Thursday 23 November 2017

'Anorexia controlled me' - Irish survivor shares her story on air

A young woman checking her weight in mirror - picture posed by model
A young woman checking her weight in mirror - picture posed by model

David Kearns

AN Irish woman who beat anorexia has spoken of the grip it held over her during the height of her illness.

Control was the emotion that surged through Aishling whenever she looked at her body, she told listener's of RTE Radio One programme 'Liveline'.

But it was an illusion she told host Joe Duffy, one that hides just how powerless she was to control her eating disorder.

“You’re like trying to control something that is controlling you," she said. "That’s the power anorexia has – it is in control and you don’t even know it.”

The former teacher, who did not share her full name, is the latest in a string of anorexia survivors that have been speaking to Joe Duffy about their experiences in the hope it will help other victims.

“I don’t know about the word relapse. It’s more the tendency to go there if you feel like everything else is failing.”

Read More: ‘I would eat two mini weetabix and a quarter of an apple a day’ – Irish teen who beat anorexia

The 25-year-old said that she had struggled often with the word ‘recovery’ and its implications, explaining that it triggered a wave of negative emotions and physical reactions.

“It was a taboo in my house when I was growing up. It’s the idea of going back to something that isn’t good because you don’t want to go back to being sick.

“I don’t use that word anymore – I use ‘discovery’ instead because I want to move away from everything that held me back. I want to find a place where the little triggers can’t catch me anymore.”

Read more: 'I can only imagine how awkward those meals were for everyone else involved, sitting and eating dinner with a ghost'

Speaking about her relationship with food, Aishling expressed the concerns shared by many of those that have suffered through an eat disorder.

“I feel I’m doing something wrong when I eat with people – that I’m terrified of losing control of anything I have in the world.”

“I do eat but it’s so painful and scary, it’s a constant battle. To feel hungry just seems so clichéd but that physical pain just feels more natural.”

“I am terrified of gaining any more weight. I don’t feel like I could tolerate any more really. For that reason I am very afraid of food.”

Aishling keeps trying because she wants to live her life as best as she can.

“If you eat later you’re sated and can go asleep rather than bear with the anxiety of it during the day. The pressures are lessened to that extent.”

“I don’t want to let myself slip completely so that I can’t function. I don’t want to renege on any commitments I have in live. Sometimes that’s just enough to keep me standing.”

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