The Fight for Support

The Fight for Support

Today was supposed to be my first appointment with the eating disorder service up here at University. I say first, but technically that’s not true. Let me explain.

One year ago I moved to a new city a few hours from home to begin life as a student. I wasn’t in the perfect place in regards to my mental health, but things were stable. I had been battling anorexia and other mental health conditions for around a year by this point, but had managed to restore (most) of the weight I’d lost. Things felt on track, and I was slowly nearing health again (physically, at least).

Fast forward to January of this year, and things went downhill very fast. Within a month I was in the depths of a full-blown relapse and both my physical and mental condition were deteriorating rapidly. I had been trying to access mental health services since I first began university in the five months beforehand, but to no avail. Various happenings meant that this support could not be provided until it was too late.

When I did get round to seeing the eating disorder team, around late February, they advised I was too ill to be at university. I was told to move back home. Luckily, my university were extremely helpful and they agreed that I could finish the first year of my course from home. The plan was that I return in September (last month) to carry on into my second year as normal. The eating disorder team reassured me that we would pick up treatment right where we left off. That’s great, I thought. 

I have now been back at university for one month and this morning, I woke up anxious for yet another assessment with the ED team. At the same time though, I felt hopeful. Hopeful that things wouldn’t work out like they had last year and hopeful that I could be helped. However, five minutes before leaving for my appointment, I received a phone call. 

Apparently, my appointment didn’t exist on the system – I wasn’t booked in to see anyone at all. Nobody had a clue why I had been sent an appointment letter with an appointment for today’s date, or why I thought I had one in the first place. They then tried to make out that it was me who had cancelled the appointment (although I must say I have absolutely no recollection of doing so!).

Yet again, it seems a lack of communication and a few unfortunate events has led to a hell of a lot of confusion and ultimately, no support. 

Initially, I felt extremely angry and let down. I wanted to give up then and there. However, I know that’s not an option.

It’s so draining to constantly fight for the help that you desperately want and need when you don’t feel in a strong enough place to do so. The very services that are supposed to be helping, are often the ones creating the problem. Is it any wonder that people are reluctant to seek support for their mental health when that support is so hard to come by? 

Sometimes, it’s up to us to pick ourselves up off the ground, dust ourselves off, and try again.

-Lisa x 


  1. October 4, 2017 / 9:46 pm

    This is so true and has been all too common in my experience in trying to seek help. I’ve had so many appointments “disappear” or be rescheduled for a month (or more) later.

    I once drove for over two hours into Toronto for an appointment to be met with “you’re not in the system” and refusal to see me at all for another month. (I gave up on that hospital and stopped going.)

    I showed up to a support group to be met with locked doors and empty rooms until five minutes after the meeting was set to begin.

    I had a crisis worker up and stop returning my calls after my time in the ER when I was trying to schedule appointments for my recovery.

    It’s so hard to try and find more strength after being ‘rejected’ when it feels like you used it all just reaching out in the first place. Keep fighting and get on their asses. If you can’t, I’ve found it helped to fill out privacy release forms for my parents at tough times so that they could help me get appointments and such. You could also use a trusted friend, counsellor, or case manager as well.

    • lisa.woodley
      October 5, 2017 / 8:43 am

      I’m so sorry that you have had this happen to you so many times. I completely agree, it’s so difficult to feel able to reach out when you feel like you have nothing left to give. I hope you are receiving support now. x

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