Caitlin's Story

So Much More Than Just ‘Being Thin’


My eating disorder has nearly cost me my life on multiple occasions, and yet you wouldn’t even know it from looking at my weight restored body.


The illness reared it’s ugly head when I began year 12, everyone assumed it must be the stress of school and deciding what I wanted to do in the future, but it wasn’t. I had been unwell for years but this was the first time I become visibly sick.


And so the battle began, fights with parents, fights with teachers, fights with psychologists, doctors, and specialised clinicians. Eventually giving into treatment I attempted to recover, I did what I was told; three meals and three snacks, every three hours, every day. Nearly 8 months later and my body was healthy again! Everyone was proud and happy and thought that was that. So did I.


It wasn’t, though.


From that point onwards my depression took a turn for the worse, and my anxiety was the highest it had been in my whole life; I was suddenly so huge, and so ashamed of it. For days I would either spend hours crying in the mirror with multiple outfits strewn around my room, or just outright refuse to leave the house at all. I felt disgusted with my reflection, to me I felt like a ‘fat anorexic’. One night I remember crying to my mum that ‘they’ve fixed my body but they haven’t fixed my brain.’


That’s the problem with eating disorders. They are invisible.


Three years on, and 18 months out of my first relapse, I’m still struggling every day with this foreign body in which I must live. My depression often times appears to be directly linked to my weight and body-image; I’ve slipped up with self harm out of pure hatred and loathing for myself, at one point I tried to end my life because I felt as though I just couldn’t continue this way.


Recovery is difficult; in some ways it’s more difficult than being sick. You do everything right and you eat and you stabilise, physically, but somehow those disordered cognitions just don’t let go. They are like spiders in my brain, spinning webs of lies of how much easier everything would be if I ‘just did x, y, z’. Some days I do listen to them, because it IS easier, but most days I try to shut them out and use my healthy mind to direct my days actions.


I’m still in a constant battle with my body image and absolute mental torture it causes me, but what keeps me going is knowing that if I do give in to the eating disorder, at some point someone WILL intervene, and I will have to go through the terror and pain of recovery all over again, from the very beginning. I honestly don’t believe I would survive that a third time, so for now, I am just me.


My diagnosis has changed from anorexia to OSFED, and maybe one day it will change again, to no diagnosis at all.