Nurse who vomited 8,000 occasions throughout her nine-year battle with bulimia that started on the age of TEN

Pictured: Serena Riley, 29

A girl who says she vomited about 8,000 occasions throughout her secret nine-year battle with bulimia has fulfilled her dream of changing into a managing nurse in Australia’s first ever residential consuming dysfunction clinic.

Serena Riley was ten years’ previous and going to major faculty in Armidale, in northern New South Wales, when she first joined a weight reduction program.

Throughout this system, which was focused at middle-aged ladies, the younger lady discovered all about physique form, measurements, meals restriction and what she described as a ‘fixation’ with numbers on the size.

What started as undiagnosed anorexia become bulimia by the age of 13, which is a debilitating and probably lethal psychological well being situation that meant the younger lady threw up every thing she ate.

The 29-year-old informed Every day Mail Australia on Tuesday that she stored the truth of her dwindling well being hidden to the purpose the place, when she lastly divulged her massive secret at 19, her mom mentioned she had no thought.

‘Mum was shocked. Throughout that complete time, she solely thought there was one thing mistaken as soon as however did not realise what it was,’ Ms Riley mentioned.

Pictured: Serena Riley with her mum. She finally told her mother she had bulimia when she was 19

Pictured: Serena Riley together with her mum. She lastly informed her mom she had bulimia when she was 19

Pictured: Serena Riley as a teenager. She kept her illness hidden from friends and loved ones

Pictured: Serena Riley as a youngster. She stored her sickness hidden from buddies and family members

She defined that individuals with bulimia typically do not seem like rake-thin, and may typically look common weight or barely chubby – which means family members cannot see any bodily proof to recommend there’s something mistaken.

At 19, she thought opening up about her struggles would open the doorways to restoration, however what {the teenager} did not know what that Australia did not have the assistance amenities she was in search of.

A month of looking out on-line for remedy centres revealed a spread of ‘lovely’ ranches and properties within the US and Europe the place folks with consuming issues would reside whereas they recovered, however there was nothing like that at dwelling.

‘I believed I used to be being courageous and brave once I mentioned I had bulimia out loud – that admitting it was the toughest half – however I used to be mistaken,’ she mentioned.

Serena Riley said restricting her food intake gave her a sense of control and structure

Serena Riley mentioned proscribing her meals consumption gave her a way of management and construction


Pictured: Serena Riley as a teenager

Pictured: Serena Riley as a child

Serena Riley (pictured left as a youngster, and proper as a baby) started proscribing her meals consumption when she was ten

Serena Riley (pictured left) didn't think she could ever recover from bulimia, or live without the illness

Serena Riley (pictured left) did not assume she might ever get better from bulimia, or reside with out the sickness

With no assist or finish to her situation in sight, Ms Riley overdosed on treatment.

She spent three nights in intensive care earlier than being transferred to the psychological well being ward and, ultimately, into an consuming dysfunction ward – the place she spent the subsequent 12 months and a half going out and in of hospital whereas receiving remedy. 

‘I wanted to push previous all of the fears I had developed about meals and realise the world would not explode if I ate one thing – the dysfunction makes you imagine issues that do not make sense,’ she mentioned.

When requested what triggered her dysfunction, Ms Riley mentioned she wasn’t completely positive, however defined she did aggressive gymnastics as a baby, she was a proficient dancer, and she or he witnessed home violence as a baby.

Although her household managed to flee the violent scenario, she believes she was making an attempt to course of the scenario in her early teenage years.

Pictured: Serena Riley as a child. She witnessed domestic violence when she was younger

Pictured: Serena Riley as a baby. She witnessed home violence when she was youthful

Ms Riley (pictured as a teenager) finally realised recovery was possible and became inspired to help others in her position

Ms Riley (pictured as a youngster) lastly realised restoration was doable and have become impressed to assist others in her place

At 20, she desperately wanted to open a residential treatment facility for people with eating disorders (pictured: Serena Riley with her son)

At 20, she desperately needed to open a residential remedy facility for folks with consuming issues (pictured: Serena Riley together with her son)

‘Regimenting my meals consumption gave me a variety of construction and management and I needed in my life on the time,’ she mentioned. 

When she lastly left the hospital, Ms Riley realised restoration was doable and have become impressed to assist others in her place.

At 20, she desperately needed to open a residential remedy facility for folks with consuming issues, however she did not have the sources and determined to start out by changing into a registered nurse.

She started to specialise and ultimately landed in wards with folks affected by the debilitating situation that consumed her teenage years, till she heard that the Butterfly Basis – an consuming dysfunction assist group – have been making a facility.

Serena Riley (pictured with her son) began to specialise and eventually landed in wards with people suffering from the debilitating condition that consumed her teenage years

Serena Riley (pictured together with her son) started to specialise and ultimately landed in wards with folks affected by the debilitating situation that consumed her teenage years

Decided to assist others like herself, Ms Riley utilized for a place and was given the job as nurse unit supervisor at Australia’s first-ever residential consuming dysfunction clinic, Wandi Nerida.

The centre sits on a 25-acre block on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, and is a 13-bed residential remedy facility that can function beneath the Butterfly Basis Residential Consuming Issues Remedy Mannequin of Care.

It additionally collects knowledge from sufferers in order that different centres may be opened throughout Australia, and has already obtained over 680 enquiries and 101 folks have been referred for remedy.

Ms Riley says she is totally recovered from bulimia, and needs victims to know that restoration is feasible.

‘When you’ve got an consuming dysfunction, it is laborious to think about that you will ever get better,’ she mentioned.

Wandi Nerida (pictured) sits on a 25-acre block on Queensland's Sunshine Coast

Wandi Nerida (pictured) sits on a 25-acre block on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast

Wandi Nerida (pictured) 13-bed residential treatment facility that will operate under the Butterfly Foundation Residential Eating Disorders Treatment Model of Care

Wandi Nerida (pictured) 13-bed residential remedy facility that can function beneath the Butterfly Basis Residential Consuming Issues Remedy Mannequin of Care

‘However I am dwelling proof that it is doable.’ 

Medicare has supplied rebates for consuming dysfunction victims since 2019, permitting folks with anorexia, bulimia and different food-related situations to entry as much as 40 psychological and 20 dietetic providers a 12 months. 

Multiple million Australians endure from consuming issues, however just one in 4 will search remedy.

Anybody in search of assist with consuming issues or physique picture points is inspired to contact:

Butterfly Nationwide Helpline on 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) or [email protected]

For pressing assist name Lifeline 13 11 14


Bulimia nervosa is a severe psychiatric sickness characterised by recurrent binge-eating episodes (the consumption of abnormally giant quantities of meals in a brief time period), instantly adopted by self-induced vomiting, fasting, over-exercising and/or the misuse of laxatives, enemas or diuretics.

Bulimia nervosa differs from binge consuming dysfunction because the binge episodes are related to a way of lack of management and are instantly adopted by emotions of guilt and disgrace, which then leads the individual to compensatory behaviours, to right away purge themselves of the meals they simply ate. 

An individual with bulimia nervosa often maintains a median weight, or could also be barely above or under common weight for his or her peak, which regularly makes it much less recognisable than severe instances of anorexia nervosa.

Many individuals, together with some well being professionals, incorrectly assume that an individual should be underweight and skinny if they’ve an consuming dysfunction. Due to this, bulimia nervosa is commonly missed and may go undetected for an extended time period.

A number of the extra frequent indicators and signs of bulimia nervosa are:

– Difficulties with actions that contain meals. 

– Loneliness because of self-imposed isolation and a reluctance to develop private relationships. 

– Misleading behaviours referring to meals Concern of the disapproval of others if the sickness turns into identified. 

– Temper swings, modifications in persona, emotional outbursts or despair Self-harm, substance abuse or suicide makes an attempt. 

– Sensitivity to references about weight or look. 

– Guilt, self-disgust, self-loathing. 

– Anxiousness or despair.

– Frequent journeys to the lavatory, particularly after consuming. 

– Meals avoidance, weight-reduction plan behaviour (this can be because of a worry of gaining weight and it could even be to keep away from the disagreeable ritual of purging afterwards). 

– Fluctuations in weight.

Supply: Consuming Issues Victoria 

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