Manly Daily reports
One of the reasons I’m involved with The Butterfly Foundation is that I think it’s very important to share positive “survivor” stories with those who are struggling to accept their bodies the way they are. It’s important we start talking about the issue and don’t feel afraid to speak up – or even worse think it’s “cool” to stick a finger down your throat after you’ve had too much to eat.
Eating disorders are shockingly common – statistics show Anorexia Nervosa (basically starving yourself) is the third most common chronic illness for adolescent girls in Australia (after obesity and asthma). And one in ten of the younger sufferers is male. The incidence of Bulimia Nervosa in the Australian population is 5 in 100. At least two studies have indicated that only about one tenth of the cases of bulimia in the community are detected. (For more up-to-date stats head to the Eating Disorder Foundation of Victoria’s website.)
Here’s an article in the Manly Daily about my personal story.
I’d like to make very clear that I don’t blame the fashion industry or anybody else for developing an eating disorder when I was younger. I got into the modelling industry at a bad time. Impressionable and naive, I had low self esteem and couldn’t understand at all why anyone would like my body the way it was. Turning from lanky kid into a young woman wasn’t an easy transition. But starting in the modelling world and being told by the first agency I walked into to “lose ten kilos and then come back” tipped me over the edge. I started defining myself by how I looked and what size jeans I could fit into. Family and friendship issues happening at the same time made me feel even less centred or sure of who I was.
Also, I’d like to tell you and everyone out there who cares to listen that eating disorders can be treated. It takes courage, determination and support – from friends, family and practitioners- but the sooner you get help the better. Back when I was a teenager, most people didn’t even know what eating disorders were and I certainly had no idea what was going on in my head. Plus, I didn’t fall into the “straight anorexia or bulimia” categories. Eating disorders aren’t always defined like that and they can shift too. Luckily, I told a friendly GP about the way I felt and some of my symptoms and she referred me to one of the first dedicated eating disorder clinics of the time. It wasn’t only the treatments that helped me deal with why I didn’t like my body (or myself), seeing others suffer so badly they’d look like skeletons and had to be taken to hospital because their bodies were shutting down was a real eye opener. Fortunately for me, I caught myself early and went to a great specialised in-patient clinic for two months – all covered by Germany’s health care system. Unfortunately, sufferers in Australia don’t have the same treatment options available to them.
If you’re looking for help or would like to help, go to The Butterfly Foundation’s website to find out how, head to The Body Shop throughout May to join their campaign signing a petition addressed to Health Minister Nicola Roxon or check out today’s Manly Daily for an additional article on eating disorders.