I haven’t quite thought of a title for this but it’s written from the heart to try and educate and touch people of a problem that is bigger than you would imagine. Call it the disease of the 90’s, the slimmers disease, call it anything you want but understand it is a huge, it’s something that could be effecting the person sitting beside you on the train, the person you work with, the person in magazines etc. but the one thing about this is that you’ll probably never know. It’s a lonely, sad, painful existence that is lived. There are many forms of eating disorders not necessarily the highly publicized full blown Anorexia and Bulimia, how many of you feel guilty if you eat something you think might be bad, don’t eat because it doesn’t make you hungry, how many starve themselves all day then over eat, have fat days, refuse to put on those jeans and what about having no control over food? These are some small examples of warning signs and there is a big percentage of people out there that so feel this way!!!
I am writing this as a sufferer for many, many years and one who kept this from the world, family and friends. This is a story of a girl who had it all, yep almost a perfect life yet something inside made her hurt so deep. It’s a story of survival and hopefully one of inspiration to many people going through a similar thing!
I think it all started from a childhood dream, I wanted to be like Olga Korbat, like many young girls at the time she was my hero, such a wonderful athlete, great performer and so loved. I took up gymnastics not so long afterwards. Luckily I had potential and was taken by one of the best coaches in the country, my dream had began.
I trained so hard yet it was more than fun it was a passion and I was good, by the time I was 10 years old I was in the National squad and I remained there for a further 7 years. I never grew too tall, I was fit, flexible, strong and brave and to many of my friends I had it all. I saw many gym friends go through a very private hell, they were growing too tall, they were developing and as a gymnast it’s a nightmare. Not for the typical body image reasons you might imagine but because it made moves they had learnt years ago so much harder to perform, everything was changing, it took more and more effort, so what do you do? You try to maintain the little girl that you’ve always been! Meanwhile I hadn’t reached this point, but I could see it all around me. I was in my teenage years yet I still was a young girl, due only to the fact that I trained so so hard all my energy was on surviving and achieving, in all my years of gymnastic I honestly never saw drugs. But my day came..... I remember the judges saying to my mum, “I think she needs to cut down on the bread and potatoes!!”, it was “starch” era. Luckily my mum is a bloody good mum and told the fat, old jealous woman to not be so stupid. But I’ll always remember.
Unfortunately my gymnastic career was brought to an abrupt end, one that took me many years to come to terms with, I suffered a severe back injury and spent the next 2 years trying to get sorted out so I could live a normal life. This created more dramas, “Ex gymnasts always go big and fat”, I was determined to fix up that one up and of course like a true goal orientated person I was successful.
For the next few years I controlled my weight by eating low fat or more successfully by not eating for a few days even weeks. It amazes me how easy it was, no one ever suspected a thing. I’d go through times when it wouldn’t be an issue but without a reason it would become my whole focus. But I looked great to the outside world. Looking back I notice a pattern, men problems, the odd words, the odd article of clothing would trigger me off. But the worst was yet to come..
I travelled and experienced some unbelievable places and people. Once settling back into normal existence the fears returned. I needed a kick so I hired a personal trainer who was a wonderful inspiration to me and success soon followed. In fact more than I ever imagined, I was asked to make a team of 3 girls and we were going to conquer the world of Aerobics. We trained like people possessed, we dieted to look the picture of a true athlete, I never realized the can of worms I had re-opened! I was competing again, I was good and I had a goal, I was alive again. But for how long? Once a competition was over it was so hard to lose your “leanness”, “definitions” but our bodies were at a stage that we could never maintain for a long period of time, but I wanted to.
After 2 years we had become very successful as a team, but as you can imagine it was hard going with all the personalities. We ended our Team as National and Australasian Champions. In that time my body had become my measure of success, people judged me by it and it was my living. The pressure to maintain the perfect body was intense and not having a goal to aim at made it even harder but I did. I continued my strict eating and training regime, which brought me to another highlight.
I was offered a job as a TV personality in a new and exciting programme. I was so thrilled, it gave me another goal but it also brought another box of trouble. Being on TV makes you look 10 lbs heavier, yuk!!!! Not wearing many clothes and men eager to point out faults, not ever mine but hearing people talking about someone’s “fat butt” made you wonder what they were saying about you!!!! Yes it was a time for great insecurities for everyone and we all had different ways of dealing it. They will stay private to those people.
In the year that followed it all changed, I slowly became a Bulimic, when we finished filming the Bulimia took over my life, yet it was still my secret but I was losing control. The show was axed after months of uncertainty and a heartbreaking break up of my relationship brought everything to a point of no return. I knew I needed help but where to go??, let me say it brought me to my knees, I thought my life had ended! I now know that life as I knew had. I had to take charge, I found help and more importantly over time I found me. I had to break down all the false images around me, I had to love the person I was and that’s the message I want to get across to even just one of you. It’s not a food thing, it’s a self hate, lack of self-esteem, lack of self worth, it’s a deep pain within that has to be addressed not food. So start with the smallest step and then in time your life will gradually be yours again to live to the full!!
It’s taken time and I know that I will always carry this with me but I am me, uniquely me, I am so much stronger, happier and know that balance is in my life so please don’t ever feel alone, so please take the first step, the first responsibility and be free!!!
That was 15 years ago - wow it was interesting to read what I felt like then. Now my life is simple, balanced & happy :)
What would you say to someone like me?
For me I want to say to my younger self .... You are strong, courageous & I am so proud of the person you are everyday.
Have you found an old letter?
What would you say to the younger you?
Please share with all your loved ones especially our young generation boys & girls that struggle with simply being the wonderful, unique & loved people they truly are x
For anyone who feels they need support to move through this please call me 0414415902 or seek other professional advise TODAY