Christie Begnell

Christie is a 25 year old Australian artist who is challenging the way we think about Eating Disorders. Having suffered with an Eating Disorder (ED) herself, she has realised just how difficult it is to communicate the experiences of an ED with the people around her.

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Christie began drawing while she was a patient in a mental health ward. She found it difficult to communicate to the staff and her family and became frustrated with the lack of understanding.

To the staff, I was just another “crazy”, young girl with issues. They didn’t understand my illness and therefore didn’t know how to treat me. I was lost, suicidal and my Eating Disorder was controlling my life, but they told me I wasn’t sick enough to get the treatment I needed.

In her frustration, Christie began drawing her experiences and showing them to her family and nurses. As she found the help she needed, she continued to draw and use her illustrations as a way of expressing her pain to her therapists. Several members of her healthcare team encouraged her to develop a book, and that’s where ‘Me and My ED’ started.

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On top of her success with ‘Me and My ED’, Christie has completed a Bachelor in Health Science, Masters of Occupational Therapy and is currently studying her Masters of Psychology. She offers counselling and support through her Instagram page, @meandmyed.art and uses her time in between study to help people seeking advice.

I don’t want anyone to have to go through what I did. Unfortunately, our health care system is so significantly under funded and uneducated when it comes to Eating Disorders, it makes it difficult to offer people the amount of support that is needed. I hope that one day we reach a point where Eating Disorders are widely understood and nobody has to experience discrimination and stigma for their illness, but until that day I will use my voice to spread awareness and encourage people in their recovery.