BodyMatters is thrilled to officially confirm that we will begin hosting monthly Recovery Talks beginning on Saturday 24th March. Recovery Talks is a forum where a guest speaker is invited to share their story of recovery from an eating disorder. Eating disorders are often misunderstood and we believe listening to the lived experience of others is invaluable for those in recovery, carers, family, friends and other health care professionals.
Our first speaker, Laura, became unwell during high school and struggled with her eating disorder on-and-off for 10 years. Laura recalls one memorable experience during high school when, her male health teacher taught her and her female peers about calories, including how to track them in a journal. Laura believes that this made her very obsessive about counting calories and was one of the factors that contributed to her regularly purging. Following high school, Laura’s purging behaviours stopped for some time after travelling the world.
However, her eating disorder behaviours were triggered again during an unhealthy relationship in her early twenties. It was at this point where her binging and purging behaviours escalated. This was the lowest point in Laura’s recovery journey and she felt like she ‘didn’t deserve to be well’. She was able to escape the unhealthy relationship and soon after found herself in a much healthier relationship where she felt ‘loved and respected’. Despite this, Laura was unable to escape her eating disorder and she would often get triggered when feeling stressed or anxious. Soon after that Laura sought treatment for the first time and began her journey of recovery in the form of individual therapy and support groups.
Laura’s personal meaning of recovery is when you are no longer engaging in eating disorder behaviours and when the eating disorder thoughts are gone or so minimal that they no longer have a real impact on your life. She believes that ‘it’s naïve to say or think that you’ll never again have negative body image thoughts or impulses for eating disorder behaviours [when recovered]… but you’re at a stage where you don’t feel held down by an illness.’
Nowadays, Laura has been able to turn her attention towards educating others by writing articles about her eating disorder experience. For Laura, her sharing her experience in a creative way has been a large part of the ‘healing process’ and her negative expectations for how others may receive her articles was not actualised. Recently, Laura won a grant from Screen NSW to produce a short film, ‘Bodies’, that examines the troubled friendship between two schoolgirls. One of the girls is experiencing an eating disorder, whilst the other has a physical disability.
Laura now considers herself recovered but acknowledges that it was a difficult journey. She describes when there were times she couldn’t envisage a future free of her eating disorder or even a future at all. At one point she felt like she was ‘definitely going to die’ and ‘couldn’t see far into the future’. At the time she felt it was ‘exhausting’ but now feels like she is a ‘different person’.
Saturday the 24th March is our first Recovery Talk where Laura will share parts of her own personal recovery journey after which she will answer any questions anyone may have. We invite those who are currently in recovery from an eating disorder; parents, carers, family members and friends; as well as health professionals to come and listen and learn from Laura’s story. Places are limited so register here fast!
We look forward to seeing you here!
We are still looking for more volunteers, like Laura, to share their recovery journeys. If you consider yourself recovered and are interested in helping, educating and inspiring others by sharing your recovery journey please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.