We often focus on treating the body, but eating disorders for me began in the mind.
My mum thought that because I wasn’t into makeup and fashion that I couldn’t have an eating disorder. Mum couldn’t understand that I was doing it because I felt so bad about myself. I believed that I was disgusting and people were repulsed by me. No one could see that my illness was in my mind. Not my parents, my doctors or even my friends. The voices in my head convinced me that certain foods were out to poison me and that no one would love me if I didn’t follow a strict way of life. For me it was all about being able to say that I did have control over things and person power.
I was exercising obsessively that my heart rate dropped to drastically, which is really unhealthy. When I went to the cardiologist she looked at me and said I seemed like a fit, healthy young girl. No one ever asked me how I felt or why I was feeling this way. It wasn’t until my health deteriorated so badly that I was hospitalised. I was then faced with the reality of my illness.
Upon reflection, if there was anything that could have helped me, it would have been people recognising early that I was quite unwell. Education would have been so helpful for me and my family. I didn’t know what depression and anxiety or an eating disorder was before I had this myself. I had to ask my doctor to explain to my parents what an eating disorder was.
But I am so grateful that I was then given that information and amazingly was put in contact with some eating disorder specialists in Perth that were able to help me through my journey to recovery. I lived in Canberra where there were absolutely no options for me and my family. My parents identified that I needed urgent help, so they took me all the way to the other side of the country to get me the help I needed. I will be forever grateful for that.