Do you have lived experience of an eating disorder, and are now recovered? Maybe you could be our next SharED volunteer - helping support young people to reach recovery themselves through our email befriending service.
Want to learn more? Read on to hear from our supporter Lauren about the incredible impact her SharED mentor had on her recovery journey...
Help us change more lives
Donate today to help us provide more vital SharED support to people like Lauren
Taking part in the Beat SharED programme was one of the best decisions of my life.
After being diagnosed with anorexia in early 2021 and struggling to build up a relationship with the ED services in my home town, my mum introduced me to the programme after researching resources to help my recovery journey. The programme enabled me to be matched up with a person within my age category who was on the other side of the recovery journey.
Whilst the idea of opening up to a stranger about my thoughts, feelings and worries seemed daunting at first, within a couple of emails back and forth, I began to build up a relationship with my peer mentor. As the first weeks went on and I prepared to move away to university, my mentor offered me an outlet to ask questions, share worries and get advice on day-to-day recovery questions I had.
SharED gave me the opportunity to talk to someone about my experiences without having to over-explain
Reaching out allowed me to talk about things I felt I couldn’t talk to my friends or family about, even though I had an accepting and supportive network, as my mentor had gone through the same experiences I had, and could offer first-hand advice that really worked. The SharED programme gave me the opportunity to talk to someone about my experience and struggles without having to over-explain issues.
My favourite coping tip that my mentor gave me was to start creating a ‘recovery journal’ where I could document my reasons to recover, as well as motivational quotes, drawings and ideas. Further, building up a trusting relationship with my mentor enabled me to learn new techniques for coping and recovering from anorexia, ask for advice on particular issues, and share my little wins with someone that understood how monumental they are in everyday recovery.
My mentor was always able to point out the positives and little wins I had achieved
During particularly rough and disheartening weeks when I had become disheartened by an event or my recovery journey, my mentor was always able to point out the positives and little wins that I had achieved. She helped me pick apart why exactly I was feeling that way, and offering advice on how to cope. In contrast, in weeks when I felt unstoppable and really proud of myself, she also helped me celebrate my wins, making me feel even prouder of myself.
Another benefit of the SharED programme is that it enabled me to get support when I was left without NHS ED services during my first months at university. As I was put on a waitlist for services in my university city and was discharged from services back home, I felt as if I was in a no-mans land in getting support. During that time, I used many of Beat’s support and resources to help me navigate recovery.
My mentor's advice helped me in the months I thought I could not cope living by myself.
My mentor’s advice allowed me to talk to someone and help me in the months that I thought I could not cope living by myself. Without her help and support in the months that I was in contact with her, I believe that I would not have been able to stick with my university studies and be in the place that I am today.
My SharED mentor, along with my friends and family, helped me go from a girl who was struggling with anorexia and was just taking things one day at a time, hoping to get better, to a confident and outgoing individual who was able to persevere and can bounce back from her experience, and is now living a happier life whilst also taking recovery one step at a time.
If you have lived experience of an eating disorder, find out more about becoming a SharED volunteer, and help support more people in recovery like Lauren
SharED is currently open to anyone with an eating disorder in York (city), Essex or Wales who is aged between 12 – 25 years old.
Sign up for SharED support here, or browse all eating disorder support