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Dear Shelley and the Breathe Team,
I hope this letter finds you all well.
Firstly I would like to thank everyone in the team who worked hard to support and help me through a difficult period of my life, during my 2.5 years with Breathe I learnt so much about myself and learned how to rationalise and calm many of my thoughts and fears. I came to Breathe a reluctant patient after my husband found and researched the support offered and pushed our GP for a referral. I was surprised at how difficult it was to engage the GP in providing a specific support service and horrified at his suggestion that I should be managed through the NHS mental health unit as at the time I did not consider that I had any problems.
My first assessment appointment with Shelley was nerve wracking but I was very quickly put at ease and surprised by how easy I found it to talk about my issues. The programme of support arranged for me was excellent and I saw both Shelley and Shelia as well as the dietician weekly. The support was very well structured but at the same time allowed me to discuss and manage issues at my own pace and also as they were relevant to my day to day being.
I found the weekly contact with Breathe became a very natural part of my life and one which I embraced, being the sort of person who runs away from things easily I surprised myself. I felt comfortable with the team as many of them had also suffered with eating related disorders and therefore things I said were understood and I didn’t feel like I was “crazy”. This is one of the most important elements of the service provided as it is very hard to make someone understand how you feel about yourself and your relationship with food if they haven’t been there.
Another fundamental element of the service is the subtle methods applied through specific courses, discussion groups and one to one counselling which let me gradually understand my mind-set more and more importantly calm my mind. The team demonstrated an unrelenting level of patience and care in all my appointments and also gently challenged me to change my thought processes into a more positive approach.
Without a doubt the service offered by Breathe is unique and incredible and not only just focuses on the eating disorder element but the intricacies of someone suffering with an eating disorder which usually stems out of other vulnerabilities, fears, concerns and experiences. The ED is the symptom of another deeper issue.
When my time came to leave Breathe after 2.5 years I have to be honest and say that I didn’t want to leave, the weekly comfort and support and emotional outlet provided had become a key element of my life however I knew that the time was right for me to use everything I had learnt to move forward on my own and with my families support.
Since leaving in September 2013 I have used many of the skills learnt and relinquished much of the control I had over my eating. That doesn’t mean I am 100% cured as I still need to work on some of my insecurities, but I am now so much more aware of these and the damage they can cause to me. And overall I am told I am more relaxed.
I miss the team very much but I know that the time was right for them to use their support methodology and kindness to help other sufferers.
Lots of love to you all!
Preston – 23rd January 2014
PS – We have not named this lady for privacy and confidentiality reasons