Bethany Kydd became so ill with anorexia while studying for her A Levels that she had to be cared for in hospital.
But thanks to her commitment to a strict recovery plan and the support of her personal tutor and friends at Edge Hill, as well as support from her family, she was able to complete her Nursing (Mental Health) degree, gaining a First.
“Living with anorexia inspired me to want to help other people,” she said. “Eating disorders are really misunderstood. I want to be able to spread the message that there is hope and recovery is possible. And I hope the fact that I’ve experienced anorexia myself helps me support patients better.
“To anyone who’s experiencing similar issues I’d say, don’t let it stop you. Just reach out for support when you need it. Don’t let it define you. You are not just your illness, that’s not who you are. You can go on to be successful.
“I think a lot of people don’t realise how serious eating disorders can be. They think it’s just a phase, or that you just want to change how you look, that it’s just a way of dieting. In reality it’s a massive issue, a mental health problem that affects every aspect of your life. I really want to raise awareness of that.”
The 22-year-old, from Wirral, returned to The Countess of Chester Hospital, where she was cared for as a teenager, to take part in a work placement at Ancora House, a mental health inpatient unit for adolescents.
“That was a big thing. I really wanted to give back to the hospital that saved my life. It was really emotional because I saw some of the staff who cared for me.”
Bethany is now working at Springview Hospital, Wirral, as a specialist eating disorder nurse and, with plans to buy a flat in Liverpool, she’s looking forward to a bright future.
She admitted her anorexia had been “a massive barrier” to her ambition to go to university and she was worried about how she’d manage her recovery.
Bethany was provided with a student support plan, and praised Marcia Plumridge, her personal tutor in the first year, for supporting her emotionally and academically.
“She was amazing. We used to meet up a lot and she would always ask how I was doing personally, not just in relation to studying; she’d make sure I was ok.
“The fact that I just really enjoyed my course definitely helped. Learning how to help other people has been the best thing. I’m really happy to have achieved a First and I feel like the whole thing has definitely made me stronger.”
Bethany’s personal tutor Marcia Plumridge added:
“I was struck by how professional, determined and capable Bethany is and the potential she has to become an excellent empathetic mental health nurse.
“The disruption of Covid did not cloud this determination and I’m very proud of the mental health nurse she is becoming. She will be an asset to her new team.
“Well done Bethany, you’ve smashed it.”
To find out more about studying at Edge Hill, visit www.edgehill.ac.uk/study.