Matt and Ruth who have two children. Their youngest child, Charlotte, was diagnosed with an eating disorder when she was 12 years old. After treatment in the community over a period of six months, Charlotte was admitted to Rhodes Farm - an acute treatment centre where she stayed for 20 weeks.
Jess is 22 years old and currently travelling in Australia with her fiancé. In 2003 she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. Her first admission to hospital was in early 2004. Due to relapses, Jess was admitted to hospital twice before she was referred to Althea Park House for complex and enduring eating disorders in 2005. After discharge from the Althea Park service, Jess has not required any further hospital treatment.
Simon is a 20 year old undergraduate studying medicine at Cambridge University. His relationship with food first began to change when he was in year 9 at secondary school. He started to avoid fizzy drinks, chocolates and then red meat. Doctors misdiagnosed his symptoms as physical problems and his Dad was so worried about Simon’s worsening health that he used to check his pulse when was sleeping to make sure that he was still alive. Simon eventually received treatment at Rhodes Farm for anorexia.
Mary is 48 years old. In 1979, aged 16, she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa after her work colleagues contacted her GP. Her first hospital admission was shortly afterwards. In the years that followed, Mary had over 15 hospital admissions. In total, she spent over 4 years in hospital, sometimes involuntarily. Each time she left hospital she would go on a diet and lose all the weight she had gained. In 2008, Mary was admitted to Ashleigh House, a residential service for severe and enduring eating disorders. She says that without the team at Ashleigh House, she probably wouldn’t be here today.
We would like to thank Matt, Ruth, Jess and Simon and Mary for sharing their stories with us.
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2012 takes place from 20th to 26th February.