Islington anorexia survivor, 23, tells of her journey to recovery
- Credit: Archant
Fourteen can be a tough age. Treading the tightrope between childhood and adulthood, for many it’s our first real experience of decision making, responsibility and independence. But for Islington woman Nina Martynchyk, it represented a low point in her life.
“When I was 14 my mum died, and with no one else around I was taken into care,” she said.
“I was already struggling with anorexia a bit at the time, and going into care didn’t help at all.”
Islington Council placed Nina with a foster family she felt didn’t care for her – something she says saw her condition worsen over the next two years. At the age of just 16, she was admitted to hospital for help.
“When I was in hospital my foster mum barely came to see me, and there was a period of about six weeks at the start where no one came at all,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the help of the NHS doctors and nurses during that time, I’m not sure what I would have done.”
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At the end of six weeks without a single visitor Nina was placed with a new foster family. It was here that her recovery finally began. She spent just over a year in different hospitals but, when she came out, she began to see life differently.
“I found that eating disorders aren’t about food or weight – they’re about controlling your emotions,” she said.
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Today, Nina works for mental health charity Starwards, and is teaming up with the Royal Free Hospital to put on a conference about eating disorders next month.
“When I was sick I felt like people did want to help, but they just didn’t understand how to,” she said.
“If I had a daughter and something were to happen to me, I’d want to know that she wouldn’t be going through the same things I went through, and that people would be able to help her.”
So far the conference has more than 250 people attending, with a host of guest speakers talking about their experiences. It’s been so popular it even has a waiting list, and Nina can’t wait for it to take place.
“I’m actually really excited. I’m a little nervous but really can’t wait, and am curious to see how it goes.”
For more on the conference, visit respondingtoeatingdisordersconference.com