Eating DisordersMy Experience Transforming Pain into Purpose

My Experience: Transforming Pain into Purpose

03 June 2024

This anonymous writer details her journey from the shadows of abandonment and rejection, to the rays of healing and hope. 

Warning: This blog post mentions eating disorders, self-harm, and suicide.


From a young age, I developed unhealthy programmes of abandonment and rejection as the daughter of a man who spent his life dipping in and out of prison and criminal activity. I felt unsafe, unseen and unheard as court cases were rampant, and despite expressing my fears and anxieties of not being safe, I had to have contact. I was exposed to the consequences of generational trauma even before I was born.


The Unseen Burden


One day he would turn up with sweets, the next week he would be 30 minutes late and the following, he just wouldn't turn up. This led to me feeling inadequate, and unworthy.

The Father Wound ran deep and my system became entrenched with insecurity and anxiety. Due to the absence of my Father, my mum took on both roles, with support from my family, in particular my beautiful grandparents. Over the years, I tried to suppress my inner child, not giving that little girl the space to rage, to cry, to breakdown, to hurt and to heal.


Neglecting My Own Needs


I developed unhealthy loyalty programmes, causing me to believe that I had to rescue everyone from situations they were in, that I had to fix the world, and be the one who was always there, often neglecting my own needs in the process. I would step into caring roles and positions of responsibility, such as caring for family members with illness to avoid tapping into these programmes and exploring the adverse childhood experiences I faced.

At the age of 11/12, my birth father left for England and never came back which led to me developing issues around abandonment, rejection and worthlessness.

During this time I was also diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder and panic attacks - I became a school refuser, but thankfully after changing schools, my new environment enabled me to grow and heal several layers of trauma.


Dark Times


Things took a turn for the worst in 2017 during my A Levels and I sought comfort in self destructive and sabotaging behaviours including binge eating, and self harm. At my lowest point, I wanted to end it all, I thought suicide was the answer - I took an overdose and ended up in my local hospital. I thought it would make all the pain go away...

I started mental health campaigning during these dark times, in January 2017 in the depths of severe panic attacks and depression. In spite of this, I achieved 3Bs in my A Levels, and achieved a First Class Honours in my English and Politics undergraduate degree. During this time I sought help from Vivian McKinnon, an incredible Trauma Therapist at Hydro-Ease who helped me to completely change my life for the better.


A New Chapter

In May 2022, I started my first job in mental health as Service Coordinator for the Eating Disorders Association NI. In September 2022, I started a Masters degree in Psychological Science and my next step is a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology to pursue my dream of becoming a clinical psychologist. I have started a new job as Project Worker at Inspire and I am really excited to graduate this year with a MSc in Psychological Science.

This week I am celebrating one whole year off my anxiety medication after relying on 80mg of propranolol to function for so long. It has been almost 5 years since I last experienced suicidal ideation, self harmed and binge eating.

My journey of grief, and healing has led me to a profound realisation that if trauma can be passed through generations, healing can be passed through generations too.

Get Inspired Further

eating disorders supporting yourself

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. There are a lot of misconceptions around them, including what they look like and who can get them, and they can be extremely isolating.

dos donts eating disorder tips

People can experience disordered eating and eating disorders for a variety of different reasons, and sometimes feel ‘triggered’ to fall into unhealthy patterns with food. 

how can beat help me

Beat provide support services for anyone affected by an eating disorder, including those caring for somebody.


If you are experiencing distress or are in a mental health crisis please contact
Lifeline on 0808 808 8000


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