Recovery Story: Hopeful for Recovery
Jemima, from Norwich, is 22 and currently on a break from training at Norland College in Bath.
It all started in lower sixth with occasional comments and concerned faces. I reluctantly agreed to let the school nurse weigh me to get my parents and various teachers off my back. However, the result of my BMI initiated frantic emails from my school to my parents, behind my back. Soon after I was made to have monthly weigh-ins with our local GP. This went on for a while whilst I did the usual A-Levels, gap year, and then uni thing... well, I tried to.
Anorexia on the other hand had other ideas. I was meant to go and work in a prep school on my gap year, but was sent home after 3 days, as looked ‘too unwell’. The days that followed were tumultuous to say the least; a blur of tears, tantrums and trepidation. I was forced to become a Day-Patient at The Priory Hospital, Hayes Grove. As time went on I managed to convince my psychiatrist to reduce the amount of days I spent on the ward, and without her knowing, I got myself a Christmas job working 37.5 hours a week, commuting daily to Fortnum and Mason, in London. Eventually just before Christmas I discharged myself, totally against my psychiatrist’s advice.
I then went back into the care of my local GP who continued to weigh me monthly, this went on throughout my gap year, and I travelled a bit and did other jobs too, regardless of whether I was well enough or not to do so. My weight bobbed about the same low mark, and very gradually decreased. Then in September 2016 I moved to the University of St Andrews, where I was offered a place to read Psychology. I convinced myself and my parents this would be a new start, goodbye anorexia. How naïve I was… I know the real reason I wanted to go was to get out of the control of my GP, parents, and anyone else who tried to intervene.
After completing my first semester there, upon returning home for Christmas I was greeted by very concerned faces. But, I told my family I knew I needed to improve things and that I would make a conscious effort to do so over the holidays… that didn’t happen, and in January 2017 when I checked in with my home GP I was told I couldn’t return to university as was critically ill, she fast track referred me to SEDCAS (Severe Eating Disorder Consultation & Assessment Service) and from then until August 2018 I worked with a fantastic nurse who regained my trust in the medical professionals.
I wasn’t near healthy but my team agree to let me move to Bath and take up my new Norland University dream, so I moved there in September 2018 and was referred to the Bristol ED services. However, it wasn’t a smooth transition which meant I went 4 months without any help! So of course anorexia got it’s talons firmly in, and upon returning home for Christmas 2018 I was the worst I’d ever been and actually asked to be admitted inpatient as I felt totally unable to help myself; I knew I was totally out of control and would soon be dead if I didn’t go into hospital. So from January to April 2019 I was inpatient, and was discharged from there and transferred to the Norwich services just 6 weeks ago.
I urge anyone suffering to get help as early as possible - I so regret not accepting it 5 years ago.
- May 2019