"No help to figure out why I developed anorexia"

About: Specialist services / Eating disorder service

(as the patient),

I ended up in a medical hospital for 6 weeks in summer 2018 and then was transferred to Sheffield ED services. At the time I was very underweight and was frequently told I would be going to an inpatient unit. However, as I didn’t think this was the right option for me, I consistently told the service that I wouldn’t be going, which I still believe was the right choice in my personal situation.

As I was a very low weight I completely appreciate why this was the recommended treatment plan at the time, but myself and my family agreed that it wasn’t the best option for me and I wouldn’t have stood the best chance of successful recovery if I was to have gone down that route. 

As this was the situation, I basically had to take a lot of it into my own hands (which at the start of recovery is extremely challenging and not recommended) in order to stay out of an inpatient unit. This involved me pretty much forcing myself to gain weight on my own, which I managed to do thinking that eventually I would get some sort of support from the service once I had increased my weight enough to not have to be referred to an inpatient unit.

However, this was not the case. I’ve managed to weight restore whilst repeatedly explaining to the service that I was still struggling massively and would need some version of therapy to support my mental recovery, which they frequently confirmed they would provide. Now I’ve been discharged from the service being told I don’t actually need any form of therapy, despite suffering from episodes of depression and anxiety on a daily basis, and not being able to break away from pretty much all the ED behaviours I displayed when I was at my lowest weight.

It seems that ED services only focused on my weight, and as soon as that was acceptable they didn’t offer me any further help, despite my weight only reaching that level because I was terrified of being admitted into an impatient unit. Every single day I struggle with trying not to let myself relapse, which isn’t surprising considering I’ve had no form of therapy or really any help whatsoever, which I find extremely hard to understand given the fact that the service was adamant that I needed to go inpatient at the start of the year.

I now feel that mentally I am pretty much in exactly the same position as I was this time last year, but as my physical situation has changed, I’ve been denied the treatment I actually need.

As much as I’m glad I managed to gain the weight myself, if I knew I wouldn’t be given any mental support I don’t think I’d have been able to push myself to raise my weight, and the only reason I’m managing to keep it up now is because I don’t want to have to go through the ordeal of keeping myself out of hospital even though this was obviously the best choice for me.

As you can imagine my ED is still a living nightmare, but now I’m weight restored it’s like ED services don’t actually want to help me figure out why I developed anorexia in the first place, how to change my thoughts and behaviours, and ultimately reduce the likelihood of relapse. As I said previously, the biggest reason I haven’t yet relapsed is because I’m terrified of being forced into something that isn’t right for me, but without any mental support I doubt I’ll be able to keep hold that as motivation for the rest of my life. 

Extremely disappointed in my experience with ED services and I hope most cases are not similar. I’m very lucky I managed to fight and force myself to gain weight on my own as now I’m physically not in a dangerous state, but unfortunately mentally I cannot say the same.

Responses

Response from Maggie Young, Head of Eating Disorders, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Service User

I am extremely disappointed to hear about your experience of Sheffield Eating Disorders Service. You have an option to make a complaint or to contact me after Monday 9 th September when I'm back from leave or contact my colleague Dr Amy Wicksteed who is at work later this week and next.

As Care Opinion is anonymous we are unable to look into anything further on your behalf without you making contact with the Service on 01142716938. We will discuss your concern in the Team

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