Pushing Past the postcodes in Tasmania
I’m 14 and living in regional Tasmania.
I start restricting my eating.
I feel elated as I have to have my uniform taken in a size.
My friends express concerns about my relationship with food and I lock myself in the bathroom for the night and refuse to talk to them.
I have the wellbeing worker approach me at school and it’s a reason to get out of class so I attend sessions.
I have a series of panic attacks in various places and start to get to know the ambulance officers on their various shifts.
I give in and admit that I’m struggling. I agree to visit my local GP to get some help.
‘How much weight have you lost? I’m not too concerned but we can take some blood if you want’
‘Why are you doing this? It’s not going to work. Your family is big so you’re always going to be big’
I hear what they’re saying and refuse to return to their clinic as I’m ‘obviously’ actually okay and everyone else is just being dramatic.
My weight continues to fluctuate, I start to pick up other unhealthy behaviors and coping mechanisms.
My teeth begin to chip and symptoms of depression start to settle in.
It took me several years, leaving my home state and being able to access a good psychologist to see that my relationship with food wasn’t healthy and that I was doing some serious damage to my health.
From there it has taken a lot of hard work to fully see the harm that I was doing and to repair my relationship with food and although it has been almost 13 years since the day the GP told me that ‘My family was big so I would always be big’, it is a sentence that has stuck in my head and haunted me every time I’ve tried to work on me.
This is why the work on pushing past the postcodes is important – because people in regional Tasmania shouldn’t have to just hope that they get a GP who knows how disordered eating works, but they should have the expectation that they won’t be dismissed and they will be handed both helpful and affordable advice.