Hi, I’m Tori, Founder of Fighting the Mind.
This time a year ago I thought I had lost my daughter forever. I didn’t see how we were ever going to come back from such a ‘mind-fucking’ illness.
What the hell was I meant to do? Laura had been admitted this time last year and I was told exactly what to do by the professionals.
I did exactly what they told me, I stood my ground with Laura when it was anything food related, all dignity left our house as I stood in the bathroom while she showered to prevent the self-harm temptations and her bed was moved into my room so that I could wake in the night to ensure she was breathing and to also eliminate secret exercising while I was sleeping.
My daughter would look at me in fear, and Ana would look at me with a smirk and dull eyes.
Fuck you, Ana, I would think constantly. Taking my baby girl and claiming her as your own. There was no way I was going to have anyone take my girl away from me, let alone an illness that was intent on killing her.
We lived a life of silence, our daily routine revolved around food, Xmas was approaching and no one, not even family and my sons, knew the hell we were facing daily.
I’d given up working, the government helped out but the struggle was real. Petrol was expensive, food was expensive and we had lost all contact with the outside world.
Shit, what do we do? Is this it? Is this our life?
Fight or flight....fight or flight..... fight or flight??????
Over and over in my head!
Fight, fight, FIGHT!!
Laura’s second admission to hospital after she sat down with me and told me to “please Mum get me to hospital I have chest pains” was on
Friday 17th February at 7:14pm. We left home and went straight to Starship Children’s Hospital.
We arrived back home on 4th April and my outlook had changed on everything.
In the months we were in hospital I started FTM from the hospital room, I researched everything I could about ED’s and effective treatment.
I discovered that the system was not working for these girls and boys, the resources severely lacking, we were decades behind in treatment and something needed to change. I decided to take Laura home and do it my way.
The last words Laura’s ED Specialist said to me as I packed Laura’s room up was:
“You know she won’t eat once you get her home?”
My response? “We will see about that”.
Treatment needs to be done the right way, the respectful way and the only way so that these girls, boys, women, men have dignity, choices, and support that isn’t going to dictate them into fear.
I want to see the changes happen and that is why my new initiative Fighting the Mind 'Piece of Mind' Therapy Rooms will be happening in 2019.
ED Therapy 'Piece of Mind' Rooms (Facebook.com/pieceofmindtherapyrooms) will focus on Whanau/ Family care, holistic wellbeing and support networks in the community.
We are going to be focusing on holistic recovery care including: Specialised ED Yoga Classes, Art Therapy, Animal Therapy, Music Therapy, Peer Support Sessions and networks, Counselling, Mindfulness, Support Groups and much more.
We aim to have more of these much needed clinics up and running throughout NZ and Australia over the next 24 months.
These rooms are designed to meet the needs of Families/ Whanau supporting those living with Eating Disorders and also those living with Eating Disorders.
It will be a safe and confidential space for people to come to feel supported, inspired and empowered.
Our mission: Working together to achieve recovery.
One thing that makes FTM stand out is our inclusivity of you as Carers and you as the ones living with an Eating Disorder. Your involvement in the initial journey, the recovery process and beyond is absolutely crucial. With your input we could not support you effectively through this. We do not believe in bullying tactics, we do not believe in berating you and we certainly do not think isolating you or taking away things you enjoy or gives you access to the outside world is the answer.
You have autonomy where your recovery is concerned and in return you have our respect, support and honesty.
We believe making you feel as comfortable and as relaxed as possible in our presence so that we can build a strong and trustworthy relationship to create solid groundwork for the recovery and family support process.
Sometimes you might not like what we tell you, that’s fine, this process is not easy, but it is upfront honesty that is required to work together to disable the ED.
Sometimes we might like what you tell us, but again, it’s the reality of your raw honesty that we respect and value to move forward in supporting you.
You talk, we will listen. We will then work together to provide the most effective treatment plan for you, your family and us to work together with you to achieve your goals moving forward.
We do not judge or discriminate and we extremely proud of our Global Warrior Family!
We cannot wait to grow even further.
Hi, my name is Kylie.
I’m from the Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia.
I am a mother to 3 beautiful children.
Girl 25, Boy 20 and girl 19.
My very first experience with mental health was in my daughters teenage years. She suffered from depression and anxiety but is able to control it now.
In 2015 my youngest daughter was diagnosed with an eating disorder with her first admission in January 2016.
She has had over 2 dozen admissions since.
Short and long stays, medical and mental.
As an adolescent and now as an adult.
In 2018 she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder as well as all her other issues.
Having been through everything with her and by her side, I have seen where we lack support.
Since learning what I have through research and through health professionals, I decided to educate myself further and change my career.
I started studying via correspondence in the USA through the Carolyn Costin Institute to become a certified eating disorder recovery coach.
There are 50 of us worldwide.
I would also like to further my studies and complete my diploma in mental health and AODS, alcohol and other drugs.
I’m extremely excited and looking forward to working closely with Tori to be a part of the Fighting the Mind team to offer much needed help and support.
Much love ❤️
My name is Lisa Miller. I am a mother of 3 beautiful sons 20, 19 and 16 and live in the lovely Northern Rivers areas of NSW, Australia.
My work background is largely as a Japanese teacher but I have also worked with many students with mental illness as part of a welfare role in Distance Education since 2005.
I completed a Graduate Diploma in Psychology in 2010 in effort to gain greater understanding into the apparent epidemic of mental illness I was noticing in school and out of interest. Ironically In the years following my study, I found myself deep in the trenches of “lived experience” as a mother to a son who had chronic ill health since birth which merged into anorexia nervosa, bulimia, depression and anxiety in his early teens.
My son had plenty of medical and community support for his physical kidney disease but when his illness crossed into mental illness the experience was vastly different. The battle for him and the whole family has been seriously intense and ongoing.
The frustration and sense of hopelessness caused by the gross lack of understanding, treatment and resources in the area of eating disorders led to finding Fighting the Mind online.
Eating disorders are deadly, difficult to treat and incredibly painful for the sufferers and living with someone with an eating disorder is very challenging. Sufferers and their families need compassion, understanding and practical help. More people are dying from eating disorders than on our roads and not nearly enough is being done to stop this.
I share the vision of FTM to increase awareness, reduce stigma and create holistic support for those with eating disorders. ( and mental illness in general). I would like to use my experience to help increase support here in my local area for sufferers and their families. It is a lonely experience for those involved and I want to help reduce that isolation.
My name is Rach.
I am a Registered Nurse with a passion for helping people to maintain their optimum health & well being.
I have personally dealt with an eating disorder for nearly 30yrs.
I have also battled with anxiety & depression - & yes, it is a battle.
I am married with 3 children & live in the sunny Bay of Plenty, although I'm a ‘Naki girl at heart.
Being positive, confident & self-loving/accepting have been qualities I have focused on this year.
I AM OK!
We have a new Admin onboard!
Elizabeth will be our Admin in Australia for all the Australian Warriors out there!
You can contact her at:
More about our new Warrior below! Welcome to the FTM Team!
I am a wife and mother of three beautiful girls including 3 year old twins Jacinta and Kyah, and 5 year old, Grace.
The grasps of anorexia took hold when I was a senior in high school, particularly as I was going through my final exams. I put too much pressure on myself to get the best results. I would sit at the computer or in front of notes for hours and unintentionally I started skipping meals. I was loosing weight, comments flooded and in and my mind shifted into believing that IT was something I could CONTROL and something I could do well.
I was eventually referred to a school counsellor and a GP. I barely made it through my final exams.
I later began uni and completed half a semester before entering an inpatient treatment facility for eating disorders. It was here I was given a diagnosis of anorexia, depression and body dysmorphia.
Two stints in this hospital had me back on my own two feet with a barrage of coping mechanisms. I slipped back into uni where I graduated with High Distinction and went on to become a teacher.
Although I had been without a menstrual cycle for about a year, I met my husband and we now have 3 happy, healthy children. I have had relapses and times where I found myself slipping back into old habits but persistence and the knowledge of knowing what recovery is like has kept me moving forward. It is only now, nearly 15 years since my diagnosis that I feel so empowered, so worthy, and capable of sharing my story with others.
If someone had said to me this time a year ago that I would be fighting for my daughter’s life I would have laughed.
Just under 4 weeks ago I literally was and still am.
At risk of cardiac arrest and not knowing whether she would still be with me the next morning makes my heart break into two.
I am a Mother of a daughter who is in the threshold of the battle with Anorexia Nervosa.
Of all mental illnesses Anorexia Nervosa has the highest death rate.
My daughter’s journey with Anorexia began a little under a year ago and I have dedicated every ounce of my being to help her in her recovery.
Not only does my daughter suffer from Anorexia but she also self harms and this is directly linked to her already high anxiety levels surrounding anything to do with food. She thinks that she is not good enough and insists that nobody could ever like her in any way, shape or form. The self harming, constant exercise and restrictive eating make her feel as though she is in control and is able to feel better about herself by doing so.
Recovery is still a long way off, with her last admission being at risk of heart failure, being tube fed and weighing in at just 42kgs.
She is 17 years old and this is her second admission.
I am writing this from her hospital bed in Starship Children’s Hospital.
I am extremely passionate about being an advocate and a voice for all of the young people in this position and to also help in minimising and preventing this from happening to other young people.
This is why I want to share my story.
Anorexia Nervosa is a severe mental illness that does not discriminate and it does not matter what socio economic background you are from, we all have one thing in common, we fight fiercely to ensure our children grow up to be strong, independent individuals who can live the life they deserve.
I made my daughter an Inspiration Board 3 days ago...
She writes something she is grateful for every night on it.
So far she has LOVE, FAMILY and SUPPORT.
I also ask the nurses, doctors and any visitors we have to write an inspirational message on it.
My message to her is ‘You are strong and beautiful both inside and out. I will fight for you always. Love Mum’
Her name is Laura and she is MY inspiration!
Night time is the worst time for my daughter. Last night she layed on her hospital bed with me and cried.
This is a nightly ritual.
She will lay in my arms, sob and ask why this is happening to her.
She gives up at this point and says she doesn’t want to do this anymore.
Before the Anorexia entered our lives, she self harmed and now that she is in the threshold of this illness she tells me that the urge to self harm is back more than ever.
I sit there, I stroke her head and tell her that it’s ok, everything will be ok because when she doesn’t have the strength to carry on, I will be the strength for her. I will fight for her and I will love her and ensure that, no matter what, I will help her with every ounce of my being to beat this illness.
Four weeks later and we are still here and she is in fantastic hands.
Laura sent me a photo from her Grandma’s house before her second admission and asked me why she still looked ‘fat’.
I cried and asked myself how we had gotten to this point and I blamed myself profusely.
It wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t Laura’s fault, it wasn’t anyone’s fault and as Parents we DO NOT need to blame ourselves.
It’s natural instinct I know!
What do we do?
We FIGHT! 👊
What keeps ME going?
Knowing that one day, I’m not sure when, that she will be the strong, independent woman she deserves to be.
How do I cope?
I reach out, I am very open and honest about my daughter’s illness, I too ask for help. Because without my strength and hope at this stage of Laura’s recovery, she would have none.
Raising awareness surrounding the stigma of this awful illness is crucial for not only the sufferers, but their families. It changes your life completely, life is literally on hold and you are constantly grasping at any shred of dignity, support or just someone you can talk to so you can feel ‘human’ again.
Anorexia slowly and silently isolates you from the outside world and it’s all you seem to eat, breathe and drink.....
Anorexia, anorexia, anorexia!!!
Refeed, refeed, refeed!!!!
Just eat, just eat, just eat!!!!
Why won’t she eat!!!????????
And as a Mother I got more and more frustrated with the monster that is consuming my darling daughter’s mind!!!!!!
After Laura’s first admission I isolated myself completely. I lost touch with family and friends and I suffered in silence. I didn’t think anyone would understand and I felt a huge amount of guilt, blaming myself for the position Laura was in. I broke and I cried myself to sleep every night. The next few months were hell. I nearly gave up at this point and I nearly lost hope.
Upon Laura’s second admission, the words ‘Your daughter is at risk of heart failure if we do not act quickly’ flicked a switch on in my head.
I’ll FIGHT this for her, I’ll BEAT this for her, I WILL get her better!
I WILL NOT give up hope and I will do EVERYTHING I can to save my daughter!!
I spoke out to my family and friends, I asked for help, I’m no longer ashamed and I no longer blame myself.
This is real and it happens to real people. Anorexia Nervosa does NOT discriminate....Anorexia will kill you.
I will not let this illness control myself or my daughter any longer and she will get better!
And now I’m in the midst of building my own support network which I am hoping will support others and help other families and sufferers out there everywhere.
A strong network of family and friends is EVERYTHING, stay strong and FIGHT!
Love and support is everything.
Speak out, be heard and remember there is ALWAYS hope!