Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Claire's story

Claire is sharing her story this Eating Disorders Awareness Week to show others they're not alone.

Staff at Connect: The West Yorkshire Adult Eating Disorder Service wanted to do more during the pandemic to make sure that no-one was left facing an eating disorder alone. So, in addition to their usual services, they started a series of Instagram Live ‘Connect Conversations’ and an online support group, the ‘Hub’, to help reach out virtually to those in need of support. Nearly a year on, and to mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week, we’ve been speaking to some of the inspirational people who’ve engaged with the service via these platforms.

Claire Jopson, 31, is from Keighley.

“I’ve been living with anorexia for around eight years. It took over my life and at first I didn’t think it was possible to recover – I thought I was going to be stuck as a person with an illness. However, I now realise that there’s more to me than my illness and I’m getting my life back.

I’ve received support from the Connect Eating Disorders Service, both as an inpatient and in the community, and it’s been really good to know that they are there if I’m struggling.

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve also been watching the Connect Conversations on Instagram and these have been really useful in reminding me that no matter how much or how little I’ve been doing in lockdown, my body still needs fuel, and I really hope this has helped others too.

To anyone who’s struggling with an eating disorder, I’d say you’re not alone, even if your illness makes you feel that way. It’s okay to reach out – you deserve the help that you need.”

How can I access the online support currently being offered by Connect?

The online support being offered by Connect is currently available to anyone affected by an eating disorder.

Regular live chats are taking place on Instagram @connectlypft at around 10am and 4pm each weekday. Those unable to attend live can watch these back via the service’s IGTV channel.

The Hub support group is currently running on Zoom. You can email for the joining details.

Anyone taking part in these opportunities for online support is asked to read and adhere to our patient agreement for social media use. This is to ensure that these remain safe spaces for everyone.