Hope in Recovery: A Young Person's Story | Latest News

  1. Text Size:
  2. Contrast:
NHS logo

Hope in Recovery: A Young Person's Story

***Trigger Warning - Discussions of eating disorders***

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that can affect you emotionally, physically and socially.

A brave young person has anonymously shared their story of living and coping with an Eating Disorder and the ways it has affected them in their life.

“I suffered with restriction and compulsive exercise between 2018-2022, with my parents watching me in despair, deteriorating in physical and mental health day by day. It started with my parents thinking that I was just,' caring about my health and what I eat for the first time in my life – to start with they were pleased that I was getting ‘fitter’. Over time they could see that my cognitions and actions were not normal and were having a serious impact on my health. The ED made me so short-tempered, volatile, and aggressive so my parents were afraid to confront me about it. The times that they did, I either stormed out of the house or started screaming in retaliation. It was not me at all. 

In 2022, on my 20th birthday, my mum reached a breaking point – she screamed at me that if I went on like this I would die very soon, and is that what I really wanted? It was the first time I had ever heard my mum talk like that, and it really hit home how poorly I really was (although I never really believed the full extent of it). A week later I went back to university after the Christmas holidays and whilst I continued with the same behaviours, I was so scared. So far in my ED I never felt scared – it was my best friend and it kept me safe – there was nothing to be scared of. I felt so out of control by this point – I could see and feel how damaging the ED was to my body, and I knew exactly what I had to do, but there was no way I could do it alone. That is when I asked for help.

I self-referred myself to Forward Thinking Birmingham, and whilst my memories of that time are very hazy, I remember having low expectations of the support I would receive, due to the criticism that NHS mental health services often receive. I was, however, blown away by the support. Very soon after referring myself, I received a letter for an initial consultation with a psychologist at my local FTB centre, less than a mile from my house! She was absolutely lovely, it was the hardest hour of my life, but it honestly changed my life. She was very patient and empathetic and really changed my perception of the NHS mental health services.

Within a week of this appointment, I was fast-tracked (due to my physical health and weight) to be put in contact with my care coordinator, who again, was absolutely lovely and really gave me the support I needed. I vividly remember the first appointment with her: she sat me down, said that she needed to give me tough love, and told me that if I didn’t change my behaviour around quickly, I would be admitted to an inpatient unit. Honestly, this was exactly what I needed to hear. At first, I had regular meetings where she would listen and support me, becoming less frequent depending on my mental health at that time. At the same time, I received invaluable dietetic support to enable me to get back to optimal health. I also went to weekly physical health monitoring appointment, which again, were very well organised and run by a group of caring and compassionate individuals. When I was more medically stable, I was also lucky to receive group RO-DBT, which really changed my way of thinking.

Within the eating disorder team, there is also a group of amazing peer support workers who all have lived experience of eating disorders. I had some sessions with a lovely peer support worker, who I knew really empathised and understood how I was feeling, and was very open with sharing her own experience, which really strengthened our connection and made me feel less alone. Two years into ED recovery I am currently receiving CBT-E which is exactly what I need, and I am confident will give me the coping mechanisms and skills I need to achieve full recovery and present future relapse.

The road has been very rocky – two years into recovery, and whilst I am medically stable and a ‘healthy’ weight, I am still not 100% recovered. There have been many ups and downs, but I honestly don’t think I would be here if I hadn’t received the care and support from the FTB team”.

Hope in recovery:

“Hope is absolutely crucial in ED recovery. From the very beginning of my care, everyone in the FTB team had hope I would succeed at beating this horrible illness. They knew that the road would be tough and rocky, but they never gave up hope that I, like many others, can achieve full recovery. At the start of my ED recovery, I was completely hopeless – I questioned whether life was even worth living: having an ED was a living hell. 

Without the hope, support and care of the FTB team, I honestly don’t think I would have lived to tell my story. The same can be said about my family and friends: no one gave up hope for me, and everyone was waiting patiently for me to return to the person that they knew. I am hopeful that soon I will be able to say I have fully recovered, and hope that anyone who reads this finds a tiny bit of hope within them to start or continue ED recovery – you will come out the other side a stronger person”.

We would like to place cookies on your computer to make your experience of our website faster and more convenient. To find out more, please refer to our privacy policy . If you do not choose to accept cookies, some parts of this site may not work properly.

Please choose a setting: