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I am in Sixth Grade at school and I am developing anorexia nervosa. Mum and Dad are worried sick about me. They think I won’t make it to my 12th birthday.   No one understands me. I don’t understand, either. I only know that I have to lose weight. I am too scared to eat. Food makes me anxious.

Powerful thoughts drive me to eat less and exercise more every day.  It is like something has taken over my brain, telling me what to do, and punishing me if I disobey.

If in reading this you recognize yourself or someone you love – keep reading. Even though I got worse: much, much worse, I want you to know that I got better. There was no treatment for anorexia and bulimia in the 1960s when my illness developed. It was not diagnosed for 20 years – by then I was in my early 30s — and my journey to recovery lasted another 20 years.

You can follow my journey from pitch-black darkness to brilliant sunshine in my memoir A Girl Called Tim. At any age, there is HOPE. I did a good job of falling in many potholes and down steep crevices, but I got out of them eventually. I hope my memoir will help you relate to your own situation and inspire and speed your journey to the light.

It is easy to feel alone and isolated when struggling with an eating disorder. This is the nature of the illness. If you feel alone, be courageous and reach out for help. Getting well requires a team effort.

Be assured — you CAN recover and improve your quality of life. A Girl Called Tim describes how I tried to ‘do it’ alone, and eventually accepted that I had to be brave and ask for help. Finding the right help was another challenge.  It is important to keep trying until you meet a person who you can trust. One must never give up on the road to recovery. The many years of being ‘lost in’ and ‘held captive’ by eating disorders makes freedom all the more special.

It helps to know that you are not alone — many have been through what you are experiencing now and help IS available.

Parents and carers, I hope you are inspired by the 10 families who share their stories in My Kid Is Back – Empowering Parents to Beat Anorexia. If a loved one needs help, My Kid Is Back will help you understand the effects of the illness and the process of recovery. This book explains why Family-Based Treatment offers the best hope of recovery for children and adolescents.  In My Kid Is Back you will read about how parents and siblings can help.

June reading A Girl Called Tim

June's memoir, A Girl Called Tim, will provide a beacon of hope to mental illness sufferers, their families and carers.

 

We know a lot more now about genetic and environmental causes of eating disorders. Nobody chooses to have an eating disorder and parents are not part of the cause. My Kid Is Back gives insight into how families use their love, knowledge and skills to overcome the anorexia and bulimia ‘monster’.

If you are a General Practitioner, other health professional, or student: build on your healing skills by reading A Collaborative Approach to Eating Disorders. You will find My Kid Is Back helpful, too. It will help you understand what life is like living with anorexia 24 hours a day.

A Girl Called Tim will help you understand why early intervention is important, but if this opportunity has been missed, why you must never give up. If my doctors had given up on me, I would not be writing books about mental health right now.

The best advice I can give is: Get help early. If you have been suffering in silence, reach out for help today. If you suspect a loved one is suffering, encourage them to seek help immediately.

And everyone please remember: getting well takes a team effort. Let this site be a beacon on your path to recovery.