I started dieting at 15 because I felt everything in my life was racing out of control, my hormones, friends, school all knocked my confidence.

At 16 both my parent died within 2 months of each other and I discovered my mother’s passing was due to a history of bulimia nervosa. 

My world already frustrated by outside influences, turned upside down by trauma, and now being rejected by the family my dad appointed to care for me in his will totally devastated me so I resorted to the one thing that felt safe and which I was good at – my anorexia.

Over the next 20 years I became very ill with low body weight and through excessive exercise and my discovery that I could make myself sick very easily my straight forward anorexia turned to binge/purge anorexia – a diagnosis I still have to this day. 

Also as a perfectionist, my OCD found a new favour and I started buying and stock piling food at home each and every day. 

Somehow I got a job in the banking industry and worked there for 17 years but I was often ill and eventually got retired on ill health. The shock of losing my new professional network led to increased anxiety and following 3 suicide attempts I was sectioned and in 1998 received my first NHS eating disorders support. 

The NHS saved my life, on numerous occasions, over the next few years I was in and out of hospital, gained weight, discharged, lost weight and back and forth until I met Martin (also an eating disorder sufferer) and for a couple of years we helped each other stay out of hospital until he committed suicide leaving me alone with my anorexia once again.

The support and care provided to me from Derbyshire Community Eating Disorders and First Steps ensures that I can survive, but the power my eating disorder has over me continues to make me scared.

My personal health budget helps to provide me 12 weeks respite care each year in a safe care environment suited to my needs, and through the constant contact and reassurance I receive from my NHS and First Steps team enable me to cope with my struggle of not ever being able to let go of my anorexia.

The intensive community support that I receive ensures that I have enough quality periods of happiness, helps me to maintain my weight reducing my risks of hospitalisation, and gives me opportunities like being a volunteer with First Steps providing me opportunities to work alongside the team that supports me at home and in the community.

More information about our unique multidisciplinary NHS Eating Disorders service is available HERE

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