The Woman Who Got Rid Of Her Eating Disorder By Drawing Illustrations

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Life's not easy for anyone. We all have problems we wish to get rid of but we sometimes just can't think of how to do it. This woman found a good solution for the problem she had. Christie Begnell, a 24-year-old from Sydney, made illustrations of what she's experienced from an eating disorder while getting treated for her anorexia problem. This content we compiled from BuzzFeed contains sensitive images about eating disorders.

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/maggyvaneijk/is...

After a difficult breakup that coincided with family, work, and university struggles, Begnell first began to notice symptoms of her eating disorder.

“With my world falling apart, suicidal thoughts and self-hatred were at their peak. I had started dieting after gaining a bit of breakup weight but it very quickly became an obsession.”

Begnell collated her eating disorder illustrations in her book, Me and My ED.

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In her drawings, Begnell’s anorexia is personified by a character called Anna.

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Anna is separate to me. My eating disorder is separate to me. Anna has different motives to me; different goals, different values. Identifying her as separate to me gave me the power to fight against her or the option to follow her.

**_"In the depths of my illness it was difficult to know who was speaking because I had become so intertwined with Anna, but once in recovery I was able to start asking, “Is this me or Anna talking?"_**

Keeping a visual diary has been massively helpful to Begnell: “The key is to not let what is happening in your head stay in there. The more we talk about our problems and seek help/advice, the more stigma is broken down.”

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Her journey towards recovery hasn’t been easy. She was turned away from getting help due to her BMI being deemed “too healthy.”

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Following a relapse, Begnell was sent to a short-term psychiatric unit after expressing chronic suicidal thoughts. The psychiatrist treating her was “not concerned with my weight as I was still within a healthy BMI range. One nurse told me I didn’t look anorexic and in the midst of a panic attack told me I didn’t have an eating disorder and should just get over it.” Eventually, Begnell received access to intensive help through private health insurance.

Now that she’s in recovery, drawing helps her to manage her triggers.

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“When I was unwell I would let triggers snowball and turn into waves of urges to engage in eating-disordered behaviors, but now if I can’t talk it out or figure it out in my head, I draw it out. Then I take my drawings to my boyfriend or therapist and ask for their opinions. Also, if I’m now triggered by somebody talking about me or talking down to me, I stand up for myself and try to stop the trigger in its tracks.”

Apart from focusing on her current book, Begnell is continuing with her illustrations, hoping to put out a zine later this year.

“I feel like there is such an important message that needs to be spread here and that’s that eating disorders are real, horrifying mental illnesses. I want to keep educating people and I want to keep helping people feel less alone. At the moment I’m just taking it all day by day and seizing every opportunity that comes my way.” 

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