Vanessa's Story

Recovering from an eating disorder is like a bushwalk


In the midst of it all it’s absolutely horrible. There’s no toilet, no shower, many blood sucking leeches and poisonous snakes and no way out except by walking for miles and miles and days and days. By the end of each day your feet are bleeding from blisters, your legs are bleeding from leeches and you can’t move from the pain. While sleeping outside with no mattress or pillow you scream, “why am I doing this? I want it to stop!”


Just to get up the next day and do it all over again, with a 20kg pack on your back.


I’m no stranger to hiking. At the age of 4 my parents made me climb a 544-mitre high mountain. At the age of 8 I hiked 20km a day for three days in a row. At the age of 16 I hiked 25km a day for five days in a row.


I absolutely hated hiking!


At the end of a hike though, I was so glad that I’d done it. The pain and suffering somehow seemed worth it because I had learnt so much and achieved great things.


Just like a bushwalk, recovering from my eating disorder was overwhelmingly difficult. But now that it’s over I’m so glad I did it. The pain and suffering was so worth it in the end.


On my recovery bushwalk I used to imagine what life without an eating disorder would be like. I imagined a wonderful sense of freedom and possibility.


Now that I am recovered I have realised that life without an eating disorder is even more amazing than I had hoped it would be.


The freedom of being recovered is indescribably incredible.


Recovery is possible, and so worth it!