15-YEAR FIGHT: Millie Thomas at Austalia's first residential treatment facility for eating disorders. She said a facility like this should have been provided years ago.
15-YEAR FIGHT: Millie Thomas at Austalia's first residential treatment facility for eating disorders. She said a facility like this should have been provided years ago. John McCutcheon

Coast anorexia patient told she only had weeks to live

MILLIE Thomas says a doctor told her that her battle with anorexia was so "severe" that she should give up and die.

For 15 "arduous" years she had fought the volatile disease, often losing hope in herself and the system.

That hope that wasn't offered to her will be to hundreds of patients battling illnesses just like hers.

A million-dollar specialist facility based at Mooloolah Valley will be constructed by 2020 said to bring "life-changing" treatment to the Coast.

The centre, endED Butterfly House, is an Australian-first residential facility.

But being told that by a specialist saw her hit "rock-bottom".

 

Millie Thomas, April 2015, at The Rocks, Sydney.
Millie Thomas, April 2015, at The Rocks, Sydney. Contributed

"When the professionals gave up on me, I gave up. I remember thinking that's it, I'm not going to do treatment any more and discharged myself," she said.

"That's when it got really bad."

At 26, her bone density was worse than the average nursing home patient and her body was shutting down.

Only her mother, Kath, held onto that hope.

Weeks after that diagnosis, a different general practitioner told her she had two weeks to live.

Kath coaxed her into undergoing months of Neuro-linguistic programming treatment.

She was shown how to "re-wire" her mind and remember what it was like to be "truly happy".

She said it was "the hardest thing she ever did" but she made a full recovery.

She now mentors other eating disorder sufferers on their road to recovery.

 

Mark Forbes of EndEd and Christine Morgan of Butterfly Foundation at Austalia's first residential treatment facility for eating disorders.
Mark Forbes of endEd and Christine Morgan of Butterfly Foundation at Australia's first residential treatment facility for eating disorders. John McCutcheon

While Ms Thomas expressed what a fantastic treatment facility it will be, she said the lack of a similar service "prolonged" her recovery tenfold.

"I firmly believe there is still a lack of services like this close to home. Personally I couldn't have afforded treatment overseas," she said.

"The only ones available are cold, clinical mental health wards. Butterfly House will help so many people and their families."

She said from the specialists, even down to the gardener at endED Butterfly House will be educated to know the triggers for patients.

The service they will provide will be world-class.

"Eating disorders are so individual, recovery is never a one-side fits all," she said.

"One word can send people into a full-on relapse, but everyone at the facility will be trained to best avoid the triggers.

"The patients who come here will know they are in the best care possible. They will have hope."