June 2019 Recovery Talk

We are pleased to be hosting Joanna as our speaker for this months Recovery Talk.
Joanna will be sharing her personal story of how she has successfully overcame her eating disorder.


Image source: Pexels

Joanna first showed symptoms of an eating disorder when she was 15 years old. Joanna loved to dance, and began to feel anxious about her peers who were losing weight for the sport. Over a six-month period, Joanna began to restrict her food intake. However, around the age of 17 she developed Bulimia and began to binge and purge as her coping mechanism. For 12 months, her eating disorder was particularly severe, with her binging and purging daily. Joanna was studying year 12 during this period, which only exacerbated her anxiety. She was spending all of her money on food, in addition to stealing money from her parents when she did not have money of her own. She was also withdrawing from friends and would avoid all social events.


Joanna says that her eating disorder was never about being a certain weight and that at the time she was unsure why she was acting the way she was. She was beginning to experience warning signs such as her dentist saying that her teeth were eroding due to high levels of acid, and that there was a possibility of them soon falling out. Despite these warning signs, as well as her binging and purging behaviour, Joanna says that she did not think that she had a severe, life threatening illness.


A turning point in her recovery was when her mum found her in the middle of a binge. For Joanna, this was her lowest point. Her mother told her that if she did not seek treatment for her eating disorder, that she would die from her illness. At this point in time Joanna did not see recovery as a possibility for her. However, once her parents were aware of her eating disorder she was made to seek treatment from a Psychologist. Joanna believes that a crucial element in recovery is a personal desire to get better, and she believes that during these initial sessions she was not ready. As a result she found herself lying to her therapist and her condition declined. She was soon admitted to hospital.


Joanna stayed in hospital for two weeks. She says that this experience was important in her recovery as it gave her back a sense of control over her eating disorder. Once out of hospital, Joanna experienced two years where she relapsed a couple of times. However, she was slowly beginning to recover from her eating disorder. During her gap year, Joanna travelled overseas which she believes helped her continue her recovery journey. She says that this time gave her mind an opportunity to focus on things other than her weight. She also feels that her focus on being her strongest and healthiest self through food and exercise, instead of seeing food as a coping mechanism, significantly helped her recovery.


Today Joanna believes that she has fully recovered. Reflecting back on her journey to recovery, she believes that when she gave up dance she was left with a feeling of emptiness, as dance was her identity. Joanna is currently studying physiotherapy and working as a pilates instructor, which she loves and feels a significant reward from. She says that during her darkest periods, she would never have envisaged that she would be living the life that she is now. In particular, she says that it is fantastic to not base her life around food. She now feels free to pursue her dreams.


June Recovery Talk Details

What: Eating Disorder Recovery Talk

Where: Online

When: Saturday 22nd June, 2019

Time: 5.30pm – 7pm 

Cost: $15 per person

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