Eating Disorder Stories


“When I stopped using numbers to evaluate my self-worth, I started to see myself again”.

We follow one young client through her Eating Disorder Recovery journey.

“My relationship with numbers began a long time ago. It wasn’t being the times’ tables queen or knowing how to code that grabbed my attention.”

Our teenagers and young people often arrive in treatment with goals that their Eating Disorders have set for them. Rigid, harsh and punishing goals.

“I remember my mother discussing clothes sizes; I remember her becoming angry and disappointed in changing rooms as she could not find the perfect dress for the party. It was then I realised that to be special, to not be miserable that I needed to be perfect”.

We understand that there are many reasons that Eating Disorders can take hold in young people and that there is no ‘blame’ to be shared or placed.

We also understand that many of our teenagers and young adults,(they are mostly girls and usually aged 13-26) have been exposed to a diet and appearance-based culture; at home, at school and in the wider community.

That is one of the reasons that we are advocates of the principles of Health at Every Size.

Our story continues.

At Age 12, this pre-teen was making decisions about how to create a rule book. A rule book that would challenge her and those around her for many years.

“I decided early on that I was not going to get in a bad mood in changing rooms, I was not going to be the hot, sticky, grumpy mess that I saw my Mum and others become when they went in to try on outfits. I was going to strive for small. After all, if I stayed small, I would be happy and if I wasn’t happy I could be invisible”

“I looked at my plate at lunch, at dinner, I realised that if I wanted to slow down the changes in my body, I could count calories. I could count steps, and I could count the crunches that I would do at night when the rest of the house was asleep. Counting became very important to me”.”

“I didn’t really weigh myself at that point. In fact, I don’t think my Mum had any scales. Thinking back, she was probably avoiding them. I think it would be to avoid another bad mood”.

“I stopped buying lunch at school, it was probably a bit later, maybe a year or so. I bought other things; I bought makeup, chocolate laxatives and electronic weighing scales. I hid them in my wardrobe. That’s when I felt that I had something of my own, something that I was perfectly in control of. I set challenges; I set goals for eating (or not), I set a goal to but only XXS clothes. I finally knew what I wanted. That is when numbers became the most important part of my life”.

Treatment for Eating Disorders is not just about food. In fact, food is one part of the road to physiological, psychological and nutritional wellness.

In treatment, we look at our truth, our story, without judgement in a challenging and nurturing environment.

“When I came into treatment at The Wave, I was mostly scared. Not scared of the place or the people but scared of losing my Eating Disorder. It felt like the only part of me that I liked. It made me different, it kept me special, and I somehow still believed it made me happy. I now know that I was far from happy”.

“I found just about every aspect of treatment tough at first, I felt like I would move one step forward and quite a few back again. Slowly, I became more able to accept myself and set myself new healthy goals and challenges. None of them were based on ‘my’ numbers”.

Increasing our self-worth and finding new and positive ways to look at our personal values is not an easy road.

Finding ourselves by connecting with others, trying out new ideas and finding adventure in the ordinary, are some of the aspects of residential treatment that young people find beneficial in breaking the Eating Disorder cycle.

“Family therapy was tough; we all realised that Eating Disorders affect all of us in some way. My family have been supportive, and they have joined therapy in order that we can take this on together”.

When we stop using numbers to judge our self-worth, we begin to see the opportunity and possibilities around us. Recovery is possible.

If you or someone that you care about needs assistance with the challenges of Eating Disorders, reach out.

Our team are able to assist with practical and supportive tools, guidance and advice on treatment options.

Fiona - The Wave Clinic

Fiona Yassin is the founder and clinical director at The Wave Clinic. She is a U.K. and International registered Psychotherapist and Accredited Clinical Supervisor (U.K. and UNCG).

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