Show your support for people battling an eating disorder and make positive change happen.
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If you, a family member or a friend are living with an eating disorder, factors such as isolation, delayed care and inadequate community support can be barriers to living well in the community. Be vocal by showing your support with a signature and get involved in helping break down these barriers. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder.
Advocacy often starts at home - so for some, the most important thing to do is to keep track of personal wellness goals or speak up to a professional within your community. However, there is a lack of mental health support in the community and the mental health support that is available just isn't good enough. For others, the only way forward is to make legislative efforts designed to breakdown prejudice and raise community based mental health support. Our experience, with your signature could help change legislation. WE NEED YOU. YOUR SIGNATURE. YOUR SUPPORT. JUST REMEMBER, YOUR VOICE MATTERS.
My Story... My name is Georgina and im 18 years old. I've been suffering with an eating disorder for the past 6 years now. When I was 12, I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I was admitted to hospital weighing 4 stone and was nearly put into intensive care because of the intense hardship i'd put my body through. My mother decided to care for me at home with the support of CAMHS. At the time my stepdad was in Afghanistan and my mum had to give up her job in order to take the time to care for me. Since then I've been an inpatient in an eating disorder unit twice with each admission lasting at least 5 months after battling with relapsing several times in the community. Without the support and constant care from my mother, I would definitely be dead or in a much darker place than I am now. My mother put her all into caring for me, from arranging someone at college to eat my food with me, to sleeping with me at night to make sure I didn't exercise, taking me to doctors appointments, hospital appointments and CAMHS appointments and most of the time being the only person battling my eating disorder alongside me with her full armour and battle gear on, ready to fight.
Living with an eating disorder is like living with a demon or bully 24 hours a day, non-stop. It controls every aspect of your life. The thought of socialising becomes a nightmare because it involves sitting down for a long period of time which means you are burning less calories than if you were at home alone exercising, so life becomes very lonely. The guilt that you have to live with after a piece of food passes your mouth is like having the weight of the world on your shoulders and sometimes becomes too much to bare. Holding your breath whilst you walk past a restaurant in fear of smelling the food and possibly consuming calories from the smell. Being a prisoner in your own home because you can't do normal every day things like go out for a drink with your friends for fear of consuming too many calories. Being so tired that you fall asleep standing up because you don't deserve to sit down. Feeling pain because you're so thirsty but just cant bring yourself to take a sip of water. Becoming a liar to your family about going to a friends when you've really been at the gym. Constantly comparing yourself in every way to the person passing you in the street. Cooking for other people and making sure that they eat but avoiding food yourself. Crying in pain because you are tired and don't want to do any more squats but you know that if you don't then the guilt will take over. Bleeding and bruised backs from pushing yourself to do so many sit ups on a hard floor against a boney back. Hair falling out from malnutrition, skin dry and flaking and face sunken and grey. Weighing yourself every morning and punishing yourself when the number isn't what Anorexia wants you to be. That's just it though, nothing you ever do will ever be good enough for Anorexia. I have learnt that Anorexia will not give up until you are dead and it's finally beaten you. These thoughts are just the beginning and are just examples of what I experience in a day. To explain all of them to you would result in me writing a book but I think it is important that you have a small insight into what it is like when suffering from an eating disorder. It is mentally exhausting and trying to juggle having an eating disorder while going to college and work is a daily struggle. I have attempted suicide twice because the pain and mental torture was too much to bare and seeing the pain I was putting my parents through made me feel as though life was not worth living. That maybe the only way I will finally get some piece from my constant bullying thoughts is to end my life.
Since turning 18 and becoming an 'adult', the care in the community takes a turn for the worst. Its as though one day you are 17 and suffering from a serious mental disorder to then having your birthday the next day and suddenly no longer needing the support and care because your are now an 'adult' and should be able to cope. I think this is disgusting because after battling with an eating disorder for my whole teenage life, suddenly turning 18 does not cure you. After being in an eating disorder unit for several months and having intense 24 hour care, to then be discharged into the community to seeing a care coordinator once a fortnight for a half an hour session, if you're lucky, is appalling. I believe that this is a huge issue as to why so many people relapse and then go back on the waiting list for a referral to units again. This then also causes a problem for other people in the community recieving a bed at a unit because people who have already been admitted for a previous admission then become priority and go to the top of the list which means other sufferers get ignored and lost in the system. I am still battling my eating disorder and know of many people that I have met on my journey to recovery that are in the same position as me and are struggling for support in the community. Although I still suffer and battle every day and my journey to recovery has not yet been completed, some aren't as lucky as me to have the support from their family and are very much facing their demons alone. I have lost friends to eating disorders and I don't want to lose anymore.
With your help, we want to get more funding and resources, such as specialist professionals trained in helping people suffering from eating disorders to support them to live a normal life in the community. At the moment there aren't enough care coordinators and the care coordinators that are available do not have enough knowledge in mental health and eating disorders to be able to give efficient support and care. We would also like funding to give to units like the Haldon Unit, where I have been admitted, in order to help aid the 'step-down' period from being an inpatient to becoming a patient in the community. This is so important and can help prevent relapse if the correct support is provided, such as dieticians and mental help including psychiatrists. Currently, in the community, weight is the only factor looked at and monitored when weight is just a symptom of an eating disorder. It is the mental health that should be looked at and monitored in order to prevent weight loss. So many eating disorder sufferers are refused help because they 'are not at a low enough weight' to justify help. This needs to stop. With your signature, we can help put a stop to this and get the help and support that so many people need in the community. Lets beat eating disorders together and make a stand. More than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder and 20% of anorexia sufferers will die prematurely from their eating disorder. Please, a signature from you brings us a step closer to our goal of positivity and gives hope to people with eating disorders.
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