Catriona’s story – overcoming an eating disorder
"I’m now engaged with a baby which I never thought would be possible when I was ill."
“I was 14 when issues with food began, I had always been a picky eater and been petite. There is never one reason for an eating disorder and I think a combination of things for me were suddenly having an increase in appetite and not knowing how to deal with it, school work suddenly going from feeling easy to more difficult and an overwhelming fear of change and a lack of control over everything. I clung on to what I felt I had control over which was food. It then spiralled and I became obsessed with losing weight and phobic around weight gain.
I had two inpatient stays as a teenager but relapsed repeatedly although I then became good at holding my weight just enough to stay out of hospital. I moved cities for University and studied to become a paediatric nurse.
Once I qualified, I started work in a haematology/oncology children’s ward which I adored. After having to go off work for a second time due to my weight dropping, I knew something had to change. I felt more guilty about not being able to give the children the energy they deserved than I did about food, and my identity changed in my head from ‘thin’ to ‘nurse’ and so much more. I realised I was a good friend, a kind person and so many other things. These things became how I looked at myself rather than just a number on scales.
I was incredibly lucky on my 10-year journey to have such amazing friends who accepted me as I was and never let me hide away. My family were relentlessly supportive especially my mum. I’m now engaged with a baby which I never thought would be possible when I was ill. I urge anyone struggling to hold on. The day will come when you are able to fight. It won’t be easy or straight forward, but you will get there.”
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