After travelling to Luton for counselling to help battle through a six-year eating disorder, Emma Bacon knew something needed to be done in Milton Keynes to help others.
Emma, of Stony Stratford, didn’t realise she suffered from anorexia until she was in her 20s. Her food portions had dramatically reduced and she was losing a lot of weight courtesy of an obsessive exercise regiment.
“It’s an addictive personality trait,” she explained. “I kept myself away from people, and only my boyfriend really saw what was happening.”
After looking up the traits of anorexia, Emma realised she ticked all the known markers of the disorder, and sought help before it was too late.
But with the nearest specialist counselling available in Luton, she decided it was time to make a change in Milton Keynes.
She set up BalancED MK – a support network for people suffering with eating disorders in Milton Keynes.
The group provides one-to-one counselling, information and drop-in group sessions to help people overcome their problems before it’s too late.
Members also visit schools and health fairs to spread awareness of the signs of an eating disorder.
After having her second child, Emma relapsed. And she feels her experiences with the group help her recognise the triggers even earlier, and help her overcome her disorder.
“There are so many different reasons why it can come up. Some people are born with obsessive personality types.
“We help anyone with any eating disorder, be it anorexia, bulemia or complusive over-eating. The volunteers are a mixture of people who have overcome eating disorders.
“It’s not just teenagers. The average age of our support group is probably in the mid-30s.
“Friends and family come along because it affects them hugely too. They want to help but don’t know what to do.”
Emma feels that education in the matter helps sufferers overcome their disorders so it doesn’t affect people for the rest of their lives.
“I was mortified that I’d have to struggle with it for the rest of my life. But it’s not like that.
“You become more educated about the triggers, and you can do something about them.”