"Revised approach in treatment of eating disorders at The Bethlem"

About: South London And Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust / Eating disorders

(as the patient),

Over a considerable period of time spanning three decades,I have experienced different approaches to treatment, some of which were more effective than others. I suspect that my history in treatment is not unique and that many people suffering from an eating disorder will have had multiple admissions to hospital but despite their best efforts and those of the clinicians, recovery has proved elusive.

Speaking for myself, I had been ill for so long that I had lost any sense of self and felt isolated and disconnected from the world outside of my anorexia. Feeling and thinking in this way, I never connected treatment with the prospect of recovery. Treatment seemed to me to be more relevant to the people dishing it out in order that I became "better" in the clinical sense of the word. The idea that treatment might liberate me from my illness and help me to develop my own sense of wellbeing had never occurred to me.

By the time it did,I was terrified of what might happen to me without my eating disorder and as the reality of facing the unknown loomed large,my anxiety peaked.

Looking back over successive courses of treatment,I can see that there was a discrepancy in what constituted "recovery". I constantly asked myself "Why should I recover? What should I recover for ?"

My last course of treatment was as a day-patient on an eating disorders unit and at this point, the focus shifted to examining precisely what I hoped to achieve by engaging in the programme. The next step would be to make careful plans with the clinical team to make my recovery attainable and sustainable. This took quite some time and was the biggest challenge I had ever faced in my life.

Support was always there when I needed it and I can't deny that at times I really didn't want it, such was my lack of confidence in myself. However,I trusted the people round me and I opened my mind to the sense of hope they seemed to have that I could achieve the aims that were important to me.

Day patient treatment got me started on my road to recovery and I have never looked back.

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