Stay strong, new author urges
Rock bottom came at 38kg and a nasal gastric tube for Rhianna Boyd.
The Porirua woman not only won a seven-year battle with the disease anorexia nervosa, but wrote a book about it to give hope to other sufferers.
Now 20, Boyd said the illness took root when she was a teenager struggling with arthritis and a friend’s cancer diagnosis.
‘‘It was a way for me to have control when I couldn’t control anything else.’’
Over four years she was admitted into a residential eating disorder clinic four times, a mental health facility once and was treated in hospital six times. She attempted suicide twice. In 2014, and close to death, she was admitted to hospital and fitted with a feeding tube to save her life.
‘‘I felt like I had completely given up and I would never get better but the tube helped me fight. ‘‘It saved my life.’’ Now studying at the New Zealand School of Tourism, Boyd said she was almost completely healed.
‘‘There may be a niggly bit every now and then but I’ve found a way to function in the world.’’
She had been nervous about writing her story for everyone to read but wasn’t ashamed about her past, she said.
Her book, Stay Strong, was for sufferers and their families, teachers and anyone who didn’t know about anorexia and mental illness.
‘‘It’s been an eye opener for some people who didn’t know my whole story but everyone has been positive.
‘‘I want people to know it can get better.
‘‘People used to tell me you can’t recover after two years but it’s never too late to get there.’’
The book was dedicated to Boyd’s mother, Ali, who said the whole family had experienced a rollercoaster of emotions over the past seven years.
‘‘She’s done a great job putting herself out there and I’m proud of her.’’
Ali wrote a chapter for the book to offer a parent’s perspective on the disease.
‘‘It’s a hard disease to share, people are very judgmental about eating disorders and mental illness.
‘‘The book doesn’t have a happy ending – she’s going to have to fight for a long time – it’s not a fairytale.
‘‘I do believe she’s going to get better.’’
Never give up: Rhianna Boyd hopes to inspire others.