Anorexia survivor and now an author: 'I have started to feel proud of myself'
Erin Donohue's biggest critic may be herself.
The 21-year-old Tawa woman said it's taken a long time to allow herself to be proud of her accomplishments but she's ready to accept them.
About to graduate with a creative writing degree from Whitireia Polytechnic, and a book to be published this year, Donohue has plenty to be proud of.
"I'm learning to allow myself to be proud of what I've done."
Completing her degree and writing a book was made all the more difficult because Donohue had struggled with mental illness since she was about 15.
"I was diagnosed with anorexia in the last year of college, when I was 17.
"I wasn't physically well enough to go to school so I had to cut down my subjects. That was a tough year."
Unable to pursue the ballet she had always loved, Donohue applied for Whitireia's writing programme while she was an inpatient receiving treatment for her eating disorder.
"I really felt it was going to be a new start for me but in the middle of the year I got sick again and had to complete the rest online.
"It really wasn't what I had planned."
It was in the second year of her degree that her book, called Everything is Right but Everything is Wrong, was completed.
"I was two years out of high school when I wrote it so it's focused on my experiences about trying to decide what you're going to do with your life when you're only 17.
"Everyone feels like they do choose something so I wrote about that and the pressures it causes."
The experience of going through college with mental illness made things harder and features in the book, written for young adults, she said.
"The main character is actually a boy and he experiences the depression and anxiety that I did.
"I just wasn't ready to write about an eating disorder in a main character."
She advised budding writers to read as much as possible and seek feedback from other.
Tutor Anna Taylor said she was thrilled with her student.
"Graduating is a big deal in itself but 2017 also marks the beginning of her life as a published writer - no mean feat for anyone but especially for someone so young."