Bec Brown’s Story
Bec Brown, Business owner and author who battled anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder intermittently from the time she was 12, SYDNEY
Founder and Managing Director of a communications agency, Bec Brown, 41, Sydney, battled anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder intermittently from the time she was 12.
Ms Brown has had a lifelong passion for music and performing. After graduating from high school, she auditioned for the University of Adelaide’s Conservatorium of Music, and studied a Bachelor of Music, Ms Brown pursued a professional career as a vocalist and vocal coach.
“I performed across seven cities in five countries over seven years,” said Ms Brown.
At 25 years of age, Ms Brown experienced a “quarter- life crisis”. Feeling very unhappy, she chose to stop performing and began to explore new interests.
“As much as I loved performing, it was a difficult life back at that time before we were more connected with today’s technology, and the constant international travel and working at nights left me feeling isolated from my close friends and family.
“In that job, I was also constantly being judged daily on my appearance, how much I weighed, and how I sounded. As the pressure continued to mount, the eating disorders took hold,” Ms Brown said.
“I was very young when I began having a disordered relationship with food – only 12 years old. I’ve always been a little hard on myself and that innate perfectionism has been both a blessing and a curse. While it drove me to achieve, I often aimed for something so high that I was eternally dissatisfied and it manifested in controlling behaviours around what I ate and how much I exercised.
“Recovery is different for everyone. For me, it was a combination of regular visits to an experienced clinical psychologist who specialised in eating disorders, and an online intuitive eating methodology.
“Having a daily meditation practice has also been one of the very best treatments for me, as has being disciplined with looking after myself. When you have regular daily mental hygiene practices, it’s much easier to have good mental health overall,” said Ms Brown.
At 26 years of age, Ms Brown decided to take a step back from performing. She moved to Sydney to undertake a Graduate Diploma in Media and Communications, majoring in Public Relations, and later completed a Certificate in Social Psychology.
Ms Brown has now been working as a professional communicator for more than 20 years, and eight years ago established her own public relations agency.
She has just released a book titled ‘You’ve Got This – the essential career handbook for creative women’, which arms women with everything they need to know to reach their creative and earning potential and find career fulfilment. In her book, Ms Brown reflects on her personal journey to success, while touching on her experience of living with eating disorders and the support she has received.
Ms Brown is a strong advocate for the Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) – the world’s largest genetic research study of eating disorders ever performed, that aims to identify the hundreds of genes that influence a person’s risk of developing anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, to improve treatment, and ultimately, save lives.
“EDGI will allow the researchers to identify genetic factors that determine why some people experience eating disorders, while others do not, and why some people living with eating disorders respond to certain treatments, while others do not,” said Ms Brown.
Importantly, Ms Brown encourages anyone who is living with an eating disorder to seek help immediately.
“Reaching out for help is one of the best things you will ever do. And the reason I’m so open about the challenges that I faced is to share the methods that worked for my recovery, in the hope that they may help others who are facing those same challenges right now. When you’re in the thick of living with an eating disorder, it can feel very dark and that recovery isn’t possible. But I’m here to tell you that, with help, it is.”
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