How hitting rock bottom changed this woman's life
MORE than once, anorexia just about cost Bianca Hill her life.
The 25-year-old Byron Shire resident has been battling the disease for the last four years, but hit "rock bottom" at the start of the year when she found herself in the emergency department, followed by a two-month stint in hospital.
"It was horrifying," Miss Hill said.
"I had to be re-fed and re-nourished ... I wanted to die leading up to hospital but being in hospital was some of my darkest days."
Although she has relapsed once since coming out of hospital in March, Miss Hill said it had been the support of others who had experienced anorexia that had kept her out of hospital and through those revelations she realised she could help others.
"It's the most powerful way to help recovery, you can relate to these people, because they've been through it," she said.
"Anorexia an illness that completely ruins your life and a battle that leaves you mentally and physically exhausted each and every day. I don't want to see anybody else nearly lose their life to such a horrible illness."
To address the "dire need" for more support networks for those suffering, sometimes silently in the region Miss Hill will kick off the group Clarity Eating Disorder Recovery and Body Positive Monthly Gathering on Monday night in Byron Bay.
She said were many reasons people chose not to turn to clinical professionals; fear of taking that step into the unknown of finally knowing they need help, fear of judgment, or being unaware of the severity of their illness.
Or, like in her case, may feel they have "provided no support in my recovery now, beforehand and in hospital."
"I know there are men and women out there suffering all over the region, and I want to help people through this.
"For me the only feeling of support and encouragement that has been helpful and feels as if people actually understand and you can relate to , is with somebody who has been through or is going through the same battle."
She urged anyone who was battling any type of eating disorder or body image concerns to attend, to share coping skills and explore how others were regaining their lives back in recovery and self-love.
"We want to help people find the importance of nurturing their body, finding safety in oneself, loving who they are and what they can be in this amazing world," she said.
"We want to create a space of positivity and inspiration amongst everyone and their body and mind, where we will also enjoy some practical breathing activities and tips with Lissie Turner (Yoga Rehabilitation Therapist)."
During the gathering, Miss Hill will share her story along with others in a circle and others could share if they wished, any struggles and stories that helped them, or anything that may help others.
"There's a lady coming who suffers from binge eating and she's happy to talk about her journey," she said.
She said it felt amazing to be able to offer help to those who needed it.
"I know I really needed it before I ended up in hospital and there was nothing around here that offered it," she said.
She said anorexia was the highest killer of any mental health illness, because often others don't see the mental battles sufferers are facing.
"You can be not extremely skinny and still suffer from it," she said.
"I also suffer from body dysmorphia ... I believe I am overweight even though I am meant to be in hospital because I am so underweight."
"If you have hit rock bottom with an eating disorder or if you don't think you can continue on, there are people you can reach out to. It is a community out here. Come and connect with others, feel and know you are not alone, and there's other people out there who are struggling with the same things. Somewhere you can feel safe, loved and welcome and supported."
She said there had been a positive amount of interest in the group so far.
"Feel free to check out my story and journey beforehand through Instagram. I do understand and am always open for a chat or to be a warming presence when you need to relate to someone," she said.
The Instagram account is beecontent_xo.
The Clarity group will meet this Monday, October 15, from 6pm at Future Dreamers at 24 Marvel Street, Byron Bay. Please RSVP to Miss Hill on 0422 968 969.