Wight woman’s battle to beat eating disorders

43-year-old mother of two Helen Brinsdon is organising a Walk & Talk at Yarmouth on 9 December to raise awareness and funds for the eating disorder charity Beat, having herself suffered from anorexia for years.

Helen, who developed anorexia at the age of 25 says “it is a daily battle which I constantly have to fight. Even with some weight restoration the mental pain isn’t any better. In fact, it’s worse. Eating disorders are fatal illnesses that devastate the lives not only of the sufferer but also loved ones around them.”

Helen says she has struggled to get treatment because of the lack of services on the Isle of Wight and last year had to seek private treatment on the mainland. She said her GP is “struggling to know what direction to go in due to services crumbling”. “Although my therapist is amazing and really does understand me, back home that support doesn’t continue, there isn’t anything like it,” she said.

Research shows that the sooner someone gets treatment for an eating disorder, the better their chances of a rapid recovery. But Helen said she wished there had been support for her early on in her illness: “It really made me upset and frustrated that we have no support here on the island and adequate treatment wasn’t provided at the first signs of my illness.

“No one should have to go through life with this awful illness because the right treatment hasn’t been made available to them.”

Helen is campaigning for better services and has met Bob Seely MP to ask him to help raise awareness.

That is also why she has decided to organise a Walk & Talk. She said “I also felt that I could start speaking about it not feel ashamed. I want to raise awareness and meet others who feel the same as me so we can support each other. We shouldn’t have to suffer alone and together we can change the way eating disorders are viewed in a small community, and possibly eventually get a regular support group set up.”

Helen says her personal recovery “is hard, in fact harder than anything I’ve ever done. It is mentally unbearable at times and more challenging than i could have imagined with anorexia still controlling me.” But she says “the love of my two beautiful children gives me a reason to keep trying every day.”

“I will continue to fight for understanding, help, services and change along with Beat, without whom it wouldn’t have been possible.”

Bob Seely MP said “I wish Helen the very best of luck in her fundraising. She has raised awareness to help people with eating disorders on the Island and this is important work.”

An estimated 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from eating disorders, serious mental illnesses that include binge eating disorder, anorexia, bulimia and other types.

Beat’s Community Fundraiser Andrea Auburn said “Helen’s determination, for her own recovery and to help others suffering from these dreadful illnesses, is so inspiring.

“There’s something special about the conversations we have while walking and Helen’s Walk & Talk will help to combat the secrecy and misunderstanding which surround eating disorders. That will help Beat ensure sufferers and their families get the support they need.

“Last year Beat directly supported over 17,000 people and this year we will help more than 30,000. The dedication of Helen and other fundraisers like her is essential in achieving that goal.”

Visit Helen’s fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-brinsdon