Exhibition highlights battle with eating disorders
A young mother hopes an art exhibition detailing her twodecade struggle with an eating disorder can bring some relief to other sufferers.
Herself is a series of canvas paintings by Angie Ogilvy whose unhealthy relationship with food started when she was 14.
‘‘I was playing around with diets and things. I thought ‘if I’m thin everything else will be wonderful’,’’ she says.
The Onehunga resident was suffering from a combination of the three most common eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive eating.
Surprisingly she was able to keep it a secret and not seek help for 20 years.
‘‘I never talked about it, I was really ashamed of it. Nobody really knew apart from my husband,’’ she says.
‘‘On the outside I probably seemed quite successful, fit, and healthy. On the inside it was a big struggle to present myself how I wanted people to see me.’’
Mrs Oglivy was at the height of her struggle when she and her husband moved to Auckland five years ago.
She says her faith in God helped her to realise that things needed to change and she found a support group.
‘‘It opened my eyes. I saw it wasn’t normal and perhaps it wasn’t my lot and I didn’t actually have to struggle on through life basically hating and starving myself.’’
From there Mrs Oglivy visited her doctor and started seeing a therapist.
‘‘I still kind of struggle and I’m still not there, but I know that I’m on my way out,’’ she says.
Herself came into being around the same time.
‘‘I’d wanted to do another series for a long time and this was the biggest thing in my life.
‘‘It has been helpful. It makes you sit down and think about it,’’ she says.
The paintings are on display at Crave cafe in Morningside.
Mrs Oglivy is donating 15 per cent of sales to A Girl Called Hope.
The charity is a residential facility for girls suffering from eating disorders and other issues.
‘‘For me it went for 20 years and it would be really neat if I could help just one girl so she didn’t have to suffer for that long,’’ she says.
Mrs Oglivy has a two-yearold daughter and is pregnant.
‘‘Having children has been a huge healing process.
‘‘My daughter changed my whole perspective.
‘‘When I was really caught in the disorder the most important thing in my life was to be thin.
‘‘Now she is the most important thing in my life which is healthy and normal,’’ she says.
Her story: Angie Ogilvy’s exhibition Herself outlines her 20-year battle with an eating disorder.