This is the third in a series of blog posts written by guest bloggers responding to a request to share positive experiences of mental health services, both statutory services and the charitable/voluntary sector.
The story below was submitted anonymously. The writer described how the support and compassion she found through the organisation Overeaters Anonymous helped both with her anxiety and eating difficulties.
“I suffer from severe anxiety and agoraphobia. This includes panic attacks and my responsibility in my work life and personal life (I have children) meant I had to force myself to do even basic daily tasks. This stemmed from a childhood with mentally ill parent and continued damaging relationships. Another symptom was eating disorder. Binge eating, compulsive overeating. I was frequently suicidal.
I sought help from my doctor and got counselling and CBT which did help but only temporarily. I tried hypnotherapy to help with the eating disorder which I saw as a lack of self control. The symptoms returned full force until I finally reached breaking point.
Then I discovered the 12 step program within Overeaters Anonymous (OA). With my sponsor’s help, daily if I need it, and free, I realised I had never learned to deal with the stresses of life, and that I truly had no control over my compulsive behaviour. That I should stop blaming myself, and that I’m just the way nature intended. I now live one day at a time, work the steps each day, free from my illness. I attend meetings and get support from loving, caring friends within OA who have been there before and know what I’m going through. I will always have this disorder. I accept it now. It doesn’t control my life anymore.”