Naomi wants to eating disorders to be recognised as a mental illness
Naomi is making a film with Fixers about her eating disorder
Founder of Eating Disorder Association Northern Ireland Ann McCann
‘When I was 14 I developed anorexia nervosa and was in recovery for a number of years. It was so hard fighting it every day and there were points where I felt I just didn’t want to be alive anymore, because it was such a struggle.’
Naomi Lloyd, now 18, tells of her battle with an eating disorder which left her hospitalised.
With Fixers she is campaigning to get anorexia recognised as a mental illness. The charity arranged for her to tell her story on UTV Live on February 3.
Naomi, from Lisburn in County Antrim, says: ‘Things at home felt out of control; I was worried about my GCSEs, friendships were changing and my sister became sick. Eating was the one thing I could control. But then the eating disorder took control.
‘Many people perceive anorexia to be about ‘weight’ and talk about ‘lowest weight’ but that can be a trigger for others. It’s a mental illness.
'When I finally reached a ‘healthy’ weight, I was at my worst point mentally.’
Naomi remembers that she didn’t have any role models to help her through the illness and now she wants to act as a guide for others.
She says: ‘With Fixers I'm making a short film which is a letter to my 14-year-old self.'
The teenager met Ann McCann, founder of Eating Disorder Association Northern Ireland, to see how she thought her Fixers film could help others.
‘I do think this is going to be a tremendous tool for young people who have suffered. It will give them a sense that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and that they will get better, they just have to accept the help that’s there,' says Ann.
‘We have very distressed parents that come in here and my task in this organisation is trying to get them to be as effective in their support of the child as they can because sometimes they don’t appreciate that it is a serious mental health issue.’
Naomi hopes that by hearing her story, young people suffering from eating disorders will realise things can get better.
‘I just want to give hope to people who may be in a similar situation. I want them to see someone who has come out the other end and see that it really is possible to have a life after an eating disorder,' she says.