My time at Ellern Mede especially the early days, if I’m truly honest, are just hazy memories. I remember tears and tantrums and angel delight, but as I’ve gotten better my mind has chosen to give space to my education, my family, my friends and my dreams. I do know that Ellern Mede was the first step to the rest of my life. I wish I had known its purpose when I was first admitted, I came with the belief that it would cure me, that I would leave a perfectly balanced and recovered mind. This unfortunately is impossible, however, what you will receive is the tools, the knowledge and the care that you need to make yourself better if you choose.
There are so many things I could say that I learnt through recovery and my time at Ellern Mede, so many things I wish I could share, but If I could give just 3 bits of advice they would be as follows;
1) Trust- trust that the people around you know what they are doing. Trust that they are good that they are kind and that they, along with your family genuinely want you to succeed in EVERYTHING you want to do! And maybe, just maybe, at the moment they know how to get you there a bit better than you do.
2) Truth- Stop the lies especially to your family, there is no need, you are in control of your actions whether you are truthful about them or not. No one can force you to do anything even if you tell the truth, but by lying you can destroy the relationships you have spent your whole life building, and trust me at any stage of anorexia or recovery, you will need those people!
3) Finally, YOU ARE ILL ENOUGH. Every person who fears food is ill enough to get help, no matter their size, health conditions, or obsessional routines. You would never say to someone with cancer your tumour isn’t big enough, you would never be so cruel, so don’t do it to yourself. And do not make the mistake of thinking that recovery will come to you only if you get ill enough. There is no set weight where a team of doctors will come and take the pain of admitting there is a problem away from you. Mental health takes so much will power to improve its often required you make the first step to show you’re ready to begin the journey.
Recovery is a slow, long and painful process for everyone involved, by this I mean the sufferer and all those who love them. But if you can use the strength you used to get ill to get through, then you are unstoppable. Take the first step because as disgustingly cliché as it sounds (honestly I’m cringing just thinking it) life really does begin outside your comfort zone.