About me and the story behind An Ear to Hear

At just 19 I started the simplest of diets. An innocent loss of just a few pounds.

I needed to- I knew that it would make me feel better and that it would surely be the answer to all of my low self esteem issues. It would be the final cherry on the cake if you like.

The feeling was close to euphoric- I was applauded for my efforts, family and friends commented- my fitness was peaking and the endorphins were running high.

But things weren’t getting better- in fact my personal life was subject to personal traumas and as my need to exercise and fear of food got stronger, my social life got smaller and smaller.

No one wakes up one day with anorexia and this was certainly true for me. It just spiralled. The more I thought I was in control, the more I realised that actually I had completely lost control. Anorexia had taken me prisoner in it’s wicked, manipulative and deceitful ways.

But that was then; and whilst it is important for me to share a brief history of my anorexia, it is more important for me to concentrate on the journey back from the flames and my rise to where I am today- slightly stronger, a lot wiser and incredibly humble for the phenomenal support I received and continue to receive.

So what prompted ‘An Ear to Hear’? It was born out of frustration and my disillusion with the NHS Eating disorders service.

I recognised that I was falling slightly into a relapse. Recognising the warning signs and desperate not too fall back into the hell that still haunts me- I sought the support of my local GP who made the referral to the community team. On three occasions, by three separate individuals, I was informed that as my weight was not low enough, or consistently dropping, I could only access treatment after waiting for 2 and a half months.

2 and a half months with no support, utterly stranded from all professional support and left with the knowledge that I wasn’t sick enough for treatment.

I know that one thing would have made a difference and that would have been for someone to get in contact and reassure me that I wasn’t on my own. That whilst I was on the waiting list- they would be there for me to talk to.

For so long anorexia has been my very ugly roots. Everyone knows how difficult roots can be to dig up. They are ugly, deep and painful to drag into the light. What I have learnt through launching this page and by speaking out is that anorexia doesn’t have to be my ugly roots anymore, in fact its my blossoming flower- giving me a new direction, purpose and a passion.

I want to tell you and anyone, that you do deserve the treatment. If you have recognised a problem then you are sick enough. And that whilst things seem totally out of control- by reaching out you have taken the first step to being more in control than you realise.


One Comment Add yours

  1. So much truth in what you say! Congratulations on your story and continued recovery. My daughter was in the same boat and as she mentions, anorexia is a deadly competitive disease where sufferers naturally feel they are not thin/ill/important enough. To be told you are not thin enough for treatment is devastating, as you rightly say, why wait until the patient is critical. The NHS would not do that to a heart patient or a cancer patient! I would also add that in Pippa’s case, she gets fed up with having to repeat her story every time she has a new counsellor, there is no cohesion in her treatment, and every time she does this she is back at the beginning again instead of moving forward. The sad point is that patients generally WANT to get better and are continually pushed back, made to wait, crossed off lists when they miss an appointment. Where is the care? As we have learned, there is so much more to anorexia than food. The mental issues that Pippa has are overwhelming, the food was the easiest thing to overcome! I commend you and wish you well xx Helen Beck


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