Megan’s* eating disorder recovery
I have struggled with anorexia since I was 16, on top of self-harm, depression and anxiety. They all made me feel isolated and trapped from everyone I knew, and I felt like my whole life revolved around my eating disorder. I avoided my friends and family, my schoolwork suffered and things as simple as standing up became a huge struggle.
I thought no-one could notice me and that I did not matter, but the truth was that everyone else around me was noticing the change and how far from myself I was becoming. Despite this, I was too scared to tell anyone and unable to get the help I needed so desperately. After a few years, my parents found out about my eating disorder and contacted Life Works for me.
Life Works gave me a huge amount of support and helped create a safe and supportive environment, where I felt able to both open up about and challenge my eating disorder. Inevitably it took some time, but eventually I realised no-one was there to judge me; instead they were there to understand and support me as best as they could. The environment was controlled, which hugely contributed to me being able to progress from eating nothing to eating three meals and three snacks a day – and eventually feeling strong enough to do this at home without the support of Life Works.
The best form of treatment
Life Works was the first form of treatment I have ever received for my eating disorder and was without a doubt the best form I could have received. With the help and support of staff and clients alike, I was able to turn my life around and get back to who I was before I became ill. I would strongly recommend to anyone seeking help for their eating disorder to consider Life Works because it has saved my life, and the lives of many others.
Four months later, I made the decision to start university three hours away from my house. At the time I thought I was ready for this next chapter of my life, but on reflection I can see that my therapy team were right when they advised me not to go. I spent a total of three weeks at university before relapsing severely and having no choice but to return home and seek further treatment. I found the increase in control and independence over my eating when at university to be hugely overwhelming and hence unmanageable.
I immediately started treatment at Arthur House, where I remain six months later. The difference between Life Works and Arthur House is the increase in freedom and control I have over my food (for example choosing and preparing my own meals), whilst also receiving the right amount of support and therapy. Staff are always available and willing to help when needed, but I also have the opportunity to go out in my free time if I feel safe enough to do so. This has helped me to reintroduce normality into my life and create a life for myself away from my eating disorder.
Slowly rebuilding my life
At Arthur House, there is more exposure work, for example clothes shopping, and café and restaurant outings, which has been a crucial part of my recovery as it re-develops ‘normal’ eating and helps me create the life I want to be able to live once discharged. I am proud to say that I am slowly re-building my life through applying for jobs, rebuilding friendships and family relationships and exercising in a safe and non-obsessive way – all whilst receiving a huge amount of support, encouragement and help from staff and other clients. I can say with confidence that Arthur House is the right place for me, and would encourage anybody in need of secondary treatment for their eating disorder to consider admitting here.
Looking back on my experience so far, I can confidently say that there is nothing I would change in regards to the treatment I have received. All the support and help I have had and still receive is invaluable to me and has saved my life. I feel like a completely different person compared to who I was just a few months ago.
* names have been changed to protect confidentiality.