The battle inside my head
There have been times where I wasn’t totally sure I would see myself become an adult – and if I did I always imagined it to be the same as all other birthdays – completely ruled and ruined by anorexia.
I spiralled into anorexia nervosa at the end 3rd year and was diagnosed about a year later having lost almost 15kg off my already slim frame.
I was a competitive swimmer who loved playing clarinet, studying language and reading history books; and I became an introvert with no care for anything but maintaining the control of the eating disorder.
I continued a downward spiral of obsession and denial and isolation, ending up spending over 6 weeks in a medical hospital unit where I was told my body had started shutting down – I was wheelchair bound and put on a feeding tube.
The anorexia really held on however, I struggled for months trying to beat the thoughts, and a year later was admitted into the same hospital – right before my leaving Cert.
Being a perfectionist I became very stressed about my final exams and became very negative and defeated in terms of being able to achieve good grades.
Throughout both admissions I met some amazing, inspiring people who had suffered a long time from illnesses such as cancer and severe diabetes which motivated me to do something about my issues, because they CAN be completely treated.
I almost felt guilty knowing that I could actively work towards ‘curing’ myself but I just wasn’t committing to it.
Every time I feel the influence of anorexia creeping over me, I use their shining little faces to remind me that I have so much opportunity and potential that they may never experience through no fault of their own, and I need to cherish how lucky I am and how much power I have over my recovery efforts.
Although I am far from being fully recovered, I am starting to enjoy life a lot more and engage with those around me; I achieved fantastic Leaving Cert results despite prolonged illness and absences and have now applied for a prestigious university. I have a casual job which I love, have supportive people around me and am finally rediscovering everything that I used to enjoy.
The world outside
If I have any wisdom to share with other sufferers of an eating disorder it would be this; it will always seem real to you, what it makes you think and feel, but there is a whole giant world outside an eating disorder that you CAN and DESERVE to experience.
I’m not there yet, but I can see it and I know I will be soon. Take advantage of your ability to change, seek help early and never feel like you’re unworthy of talking to someone or getting professional help.