A Cork woman with an eating disorder, who has been forced to go public with her struggle to get life-saving help, has seen more than €50,000 donated in two days to help fund private treatment.
31-year-old Lisa Murphy said “inadequate” services provided by the public health system meant she had to seek help from the public to pay for a 12-week programme which costs €60,000.
Despite anonymous pleas in The Echo earlier this year following a suicide attempt, the she was not able to secure a place in one of the three hospital beds offered by the HSE.
After witnessing the extent of her illness, Ms Murphy’s friends intervened and set up an online fundraising page to gather money to pay for the treatment.
“I’ve attempted suicides several times and I suppose this year has been the first year that I really thought, if I don’t actually die by my own hands, then this illness will physically end it,” she said.
“I’m really feeling the physical consequences of it this past year more than ever, like my body is just not working properly.
“I’m absolutely shocked I made it to 31.”
Ms Murphy has suffered bulimia and anorexia since she was a teenager and has struggled throughout her 20s.
More than €50,000 euro had been raised so far, and hundreds of people left messages of support, which have left Ms Murphy “blown away”.
“This really is life or death for me. To be honest, there’s a part of me thinks, I don’t know if this inpatient treatment is going to work,” she said.
Ms Murphy said she makes herself sick dozens of times a day and goes to great lengths to hide it from family, friends and colleagues.
“There have been times at work where I went to the toilets and have been vomiting really violently, which is a very difficult thing to do when you do it as often as I do,” she said.
“My eyes were bloodshot, I’d be a bit disoriented but then I just snap into this other mind altogether and I’m like, ‘OK, grand, that’s done’, and then go back out and say ‘hi everyone’ and chat away.
“I don’t have enough love or respect for myself to care what I’m doing to my body and I don’t like myself enough to care, is what it comes down to.
“The pain from laxative abuse is absolutely brutal. I’ve often passed out from it.
Ms Murphy said she feels “let down” by services provided by the HSE.
“I feel the level of care I’ve been offered over the years has just been so deeply inadequate,” she added.
“I’ve been very vocal all along the way with the public services, telling them what I need and asking them for the help that I know that I’ll be able to respond to, and it’s just the same answer every time: ‘this is all we can offer’.”
Donations can be made here.