I’m 35 and underweight. I have anorexia. I feel like I’m sitting at the bottom of the deepest well, with not even a chink of light shining in. To me there is no hope of recovery. Every time I desperately try to eat more, even the tiniest piece of food, I end up binging.

This is far more terrifying than starving myself so I decide that the safest option is to continue restricting. I accept this even if I end up dying as a result. I feel like I can’t even make the slightest change to my diet and that there is no way out. I’m convinced that I’m a total burden on everyone and that people (even my girls) would be much better off without me.

I contact a private counsellor who specializes in eating disorders who tells me I’m too ill for her to help me. My GP has told me he won’t refer me as I got better before so I could do it again (he assumed this due to earlier weight restoration whilst I ‘switched’ to bulimia. I had a breakdown at work and went to see another GP. I was referred but waited 5 months for an appointment with the Eating Disorders Service.

Whilst waiting I lose even more weight and contemplate suicide every day. Four days after my appointment, I’m in a residential eating disorders centre. Four months later I’m discharged, but the voice in my head is still urging me to go back to old behaviours.

Luckily, I find an alternative therapy which helps me deal with the root issues and I recover. Years later, I’m now working with people with eating disorders.

This was my story and unfortunately I’m not alone. Since the first lockdown in March 2020, eating disorders have increased dramatically, with an estimated 3.4 million people in the UK said to be affected. Beat, the UK’s national eating disorder charity has seen demand for their services increase and, waiting lists for treatment have increased, both by 200%. Although the target for under 18’s is to receive help within one week for urgent cases, this isn’t always possible and some adults are being told they have up to a 2 year wait.

More support is desperately needed so I’ve created a petition calling for:

  • An immediate increase in eating disorders support in terms of specialist eating disorders centres, with residential care, day care and outpatient appointments
  • Support that tackles the root cause(s), not just weight
  • A range of therapies to be offered
  • Mandatory training for GP’s and health professionals
  • Support for teachers, parents and carers
  • Mandatory teaching about well-being in curriculum
  • Shutting down of social media accounts that promote unhealthy behaviours

Please help by signing the petition at www.change.org.uk/EDSupportNeeded and sharing as widely as you can. Thank you!