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Recovery stories

Breaking the stigma

Family stories

"PEDS has been a truly amazing and supportive pair over what me and my family can only describe as a desperate time in our lives. Having seen our bubbly happy outgoing niece/granddaughter succumb to the grips of anorexia and having no place to turn and feel like we could not help her in way shape or form, we eventually found the help, support and guidance of these amazing people. I personally can only sum up the service as our family’s angels as without them I cannot bear to think where my niece would be now. Thank you both so very, very much. PEDS is an amazing service which deserves all the thanks and praise we can give. The support and advice is always there when needed for both the individual and their family’s which is hugely appreciated.

It has taken a very long time but our niece / granddaughter has slowly started to regain her life and to be honest so have we. She has struggled with the ups and downs that recovery brings and now we can even joke about some of the things we struggled with like spoon sizes of all things! She has returned to university and is planning her future. Don’t get me wrong it’s not plain sailing and we still have times that test us all, but the most important thing is she is still here and making progress."


"My daughter and I are incredibly grateful to PEDS for the selfless work they do for people with mental health problems and eating disorders. We are so pleased they were recommended to us by CAMHS 18 months ago. They have provided us as a family, and our daughter solely, with so much help, support and information. Due to PEDS help, our daughter is much happier, has a much healthier relationship with food and is finding herself again. The hopelessness has now changed to positivity. The shame to acceptance. Recovery is top of her list now and that is all thanks to these wonderful people."

Personal stories

"My eating disorder started creeping in when I was 17 and I’m now almost 22. After ruining a holiday of a lifetime in Mexico in August 2013, I finally plucked up the courage to call Peterborough Eating Disorders Support and I truly believe it saved my life. I had been to many appointments concerned that ‘something wasn’t right’ - my weight was plummeting, I was behaving strangely, compulsively exercising and I was miserable and lifeless. But I couldn’t put my finger on it and I certainly never believed I was struggling with severe anorexia, despite being told by many people.

I was completely blind to it, the term ‘anorexia’ made my skin crawl. But meeting PEDS changed everything! They brought me down to earth and made me realise what was happening to me, they showed me that there was a light at the end of the really gloomy tunnel! In the space of a day I had my third year of university taken away from me, my car, my control, my gym membership, everything. Following that I had weekly blood tests, weigh in’s, meetings with PEDS and adult mental health services. It was a whirlwind away from what I had been used to!

I took a year out of uni / life to fix myself and I honestly couldn’t have done it without PEDS. They helped me to fight to avoid (being an) inpatient; I was told by adult services that it was inevitable. But PEDS helped me turn things around! They are two of most amazing people I have ever met. They’ve supported me and my family all the way. I love how much they have believed in me and didn’t let me give up. They’re not just people helping me with my eating disorder, they’re friends and I will be forever grateful for everything they have done for me.

In the summer of 2014 I travelled to Singapore and Bali for three weeks with my boyfriend. He has stood by me and helped me with my battles, we had an amazing holiday and I look forward to more where anorexia isn’t invited! When we came home we moved in together, I returned back to university in September, made some amazing and supportive friends and now I’m attending PGCE interviews. I’m really proud of how far I have come and I can’t thank PEDS enough for encouraging me and wiping my tears along the way!

I still have a very long way to go, and I look forward to having a life free of anorexia. I know PEDS will help me continue to plough on and never give up on me! PEDS has a very special place in my heart."

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"I was hospitalised with anorexia for almost a year in 2009. Since being discharged I’ve gone on to do many of the things I’d always dreamed of (university, jobs, friends, etc.) but the eating disorder has always been there too, continuing to have an impact on me and ultimately stopping me from really living my life to the full. With the help of PEDS I am now feeling determined about beating the eating disorder once and for all in 2015. Staff at PEDS are an ideal combination of warmth, firmness and expertise. Because of their nursing backgrounds they can tell you all the necessary medical facts, but they don’t just treat you like a ‘patient’."

"They genuinely care about you and will always go out of their way to support you. This could mean anything from keeping you motivated with support during the week to talking to your family. Fighting an eating disorder in the community is hard, especially as it seems that GPs that really understand eating disorders are hard to come by. PEDS provides much needed professional support, where there isn’t currently enough, for people fighting an eating disorder in the community."

- Names withheld

Charlotte's recovery blog

I never thought I’d be at the point where I would be someone to write one of these. Mainly because for a very long time I had no want to get better. Not for anyone, family, friends, me. Which is very selfish.

I have had a long journey with both disordered eating and anorexia. The time that I really started too struggle was at university. It was the constant comparison to others (which is something I have struggled with for a long time), and living with girls, you do look at other people’s food choices. Towards the end of my university years, I became more focused on my weight and on my food choices. It came to a head when I moved home and would always have to plate up my own food and then make sure that some of it was left and I would hide this in the bin. I would get by all day at work with just a Slim-a-soup. However, I eventually got myself out of this - right now I’m not even sure how. I was settled in my new job and things just seemed to fade away. Never the thoughts of being fat and clothes size.

Fast forward to around three years ago now. I had found a love for the gym, which was in what I perceived to be a ‘happy’ relationship. I felt content. However, the happy relationship was not actually what I had made myself believe. I will skip over this part - however being made to feel unworthy, unattractive, among many other things led to me becoming obsessed with exercise and trying to change myself. This gradually (or so I thought) expanded into food obsession. It started in my quest for ‘abs’ or the perfect bikini body - which I had obviously convinced myself would solve all my problems. The additional cardio became every day, 6:30 am on the treadmill walking for 45 minutes. The weight sessions after work. The fitness tracker that gradually ruled my life. 10,000 steps became 15,000 which then became 20,000+! Weighing out every morsel that passed my lips - to the nearest gram, including vegetables. Nothing would pass my lips without being logged into my fitness pal or being weighed. Starving myself to have five chips on a Friday evening. Fitness and nutrition podcasts took over my free time, constantly looking for diet tricks, ways to lose fat and keep it off. Forcing myself to go for walks I had no interest really in going on. Body checking every time I passed a mirror. During this time, I was totally unaware this was not normal behaviour. It took my work colleagues sitting me down and me breaking down for someone to realise what was truly going on. I couldn’t sleep, was not enjoying anything about life - I was utterly miserable.

I tried to recover alone - and months later, when I realised I had come as far as I could alone, was told by my GP I didn’t meet threshold. I was in despair at being told I wasn’t ‘sick enough’ - so my head told me I wasn’t even good at being anorexic. The downward spiral started again. Regurgitating food became a real trouble for me. Not being sick, just not even wanting rice cakes in me as they were empty calories and a waste. This is when the Doctors recommended PEDS. I was so thankful someone was willing to help. But little did I know that my mood was about to get worse - it’s like anorexia was telling me no, you can’t get better, you don’t want to - this is what you deserve.

Thankfully, Mandy and Sue did not give up - neither did my Mum and a few close friends. I will always say Mandy and Sue saved my life. I honestly cannot put into words the effect they have had on my recovery. I can say, hand on heart, I would not be here without them. They pushed me, didn’t give up on me, we went right back to basics. I could write a whole other piece about them and it wouldn’t even begin to do them justice. Here I am, removed hair extensions, eyelash extensions, fake nails - all the things I stuck on me that I thought would make me more attractive. And honestly, I never thought I would feel okay without them. To anyone that might read this - I promise you that it is possible. It will be hard, it will take every bit of energy and fight that you have left every day for a long time. But it is worth it - you deserve a life that is not ruled by food, weight. It is all consuming. You deserve more.