Focus Ireland – Stephanie

“I was diagnosed with type two diabetes at 26 as a result of my binge eating habits. At times, I eat even if I’m not hungry, out of boredom, just to comfort myself. My mother had mental health and addiction issues, she wasn’t really in a position to look after me. My mother had mental health and addiction issues, she wasn’t really in a position to look after me. I grew up without any structure or rules. She never cooked so growing up, I could eat whatever I wanted which was mostly sweets and junk food. I was sexually abused around the age of 4, and that also had an impact on my mental health growing up, but my binge eating habit only started after I was taken into care, and all the rules were put on me. People were trying to feed me with ‘healthy foods’ which I always rebelled against as I felt that they were just trying to take away my freedom. I used to go out and fill myself up with junk food just to prove that I still have control. I used to drink 2-3 liters of soda a day. I never really knew that my eating habits could be the reason for my low energy, depression, and learning difficulties. I used to get into questionable relationships just to channel my attachment needs, and my binge eating got worse after a forced breakup of a secret relationship with a 39-year-old man. I was only 15, and the staff at the care home were already after him. He gave me the attention I was longing for and would tell me the things I wanted to hear. He made me do stuff that I only did because I thought he loved me. Now, I have my guard up with new relationships, and it’s very difficult to trust people. After I left care, I was in and out of homeless shelters as I didn’t have any support. I never touched drugs or alcohol, so those times were particularly difficult. It was Focus Ireland that really saved me and gave me the opportunities I enjoy today. I am renting an apartment with them, which is a dream come true. I used to really want to have children but at the same time, I know that my own trauma would affect them just as my mother’s trauma affected my life, so I decided to be the one breaking the cycle.”
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