Feb 21, 2017
June Alexander grew up in a rural area of Australia.
When she was 11 years old, she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder.
“Why can’t you behave like other girls?” her mother asked.
She was also given a diary.
“I was smitten, I found if I could write, I could connect with the outside world.”
Writing a diary became a survival tool, a way of connecting with the outside world.
“It became a way of sharing thoughts that were crowding my mind and I had no one to share them with.”
However, at the same time, the diary was also aligning itself with her mental illness.
“It became a way for the illness to emphasise rules and regimented life style.”
When she received a correct diagnosis in her 30s, she started a long recovery journey. With guidance and help from a treatment team, the diaries became a healing tool. They became part of a process of discovering herself.
In her 50s, June realised the role that the diary had played in her life. She also came to realise the possibilities for other people in using diary writing as part of their recovery from an eating disorders.
June has written a memoir, A Girl Called Tim, and in 2014, she began connecting with other diary writers. Her hope was to write a book about how diary writing was helpful to her.
“The response was amazing. It was swift. In 24 hours, I had a hundred replies. I developed an ongoing relationship with seventy of them and they shared their raw diary excerpts from their private journals with me.”
This was the material used to create a book, The Diary Healer, about using writing as a therapy for eating disorders.
June spends her time reaching out, in various ways, to support people struggling with mental illness.
“Recovery is indeed possible at every age. And that’s the message that I love to give to people.”
If you want to learn more about the work of June Alexander, please visit www.diaryhealer.com