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SWEDA blog posts may sometimes contain information or descriptions that might be upsetting if you are someone who is affected by eating or mental health problems. If you think this might apply to you, please proceed with care.

The SWEDA View

Clinical Lead Nerissa Shaw standing beside the SWEDA banner

By Nerissa Shaw - Clinical Lead

The SWEDA View is a series of blog posts written by our Clinical Lead, Nerissa Shaw. Nerissa has years of expert experience in delivery therapeutic methods and interventions in the lives of people with eating disorders. She leads the team of clinical staff, overseeing the work of support workers and counsellors. The SWEDA View provides key information and updates on eating disorder developments, as well as important topics currently trending in the media. For factual and accurate information about eating disorders, make sure The SWEDA View features in your reading list!

Check back each month to see Nerissa's latest post. 

Access all The SWEDA View blog posts here.

John's Story - Part One

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Body image issues developed at a young age

To me, it feels fair to say that I can’t remember ever feeling comfortable in my skin as a child.

My first memory of body awareness probably dates back to me being around seven or eight and me feeling dislike for my body. I can remember few specifics of that time in terms of how others treated me and related to my body. I guess like most kids I was picked on a little. One thing I do remember however is that one of my friends, a girl in my class, was openly and horribly body shamed for being too fat by her mother.

Read more here

John's Story - Part Two

A man looking out at mountain at dawn with text reading 'John's Story - Part Two'

Restriction led to worse problems

Through my studies I had some awareness of how the body worked, so I strategised very well about how I could take away as much as I could from my body in terms of nourishment whilst still functioning.

I was dedicated and became very good at this routine. I don’t really remember any hiccups, apart from one spring day when I had gone to University, walked for miles and then when I got back to the train station felt so faint that I needed to sit down.

At the end of my restriction, I had lost a large amount of weight, although I don’t think I was happy with this. One of the things that didn’t change during my restriction was how I felt when I looked in the mirror – whatever I saw I still did not like it.

Read more here

John's Story - Part Three

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The experience opened new doors

Helping people with mental health problems is something that means a lot to me as I have experienced problems with my own mental health. Having had experience with eating problems, helping people with eating disorders is something very close to my heart. Sometimes it feels difficult to explain, but having lived through aspects of what is considered disordered eating behaviours, I feel a certain affinity with the client group, which I think is useful in my work as a counsellor for SWEDA.

I work in a predominantly person-centred way, and as such, attach a lot of importance to the core conditions of empathy, unconditional positive regard and genuineness. It is the first and the last of these conditions that I feel mean the most to me when working with people at SWEDA.

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Jude's Story

The word empowerment beside many pairs of hands forming a heart around the SWEDA logo

The secrecy surrounding eating disorders

Reflecting on my struggles with food and body image, I starkly realised that I had not shared this with anyone before and yet it had ‘controlled’ my life for 15 years. Recently, I was reminded why I kept it ‘locked away’.

Someone asked me what I was writing:

“A blog” I said.
“Oh really, what about?” They ask.
“Eating disorders” I reply.
“Oh.” They say. Then leave the room.

It brought me back to that feeling of isolation I often experienced as a child and adolescent. Alone, scared, no control over my life.

Read more here.

This Is ME!

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February 2019

Looking back at my childhood I can now see I had some issues with food - I remember when walking to school, dreading it. I was picked on and didn’t have many friends but then I started to take out my chocolate and biscuits I managed to sneak out the house and as I ate these it made me feel better. Food was a major comfort - I always felt better, but then afterwards I felt guilty as I was desperate to be slim. I thought if I was slim I would be happy and popular. I tried to diet but I couldn’t stick to it - I felt like a failure... 

Read more here

July 2021

In recovery, it’s so important to recognise who you are!!!!!  Rather than being led by my eating disorder.  In my years of recovery, I’ve realised...

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If At First You Don't Succeed.......


March 2019

I didn't just wake up one day and decide not to eat.
It started with difficulties at work. I wasn't coping, was crippled with anxiety and living with depression.
There were warning signs that those around me noticed which I brushed aside. 
It couldn't be happening again.

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My Bulimia Story

May 2019

A comment here, a comment there.  That’s how it starts.  An innocent remark made to a vulnerable impressionable young mind can set off a catastrophic set of events, that can shape a person's life forever.  At least, this is how it started for me. 

 Read more here

Let's Stop The Stigma!!!


May 2019

After attending a 1920’s themed murder mystery event at the Swan in Wells, in aid of SWEDA I decided to learn more about the fantastic  but relatively unheard of charity.  A few months later I met with Laura Miller, Sam Best and Paula Blight, CEO about how I could help the charity.

In the meeting they presented lots of ideas and suggestions about how I could help, from Red Berry’s involvement with the charity, to me speaking at events.

Read more here


How do I speak the Truth through my eating disorder and prescription substance abuse

Phoenix now

January 2020

I speak my truth with coping strategies of an eating disorder and prescription drug addiction.

And what truth do I speak to the world with my behaviours?

I say “don't see me, I will hide in the shadows of shame”.

Because shame is safe where I remain small.  And I say “please don't see me or hear me “. I also give another clear message that says “I'm in raging anger pain and grief, but I will take it inwards to let it burn my soul”. To create a cycle of never-ending torture upon myself to punish the part of me that believes I'm inherently bad.

Read more here 


Hunger Versus Fulfilment

January 2020

As the guarded Hunger is released,

Im held in a sacred embrace of desire to the endless whispers of sensuality,

Where shame no longer speaks its vitriolic acid name,

To transmute pain into soft lilting tones of a sapphic love,

To unburden the heart to bleed in truth, love and Power of Liberation.

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“I had consistently been losing weight for more than 8 months and had become accustomed to eating very little. This triggered a return of my anorexia, after a 20-year period of recovery. SWEDA were able to offer me an appointment the very next day. When we met I was feeling very ill and frightened.I spoke to them about my fears, but then took the decision to go to my doctor on the way home. I was admitted to hospital within a few days.”

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