A woman, who was diagnosed with anorexia, has shared how wanting to have a baby helped her survive.
Courtney Bohmer, now 28, from Victoria, Australia, was only 15 years old when she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, and one year later, she was admitted to hospital, and has been in and out of it since, trapped in a cycle of losing weight and being re-admitted.
She explained that while people think anorexia is about food and weight, and “if you lose weight that equals happiness”, she said that for her, she felt she was not worthy of pretty much anything, including nourishment. “My brain said I had to self-punish by starving myself, not eating and not drinking,” she said.
She also recalled how she contemplated about taking her own life, as her weight fell to just 30 kilograms.
Anorexia took its toll not just on Ms Bohmer, but on her parents and siblings as well, but after years of being treated, she is now focused on recovery, and said she has had a shift in mindset, especially when she thought about carrying a child.
“I have my feeding tube in my stomach and I do that every night and I eat every day, not because I have to, but because I want to.
“I want to get my body healthy enough to carry a child and I can’t do that if I’m unwell,” she said.
Ms Bohmer said she hoped to get her feeding tube out by March this year, but said while she now weighs about 54 kilos, her eating disorder has impacted on her physical health. “I have permanent bone damage and osteoporosis – I have bones the age of a 102-year-old – and nerve damage. I lost the muscle on the left side of my heart when I was 16, so now I have a heart condition. I’m in chronic pain every day,” she said.
Ms Bohmer also credits her girlfriend, Caitlyn, for helping her make a change. “Instead of anorexia being 99.9 per cent of your brain and you can’t get out because it’s taken over, I’m now in charge,” she said.
She told Daily Mail Australia she hopes to help others and change the way people view eating disorders. She said people living with anorexia or an eating disorder were often consumed by the disease, and found it hard to differentiate the thoughts in their head.
Ms Bohmer shares her recovery from anorexia on her YouTube page, Courtney’s Larynx, and said even if she helps one other person, it is worth it.
“I want to be the voice that outweighs the anorexia or bad thoughts, because when you’re in that state, you can’t think straight.
“I want to be the voice for people who have lost their lives, because it’s an honest truth that it can kill you.
“People say it’s a choice, but it’s definitely not a choice to have a mental illness.
“It is a choice to listen to it or not and choose to get better.
“People think you have to be completely emaciated to have an eating disorder, but you don’t.
“Collar bones, a thigh gap, a box gap, whatever other gaps there are, make other people feel like s*** and you don’t have to look like that to be classified as unwell,” she said.