Kate Le Page is an extraordinary young woman from the UK. After a ten year battle with anorexia nervosa, Kate is now well and has started a positive, eating disorder support website called Goodbye Ana. Just in it's emerging stages, I am sure this will be grow to be a positive community for those living with an eating disorder very soon. Kate is also a published author with a book of the same name, focusing on uplifting and recovery inspired poetry. Read on for my interview with Kate.
Kate & her cute puppy
Hi Kate. Tell me a little about your eating disorder journey and recovery. My eating disorder started to develop when I was about fourteen. School was a nightmare at the time, as I was being bullied a lot and I believe that a combination of this, bereavement, and moving house away from friends, all contributed. It wasn't until I was 17 that my family doctor began regularly weighing me and put me on anti-depressants - neither of which had any positive impact on my illness. At 20, whilst at university endless restricting, using diet pills, laxatives and compulsive exercising, I was referred to the local Eating Disorders Service for outpatient support. However, it wasn't until after graduation that I got into recovery through residential treatment at the Priory Clinic where I learnt the tools I still use today to maintain recovery - a menu plan, exercise contract, cognitive behavioural therapy and relapse prevention planning.
You now manage an anorexia recovery website. Tell me about why this is a passion of yours? Iwanted to get the message out there that recovery is possible and with so many pro-anorexia sites springing up all the time, I felt the need to provide a positive, pro-recovery site. It can also be very confusing, particularly in the early stages of recovery, about where to turn to for help. This is why I keep updating my links to other recovery sites and recommend several pro-recovery books.
You state on your site that you are "passionate about reducing the stigma and widespread ignorance surrounding eating disorders." What do you believe are some of the most dangerous myths associated with eating disorders? I believe that the most dangerous myths are those to do with weight in relation to medical complications. It is possible for someone to look 'normal' and be dangerously malnourished and at severe health risks. It is also dangerous to think that if someone has been discharged xx kg heavier after treatment that they are 'fixed.' In reality, weight gain is just the beginning of recovery and the psychological recovery work takes much longer.
You are a published author - Congratulations! Tell me about your book and why you decided to write it. Thanks, my book "Goodbye Ana" is a collection of poetry about recovery, relapse and rediscovering life after anorexia. It also contains self-help information and recovery resources. I have always loved writing poetry and kept a journal from a young age. The decision to put together the book came after struggling to find non-triggering anorexia recovery books and out of a desire to break down the stigma and myths surrounding eating disorders.
What do you most hope to achieve for others with your website? I hope that it will provide some tools, support and self-help essential to healthy recovery and that it will educate those affected about the illness and what they can do to best support others. Also, I hope that the site will encourage others to share their story and challenge myths/misconceptions often portrayed in the media.
What is your most valuable 'tip' for those in recovery for an eating disorder? Grab every bit of support you can with both arms and legs - you can't do it alone - eating disorders thrive in isolation so the bigger your support network, the better.
Kate has kindly shared one of her poems from Goodbye Ana with me. Thanks for being such a wonderful inspiration to those in eating disorder recovery Kate. All the best with your positive site and community.
Mental Health Day
You declared today as a way to get my health back,
A day where anorexia and depression are banned from throwing me off the right track,
A day where opportunity strikes providing a chance to feel again,