Anorexia Nervosa is a serious mental illness that doctors can't cure. British woman Jacqueline Kemp 64, says it ruined her health, her happiness and the chance of having a family and hopes her story will save others from living a life of misery.
Jacqueline has spent most of her life in a constant state of panic and fear, unable to hold down a full time job and the thought of weight gain through pregnancy was out of the question. Now she's a lonely old lady with few close friends. Socializing usually involves food at some point and the thought of being offered a simple cup of tea with a biscuit would terrify her, so she kept away from people.
She's very concerned about the pro-Anorexia websites and wants them shut down. "I have no idea why people would try to influence others to lose weight when they are already so thin" she said.
A study done last year said one million Australians have an eating disorder, a 40-fold increase since 2003. As society is now overwhelmed by the importance of body image, mothers of teenagers across the country are starting to worry about their child's gradual reluctance to eat, and the pro-anorexic websites aren't helping - they encourage them to lie, cheat, and keep on going.
But there won't be much help for parents who come to realize they have a problem, Australia doesn't have a high priority for treating people with eating disorders. There are just two public hospital beds available in NSW, five in Queensland and 19 in Victoria.
For support visit thebutterflyfoundation.org.au or call the Bufferfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673