Today we have the pleasure of sharing with you the story of Catherine. We feel deeply inspired by Catherine’s honest, open and brave sharing. Get inspired and connect to hope. Thank you Catherine.
It’s so hard to know where to start. I’m 34 years old and I’ve had an eating disorder for 20 years. I was an overweight, shy, scared, emotional kid. I never learnt how to talk about my feelings or express myself… only with anger. At the age of 14 I went on a trip to Aussie and stayed with my Mum and her sister. Because I was so shy and uncomfortable with myself I didn’t eat much… fat kids shouldn’t be seen to eat, right? When I came home, people at school including those who had been so cruel to me commented on how I’d lost weight. So, at that point was when my eating disorder started. This was the way to be accepted, to lose weight. How do I lose weight… by not eating. It progressed from skipping meals, to restricting types of food and then barely eating at all. I then learnt there was a way that I could eat but not get fat… I made myself throw up. It was a downward spiral from there. I struggled over the years with depression, suicide (one attempt) cutting, unhealthy relationships and so many broken promises to others and myself. “I will try harder tomorrow. “ – “Just one more time.” – “No, I didn’t eat the cake. “ – “Yes, of course I’ve had lunch. “ – “No, I didn’t take that money.”
I lost friends, missed out on wonderful opportunities and above all I wasn’t really there for the first 9 years of my beautiful daughter’s life. I was so caught up in this abusive relationship… my disorder.
Don’t get me wrong, I tried to recover. Self-help books, therapy. I entered a treatment plan at the public service and it worked, (for a while) I thrived, I wanted to please, I wanted to get those gold stars and I did. I was binge/purge-free but it didn’t last. It always felt forced and temporary, I reverted after some months and if anything, things got worse than ever. I got so lost, scared and beaten that I started working out how I would tell my daughter that I was taking my own life, that she deserved a real Mum not some weak pathetic excuse.
In a final attempt for help I went to the HOPE night held by NZ Eating Disorders Clinic. What I got from that night was a glimmer of hope, hearing peoples’ stories, how far they had come. I booked myself in for treatment. I have been free for 5 months now, I know it’s not a long time but it’s different this time, it’s real. I eat cheesecake with my daughter, I go out for dinner and pick what I feel like and I enjoy it. I don’t sneak off to the bathroom afterwards. It’s not been easy, it still isn’t but I have hope, I have recovered.
You are probably wondering why did it work? I’ve thought about this a lot; being accountable to somebody I viewed as safe, who to start with I saw twice a week kept me on track with the regular eating and made the goals achievable. Finally I had to stop lying to myself, telling myself tomorrow would be different and look at things as they truly were. Roger has given me life, given my daughter a mother and a chance for me to learn who I really am. I feel like I’m doing more than surviving, I’m actually living.
For anybody thinking they are a lost cause I promise you that you are not.