Anorexia nervosa: ‘I don’t remember how it started’

Teenagers work on an artistic banner
Sarah lays down her blue pen while she works on a banner for Youth Week.


Sarah describes her long-battle with anorexia nervosa as a daily struggle. 

It is the second time the 18-year-old has been admitted to the adolescent ward at Westmead Hospital with the condition. 

“Some days are harder than others but I know I’m getting on the right path,” she said.

Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness and eating disorder characterised by an obsession with weight, a distorted self-image and a severe restriction of food.

Sarah is one of a number of teenage girls battling the disorder who has been working on an artistic banner for Youth Week in the ward.

“With eating disorders a lot of the time you don’t feel sick, you feel fine because it’s not like a lot of illnesses,” she said.

“It’s really nice to have something to do and be active.”

Youth Week is a week-long celebration which starts today and it is organised by young people in communities across the state.

It is an opportunity for people to express their ideas and views on issues affecting their lives.

Western Sydney Local Health District Youth Council facilitator Mae Rafraf advocates for the health and wellbeing of young people. 

“We definitely want to raise the profile of young people in the community,” she said. 

“It’s important to remember that there are teenagers in these hospitals and their journey in the health system is completely different to the older patients.”

The Western Sydney Local Health District’s Youth Council will be running a stall in the main entrance of Westmead Hospital on April 18 from 10am until 2pm to support this initiative.