Jordyn, accountant & crafts enthusiast who developed anorexia nervosa after being bullied as a child, AUCKLAND.
Accountant and crafts enthusiast, Jordyn, 24, has struggled with body image and her relationship with food since childhood.
Growing up Jordyn was frequently bullied at school and teased by her older brother because of her size. At the age of 13, Jordyn began exercising daily and eliminating certain foods from her diet, in a bid to lose weight.
Over a period of six – 12 months, her addictive and regimented approach to exercise and food became increasingly apparent. Concerned about their daughter’s welfare, Jordyn’s parents took her to the GP, where she was officially diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.
Following her diagnosis, at the age of 14, Jordyn began receiving weekly treatment. During this time, her dad would pick her up from school and take her to his office so that she could be monitored while eating, leaving Jordyn feeling overly controlled and ‘babied’.
One year later, when she had reached a certain weight she was discharged from treatment. In the nine years that followed, Jordyn continued to manage the challenges of her eating disorder. Although her weight was back on track, and her fear of food was decreasing, she remained overly conscious about her diet.
Despite, relapsing into the grips of anorexia nervosa during university, and having to deal with the osteoporosis she developed as a result, Jordyn is now on the path to recovery and is focusing on her mental health.
This is Jordyn’s story.
At 13 years of age, Jordyn and her family embarked on a family holiday, travelling through the South
Island of New Zealand. During this trip Jordyn and her brother decided to go bungy jumping.
“To secure our jump, our body weight was measured and noted on our hands. This was when I noticed
that my brother, who is three years older me, was lighter than me,” said Jordyn.
This realisation coupled with the years of bullying she had endured from her brothers and peers about her weight, served as a catalyst for what would quickly become an obsession with exercise and food control.
After nearly a year of over-exercising and disordered eating behaviours, Jordyn’s parents took her to the doctor, shortly after she lost her period. She was subsequently diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.
Jordyn had weekly treatment for a year after she was diagnosed. During this time, Jordyn’s father would take her to his office at lunchtime to ensure she was eating adequately. Jordyn was discharged when she reached a safe body weight. She did not seek any treatment for the nine years that followed.
Jordyn describes living with an eating disorder as lonely.
“Living with an eating disorder is incredibly isolating and leaves you essentially not able to function. I
pushed away all my friends and family,” Jordyn said.
After completing high school Jordyn travelled the United Kingdom (UK) for three months. Upon returning, she enrolled at university and also started working full time. During this time, she was under a great deal of stress, and her disordered eating tendencies re-emerged.
“Working and studying full time was extremely stressful. To manage the stress, I started restricting my food intake again,” said Jordyn.
Since May 2019, Jordyn has been admitted to hospital several times. Jordyn also learned she had
developed osteoporosis and required surgery on her foot. However, she was not able to undergo the
surgery until she was at a healthier weight.
“I was admitted to hospital for seven weeks. During this time, I had surgery and was also receiving treatment for my eating disorder. Between Aug 2019 and March 2020, I was either in a wheelchair, cast or moon boot,” Jordyn said. In was during this process that Jordyn came to realise how much pain she was causing her family. This motivated her further to invest in her recovery.
“During this hospital stay, I had CBT and developed a wonderful relationship with one of my doctors.”
“I learned to change my perspective and way of thinking about things. I also wanted to make my doctor proud. It was my own will that got me into this mess, so I harnessed my own will to get myself out of it,” said Jordyn.
Jordyn has since doubled her body weight and her mental health is recovering, despite her ongoing struggle with body image. She now has a weekly session with a therapist and a dietician as needed, and as sought advice and mentoring from others who have recovered from their eating disorders.
Jordyn is passionate has participated in the New Zealand arm of the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) – the largest and most rigorous genetic investigation of eating disorders ever performed.
“People think that eating disorders are a choice. They certainly are not.
“It is great to see more research being conducted in the field of eating disorders.
“Eating disorders are heavily stigmatised and not enough people talk about it,” Jordyn said.
“Even though it may feel like it, you are not alone. If you are experiencing symptoms, have a
conversation and seek help.”