Olivia's Story

Thank You Mrs C – Support at School


On the 24th of August, 2018, at the age of 13, I was officially diagnosed with the infamous Anorexia Nervosa. My health had been consistently deteriorating as I religiously controlled what I ate and involved myself in an excessive exercise regime that culminated during an Athletics Training when my pulse plummeted and I experienced severe bradycardia. Thankfully, following this episode, my parents and the relevant medical personnel were able to intervene and I disengaged from these harmful behaviours as I underwent recovery.

Yet if I’m being honest, these past 4 years have been a tedious battle, attempting to resist the looming threat of a relapse; there were periods of time throughout my recovery journey when the illness resurfaced and I resorted to my prior unhealthy habits, which unfortunately resulted in me restricting my calorie intake and losing weight. However, notwithstanding the stress of the HSC, this year I managed to maintain my body weight and even get my first period after suffering from Primary Amenorrhea!

Reflecting on the past year, I am so thankful for the support network that I strengthened in preparation for the pressures of Year 12. Whilst support has always been plentiful at home, especially from my Mum who is my rock, I found it so beneficial developing connections within my school community. In particular, I would like to give a shoutout to my Business Studies Teacher who took me under her wing, providing me a source of utmost comfort and advice whenever I needed it. She made such a difference to my life, completely reforming my outlook towards managing my eating disorder; I don’t know where I would be without her and I am so grateful that my school fosters such a nurturing environment.

Even though my relationship with food isn’t perfect, I am now in a much better place to navigate my future, with minimal interference from Anorexia. My ambition is to become a doctor, so that I can have an impact on people’s lives and health like my Business Studies Teacher had on mine.

I want this story to emphasise the importance of reaching out for help. It is not a sign of weakness, it is a testament of your courage to defy the tendrils of Anorexia. And if you need a little reminder from the iconic Pooh Bear:

You don’t have to earn food.

Food is fuel for life.

You deserve to eat even if:

You haven’t done anything today.

You don’t like the way you look.

You feel like you’ve eaten too much,

You’ve gained weight.

You’re going out later.

You need it to stay alive. Do not punish yourself, your body does so much for you.