Beth’s letter to Ellern Mede marks both a personal special date AND Eating Disorders Awareness Week. “I am writing to you from my lovely island home, the beauty of which I now appreciate. I hope you are all well at Ellern Mede. I wanted to let you know how I am getting on after two years since my discharge in 2017. Here is a photo of the beautiful land that surrounds me. I know appreciate the little things in life because once upon of time, these moments were not possible, none of this was.

I am having a lovely start to 2019, studying Health, Nutrition and Wellbeing in College. I was given the opportunity as the female representative on the board of management this year. I am applying for a Psychology degree at University next year and I plan to specialise in eating disorders afterwards.

Last month the college raised a lot of money for a local project to reform mental health. I have my work placement for college coming up with them also.

I am working with a mentor here who is helping me plan for the setup of an eating disorder support service I want to build.

I have the gifts of knowledge and experience from the suffering I went through with anorexia that others may not have yet. All I want is for no one to receive the poor treatment I initially did in my home area.

Eating disorders deserve compassion, rights respected, understanding and as little trauma as possible – all of which I did receive at Ellern Mede.

I would want no one to have to leave their own home area for treatment. Of course if specialist intervention is necessary, travelling is the best option if there is nothing set up nearby. However, I would love to see those suffering start to heal while in the community with the right support and that is exactly what I envision building.

I have also written an E-BOOK to inspire others to let go of anorexia/an eating disorder and start the journey of the beautiful unknown. I hope to release this soon to share with those wrapped in anorexia that it is no friend of theirs.

Thank you to all the staff at Ellern Mede for supporting me while giving me the tools I use to keep myself well today. You saved my life twice and I have never been so grateful for this gift of life. The work you do is crucial in this world where vulnerability is met with social media, bullying, trauma, and harmful behaviours which can lead to severe distress, that presents as an eating disorder. I will never forget you guys. I now walk around feeling free, there is no comparison to the person who walked through your doors. There is no place for anorexia in my life anymore. Even if it creeps up again, which can happen, I have the tools to send it away, which creates a stronger force each time you stand up to it. You teach yourself that it is not your identity and that it is NOT who you are.

My two-year anniversary discharge from Ellern Mede is here now, (coinciding with eating disorder awareness week, how coincidental), my family and I are hoping to have a releasing ceremony. Letting go of the people, the memories, the hurtful and harmful moments the last 4/5 years. I will never forget what I went through, I would never re-live those days, but I know I cannot change the past and I now want to use what I have learned along with this passion inside to help others who need guidance.

No matter how dark it is, please know there is someone who has a light on for you, and one day your own light comes back.

The world is scary but so is letting your life be controlled by a destructive force.

It is possible to come away from this illness, time is a great healer and there is no such thing as perfection, but every little small step is something to appreciate.

I now believe the “impossible is possible”.

‘Beth’ (name anonymised) xx