Sarah's Story

I went to Riverdale hoping to regain control over my life and my eating disorder, which had controlled me for the last seven years. My time at Riverdale has put me well on the way to achieving this in that it has provided me with the tools to control my eating disorder in everyday life. I used to be frightened of eating food not prepared by myself, but I can now go into coffee shops, restaurants and homes of friends and family and say ‘YES I CAN EAT THIS’ and enjoy the social aspect of such an event. This has enabled me to regain the social side of my life.

Another part of me that they have given back is my thoughts and feelings. Instead of my thinking being preoccupied with counting calories, fat content of food, drive to exercise and felling extremely anxious and guilty I am able to relax and just be MYSELF and accept that this is ok as I no longer need to think about all of the above things. The result is I am able to laugh, talk and truly listen to friends and fully engage in activities that I enjoy. In fact through Riverdale I have not only learned about my eating disorder but about myself, my interests and who I truly am and found that I like the person I am and therefore don’t need to punish myself.

I used to think extremely negatively of myself and believed I couldn’t eat certain foods, cook a meal without weighing each ingredient, put on physical weight and not exercise. The staff have worked with me to provide positive counter statements so that I now have the confidence to change my ‘cannots’ into ‘cans’.

This has only been achieved through the time, dedication, and energy and caring nature of all the staff who provided me with a supportive environment where you can be yourself. They never judge you but work with you to challenge your darkest demons and have enabled me to come out the end with the biggest grin and sense of achievement. They will always talk with you about anything, big or small and become one of the most special people in your life.

To summarise- Has it been easy?- no, it has been the hardest experience, but undoubtedly the most rewarding. After suffering with Anorexia for seven years Riverdale has lead me on a challenging and progressional journey so that I am starting to get my life back. I am indebted to them.

Rachel

A woman in recovery from an eating disorder hopes to help others in her situation.

Everybody knows somebody with an eating disorder. And yet it is still a taboo subject to talk about says Ellie Wildbore. The 25-year-old is currently recovering from an eating disorder, which has haunted her from her school days when she was a victim of bullying.

"Eating Disorders are more common than you think. Many people are too ashamed to get the help they need."

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I don't know where to begin to thank you for all you've done for me since I've been at Riverdale Grange and particularly the patience, care and thoughtfulness you've shown me over the last few weeks. You lit a little flame of hope when I first came in and have kept it burning through difficult days. Thank you for giving me the chance to experience life and to handle its ups and downs more constructively, From a very grateful patient.

Ruth

This card is so difficult to write because how do I put into words what the staff at Riverdale Grange have done for me. You are all such caring, supportive, lovely people, I feel privileged to have known you all. You were there through the dark days and the good days too, I will never forget you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Abbey

Thank you so much to everyone for all the care & understanding you have shown to me over the past 8 months. I owe my recovery to you all, it has been a challenging yet wonderful experience which has changed my life forever. You will forever be in my thoughts.

Liz

I would never have believed that life would feel good again, as I first came to Riverdale all I could see was darkness and despair; my life was wasn’t worth living. After lots of hard work, tremendous support from a team of people who genuinely care, I can see a bright future ahead. I know I still have lots of work to do however, I no longer wake up to the black, dark days and I know I can beat this illness all thanks to you. All my love and gratitude always.

Kerry

When I arrived at Riverdale I was very anxious and scared with no expectations of change or hope for the future and feeling very alone and helpless. The road I was on was bleak, dangerous and lonely and I clung to the safety that my eating disorder offered despite a growing realisation that it would lead to death.

Thank you for walking a different path with me, a path that leads to life, encouraging and supporting me all the way however difficult it became and never giving up. I’ve done things I wouldn’t have thought possible and shared experiences that gave me the motivation and determination to stay well even though at times it seems impossible.

With your support I have discovered things I could only imagine including cafes, restaurants, sweet shops and ice-cream vans and even enjoyed the experience! I’ve tried cake decorating, painting, card making, jewellery making all have been fun and stimulating. I have looked at and worn different clothes make up and jewellery which continually challenged my rules about what is acceptable. I’ve baked and prepared meals and discovered that it’s possible to share them with others without hurting them.

I’m desperate to be well to be able to engage in life and eventually help other people who are trapped in an eating disorder. Thank you for making that possible.

Katie

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