Hannah’s story (2)

Hannah is an advocate for eating disorder awareness and support. She shares her experiences with eating disorder treatment and recovery outside of FREED.

Anorexia. It was a term that was once almost alien to me. I couldn't understand the illness, let alone comprehend that I, Hannah, miss resilient, happy and strong could become a victim of this viscously manipulative illness.

For years, I battled on my own, convincing myself that I was fine. It was just a diet. I would vow to change and then find myself succumbing to habit. Lie after lie.

This cycle and pattern lasted for weeks, the weeks turned into months and then to years with each day meaning that the mountain I would be left to climb was getting higher and higher.

Even in treatment I was dismissive, I lacked commitment and drive. My motivation remained in my illness, turning a life into an existence and a miserable one at that. The treatment that I was being offered, although of unprecedented quality, just wasn’t right for me, the one size fits all approach really didn't fit.

That is where something like FREED would have been so pivotal in my own recovery and why I can say so honestly that whilst recovery can be tough, long and gruelling the combination of early intervention together with the right level of comprehensive and personal support- that recovery doesn't have to be so exhausting or lonely.

"This cycle and pattern lasted for weeks, the weeks turned into months and then to years with each day meaning that the mountain I would be left to climb was getting higher and higher."
A diamond has many facets, facets that glisten and sparkle. But they didn’t start life that way, a rough cut diamond is an ugly stone, grey in colour and dull in appearance. Under the right pressure a gem is created- it’s the same for recovery and FREED can be that pressure. The pressure applied must be right for the desired result, bespoke and tailored. Is it a return to work or education? A restoration of family life perhaps or the aim of reducing specific behaviours?
Will the diamond be a princess or Emerald cut, a Flawless or Internally Flawless species?
It all depends on the pressure, the treatment and the craftsmanship.

Eventually my recovery took the form of inpatient stays, but I needed to learn about taking responsibility for myself and my recovery. I needed to learn about intuition, and moving away from the rigid rules that I had imposed on myself.

FREED would have allowed me to explore these very specific behaviours and tackle them head on. It would have allowed me to consider why I was using these behaviours as such a crutch, and placing so much reliance onto them, identifying the purpose that they fulfilled and finding something else healthier and richer to fill the void.

I didn’t have the opportunity to flourish through FREED, the opportunity to be at the core of my own recovery but instead was part of a recovery that was designed for a collective group, a process that started too late and a time when my receptiveness had dwindled to insignificance. Because of this, I know that my recovery was more painful than necessary, lasted longer than anyone anticipated and wasn't the precious journey that FREED could have made it.

I fought, I was exhausted and at times totally overwhelmed by a prescribed recovery that wasn't right for my symptoms.

If you have that opportunity, take it, be freed through FREED and live the life that you absolutely deserve. This is your recovery, your moment and as cheesy as it sounds- you have the power to make really amazing contributions to the care you receive, truly the narrator of your own story, the illustrator and editor all in one.

There will of course by days that are harder than others, your diamond might not always sparkle so brightly- but that’s OK, you're OK and it will be OK.

Hannah manages the website https://aneartohear.co.uk/ to facilitate peer support for those with eating disorders.

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