@NHS from 25/02/19 to 01/03/19
Twitter handle: @jessthegriff
Patient/Carer or NHS Staff: Staff and past patient
Condition or job title: Eating Disorders Practitioner
Place of treatment/care or workplace: Bournemouth
I am an eating disorders practitioner and trained therapist. My husband says that I made a ‘career out of a crisis’. I suffered with an eating disorder (purging anorexia), depression and self-harm in my teenage years and found it incredibly hard to get better. Recovery seemed like an endless journey with few rewards along the way. I had to use all my strength and determination to get better and begin to accept myself. My amazing family and friends were a consistent support to me and I’m eternally grateful for this.
Once I recovered, I wanted to help others and bring hope to their journey. I wanted to make sense of the dark years I lost and make an impact in supporting those who currently suffer with eating disorders.
I can’t quite believe where I’ve got to in life and that people still want to listen to me. I just try to bring strength, hope, courage and compassion to whatever I do. I try to do this in equal measure at home with my three children (who are 11, 8 and 5) and at work.
My working week can look quite different depending on what I’m up to! The things I do involve: running a private practice (where I mainly support and work alongside people with eating disorders offering 1-1 therapy), facilitating therapeutic groups at the local NHS eating disorder service (where I was treated), working as a senior clinical associate (delivering and writing training) for Beat, the UK’s eating disorder charity, overseeing an early intervention eating disorders project in schools, developing an emotional overeating course called ‘what’s your hunger?’, working as a lead reviewer, advisory group member and accreditation committee member for quality network for eating disorders (QED) at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and I’ve recently taken on the role of Co-Chair for an adult eating disorders expert clinical reference group.
I enjoy having lots of fun and spending time with friends and family. I’m outgoing and am not afraid to laugh at myself when I do things that are silly (I seem to do this more than most people). I like to sing and play the piano and I also love to run. Running helps to clear my head and keep the negative thoughts at bay. I would say that I still work at keeping my mind positive and maintaining love and acceptance for myself. I have the propensity to be hard on myself and lack compassion for self at times. I’m still a work in progress in some ways (but I believe we all are).