Claire's Story

Nobody ever told me that…


Next year will be 20 years on from when I developed anorexia nervous. From therapy I have learned that my disordered eating and body image issues started well before this. The cycle and entrapment I have experienced with my eating disorder is incredibly difficult to break away from. Here are some of the things nobody told me about eating disorders. Nobody told me that I would experience low libido and struggle being intimate with my partners over the years. From medical professionals (i.e. doctors and specialists) I have learned that my hormone levels are well below the normal range, and that I have developed osteoporosis (irreversible due to age). Nobody ever told me I would experience crippling anxiety that would cause me to keep running, literally, all around Australia as I moved from place to place trying to escape the torment. From more therapy I have learned that anxiety often features alongside eating disorders and also needs to be treated, and can be treated with on average 20 sessions of a special type of Cognitive Behavioural Therpay (CBT). Nobody ever told me that an eating disorder can isolate you from people who love and care for you, from others you meet and interact with on a daily basis, and can lead to unemployment and permanent disability. From my experience and the numerous therapists, medical and other health professionals, programs and books, I have learned that there is hope, that if you seek out improving your quality of life by making value-based decisions you can experience intimacy, better physical health, calm and improved overall well-being. Treatment of eating disorders has come a long way in the 20 years since I was first diagnosed and while there is still a way to go in improving access, etc., there are organisations that can help you find your wings again. Thanks to the Butterfly Foundation, and many others who have helped me on my healing journey.