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Recovering from Eating Disorders: Ask us Anything - EDAW 2020

Ed_Ed_ Posts: 412 Community Manager
edited March 6 in Health & Wellbeing
Hey,

It seems like the awareness weeks are coming in thick and fast at the moment. Hot off the heals of Self Harm Awareness day is Eating Disorders Awareness week. We are really excited to run another AMA to help people get ideas on all things to do with eating disorders. Whether you are someone that is battling through with recovery, or you are caring for someone with an eating disorder, or you are just interested to find out more, we've got you covered. We also thought it would be great to get a number of people with different experiences join in to help get different perspectives on the same questions. We will be updating this thread as we have people confirmed :+1:

Who?
Our first confirmed expert is Molly, here is a bit about her:


Hey! I’m Molly, a previous intern at The Mix and a volunteer at First Steps, an eating disorder charity based in Derbyshire. I was diagnosed with OSFED (otherwise specified feeding or eating disorder) when I was sixteen but recovered through counselling sessions and support groups. After my recovery I decided to volunteer to help others who were going through the same experiences as me – I now offer peer support online. I have also cared for a relative with anorexia, so I really understand how tough eating disorders can be, and want to help as much as possible
Our second confirmed expert is Hope Virgo, here is a bit more about her:


Hope Virgo is the Author of Stand Tall Little Girl, and a multi award winning international leading advocate for people with eating disorders. Hope helps young people and employers (including schools, hospitals and businesses) to deal with the rising tide of mental health issues. She has been described by Richard Mitchell, CEO of Sherwood Forest Hospital, as "sharing a very powerful story with a huge impact". Hope is also a recognised media spokesperson, having appeared on various platforms including BBC Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, Good Morning Britain, Sky News and BBC News. 

For four years, Hope managed to keep it hidden, keeping dark secrets from friends and family. But then, on 17th November 2007, Hope's world changed forever. She was admitted to a mental health hospital. Forced to leave her family and friends, the hospital became her home. Over the next year, at her lowest ebb, Hope faced the biggest challenge of her life. She had to find the courage to beat her anorexia.

Our final confirmed expert is Tom, here is a bit more about him:




Hello, I'm Tom Rebair and I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa at the age of 16 after being rushed into hospital seriously unwell - around 8 years ago. In that time, I've had a number of hospital admissions, including an 6 month inpatient stay. As a male suffering from an eating disorder I've faced many stigmas, so as I've learnt ways to manage this illness, I've made it my mission to share my story and hopefully help other people out there struggling too. Through being as an ambassador for charities such as The Prince's Trust and YoungMinds, I have been able to share my journey to thousands of people at various events - even in front of royalty! I also was awarded a Points of Light award for my work in raising awareness, which led to an invite to No.10 for World Mental Health Day. Anorexia is still a daily battle for me, but with the right tools I've realised that you can still achieve great things despite it.

When?
Molly will be online on Wednesday & Friday evening from 6.30-7.30pm and Hope will be online Friday morning between 8-9.30am. Tom will be online Friday evening from 6.30-7.30pm. You can submit questions at any time before then.

Where?

Here, in this thread!

What can I ask?
You can ask Molly anything to do with the topics mentioned above. Just reply to this post with your questions, and Molly will be online for two evenings next week to reply to them and have a chat. If you prefer, you can PM us some questions to post on your behalf. 

If you have any questions for us about this Q&A, feel free to post those below too. 
"Such is the way of the world, you can never know, Just where to put all your faith, And how will it grow. Gonna rise up, Burning black holes in dark memories, Gonna rise up, Turning mistakes into gold" Eddie Vedder
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Comments

  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 2,101 Boards Champion
    What kind of OSFED's and EDNOS's are there and what are the signs?

    Is overeating in itself an eating disorder?- is there a point where it can become an ED?
    "Do, or do not, there is no try" <(•.•)>              
    GreenTea
  • Ed_Ed_ Posts: 412 Community Manager
    Some great questions @Aidan - looking forward to seeing the answers to these. 

    Just a quick update to say that we should be able to announce another two experts joining this thread soon, which should make it a really interesting discussion, make sure you get your questions in before Wednesday!
    "Such is the way of the world, you can never know, Just where to put all your faith, And how will it grow. Gonna rise up, Burning black holes in dark memories, Gonna rise up, Turning mistakes into gold" Eddie Vedder
    Hope
  • BubblesGoesBooBubblesGoesBoo Sunny ScotlandPosts: 3,524 Community Veteran
    Can you ever fully recover from an eating disorder?

    Do you think it's helpful having close friends with eating disorders and are at various stages of recovery /relapse while you are struggling yourself?

    How can you best support someone struggling? 
    ' So I put a bullet where I shouda put a helmet, and I crash my car cause I wanna get carried away, that's why I'm standing on the overpass screaming at myself 'hey, I wanna get better''  
    AidanHowDoYouTalkAboutIt
  • Ed_Ed_ Posts: 412 Community Manager
    *Update* We are delighted to announce our second expert, Hope Virgo, who is a campaigner to change the way the NHS supports people with eating disorders. Do check out and sign her #DumpTheScales petition, and drop any questions that you may have for her below :3
    "Such is the way of the world, you can never know, Just where to put all your faith, And how will it grow. Gonna rise up, Burning black holes in dark memories, Gonna rise up, Turning mistakes into gold" Eddie Vedder
    GreenTeaHope
  • GreenTeaGreenTea ☕🌻☕ MidlandsPosts: 5,828 Part of The Furniture
    Ed_ said:
    *Update* We are delighted to announce our second expert, Hope Virgo, who is a campaigner to change the way the NHS supports people with eating disorders. Do check out and sign her #DumpTheScales petition, and drop any questions that you may have for her below :3


    Wooo been following hope on twitter for a while now! Love her campaign!

    The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.     

    Astrid Alauda

    Hope
  • AidanAidan Clever idiot Posts: 2,101 Boards Champion
    When in someone's life does an ED usually start? How does it manifest itself in the beginning?

    Given the alarming statistics about full recovery, what ways can someone trying to recover keep supported and stay hopeful?
    "Do, or do not, there is no try" <(•.•)>              
  • Kasa2103Kasa2103 This Is Me! ❤👅👌🤓💃🎤 South EastPosts: 3,598 Community Veteran
    Is it normal to feel anxious about recovery especially when you never feel hopeful about anything?

    Is it normal to dread having to get weighed when you know that you are not what you should be?

    Sorry if they make no sense.
    Everyone is special in their own way. We make each other strong (we make each other strong.) We're not the same. We're different in a good way. Together's where we belong. We're all in this together. Once we know. That we are. We're all stars. And we see that. We're all in this together. And it shows. When we stand. Hand in hand. Make our dreams come true.
  • GreenTeaGreenTea ☕🌻☕ MidlandsPosts: 5,828 Part of The Furniture
    At the moment I struggle to identify the difference between unsafe foods and foods I really just don't like. I don't know if this is something anyone else has struggled with? Is there any advice to work through this?

    The scars you can't see are the hardest to heal.     

    Astrid Alauda

  • Kasa2103Kasa2103 This Is Me! ❤👅👌🤓💃🎤 South EastPosts: 3,598 Community Veteran
    Hope- what inspired you to write Stand Tall Little Girl?
    Everyone is special in their own way. We make each other strong (we make each other strong.) We're not the same. We're different in a good way. Together's where we belong. We're all in this together. Once we know. That we are. We're all stars. And we see that. We're all in this together. And it shows. When we stand. Hand in hand. Make our dreams come true.
  • Kasa2103Kasa2103 This Is Me! ❤👅👌🤓💃🎤 South EastPosts: 3,598 Community Veteran
    edited March 4
    How can I motivate myself to actually eat an entire meal without feeling forced and scared? Most of the time I feel like I am under pressure to eat because I feel scared to gain weight although I know that I need to gain weight.
    Everyone is special in their own way. We make each other strong (we make each other strong.) We're not the same. We're different in a good way. Together's where we belong. We're all in this together. Once we know. That we are. We're all stars. And we see that. We're all in this together. And it shows. When we stand. Hand in hand. Make our dreams come true.
  • Millie2787Millie2787 🐶 💜 Posts: 3,066 Boards Guru
    How do you get professionals to actually listen that you’ve you’ve got eating issues , I’ve tried so many times in the past to get help and just feel like they all dismiss me and my concerns and now it’s beginning to really affect me .

    how do you overcome the times when your mind convinces you there’s nothing wrong and you don’t actually need help that your just making it all up ?
    Sometimes all you need is one person to believe in you , for you to begin to believe in yourself.
  • Ed_Ed_ Posts: 412 Community Manager
    Looking forward to the start of this tonight, Molly will be on from 6.30pm this evening :3
    "Such is the way of the world, you can never know, Just where to put all your faith, And how will it grow. Gonna rise up, Burning black holes in dark memories, Gonna rise up, Turning mistakes into gold" Eddie Vedder
  • Ed_Ed_ Posts: 412 Community Manager
    A question from Instagram - How do you overcome your binge eating?
    "Such is the way of the world, you can never know, Just where to put all your faith, And how will it grow. Gonna rise up, Burning black holes in dark memories, Gonna rise up, Turning mistakes into gold" Eddie Vedder
  • BubblesGoesBooBubblesGoesBoo Sunny ScotlandPosts: 3,524 Community Veteran
    I have another one 🙋‍♀️😂 I have an eating disorder (weight restored) , I'm doing really well with it and am above my target weight, I still struggle with the thoughts though and every meal is a struggle, I want to lose a bit of weight (healthily) is that possible for someone who suffers? Like I'm worried about relapse but can't stand my current body, I don't know might be my Ed talking 🤷‍♀️ is there any advice you can give to someone who suffers but wants to lose weight healthily? 
    ' So I put a bullet where I shouda put a helmet, and I crash my car cause I wanna get carried away, that's why I'm standing on the overpass screaming at myself 'hey, I wanna get better''  
  • BubblesGoesBooBubblesGoesBoo Sunny ScotlandPosts: 3,524 Community Veteran
    Wait no just thought of another one, sorry 🙈 how do you cope with bad body image days? 
    ' So I put a bullet where I shouda put a helmet, and I crash my car cause I wanna get carried away, that's why I'm standing on the overpass screaming at myself 'hey, I wanna get better''  
  • MollyMolly Posts: 19 Expert
    Hey everyone! Lovely to meet you all :) I'm Molly and I'll be answering as many questions as I can tonight until half 7, and on Friday night! Fire away x 
    Jade09
  • Kasa2103Kasa2103 This Is Me! ❤👅👌🤓💃🎤 South EastPosts: 3,598 Community Veteran
    Hi Molly! Welcome to The Mix.
    Everyone is special in their own way. We make each other strong (we make each other strong.) We're not the same. We're different in a good way. Together's where we belong. We're all in this together. Once we know. That we are. We're all stars. And we see that. We're all in this together. And it shows. When we stand. Hand in hand. Make our dreams come true.
    Molly
  • BubblesGoesBooBubblesGoesBoo Sunny ScotlandPosts: 3,524 Community Veteran
    Hey @Molly welcome! Sorry for all the questions from me, I'm a bit stuck haha 
    ' So I put a bullet where I shouda put a helmet, and I crash my car cause I wanna get carried away, that's why I'm standing on the overpass screaming at myself 'hey, I wanna get better''  
  • Kasa2103Kasa2103 This Is Me! ❤👅👌🤓💃🎤 South EastPosts: 3,598 Community Veteran
    Sorry if some of my questions are a bit confusing. Just let me know if I need to explain my question a bit more.
    Everyone is special in their own way. We make each other strong (we make each other strong.) We're not the same. We're different in a good way. Together's where we belong. We're all in this together. Once we know. That we are. We're all stars. And we see that. We're all in this together. And it shows. When we stand. Hand in hand. Make our dreams come true.
  • Jade09Jade09 EnglandPosts: 560 Moderator
    edited March 4
    Hey Molly! and I hope that everyone enjoys this expert discussion  :)
  • MollyMolly Posts: 19 Expert
    edited March 4
    Aidan said:
    What kind of OSFED's and EDNOS's are there and what are the signs?

    Is overeating in itself an eating disorder?- is there a point where it can become an ED?
    Hey @Aidan

    So there are various kinds of OSFED's and EDNOS's that range from restricting/starving, binging, over-eating, orthorexic tendencies (obsessing with 'clean' eating) and they can have all kinds of signs. 

    Signs can include: anxiety surrounding certain/all foods, compulsive exercise, social isolation, lack of concentration, bad body image, binging, secret eating and restricting. I experienced almost all of these when I was struggling but remember everyone has their own personal experiences!

    I'm not a medical professional but over-eating can become an ED especially if it's emotional eating and if you feel you are eating to achieve a certain goal, for example for comfort or sadness. We are publishing an article on OSFED shortly so keep your eyes out for that - and please don't hesitate to get in touch if you want more advice :) 

    Hope this helps in some way! 
    Kasa2103Jade09
  • MollyMolly Posts: 19 Expert
    edited March 4
    Can you ever fully recover from an eating disorder?

    Do you think it's helpful having close friends with eating disorders and are at various stages of recovery /relapse while you are struggling yourself?

    How can you best support someone struggling? 
    Hey :)@BubblesGoesBoo


    I definitely believe that you can fully recover from an eating disorder. I think it's really important not to place too much pressure on yourself and accept that recovery is not always going to be a smooth ride, and it can be full of ups and downs! My recovery journey definitely took some time, but it is SO worth it and you can definitely do it!

    The main thing I noticed was how, when I was struggling, I couldn't recognised when my thoughts or behaviours towards food were harmful or irrational. Now, on the rare occasion when I get ED thoughts, I know my coping strategies and how to challenge them.

    I believe I am fully recovered - I was 15 when I was diagnosed and I am 22 now :)

    I personally found it most helpful during recovery to focus on myself and really appreciated support from my family and friends who were positive and encouraging. Having friends with eating disorders can be really beneficial if you both REALLY want to recover. You can motivate each other and boost each other up during tough times! However I would be careful at times if you feel that they may trigger you in some way - you really have to look after your own wellbeing during recovery.

    For me, I found that the best way someone could help me was just knowing that they were there for me when I needed them. That I didn't always have to talk to them, but if I wanted to they would always listen. Friends can provide a great distraction from ED thoughts and can show you that there is so much fun to be have outside of that ED mindset! 
    Jade09
  • Jade09Jade09 EnglandPosts: 560 Moderator
    Really good questions @Aidan and @BubblesGoesBoo <3
    Kasa2103
  • MollyMolly Posts: 19 Expert
    edited March 4
    Kasa2103 said:
    Is it normal to feel anxious about recovery especially when you never feel hopeful about anything?

    Is it normal to dread having to get weighed when you know that you are not what you should be?

    Sorry if they make no sense.
    Hey! @Kasa2103

    No need to apologise, they make sense :)

    It's completely normal to feel anxious about recovery - it can be a scary prospect to challenge your ED! I'm sorry to hear that you don't feel hopeful - all I can say is that life is SO much better without an ED. 

    Life without an ED is fun, happy, positive and FREE. You can do whatever you want without your ED telling you not to. Life is so short and precious and you deserve to be happy and hopeful and positive - always! Never forget that. 

    Again, it's completely normal dreading having to get weighed when you know you aren't at the weight you are supposed to be. I always think of it like an angel or devil on either shoulder, the angel being you, and the devil being your ED. The devil never wants you to reach that target weight and wants you to feel anxious but remember you can beat it! 

    We are here for you x 
    Jade09Kasa2103
  • Jade09Jade09 EnglandPosts: 560 Moderator
    edited March 4
    Good question @Kasa2103 <3
    Kasa2103
  • MollyMolly Posts: 19 Expert
    GreenTea said:
    At the moment I struggle to identify the difference between unsafe foods and foods I really just don't like. I don't know if this is something anyone else has struggled with? Is there any advice to work through this?
    Hey! @GreenTea

    I have definitely struggled with this in the past, don't worry, you're not alone! 

    I think I just convinced myself that I didn't like certain foods as I thought that they were 'bad' or 'unsafe'. When really, it was just my ED telling me that. I always used the excuse 'I actually don't like that food item' to get out of eating it when really I was just giving into my ED. 

    I think the best way to try and approach this is through challenging yourself with small goals to eat foods that you think are 'bad' or 'unsafe' - if your ED hasn't let you eat these foods for a long time you may have even forgotten the taste! It's good to almost try foods all over again like you've never eaten them before! 

    Cake was one of my unsafe foods and I had completely convinced myself I hated it, that I 'didn't have a sweet tooth' when I completely do! As soon as I challenged myself to try a little bit again, I found that really I liked it a lot. 

    Another thing to bear in mind is that our tastes change all the time and things we might not have used to like, we do grow to like! Just remember that NO food is bad, unsafe or good and safe. Food is our energy, our fuel, our pleasure. 

    If you decide to try and challenge yourself with an unsafe food or a food you think you don't like, let me know how you get on :) 

    I hope this helps in some way!
    Jade09Kasa2103
  • Jade09Jade09 EnglandPosts: 560 Moderator
    Really good question @GreenTea!
    Kasa2103
  • MollyMolly Posts: 19 Expert
    edited March 4
    How do you get professionals to actually listen that you’ve you’ve got eating issues , I’ve tried so many times in the past to get help and just feel like they all dismiss me and my concerns and now it’s beginning to really affect me .

    how do you overcome the times when your mind convinces you there’s nothing wrong and you don’t actually need help that your just making it all up ?

    Hey! @Millie2787

    Do you mind me asking who you have spoken to in the past? e.g. has it been your GP?

    I actually received treatment for my ED from a wonderful charity local to me, called First Steps Derbyshire. The NHS route didn't work well for me and so I decided to have counselling with them and attended lots of their support groups. In all honesty they saved my life - both of my counsellors had EDs when they were younger and so they really understood me and we could work through my problems together. Have you thought about getting counselling through a charity instead of the NHS?

    BEAT do have some great advice about going to the doctor about your ED and how you can approach it, which you can read here.

    Please don't give up - there are always people out there to listen, help and believe you! And you always deserve help and support, no matter what the problem :)

    When your mind is convincing you there is nothing wrong, try writing down everything you are feeling, and be true to yourself and don't doubt or dismiss or disregard anything. Just because people have
    been dismissive of you in the past doesn't mean you don't need help or support - we are here for you!

    Remember that your ED can be strong and persuasive but your voice can be louder x
    Jade09
  • Jade09Jade09 EnglandPosts: 560 Moderator
    Good question @Millie2787! Hope that things work out for you  :)
  • Millie2787Millie2787 🐶 💜 Posts: 3,066 Boards Guru
    edited March 4
    Hey @molly :) 

    I spoke about it to camhs they tried to weigh me one session and I refused and then they never did it again when she told me they would have to do it every week , I have also tried my Gp too but felt like they didn’t really believe me and that it was just all my anxiety 
    Sometimes all you need is one person to believe in you , for you to begin to believe in yourself.
    Jade09
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