I asked a number of people who are either in recovery or recovered to share with me what they’ve learned in the hope that it can help others.
Emily told me about the things that helped her:
1. Find a support network that you can trust. Often you can feel judged or not understood maybe by people who have no experience of mental health. But there will be people, friends, professionals and organisations that can support you.
2. For those that don’t understand, educate them. Beat, the national eating disorder charity in UK, has many resources, that can help you. Tell people how you feel, what’s going on, what could help and what doesn’t help.
See the following links to help you have conversations and education those around you.
3. I have autism and sometimes find it hard to express myself in words during a conversation, particularly at a doctors or health appointment. So I’ll often write it down beforehand so there’s less pressure and either take this with me or email it beforehand. It makes starting that conversation easier.
Emily also mentioned about the importance of being creative in conversations if a person is struggling to talk. Sometimes conversations can happen through drawing or music for example.
4. Use online peer support groups, for example, by Beat. They have online group meetings every evening including support for anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and carers.
Find out more here Online Support Groups for Eating Disorders (beateatingdisorders.org.uk)
5. When you can’t see a way out, don’t lose hope. Don’t be alone. Talk to someone. You might not be able to see the way out right now, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Never give up.
R also spoke about the importance of talking and support. She said:
1. I deleted all the toxic parts of my social media and instead followed people who were in recovery from an eating disorder, who were positive about food. This made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
2. I learned to forgive myself, for everything I thought I’d done, and now I’m proud of myself for every little win.
3. I enjoy going on walks and nature is a good distraction.
4. I built up the courage and talked to others and shared my feelings and issues with them. I now don’t feel it’s something to be ashamed of or to hide any more. I also educate those who don’t understand.
5. I reached out for support. I knew I couldn’t recover on my own.
Hope you found this helpful. If you have any other advice or tips, of things that helped you, please do let me know at [email protected]
Love and hugs,