Stories Stories from Service Users of First Steps "First Steps have provided an exceptional level of support throughout my journey towards recovery. Their outstanding services have enabled me to become increasingly confident with my relationship with food and life itself. I cannot applaud First Steps enough; all members of their team are extremely knowledgeable, understanding, friendly and professional at all times. I am very thankful for all they have done and strongly recommend their services." "Attending my first group at First Steps remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. First Steps is like surrounding myself in a comfort blanket with lovely, supportive people who understand the struggles that people like me are experiencing and helps to tackle these in a constructive yet light-hearted way... It perfectly strikes the balance between tackling the issues at hand in a serious manner whilst allowing space for laughs. The staff at First Steps are dedicated, warm and committed and go out of their way to offer help and guidance. In recent months I have required further support from an NHS provider and it was thanks to First Steps' referral that I got this very swiftly. It's hugely comforting to me to know that in between other appointments I have First Steps groups or 1-2-1's to bridge the gaps. Whilst it's mainly the groups I access most, I have also benefited from their counselling services, online befriending and hypnotherapy sessions over the years." "I've got better at processing my emotions and situations and taking care of my mental health in my daily life. Not only has my ability to cope with my disordered eating vastly improved, but my ability to cope in general has as well. " "Counselling at First Steps marked a significant turning point in my recovery. As a male, I felt ashamed to have anorexia. It felt like I couldn’t speak to anyone and they wouldn’t understand the everyday challenges I faced. It was so helpful to be able to talk to another male therapist who hadfirst hand experience of an eating disorder. It made me recognise that I was not on my own..." "I feel like I'm allowed to be whoever I want to be." "My befriender is excellent. The knowledge that there is someone there is so reassuring. They offer exceptional support in terms of helping me realise that I am not on my own and provides realistic expectations. [They] can really relate to my experiences and understand the challenges of the illness... I feel more confident in my work and in myself from having the support of a befriender. I am so grateful for the service." "After 33 years of suffering alone, I discovered first steps and I’ve discovered I’m not alone and this has been invaluable in my ‘first steps’ to recovery’..." "It's made a difference by making me realise that food is not the enemy and how I can learn so that it is not a trigger in day to day life. It has also helped me gain confidence in my own body and given me self-esteem and confidence in general." "First Steps is quite simply an exceptional organisation. I cannot thank them enough for the significant difference they have had on my life. It is often difficult to get adequate understanding of the complexities of an eating disorder from those who are not well informed on mental health. First Steps, however, has a wealth of expert knowledge and understanding which has really helped me to get through tough times. Their befriending service is exceptional. Itprovides me with a regular point of contact with whom I can share my thoughts and receive practical advice from. I truly benefit from beingableto gain real-life experiences and insight from someone who appreciates the nature of an eating disorder. Thanks to First Steps, I feel confident in my role at work and have also been inspired to help others myself. The good will of First Steps has encouraged me not only to help myself get better, but also to help others. They have inspired me to ‘give something back’ to the community by volunteering at a Children’s Hospice. Thankyou First Stepsfor all of the support you provide - I couldn’t do it without you." "I would like to express my support to first steps. I have had problems since a teenager on and off with eating and only in the last year sought help at 37 years old. I have to say how comfortable and welcoming the staff are. It is not an easy thing to do and they provide an amazing and supportive service to those in need. They play such an important role in my life and I am positive in many other's lives too.They are much needed in the community and a very valued service which I highly recommend to everyone." "Befriending has been a life line for me and is a great service which First Steps provide. I have had eating disorders for most of my lifewhich I have hidden from my family for years. Having befriending has enabled me to have someone to speak to and to be able to be completely honest and has helped me to not sink any lower... Funding [Befriending]... is so important as people like myself who can still function by runninga home and bringing up children and are unable to access NHS help due to criteria the charity helps all people doesn'tmatter who you are and at what stage you great."