Louisa has been broken for a long time. I saw that the moment I looked into her eyes. Louisa is a 16-year-old girl – charming, funny and smart with beautiful eyes and a contagious laugh. But still: this girl isn’t happy and I could simply feel her struggle. When Louisa was eleven years old she started cutting herself. „I’ve suddenly become so unhappy, before that I was a happy child“, Louisa explains. With 13 years she stopped eating – with 15 she got sent to the children and adolescent psychiatric clinic in Vienna. „You know, I wish there would’ve been a reason for all of this, I wish I could explain my self harm and my eating disorder with a certain event“, Louisa says. „But I just started hating my life.“

A few weeks ago Louisa got released from the psychiatric station. That doesn’t mean that her healing process is finished. „I am still afraid of hot summer days because I don’t want to show my body“, Louisa says. Not just because she still feels „too fat“ sometimes, but also because her body is covered with scars. She is fighting a lot of prejudices. People for example often think she had started cutting herself because her boyfriend left her. Others say her scars look disgusting. „Of course I regret every single scar because I put my body through a lot of pain“, Louisa explains. „But they are part of me and my history and I’ve learned to accept them.“

Besides her inner fight and insecurity I could see something bigger in Louisa. This girl had to go through so much, yet there is this pure will for life in her voice when she talks about her future. After she’s had to drop out of school because of her intense therapy Louisa found a training job. In September she will start a new chapter in her life. Louisa wants to be happy. She wants to accept and love herself. With only 16 years she got through more than a lot of people in their entire life. Louisa wants other girls to learn from her mistakes. „They need to understand that they don’t have to stop eating“, she says. „I don’t want them to hurt themselves just because they don’t feel good enough.“ Also, Louisa is sure the society needs to change it’s opinion about mental diseases. „People with mental illnesses do not deserve to be reduced to their condition“, Louisa speaks up a little bit louder. „They are more than that.“