The beginning of it all, and the struggle for help
I played a lot of sports when I was growing up, coming from sporty parents and being the only one in five kids who held a massive love for it.
The only sport that stuck with me, however, was netball. I went from Net-Set-Go, to playing with girls older than me, to representative teams, to being asked for state trials. I will admit that I wasn’t fit, I was overweight, I didn’t do any extra training, but I had a natural talent. That natural talent, lead to my downward spiral into anorexia nervosa. I was trialling for a high level team that I was desperate to get into and had been eating healthier and started to exercise, just so I could get in. But after the first round of trials, I was made a training partner. This news shook me. It tore me apart. I hated failing with ANYTHING. I took it as I needed to work harder for their next trials that would finalise the teams. I could still make it in.
So, the Summer of 2016-17, I was exercising for hours on end, restricting, calorie counting (burning and consuming), I wouldn’t let my body have a break. Late January, when the next trials rolled around after everyone’s break, I came back and had lost weight and was determined that this lost weight would get me into the team, as well as my fitness. I trialled, and yet again, didn’t get in. Training partner.
That broke me. It was the final straw of what was already an eating disorder. Thoughts of “I’m way too fat and unfit, no wonder I didn’t get in” and others similar circled my brain as I had a meltdown. I was never going to be good enough. This took my restriction, calorie counting, exercising, behaviours etc. to an entirely new and dangerous level. By May that same year, I had lost over a third of my body weight. My body started shutting down on me as it couldn’t handle the severity of what I was putting it through. I had netball training and games every day of the week, sometimes more than once a day, and was still exercising on my own every day. I couldn’t stop, it became an addiction. The weight loss became so meaningful to me that I abused laxatives to keep my weight down.
It wasn’t until my school counsellor expressed concern that I went to see a dietitian, of whom contacted my GP as she thought I had an eating disorder. My GP then checked me physically, whilst giving my parents information on eating disorders, and sent through a referal to the local Eating Disorder Clinic, where they would assess, diagnose and treat me.
It took a month before my initial assessment at the clinic, and I had continued to go downhill, refusing to recover. My GP had banned me from physical activity, as I couldn’t go a training session without collapsing numerous times, let alone playing games where I would come home vomiting and passing out. In my initial assessment, they diagnosed me with anorexia nervosa. It really scared me, I didn’t think my problems were serious enough to receive a diagnosis let alone treatment for it.
My family have tried being supportive, but tend to leave me to try and recover on my own and get frustrated with me. I can’t be hospitalised as I’m not medically unstable anymore, we don’t have private health insurance so I can’t go into an inpatient clinic, my depression is spiralling out of control and I’m left alone with nothing helping me. I have requested many times to my team to put me inpatient, but from what they’ve told me I’m unable to go to my local public hospital other than for a short period of time (a one week admission which I’ve had numerous times), but I need more support than what I’m receiving at home.
There needs to be more places where people who struggle like me, who can’t afford private health insurance and have no other places to go around me. Even so, there shouldn’t be a need for zones to access treatment elsewhere if one isn’t working. Once, my mum drove me over an hour away to the public hospital, as our local hospital wasn’t helpful, and I was just getting worse as the clinic wasn’t helpful at all. But after a couple of days at this hospital, we had to leave as I was medically stable enough to leave and we weren’t in their catchment zone.
I felt so horrible and hopeless, like I will never be able to recover.
I’m trying hard now, and am fighting to be able to go inpatient somewhere as recovery is possible, but I just need a little boost to help me for a bit, until I’m strong enough to be able to do it by myself at home.
It’s hard, but we have to push ourselves because there’s no such thing as a happy and fulfilled life with an eating disorder of any sort!