tv Victoria Derbyshire BBC News July 14, 2019 3:30pm-4:01pm BST
over the next 25 minutes or so, if you want to access more information because of what you're going to see, then the bbc action line is there to help. go online to bbc.co.uk/actionline. first, i started our special broadcast by attending a group therapy session, where claire, georgia and anna plus their therapist mary told us their experiences of eating disorders and the treatments they have received. hello, hi, hello, good morning. ignore me, do carry on, do carry on. so, do you want to go ahead and pick that object that symbolises for you the healthy identity and the one that symbolises for you the anorexic identity? and put them where makes sense to you next to your boxes. does that make sense? yeah. yeah, 0k. and georgia, do you want to say what it is about the object that you've picked that makes sense to you about the anorexic identity? so i've picked a gear, which to me, represents being trapped
inside my eating disorder, like the real me is trapped inside the illness, kind of like i've drawn in this picture, where i would say this is me, and that's like my eating disorder, it looks nice, but really, it's not your friend, it's your enemy. thanks, georgia. what about you, claire? which one have you gone for for the anorexic identity? a bee, because it feels soft and cuddly, but it actually stings and hurts, and causes some damage to yourself. that's something that's confusing about it, isn't it? because it isn'tjust the enemy, it also feels like a friend to you, it feels like it is there for you, protecting you. can i pause at that moment? because that is a really interesting... the fact that you picked that, you say it is a friend and an enemy. let me introduce you to everybody, thank you for having me in here by the way, mary, who is a therapist, claire, who is currently receiving outpatient treatment after her third time in hospital, georgia, currently getting this kind
of outpatient treatment for the first time after twice being in hospital and anna, who was discharged from outpatient treatment last spring. you had group therapy sessions like this, anna, how did they help? they were hugely influential to my recovery, just being in a setting and an environment where everyone in the room understood why we were there. eating disorders can be very isolating and you think you're the only person going through it, but everyone in the group acknowledged that's why they were there, and having that supportive environment was so important. are they tough, georgia? is it tough to speak openly and honestly about what you're going through in front of other people? definitely, i think there's a lot of shame attached to an eating disorder, you feel like it's all your fault and no one else understands, but actually, when you're in a group and you have the courage to talk about what is going on and you realise that you're not alone, you're not the only person going through this,
and it keeps you going forward, because you know that it is possible to get through. what about you, claire? do they help you or is it hard? it's hard, but yeah, it does help, because you think you're the only one going through it, and you blame yourself, and there is a guilt, but you realise that... we're not in it together, but whoever is going through it is going through it as well, so it helps understand and helps you to move forward. mary, there are some people who are cynical about therapy, full stop, never mind group therapy. but this is evidence—based, it does help people recover. absolutely. so, this is a mantra group, and mantra is manualised therapy and we have taken this off the page and made it interactive exercises that we can do each week. i think the thing with group that is different from individual therapy is that as the girls said, when you hear someone speak out loud the thoughts that you have in your head, you might realise it is part of the anorexic psychopathology, part of the anorexic thinking,
and not your identity, it is not you that think that, it is the illness. you can do that in an individual session, but it is easier if they can hear each other say it and you can point out and say, has anyone else had that thought today? is anyone else having that thought right now? and everyone starts to nod, they realise they are not on their own, in a different way than in individual therapy. anna, when you are having treatment, and you are over a year now after being discharged, what kind of things do you have to relearn about eating? i think it is essentially going back to when you were a child and when you're younger, you have that intuition to know when you're full, when you need food, and none of that outside influence really gets into your mindset. so i remember thinking even ten years ago, i loved food,
i had a really healthy relationship with food, and my mum would make comments like, at least we never have to worry about you being anorexic, which is so ironic, because obviously, ten years later, i'm sat here today having been through this, and i think it's really important. we're all given dieticians and it's like relearning the things that seem so obvious, just about the amount you should be eating and taking away that guilt and feeling towards food. it's just about trusting that more than anything else, and knowing that actually, you do know the answer to these problems, you do know what your body needs, you do know what the right thing to do is in your life, and thenjust doing it. and dealing with it afterwards. right. claire, you have had inpatient
treatment three times, the first aged 2a for eight months, the second aged 27 for five months, and the third, which i think ended last summer, was for six months. but this is the first time you have had this continuing support as an outpatient. how important has that been to stop you relapsing? i think it has been a big thing, yeah, i think that is where it has gone wrong in the past, they teach you the basics in the ward, but it is so different at home, so it's learning to carry on and having this support is one of the best things i have had. there will be some people watching who won't understand why, when you go back home after being in hospital, you can'tjust eat. can you explain that, anna, georgia? i think it's different, because what we believe is so different, we know when we need to eat and when people say, just eat, it's not like that, and it's frustrating for us, because deep down, we know to eat, but we've got something else
inside us that is stopping us eating, if that makes sense. yes, it does. anna, how would you describe it? it's like you know what the right thing to do is, and you know that in order to get better and have the life that you deserve, that is the thing that is going to make you get to that point, but on top of that, there is the fear of what will happen, all of these irrational worries and fears about what will happen if you actually do that and what will this mean about your identity? you will be out of control and all of these other thoughts come into your head. i mean, the biggest part of my recovery was learning to ignore that, learning to trust my gut feeling in a way, the irony of that, but learning to listen to that voice, rather than the buzzing bee or the jail bars that were the other side of that. after going to that group therapy session, i met 23—year—old roisin,
who was diagnosed with anorexia when she was 16. she and her mum and dad, kevin and gabrielle, told us of how they struggled to get the help they needed to support their daughter. with them, andrew radford from the eating disorder charity, beat. i'm doing all right at the moment, i think it's a constant struggle and there is still a lot of work to be done, but i would say comparatively to where i've been, i'm in a better place. but a point i'd always like to get across is thatjust because you're better than where you were doesn't mean you're better completely, and it's still a struggle for me. could you describe for our audience what it's like having an eating disorder? i mean, i could go on about that forever, it is a broad question, but i think the thing that i would say really is that it is all—encompassing, so people may think that when you hear about an eating disorder, you think about somebody getting stressed out when sat at the dinner table or if someone offers you a piece of cake,
but for me and for basically everyone else i know with an eating disorder, it's all the time, it doesn't leave your head, you don't get respite, so one example i was thinking of is that i've just started a newjob down in oxford, working for the student union, and i'm going to lots of meetings and it's great and i love myjob, but i'm going into the meeting and there will be a plate of sandwiches on the table, and everyone else willjust think it's a plate of sandwiches. for me, my head will start going, do i have to eat one of these? is this going to be expected of me? how many calories are in this? how does it fit into my meal plan? if i eat that now, what do i eat later? and it's still a constant juggling act. and yeah, that is a big part of it, you don't get respite, an eating disorder doesn't take a day off, it doesn't think, you are doing something else now, so we will go away, it sits there on your shoulder and it continues to nag you and it is more recovery in my eyes, it is about being able to listen
to that voice and go, shut up, i'm doing the opposite. sure. kevin, what was it like for you when you thought something wasn't right with roisin? what did you think was going on? it was very difficult, i had no idea what was going on because whilst that was happening with roisin, and i found out through various different routes, but a phone call from her school was what really brought it into the immediacy, there's life going on as well, and it wasn't something that i understood or i had any experience of, even though i've spent my working life working with young people, and to be fair, it was something i thought, i don't understand this, this doesn't happen to us, what on earth are they talking about? this can't be true, and it is something i need to fix and put right as quickly as i can, because i'm roisin's dad, and i'm there to fix things, and that was my initial confusion, was, right, this is a problem, how do i deal with it? and the issue with anorexia
is there is no one way to fix it, and i didn't realise that at the start. and gabrielle, you actually recognised roisin's difficulties, if i can put it like that, before medical professionals did. what did you see? you were officially diagnosed at 16, but you noticed some signs at 12? well, even, actually, i was thinking, at 11 years old, when she was in her year six at primary school, was the first time i was aware that roisin had difficulties. it started where they were weighing children, you know, in year six, it was brought in that they were weighing children and talking about their bmi and everything. and roisin at that time was very sporty, she was on every team imaginable, she just loved her sport, but there was also, she picked up from the television, that people who did the sport
could actually have a higher bmi, because of their muscle and everything, and she calculated all this in her head and she was hysterical at home, saying, i don't want to be weighed, i don't want to go into school and i don't want to be weighed, and i actually went into school and said, i don't want to you to weigh her, she is really upset about this. that was the first time... and that would be an unusual behaviour from an 11—year—old. yes, it was like... do you remember this? i remember this happening, and i can remember, to be honest, even earlier than that, this kind of fixation with being 0k, and i think the school side of things is a really important thing, because for me, i'm a perfectionist and academically, academia is like my love and i've loved skill, and by weighing children in school and bringing this whole idea of, you can be right, i saw fitting a bmi from that age as, this is how i get my a.
i need to be the a grade of weight. and i was so frightened to be weighed, and i can vividly remember just how scared i was of being weighed and being told, you're not right, you're not in the top set, because that had never happened to me. and it kind of played on that perfectionist tendencies, and it continued play on that throughout my life, until very recently, with a bit of a breakthrough in therapy. kevin, was there a point, i mean, you've already expended you didn't know about eating disorders, you just think, you look it up and then you sort it. were there points where you felt futile? where you said to your daughter, just eat some food? definitely. i think there's an element of that that is my character, you know, which is, we are going to sort this and get through it. right, what is the problem? let's find a way of dealing with this. but also, we did get some conflicting advice in the early stages of us dealing with the disorder, and part of that
advice, to me, was to take her on, you've got to challenge these behaviours, and it was actually completely the wrong thing for me to be doing, but at the time, it felt to be the right thing. and so, for me, the answer was obvious, but when in fact, the answer is far from obvious, and far from straightforward, and if i could go back to those days and offer myself some advice, it would be, it's not your fault, and you can't fix it overnight. i'm going to bring in andrew at this point, andrew radford, chief executive of beat. now, there is guidance, there are nice guidelines into how families of people with eating disorders should be supported. you say they are not being properly followed. what is going wrong, do you say? we have done some research, and what it does is shows that the stories of despair and helplessness that we have just heard are being felt by hundreds, thousands of parents and carers across the country, and there is that really common theme of helplessness, but also, a real determination and drive to do something about it.
meanwhile, the nice guidelines say that eating disorders services should be engaging parents, but the parents themselves are saying, that is not happening. beat will talk to maybe 30,000 people this year, and that is a really common theme. and why is it not happening, do you say? i think it is the system that is at fault. eating disorders professionals are amazing and they want to do the right thing by their patients, but they don't have the time, the resources and the tools to do it effectively. parents of people with eating disorders are amazing, they have to go through hell and yet, they come out determined to do something right by their loved one. if you can corral that energy and determination to work together between the service and the parents, to help the young person, that young person will get better faster, they will stay better longer, and it will save nhs resources to help more people. so, what we are doing is issuing guidance to say, this is how you do it, we will help, let's do it together. i want to briefly, just in the last
couple of minutes that we have, talk about the fact that when you were at university, it was recommended that you should be admitted to hospital, but the only bed... you were at university in oxford, the only bed that can be found for you was in edinburgh. obviously, a very long way away from university and from home, which is in yorkshire, so your mum rang beat, they gave you a list of inpatient services, and you got your gp to literally ring round, is that right, to find a bed? we knew that... roisin knew no more about this than me, but we did, we were all ringing round, we were all looking at different options, and then, we were told that we had to get a referral, we couldn't do it as parents, she had to go through the gp system, but then of course, when we got to gp level, i think it was leeds that at that point had a bed, and we went over and i think it was a six week waiting list, was it, roisin?
yeah, this was in march we went over, i had been sent home from university, told i was going to be an impatient, made peace with this fact, and then got told, oh, we've got a bed, you can have it, yes, but it's in may. and that was just, i spiralled. i actually ended up, probably in the place i came home was the place i went back to university, because that waiting period just left me alone tojust spiral. yeah, i remember making a list of all the services in the country and e—mailing and ringing them all, because i didn't have a key worker at the time, because this service hadn't started in halifax. so, the gp, who had never dealt with anything like it, was just having to ring round. i remember coming out of a gp appointment in tears, because she said she had found me a bed, and i was just that desperate for someone to help me. finally, i sat down with a group of patients at the service, plus professionals and others who have been treated for eating disorders, to find out what more they think could be done to help treat
and support those affected. i started to withdraw and started to eat less at the age of ten, and my mum and dad very quickly picked up on the warning signs. they took me to the gp, who said i wasn't low enough in weight to have a problem, it will be fine, it's just a phase. long story short, two years later, i was admitted to a children's psychiatric unit and given 2a hours to live, if i didn't eat or drink. i think one of the biggest things that i'm hoping this programme will do is highlight that early intervention is key. the longer we wait to treat somebody with an eating disorder, the more of a hold it has on that person. waiting for the weight to change does not change what is already there. is that true, danielle? the longer somebody has an eating disorder before they are treated, the longer they will take to recover? absolutely. as with most disorders, you know, the earlier you get in there, the better the outcomes. we set up freed, an early intervention service for eating disorders, and it was quite surprising, actually, it was like, why have we never done this before?
so, we found that actually, if we can get in there early, if people come to treatment early, and we can provide a service that is friendly and open and warm, and i can come and get and they can come and get evidence—based treatment, that they will go on to live their lives a lot quicker. we can't dictate to people their treatment, by their bmi, their blood results, there are sugar levels, by everything else. my daughter, very sadly, was mismanaged from her first diagnosis at 18. she was ill before that and unfortunately, we weren't able to access cams, which was through no fault of the gp, it was the mental health team. she languished on a medical ward for many months before she was moved to an eating disorder unit. she was then thrust into a secure unit, which is a toxic environment at best, damaging, very damaging, and that was the progress and 11 years later, my daughter lost her life. she lost her life not
because of the care she received at the end, but of the failing of the treatment at the beginning. so, kayleigh was an amazing, intelligent, erudite, beautiful, caring young lady, who was let down by a service. but again, and i totally agree with gemma here... don't, because you'll start me off. i totally agree with gemma here that the service and the move forwards that is being made by the psychiatrists in the treatment of this illness are what is going to save the lives of our children. and thank you. you know, for most people, it is absolutely unimaginable what kayleigh, your daughter, went through, what you went through. can you describe what it is like to lose your daughter? effectively, her organs shut down as a result of the eating disorder. what can i say? it is the biggest fear, it is the most painful thing you will ever experience, it is the greatest loss, and there is a huge whole
in my heart. i manage to get through each day by having a mission. my mission is my cic, which is kay's trust, so that i can bring to the area i come from, which is the isle of wight, a group, and gemma is going to help me as well, for parents, carers and friends. because there are so many isolated pockets in this country that don't provide any support. if your daughter is taken, as mine was, to another part of the country to be treated, you can't afford to travel there. and if you can, you cannot get there between six and seven when the parents' meeting is. so you are cast adrift, and you look to charities and beat, and other websites to try and find the help and support that you need, and it doesn't exist where you need it. you need this, you need a hold, you need the warmth of another human being beside you. my life will never be the same, but i have a mission, and my mission is to save at least
one person, and that is what i will do. i wonder if i can ask you all more about the reasons why people develop eating disorders, because there are many and complex, it is never down to one particular reason for one reason alone. what would you say, gemma, if you even know? yeah, no, i've been through years of therapy now, so i get it. mine stemmed from bullying, and also being a high achiever, and i felt like i was living these two different lives, where i was pushed up and constantly pulled down, and ifelt like i had no control over what people said or did to me. but i could control something. but also, the other side of it was my anorexia developed when i was going through puberty, and obviously, when i started to lose weight, in my head, i had lost my breasts, my period, my hips, i became a little girl that i thought in my head was happy. but it's ultimately about control and this perception of it being,
as we touched on at the start of the programme, vanity. i didn't read a magazine and see a supermodel and decide, i want to look like her. i've said it before, i used to read comics, and i definitely didn't want to look like beano. so it's something that is there, needs treated, as a person and an individual, and notjust so many girls and boys out there who are treated as an eating disorder. we are still a person. of course. does social media come into it? and how much so? i would say, for myself anyway, i'm 26, i didn't really have social media growing up, but i have seen more and more in my work as an ambassador for beat, that things like instagram and snapchat and facebook are portraying these images of people that are just photoshopped and face tuned and so on and so forth, and it is creating this
ridiculous standard of perception, how young people in particular think, i should look like that. do you think the link is as simple as that? that would then potentially lead someone to restrict what they eat? i don't think it's ever quite as simple as that. there is something already there, isn't there? there is always something there. for myself, anyway, i come from a very traumatic background, and that is why i developed an eating disorder. growing up, i had magazines, and i didn't look at a magazine and suddenly think, 0k, i want to look like this person, it was always about the control for me. can ijust say that from a parent's point of view, as well, you think as a parent, you can do anything, you're there, you can work magic, and you can't. i wanted somebody to come along and fix my daughter, i knew she had a problem and was seriously ill, and i desperately wanted somebody to help me, and every time i put my trust in somebody, that trust was let down, not just for me, but for my daughter as well.
so for parents, i would say, seek support for yourself, because, and i know this is true of gemma's mother as well, it affects you. i have developed fibromyalgia, as has gemma's mother, and it is because of the trauma and shock that you go through. and also because as a mother, i always say to people, as a mother, the first thing you ever do for your child is you feed it, you clothe it and you closet it. what anorexia does is it strips that away from you, you lose that right as a parent to look after your child in the way that you always naturally do. so, parents need to look after themselves and seek help and support for themselves as well. thanks to everybody who took part in our special broadcast from halifax. it was a tv first, live from an adult eating disorder service. if you want more information, it is bbc.co.uk/actionline. if you want to watch the whole programme, then just go to the iplayer, it is all there for you. thanks for watching. the weather for the rest
of the afternoon is looking pretty weather or not so bad across the rest of the uk, a couple of showers here and there are, for the rest of the afternoon, sunny spells, many of us are the afternoon, sunny spells, many of us are in for a beautiful sunset this evening. high pressure is over the uk right now, there are weather fronts and low pressure at lining themselves up in the atlantic, ready to come our way, but they weather won't go down hill until later on in their wake, won't go down hill until later on in theirwake, in won't go down hill until later on in their wake, in fact, won't go down hill until later on in theirwake, infact, the won't go down hill until later on in their wake, in fact, the south of their wake, in fact, the south of the country is not expected to get any rainfall from the weather fronts waiting out there until the end of the week. in the short—term, this is what we have got across the country, around 6pm, temperatures are still around 6pm, temperatures are still around 20 degrees, and then the evening is looking largely clear across the uk, but overnight, the wind out of the north sea will drag in the summer cloud, so east anglia, the south—east and some other eastern counties could be waking up toa eastern counties could be waking up to a pretty overcast monday morning.
monday itself is going to bring sunny spells, widely across the uk, and again, just an outside chance of and again, just an outside chance of a showerfrom one and again, just an outside chance of a shower from one of those bigger clouds. high pressure across the uk, but you consider weather front very slowly edging in, it is still awaited the west of our neighbourhood, you can hardly see it, it isjust behind me, that is the sign of the low pressure, the wind swirling. very little wind on monday, quite warm, low 20s across the south, low 20s even though the low lands of scotland, so beautiful throughout the country. here is tuesday's weather map, and they weather front is starting to edge m, weather front is starting to edge in, but high pressurejust about clinging to central and southern parts of the uk. here, they weather is expected to remain a fine, but showers are gathering across ireland, northern ireland, into parts of scotland as well. temperatures expected to rise a little bit across england and wales as we head towards tuesday and wednesday, because of these weather fronts here, the wind often changes
direction, coming from the south or south—west, it skips up some warmth from the near continent, out of france, so temperatures on wednesday are expected to rise widely into the mid 20s across southern and central parts of england. at the same to come, they weather will turn in the west, the cloud and rain will sweep in. bye—bye.
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