Behind Ally's Mind

Oh my, where do I begin...

Ever since I was a child, people left my life; friends left me, my parents divorced and my first boyfriend committed suicide. It felt like I was alone. I was. I had no control of the world around me and the only thing I could control was my body. On a very personal level, for such a long time, I thought if I was thinner, I would be happier. Instead, quite the opposite occurred, and I became confined to my body. For years now, I have developed a distorted relationship with food, weight, and body image. The reality of living with the inner torment derived from this disease is unbearable. It is incredibly difficult to express how having an eating disorder can impact the identity of someone who is ill. In my family, Anorexia Nervosa has impacted my sister and myself. She was in treatment at the age of 16 with a BMI of 15 and within 6 months made a full recovery. However, my situation is different. I have always been “thin”, but my environment and my symptoms got worse and consumed me. My BMI went down to 12 and I was barely alive, I wanted to die thin. Recovery for me, has been long and strenuous. I was in and out of Eating Disorder hospitals, psych wards and speaking to therapists galore. Truthfully, life doesn't get better, but you get better at managing. I had to hide my illness and I put my efforts into my studies. I completed my Masters in Curatorial Studies and Contemporary Art at Glasgow School of Art specifically focusing on mental illness and eating disorders. I wrote a book titled: The Starving Artist: Understanding Body Image and Eating Disorders within Contemporary Art is in over 30 Universities world wide including Harvard, Yale, Princeton etc and I started a charity for The Starving Artist Scholarship for Eating Disorder Treatment. During this time I had a dual experience with mental health. My partner and I broke up and I was a mess. I thought I was not worth loving, so why should I love myself. It was tough, and still is. Time heals all wounds, but you still have scars. At this point in my life I am pursing my Doctorate in Creative Arts with the University of Southern Queensland and I found someone who makes my heart so happy. In regards to my eating disorder, it's been manageable. Being in isolation has been tough but, with my support systems and Uber eats, I'm doing better. Mental health is a constant journey and it something that we all need to nurture.

  

Ally Z.

Glasgow, Scotland

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