"I was on my own the first time I came to this service as I was hiding my eating disorder from everyone at the time and no one knew that I was struggling. I didn't really think I could ever get better and the thought of recovery and letting go of my eating disorder scared me. But I knew I needed help, so I made myself come in for my first appointment alone and filled with anxiety. I shouldn't have been worried, though, because it was honestly the best decision I ever made.
Everyone at Oxford Annex is so warm and friendly, and the service provides a safe and welcoming environment where I can be myself and speak my mind knowing that I won't ever be judged. The staff that work with me show so much patience and compassion and make me feel valued as an individual. They give so much reassurance and encouragement and I always feel listened to and understood. I am so thankful to have their support, they have helped me see that I am strong enough to beat the eating disorder and that recovery is possible."
“To someone who wants to start recovery, or who is at the beginning of recovery –
Your eating disorder is a shield, it protects you from harm, without it you feel vulnerable, it makes you feel safe. But when you are living behind that shield you cannot grow, you are stuck, you can’t move or evolve, you are trapped. When you begin to remove that shield, it’s terrifying. I won’t lie to you, the beginning of recovery is excruciating, you are heading blind into the unknown, you want to put that shield back up because you feel like you can’t face the world without it. When you start to remove the shield, you are forced to face your fears head on, at first you curl up and feel unable to carry on, over time you find the courage and strength needed to fight. With the help of therapy, dietetics and the services, you will build a sword. Your sword will give you the confidence, strength and self-compassion to fight. You will know that you can face whatever is ahead because you have the tools to manage it.
How do I know this? Because I was once a very scared girl who hid behind a shield. I lost so much because I was too afraid to live without it. What happened when I lifted my shield? Well, I gained the life that I have always wanted. I am not only living but thriving. All because I chose recovery.
I know I might make it sound easy, that’s only because recovery is the thing that changed my life.
I know it seems like a massive step and hurdle, but the first step is always the hardest. Work with the services and together at your own pace you can get better. There will always be setbacks and moments when you want to turn back to safety, but you must keep going. When we face these problems head on, that’s when we find out just how strong we really are.
I have been in your shoes. I thought I would never get better and I couldn’t recover, well, I’m doing it. And I know you can too.”
Danielle Gould, 2018
Goodbye ED I’m closing the chapter, the book and the door,
As I want you in my life no more.
ED I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
I hope I never again have to feel or witness that hurt.
To begin with I thought you were fun,
But all you did is from my family, friends and loved ones make me run.
Our relationship has been rotten,
I just want it to be forgotten.
Without you I can enjoy life and food,
You don’t have to dictate my mood.
I’m going to live my life and be open,
No longer hiding in your secretive den.
You took away my natural enjoyment of life,
You caused a wedge between me and my family, friends and loved ones as if cut with a sharp knife.
The way you made me meant my health and I were quite a fright.
But now I am motivated and determined not to lose this fight – I am getting it right.
I always have been and always will be a person who is strong,
But now I will use this strength for me, not for things that will satisfy you which are wrong.
Without you I will return to being close to those who are dear,
Food will just be a part of life and enjoyable, not something to fear.
Please no longer take up space in my head
Meaning that times that should be happy, relaxed and spontaneous are those which I dread.
I’m going to enjoy and see the beauty in each day
I’m not going to let it be over shadowed by an ED grey.
I’ve never taken anything from you, you’ve always drained everything from me.
I don’t want any compensation for everything I’ve lost. I just want to be let free.
You don’t have to give me anything back,
Just let go and let me life get back on track.
Our relationship is through
It’s long overdue.
Goodbye ED, your book is closed, I’ve reached your last chapter.
I have a new book to write and hopefully this will have a happily ever after.
Emma Smith, 2016