Restored is a charity, which seeks to support, empower and restore lives to overcome the effects of eating disorders. We work alongside people with Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder as well as undiagnosed conditions where issues surrounding food get out of control. With a team made up of professionals and volunteers experienced in eating disorders, whether first hand or through caring for others, we provide a unique, stepped level of care. Our service is tailored to the individual needs of those who come to us, offering a holistic approach to aid all aspects of recovery.
At Restored, we believe that full recovery is not only possible, but also achievable. We have recovered people on our team, who inspire hope for recovery and are living proof that an eating disorder does not have to be a life sentence. The team has had the privilege of seeing lives restored and transformed over the past 6 years, since gaining charity status. Here are some of our stories of hope…
I suffered with eating disorders for ten years. I lived this period of my life as though tied up in chains, bound by a strict set of self-imposed rules regarding food, weight and exercise. Life was exhausting. I was constantly pre-occupied with what I had eaten and wasted hours planning how I could cut down on my next meal. I exercised excessively, trying to burn off more calories than I consumed and I weighed myself several times a day. My self-esteem was low and I struggled to maintain relationships. My eating disorder functioned as a way to block out difficult emotions. At times of stress and when hurt it was easier to think about food than it was to deal with my feelings. I used my eating disorder to shut out pain and make myself numb to the world around me. This left me feeling isolated, lonely and uncertain about my future.
My weight was dangerously low, my periods stopped completely, and a bone density scan showed I had thinning bones. I was in desperate need of help. These physical effects on my body were a massive wake-up call and kick started me to seriously think about weight restoration. I dreamed of having children one day and getting my periods back was a strong motivator for me to get better.
Embarking on the journey of recovery felt very daunting at first. My eating disorder had been a part of my existence for so long, initially it was hard to imagine my life without it. But recovery was a gradual process and with time, therapy and support, I got to the place where I am today, free from the chains of my eating disorder.
Nowadays my life is a stark contrast. It is full of light and hope for the future. My relationships are far more open and I have freedom to pursue life’s opportunities as they arise. I lead a healthy lifestyle and my relationship with food and exercise is positive. Of course life still has its challenges, and like anyone, I experience stress and other negative emotions at times. The difference now is that I no longer use an eating disorder to cope. I can deal with whatever life throws at me in a healthy way.
My experience of recovery is that you simply can’t do it alone. Reaching out to friends and family is so important. It is also invaluable to have access to a support organisation which is removed from the everyday stresses of work and family life. The team at Restored have a wealth of professional and personal experience of eating disorders and a real passion to reach out to people who are suffering. Some of the team also have previously lived with and recovered from eating disorders and can really understand what you are going through. Recovery can at times feel like a long and exhausting process. And to have someone walk alongside you during those times will keep you going, one step at a time.
What can I say? Having tried to support my daughter (31) who has been suffering from Anorexia for over 10 years, although I only found out 7 years ago that she was ill, Restored have been there during the hardest times – watching my daughter hit ‘rock bottom’ and waiting for treatment. The despair of watching your daughter disappear before your eyes, each day that goes by and being utterly powerless to do anything to change the tide – until you live the experience, it cannot be understood.
I had been searching for some support for me, to make sense of what was happening, why my daughter, what could be the path to recovery? I had asked the GP, the Eating Disorders service treating my daughter, the Health Authority Counselling services……but nobody could offer me any support (the best offers I had were anti-depressants or a carers group for those with cancer/physical disabilities or dementia).
By chance, I found Restored whilst doing an internet search for help & support for carers and from my first visit to their carers support group, I felt that at last, there were people who would support me, help me, listen to me, understand me and most of all…not judge me.
I met other families who were in the same position as me as well as mothers who have daughters who are on the path to recovery – they were able to empathise but also give hope – hope that recovery is possible.
The weekly group meeting affords us all the opportunity to be understood – we can say ANYTHING and not feel stupid, as everybody’s thoughts and feelings are respected. Many tears can be shed (something we cannot do at home) but we laugh too. Everybody, staff and members of the group UNDERSTAND without having to explain about the complexities of this horrendous illness that robs us of our daughters and plunges the families into a huge downward spiral from which there seems no escape and no end.
The staff team understand our fears and hopes and ‘get’ where we are coming from, they never fail to give the right support and sound suggestions and advice throughout the roller coaster of a journey we have to endure, they genuinely CARE. The other parents in the group give hugs when needed, share information about treatment paths, approaches to different problems – somebody has always had to find a way through the latest issue the illness has thrown up, tips, tricks and a sound information base regarding the vagaries of the NHS treatment of this insidious illness.
The staff team engaged my daughter in their mentoring scheme and this was the turning point for her, as she then found the strength to believe she could possibly recover and to seek inpatient treatment to start her journey – she holds on to the fact that when she is discharged, Restored will be there to support her in continuing her journey to help her believe that she can recover and there are people who care about her, because of WHO she is, not WHAT she is.
So, Restored to me has meant (and continues to mean) – LIFE, HOPE, SUPPORT. Without Restored, I dread to think where my daughter and I would be. I constantly thank goodness that I stumbled across their details, because without them……….I dare not think where we would be now.
For further testimonies, please click here.
All materials on this website (c) 2015, Restored: Eating Disorders Services (formerly ‘i*eat’).