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‘It’s life or death for me’ – woman is forced to go public with her battle to get treatment for eating disorder

Supporters have raised over €50,000 for Lisa Murphy to get private care


Cork woman Lisa Murphy says she feels ‘let down’ by services provided by the HSE

Cork woman Lisa Murphy says she feels ‘let down’ by services provided by the HSE

Cork woman Lisa Murphy says she feels ‘let down’ by services provided by the HSE

A woman with an eating disorder has been forced to go public with her struggle to get life-saving help.

Lisa Murphy has raised more than €49,000 to fund private treatment for the illness.

The 31-year-old said “inadequate” services provided by the public health system meant she had to seek help from the public to pay for a 12-week programme that costs €60,000.

Despite anonymous pleas earlier this year following a suicide attempt, the Cork woman was not able to secure a place in one of the three hospital beds offered by the HSE.

After witnessing the extent of her illness, Ms Murphy’s friends intervened and set up an online fundraising page to gather money to pay for the treatment.

“I’ve attempted suicide several times and I suppose this year has been the first year that I really thought, if I don’t actually die by my own hands, then this illness will physically end it,” she said.

“I’m really feeling the physical consequences of it this past year, more than ever. My body is just not working properly.

“I really can’t remember the last day that I had where I hadn’t considered just ending it. It’s constant. When I get up in the morning, my first thoughts are, ‘Oh, my God, another day. Like, I can’t do this’.

“I’m absolutely shocked I made it to 31.”

Ms Murphy has suffered bulimia and anorexia since she was a teenager, and she struggled throughout her 20s.

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After friends set up the online fundraising page, more than €42,000 was raised in only 48 hours. In addition, hundreds of people left messages of support, which have left Ms Murphy “blown away”.

“This really is life or death for me. To be honest, there’s a part of me that thinks, ‘I don’t know if this in-patient treatment is going to work’,” she said.

“It’s the most intensive support that you can get. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but it’s the only chance that I have.”

Ms Murphy said she makes herself sick dozens of times a day and goes to great lengths to hide it from family and those who know her.

“My eyes were bloodshot, I’d be a bit disoriented, but then I just snap into this other mind altogether and I’m like, ‘OK, grand, that’s done’.

“I don’t have enough love or respect for myself to care what I’m doing to my body and I don’t like myself enough to care, is what it comes down to. The pain from laxative abuse is absolutely brutal. I’ve often passed out from it.

“I feel the loneliness in my chest, it’s like a physical pain. It’s such a lonely existence.”

Ms Murphy said she feels “let down” by services provided by the HSE.

“I feel the level of care I’ve been offered over the years has just been so deeply inadequate,” she said.

“I’ve been very vocal all along the way with the public services, telling them what I need and asking them for the help that I know I’ll be able to respond to, and it’s just the same answer every time: ‘This is all we can offer’.”

Donations can be made at gofund.me/f469afc5

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