"Saved my life"
I suffer from anorexia nervosa and first attended the Priory Hospital Bristol as an outpatient, attending sessions with my consultant once a week. This carried on for 2 or 3 months and while my weight had increased by a couple of kilograms my mental state remained mostly the same, if not slightly worse.
At the end of this period I relapsed, reversing all the weight progress I had made and my mental state was at an all time low. My consultant was, to be honest, not particularly helpful through this period of time, mostly unintentionally, as in their attempt to maintain patient confidentiality my parents were not informed of the sneaky behaviours I was using, obviously causing my health to deteriorate further.
It was decided once I came clean to my parents about my relapse that I should start attending the Day Patient service. I attended group sessions twice a week which, in all honestly saved my life. I was petrified about meeting other patents with eating disorders: "they'll all be skinnier than me"; "they'll all think I eat too much"; "they'll all wonder why on earth I'm here when I'm so fat" but they are some of the nicest girls I've ever met and are great friends with me to this day. The group therapy was very helpful in unravelling the root causes of my eating disorder and in challenging my very fixed mindset with CBT. However, I think that it was the humour and camaraderie among my fellow patients (who were a mixture of inpatients and day patients) that really kick-started my choice to recover!
I was finding that my nutritional situation was quite static despite slight mental improvement. My meal plan was considerably smaller than I felt was suitable given the amount of weight I had to gain and in comparison to the meal plans of other patients, and I felt that I needed more of a push in the direction of weight restoration than from my consultant alone. I asked my key worker if I could receive individual therapy sessions and they have been absolutely fantastic. Group work has helped me enormously but as the group situation is, obviously, spent with other people, there are certain things that are a bit personal to share, and quite a lot of time is of course spent supporting others, so it's amazing to have an hour a week to work through things one-on-one with such an amazing therapist. The therapist pushed me towards my target weight which I am now a spitting distance away from and with the help of the dietitian my meal plan is now perfect for me.
When you're a day patient you eat meals at the Priory: snacks up on the ward (lovely ward with great HCAs) and meals in the dining room. Food is really good- makes all the difference!
I should add that the reason we went to the Priory was that I didn't qualify for NHS treatment because my BMI was not low enough. I am outraged by this method of categorising eating disorder patients. Therefore we are self-funded which has of course not been easy, but has been more than worth it.