Chloe has been living with an eating disorder since she was 13 and began treatment at The Living Room when a family bereavement triggered addictive behaviours that included her eating disorder, compulsive shoplifting as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

The death of my brother brought me to my low. It was the last straw. I was over-eating and just eating so much and when that didn’t work, it would be the drugs or alcohol. It was all sorts of self-harm really. I was diagnosed with anorexia at 13; then bulimic; pretty much until I was 30.

I had gym addiction (no one really knew about that one) and then in my 30s the overeating took over. I ended up as an inpatient at Addenbrokes, where I was for six months for my behaviours around food. They stopped me from purging and abusing laxatives but they didn’t stop me from binging. I then put on huge amounts of weight which I didn’t know what to do with.

I became suicidal. Just not wanting to leave the house, panic attacks; I had a nervous breakdown and my marriage broke down. Then I drastically lost weight and went under weight. There’s been no balance; its’ been restricting or under-eating.

I first found out about The Living Room in 2009 when I came out of Addenbrokes eating disorder unit, but I had just had a baby and I was very ill with Post Natal Depression. I didn’t know they had a crèche, so I could have actually come here but I didn’t. At first I thought The Living Room was a day centre where people just talked about stuff with complete strangers. I didn’t know it was structured therapy. Then someone who I was in hospital with died and her mother got in touch with me. She said her daughter had died from bulimia and organ failure and urged me to come here to sort myself out. I didn’t listen but it was always something in the back of my mind.

It took me to lose my brother to come here. I had nowhere else to turn. All my addictions had come back with a vengeance. There was no control over anything in my life. If it wasn’t food, it was cocaine or drink or co-dependent relationships, chronic shop lifting, crime, just making money whatever way I could and having no remorse for anything I did. I was a very numb person – very damaged from childhood. Now I am here and I am learning to be open and honest.