Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Johanna’s agonising everyday battle to stay alive

She is only 19 years old and desperately wants to get on with life. But for Johanna Wozniak, just making it through the day is a struggle.

Battling a debilitating eating disorder she has had since the age of 11, Johanna has watched her weight plummet to under six stone while her severe self-loathing has led to four suicide attempts and triggered countless episodes of self-harm.

Her troubles began after the death of a close relative when she “turned to food” believing it was the only part of her life she could control.

“At the beginning it was just cutting out things like sweets and things like that,” she told the Belfast Telegraph. “Then it turned to the stage that I wasn’t eating for weeks.

“I dropped to under 42 kilos and I was hospitalised with anorexia when I was 14.”

At the time of this interview Johanna had not eaten in five days. She said: “Whenever I eat I can’t focus on other things. I know it’s not really good for me, but I just can’t stand eating normally.

Frustrated by an apparent lack of help and as a cry for help, Johanna attempted to take her own life on several occasions.

She explained: “I feel like I am in a big hole and everyone is looking at me but no one is likely to do anything and they are saying that I have to get out myself. But I’ve got nothing to climb on. I just need someone to give me a hand.”

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