Eating disorders


Age at interview: 19

Brief outline: Chloe's problems with eating date back to when she was 13. It took a while for her to be referred but when she was, she found working with the occupational therapist and the psychologist the most helpful things towards recovery.

Background: Chloe is a student. She is in a relationship and lives in a shared flat. White Scottish.

Audio & video

At the age of 13, Chloe planned to take up regular running. She felt she wasn’t very good at sports so she decided to change her eating habits instead. She soon lost a lot of weight and her mother, whose sister had had an eating disorder became worried. Chloe saw a GP but their concerns were brushed off. However, things didn’t improve and Chloe went in to see a different GP who took the weight loss seriously and referred her to a specialist adolescent mental health unit.
At this point, Chloe had gotten too ill to attend school. She had already been struggling in school; she didn’t feel like she fitted in and was picked on for going to church or for the clothes she wore. At first, Chloe saw a dietician as an outpatient but as she was unable to control her diet and eating at home, she was admitted into hospital. Chloe describes staying in hospital as “scary”, “disturbing” but also “a relief”. She found talking really helpful; getting her worries off her chest, though it took her a long time to feel able to confide in the nurses. Also the practical support from the occupational therapist was one of the most helpful things for Chloe. Putting on some weight; “the sugar in the brain”, also helped her make more sense of her feelings and persist in getting better.
After six months, Chloe was discharged and she carried on seeing a psychologist as an outpatient. They mainly focused on her depression and anxiety and Chloe found working with her very constructive. Chloe says she is in a good place now. If she ever starts feeling anxious, she now knows what to do to stay on top of it. Chloe has a long term boyfriend, a good social life and is enjoying her studies. Getting better has been tough and in some ways “terrifying” but without a doubt “worth it”.


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