Prior to June 2014, I had contacted and been for an assessment at Recover to explore eating disorder treatment.
I remember leaving the assessment and thinking that had been my only glimpse of Recover and I felt lucky just to have been given the time I had been, to be listened to.
I remember walking down the road with a huge sense of relief. For always thinking and believing I was not worthy or deserving of help, to hear the words, “We can help you”, meant so much.
I remember days after the assessment constantly thinking over and over again about those four words.
They can help me? It baffled me to think not only that they could help me, but that they were offering to help. For someone who always deep down wanted help, but did not know how to ask for it and was afraid of it, I decided I have to take this opportunity. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t and it really did feel like the only option left for me.
Wanting help but nervous about accepting it
Two days before I started at the clinic I remember the phone conversation I had with Recover.
I remember deeply wanting the help, but at the same time, I became incredibly nervous about what was about to happen. I knew things would be different and changes would be made, but I underestimated how different my life would be, and it has all been for the best.
This time the conversation ended with, “We want to help you“.
By this point, it felt like I was on Who Wants To Be A Millionnaire, phoning a friend and being given the answer and option of receiving one million pounds. “Yes, I’ll do it”, I replied.
The night before
The night before my start date at Recover, I remember making a list of what I needed to take with me and re-reading all previous emails I had with the clinic.
It still did not feel quite real that I was actually going to start at the clinic tomorrow. I had to keep reminding myself that it was about to happen, tomorrow. It felt like I was going on a school trip, having to be up early to get the coach.
I set my alarm for 4am to embark on my trip to Portsmouth The Hard to get the coach to London Victoria.
Starting my journey at The Recover Clinic
The morning of Thursday 12th June 2014 arrived. ‘Today! I am starting at the clinic today!’
I’m not quite sure if it was complete excitement or just pure panic. It wasn’t long before the two and a half hour coach journey became time for me to second think and doubt what I was about to do.
I became incredibly scared.
I remember the coach driver stopped off for petrol. ‘Perfect! I’ll just jump off the coach and go home’.
I didn’t get off the coach. I stayed. I could picture Recover in my mind and the opportunity being given to me and I remembered all the correspondence with the clinic that I had just to get me in there.
I knew deep down I wanted to go; it was just the fear of the unknown and change that was dominant at this point.
I remember sitting on the coach, surrounded by a large family, of all different ages. They were starting their journey to their holiday destination, Paris. They were singing, laughing, talking, showing and sharing with each other items they had in their bags and photos on their mobiles.
The bond between them was so distinct. It was a beautiful thing to see, but it made me feel more and more alone.
I arrived in London Victoria and caught the tube to where Recover was situated. I was an hour early so I sat on a bench nearby with about one million butterflies in my stomach.
I remember receiving messages from friends and university lecturers wishing me luck and letting me know I was being thought of. I kept those messages close to my heart and started walking to Recover.
I got closer and closer to the clinic when all of a sudden I realised I had walked straight past the turning to the clinic. Oh my god, how embarrassing! What if they saw me walk straight past!?
I definitely did wonder whether that was a sign that I should go home, but I knew it wasn’t believable and so I made my way back, walked up to the clinic and rang the doorbell.
The door opened and I was welcomed in and taken upstairs and told to make myself comfortable.
I was the only patient there at the time and I remember really worrying about what the other girls would think of me.
I was told about what was going to happen that day and I was shown a vision board, an example of the type of work they do at Recover. I was then given a tour of the clinic. At this point, I felt like an intruder invading other people’s space.
Sitting down to Breakfast GroupThe first group I had was Breakfast Group. I was faced with difficulties and challenges straight away. I started doubting my capability of staying there. I started wishing I had asked where the door was while being given the tour, so I could quietly slip out and leave.
I sat round the table with members of the team and the other girls. Everyone was so incredibly welcoming and lovely. Within five minutes, I started to feel settled in and relaxed.
Breakfast Group can be difficult for many, especially having to face fears and difficulties first thing in the morning. But it provides a calm, chilled out space, allowing conversations and light-hearted talk to gently get you into the day.
Without breakfast group, I would have never been shown and told how to make a cup of tea!
Exploring my spirituality
I then had Spiritual Group. I remember when I received my program via email before starting, with the times and groups I was scheduled to attend, having no idea what Spiritual Group was.
‘I know! Spirits. We are going to be contacting the other side’.
I was slightly on edge about this and was confused as to how that would help us. I remembered being told I had to be willing to try new things, and so I told myself that contacting the other side may not all be that bad.
We all walked up the stairs, along with candles and blankets.
We all sat down and were told to shut our eyes. I then heard soft, relaxing music being played.
I remember repeatedly opening one eye, just to see what was going on. I had never been in this situation before. I remember thinking, if only my friends knew what I was doing right now, they wouldn’t believe it.
Spiritual Group has been, and always will remain, one of the safest groups I have been in. It allows you to collectively join together as a group, listen to music and meditate.
It provides a space for discussion on relevant topics such as spirituality, higher power and what it means to be a woman.
It gave me an opportunity to write a bucket list of things I would like to achieve. It’s a chance to turn inwards and really see what your beliefs are and who you really are.
Learning to love Lunch Group
It was now time for Lunch Group. I really started to worry and started to feel so nervous. I remember starting to shake and become panicky, but I was reassured that I would be ok.
Lunch Groups are supportive groups, in which you, as a group, assist and help others while they experiment and try different foods.
Just like Breakfast Group, the group is kept chilled out and conversations include what we have planned for the weekend, and catching up with each other. If changes are desired, lunch groups provide a safe space to discuss them.
Finding my core
After Lunch Group, I then had Core Group.
I again had no idea what this group was about and what I would be expected to talk about.
I didn’t even know what a core was. All I knew was that I had heard that Core Group was the most difficult group at Recover.
This really worried me. I had just had Lunch Group and it gets more difficult?
Core Group remains one of the most difficult and challenging groups for me. It is about looking at your core (in other words, your identity), and figuring out who you really are.
This can be done by looking at external factors, such as, family, friends, school, college, expectations. When all you can see is evil about yourself and no goodness in you, Core Group allows you to look within and see the light, that is your core, and know that underneath all the evil and hate you believe to be there, there is goodness and love.
After Core Group it was the end of my first day at Recover and it was time to go home.
I closed the door behind me. I had a huge sense of relief. I had got through my first day, and it was honestly nowhere near as scary as I imagined it to be.
I remember having to ask myself whether it had all really happened, but one thing I knew I was sure about, is that I was looking forward to returning to Recover the next morning for my second day.
- Read My First Experience of The Recover Clinic: Part 2
- Hear about another client’s Journey at Recover
- Discover How Creating Vision Boards Can Help Your Recovery
My First Experience of the Recover Clinic Part 2