, living abroad.

30 to 40

I kept everything at bay for some time and started learning about healing and self-care. I had healed somewhat but had no idea I had another seven years of rock bottom. I was still escaping and still not recognising the root causes. The Bulimia had stopped, which meant I had no outlet to manage the pain I was avoiding. So on came the weight again, and on came the depression, anxiety and low self-worth. Here I was in my worthless state again. Gee, that was hard. To once again be there after ten years of managing my weight through restriction and purging from 28. I was determined not to go down that slippery slope, but the thing is, it is a deceptive, treacherous slope until you have all the tools to cope. She was back with all her glory, with all her might and all her lessons. B was here to stay for another seven years. I’ve wanted to find another name for her. Miss B feels personal and kind and makes me think of bees pollinating their hives, rejuvenating our planet. I suppose my story represents this in a way. I want my story to help others like the bees are helping our earth stay healthy.

It was at age 37 when I realised if this did not stop I could die.  I never wanted to die. I loved life.

Present moment

I love life. I am a successful student, I have been successful in early Ed, and I know how to take care of myself. I want to remove the stigma that makes people feel unworthy. Being open and vulnerable helps you get to the other side and live a fulfilling life. My life is peaceful; it’s far from perfect; I honour it not being perfect because perfect does not exist. My brain has been a beautiful, loving beast, and I am grateful for it. I’ve learnt if you aren’t healing the root cause and facing the demons it can be really hard to get better.

My commitment to myself, my authentic self, my opportunity to have my voice here, and my responsibility to my beautiful brain, that’s taken a long time to say that, allow me to stay healthy. My years of unwavering determination and dedication to my healing are helping me. Miss B would tell me I was not enough; she wanted me to feel worthless, and at times, she was like a cockroach on my skin that I could not get rid of. I have to listen to her with love fiercely. Give her love. Take the power back. It has been crucial for me to understand when Miss B is talking or if it is my ego or my loving self. Is it warning me, or is it trying to take me down? Figuring this out and knowing, is my life’s work and has been life changing, accepting her with no shame but more love for her. I love the journey she has allowed me to take. I love where I am now, everything I have learned, and how I love so hard. I am so grateful for this. She has been a gift to some degree.

The most empowering thing is I do not have the shame anymore. I honour it with love.  It has taken me a very long time to embrace myself with love.  I’ve always embraced love in many ways. Anyone that knows me knows this. But grounded, self reflective, loving love to myself has been hard. Stigma still exists around brain diversity, which I really want to be a part of changing. There is so much beauty in the diversity of our world and not one person is better than another. Not one brain better than another. There is no weakness in any of it. If we can become more comfortable with this people will reach out for help more. Its about celebrating diversity and adversity for the gifts it will give back.