Personal Stories Page 1 – Sufferers

You were a lifeline for me at a very stressful time

Eating Disorders - Personal Stories

I was extremely poorly with Anorexia Nervosa and close to death

“I have been attending the group for a year and seven months at which time I was extremely poorly with Anorexia Nervosa and close to death. I found out about the Group via an Article that Cathy Cleary had in the Derby Evening Telegraph and was desperate for some help, so I decided to attend.  At this time I was being treated by my local doctor along with a local Psychiatrist.  On my 1st session I found first steps unbelievably helpful, as did my dad who accompanied me.  I couldn’t believe it, this was the first time I had met people like me, and I didn’t feel so alone and crazy.  Discovering that there were also people, like Cathy that had recovered from such a destroying illness gave me hope. I am still on my way to recovery and everyday is a struggle.  But this is helped by the great friends and support I am lucky enough to have received from First Steps.  I have gained knowledge, advice, encouragement and kindness and I don’t think I would be here to tell the tale unless I had seen Cathy’s Telegraph article.  First Steps has played an important role in my recovery during my wait for treatment at Leicester Eating Disorders Service and I feel they offer a fantastic service to both sufferers and carers.  I know my family has gained greatly from the advice at the group.”

I’ve still got a long way to go

“I’d like to take this chance to say thanks for all your advice. I finally feel that after suffering in silence for 16 years I’m actually getting the help I need.   I’ve still got a long way to go but I now feel that I can beat this I’m hoping to make it to one of the meetings soon.”

Dramatherapy helped me to discover things i wouldn’t have otherwise

“I really enjoyed dramatherapy as it was an interesting journey of self discovery! It was really nice to have the other people in the room with you, and you could talk, and be open and honest about things with people and not have them judge you and they were all totaly understanding! Dramatherapy helped me to understand that i don’t have to be this pretend person anymore, it has helped me to let down this mask i put up, even if its just for a few minuites in front of them, which is a really big achievement for me – to be my true self in front of people! I enjoyed exploring different things too. It was intresting to exploring some feelings that i didn’t understand and learning what to do with these feelings and express them in a safe way!
I still feel that i have a long way to go, as i find it hard to cope so the mask comes back out, but dramatherapy helped me with my first few steps and helped me to discover things i wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Chances are that if you are reading this then you are struggling with some kind of eating disorder

“Chances are that if you are reading this then you are struggling with some kind of eating disorder. I have been for a number of years, and probably would have given in to the constant battle without the un-ending support of FIRST STEPS. You will know the pain and suffering it causes and the isolation you feel, but you are not alone because FIRST STEPS really do care and understand. Although I often don’t have the courage to go to the groups, I am so very grateful for the support and advice I have received via email. Cathy has always replied and encouraged me through some extremely tough times. I often re- read the letters on really hard days as they are a source of comfort, offering hope, that you can get over this illness and go on to lead a full and happy life.  Hopefully one day I will find the strength to go to the groups, but in the meantime I would like to take this opportunity to say a great “thank you” to FIRST STEPS for everything they have done for me…but mainly for just being there. Don’t suffer in silence, reach out for support…they are there and they care”

I would highly recommend Dramatherapy

“I would highly recommend Dramatherapy as unlike any Therapy I have had, it has given me the chance to work through things and understand things, which have been a catalyst in me having an eating disorder. I would like to thank the Therapist at First Steps for all of her time and support and look forward to continuing my journey of recovery with her”

I didn’t think I could complete my A Levels

“First steps have helped me in recovery from an eating disorder by giving me the confidence to look at myself in a different way and by discussing general problems in a group environment that gave me a sense that I would not have to undertake this journey alone. They have also shown me that other people suffer from eating disorders and that it is in fact just an illness like any other and that I shouldn’t have to isolate myself because of my problem. It has also enabled me to make many new friends which when I first joined I didn’t think was possible and also the strength to complete my A-levels so that I could now start university. So a very big thank you to everyone at First Steps for helping me in my recovery”

It gave me the something I needed to be able to keep going and not give up

“I’m currently in hospital on a psychiatric ward where I’m not able to relate to any of the patients and am not really getting any appropriate support around me eating disorder.  However, this evening I was allowed off the ward to go to Hyped and it has cheered me up no end.  Being around others I can relate to, having fun decorating T-Shirts, chatting and laughing has just given me the something I needed to be able to keep going and not give up.”

I had never met anyone going through the same kind of problems as me

“When I first started coming to First Steps I had never met anyone going through the same kind of problems as me, and I never considered having these contacts would help. After the first few sessions I found it invaluable to be able to talk so openly or just listen to the situations I could relate to. Even if you don’t feel the specified topic is relevant, engaging or useful to you personally, the second half where you can integrate with others is a brilliant opportunity to make friends and feel ‘connected’ to people who have similar issues, and it is very refreshing to be able to discuss these with fewer or no inhibitions because it feels like no one will judge you. First Steps seems to cater for all ages and personalities and I feel it really helped me come to terms with my own problems.”

I thought that it was amazing

“I thought that it was amazing to see a group of people looking genuinely happy and smiling so much at the end of the session.”

It made me want to recover

“Before attending the First Steps support groups, I had had three or four years of going through cycles in my Eating Disorder. Sometimes I managed to make small steps forward and for a while things would get better, but I always seemed to fall back into my Anorexic way of life. Having weekly therapy sessions was enough to keep me stable, but not enough to make me feel motivated to truely make changes. After going to my first HYPED session I felt immediately inspired. It was a turning point in my journey of recovery. Meeting with people who were also determined to change and seeing people who had manage to overcome the demons, in such an upbeat, warm environment, made me realise recovery is possible. It made me want to recover.  The groups gave me the strength of hope which has been key to me becoming so dedicated to overcome my illness once and for all. The sessions, both on a Wednesday and Thursday have been helpful in many ways. They have given me a chance to get out and socialise in a safe environment (something I find quite hard), made me feel less isolated, feel more a part of the world, taught me many coping stategies, provided me with valuable information and have given me the chance to try a lot of new things like yoga and Reiki which were really fun!”

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