When you struggle with any mental disorder, the wish to just feel normal regularly crosses your mind. I have a few people in my life that I look up to for being healthy, balanced, calm and successful role models.
I can see how abnormal my life is now and I can envisage this perfect recovered life, but I know that neither are sustainable. Being disordered will cut my life short, and being “perfectly” recovered is impossible. What I want is to have a normal, sometimes crappy, sometimes brilliant life… To be like the people I look up to who can experience life as it happens, and handle the more negative emotions in a healthy manner.
I suppose that “normal” is different for everybody and I’m going to have to learn what it means for me. And that’s why I’m scared- because I can’t possibly know what life will be like without any of my problems, as they feel like both a life sentence and my biggest comfort all at once.
We will see…
Happy weekend xx πŸ™‚

Making peace with the struggle

In my mind recovery from anything has to begin with acceptance of the struggle for what it is. When it comes to my depression or anxiety that seems easy, because the negative effects they have on my life are very clear.
Why oh why is my eating disorder a million times more complicated?
From the perspective of those around me, my ed causes me all pain and no gain, but I feel that it’s the glue keeping me together.
The voice in my head runs rings around me over this subject, and so I’m going to make a little list here:

1. Until you are thin you’re struggle isn’t real
2. Unless people suspect you are sick then you aren’t; instead you are just a weak person
3. If you lose all of your disorders then you will be left with nothing
4. You cannot make peace with a disorder that you haven’t been “successful enough” with (being skinny enough to be “good” at the ed)

When I’m in a calm frame of mind as I am now, all of those automatic thoughts make me sad. Is it really necessary to be so mean to myself? Maybe my life would be better if I was more forgiving?

My therapy homework is to write about an imaginary day where the disorder has disappeared overnight. Wish me luck….

I am feeling…?

Yeah. If only I knew! I generally have a hard time identifying and expressing my emotions. For me, my eating disorder becomes an outlet for these indistinguishable feelings.
In order to become less detached from my emotions I followed the advice of the wonderful Kati Morton and checked in with myself through the day. I suppose this task has taught me that feelings vary in intensity, and feeling anything is ok. Everybody has ups and downs in a day- but you have to take time to notice the changes in others. That really made me feel a bit more “normal” for a brief moment.
Happy Friday everyone πŸ™‚

Bipolar, ed, and dual diagnoses.

First of all I just want to say that I don’t have bipolar disorder, but I know about it through the experiences of others in my life.
As someone with an ed, I’ve found that time has created extra symptoms and then extra disorders. The struggling leads to more struggling, more unhealthy coping strategies, and ultimately a complex recovery path.
Because of the mental health stigma, and the secretive and shameful nature of most mental disorders, it is common for people to go years before seeking help. the sooner the better
I’m going to just talk about how an ed can change and contribute to other problems.
I think that the lack of confidence and negative self talk (in depressive and mixed episodes primarily) fuel the ed voice. If you feel down and worthless, I imagine one would feel deserving of further mental distress. This could be binge eating, restricting, exercising…. Any ed behaviour really.
What people forget is that having bipolar doesn’t mean you are only ever manic or depressed; you can be in a mixed state, or be relatively stable for periods of time. My observation of others is that the changing mood can heavily influence food choices. Some moods give way to being careless about diet, perhaps overeating or not needing to eat to have energy. Other times, food can become a comfort or a punishment- just like it can be in an eating disorder mindset.

OCD and anxiety disorders
I think that every eating disorder creates anxiety, most obviously around food. For me though, that anxiety just grew and grew until I was having panic attacks daily and had developed obsessions and compulsions. I know that feeling anxious is a part of being human, but if you notice yourself becoming anxious frequently or having rituals to bring down that feeling, then you should speak up.
Anxiety is not weakness.

I knkw there are many more things that can co-exist with an ed, but this post is long! More to come…

Night x

What does it mean to be recovered?

For me, my eating disorder is party a way for my perfectionism to express itself, and recently I find myself wondering whether recovery is all it’s cracked up to.
I can sometimes imagine myself as recovered, happy, carefree, but my rational mind knows that life with or without a mental disorder is imperfect.
This is hard to accept.
I want my recovery to be perfect so that I can reach this perfect, clear end point. But that’s not realistic.
Every time I consider the idea that recovery is about learning to better manage when things go wrong and being more forgiving of myself, my motivation wavers.
I feel stuck because I can’t use an unrealistic goal as my motivation to recover, but thinking about what recovery really means makes me want to give up now.
Perhaps after some sleep I will feel more optimistic.


I believe in peace. The world is full of unjust pain and suffering, when we should be embracing the human condition together. I believe in individuality, that nobody should be judged for veering from society’s idea of perfection. I think that everybody deserves to have their opinion listened to, that everyone is born with equal value and worth, and that it is only ourselves that can take responsibility for the people we become.
Aside from criminals and terrorists, everyone deserves freedom, respect and kindness.
This I believe.


It’s a Tuesday, which for me is the longest day in my timetable. I’m typing from bed which feels heavenly when you’re this tired!
If you’re reading and suffer with a mental health problem, you might have lots of negative and repetitive thoughts. And just like me, I’m sure you feel worse about everything when you’re tired (awkward if you’re shaking your head. This whole post rides on this trail of thought….)
So. Back to Tuesday and feeling tired. A tiny glitch in your day sets off a reel of chatter in your mind and all of a sudden your day is deteriorating.
Amid the feelings of hopelessness and stress this afternoon I began to ask myself why I end up in this mind frame. Why do I behave as I do? Why can I be such a considerate person towards everyone except myself? Why is it so damn hard to practice self forgiveness?
Because the thoughts are so compelling. when you are stuck in a cycle of any sort- be it your eating disorder, ocd, depression… You are hooked in by the familiarity of these thoughts. You feel that you MUST listen.
But the choice is always there to say no, it’s just a little hidden from lack of use. To be present in life as it happens is such a challenge when the mind is plagued by vicious circles. But to escape I know I must learn to react differently.
Be compelled to look for the best parts of the day, instead of allowing the brain to repeat the pain over and over. Be kind to yourself today. Treat yourself as you would the person you care about most in the world
Night xx

Mental health services in the UK

It’s pretty cool that we don’t have to pay for medical treatment, but for things like therapy that require time to be effective, it can mean that waiting lists are long and you may not have a choice about your therapist.
For me the most important step was seeing the GP but this can be problematic if your doctor has little experience with mental health disorders. But remember, you can ask for who is good with mh conditions, and make another appointment you don’t have to settle for being misunderstood and turned away.
The NHS does have some brilliant therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists, but you have to get into the system first.

For anyone who suffers with depression or anxiety, you will likely be put onto a cbt programme. Initially I had six “low intensity” sessions, and as I understand it, it’s commonly used as a way to give you a point of contact during the wait for the longer cbt.
For some people the 6 sessions are enough, but for me it wasn’t.
“High intensity” IAPT meant meeting a new clinical psychologist and having around 20 sessions over a period of about 9 months. This was good because you have more time, and therefore more chance to develop a better relationship and trust with your therapist. They also assess risk and ask about medications and you can ask them to phone your GP if you are thinking about going on medication. This took away the element of fear over explaining my situation in detail to a doctor, and made my transition onto medication much more smooth. On a personal note, I also struggle with anxiety when speaking so it was a life saver!

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
Oh CAHMS. Where to begin?! Well. Personally, my experience was PANTS. I felt misunderstood, belittled and let down. But that was all down to geography. Where I lived at the time, there was only a very small service. I imagine the waiting lists can be lengthy in larger cities, but the expertise and efficacy is (hopefully?!) far better.

Eating disorder services
Most treatment is outpatient in the UK. Inpatient treatment is primarily for physical management rather then therapy, aside from a few programmes for adolescents that I’ve heard of.
Again, and as with anything NHS related, the service you are referred to depends on where you live. The bigger the service, the greater the chance you can ask to change therapists if you don’t like your allocated one.
Groups and CBT are the main therapies used, but many other things are incorporated and many people (myself included) have had and continue to have treatment despite having other conditions as well.

If you are a student you can usually find a contact number or email for a youth service that’s free in your area. These are typically time limited, but it was that first counsellor that gave me the courage to go to the GP and get specialised help.
There are also counsellors at some GP services, so don’t be afraid to ask πŸ™‚

oops.. I forget about CMHT
CMHT stands for Community Mental Health Team. Every county should have one, and they are groups of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers and occupational therapists. They are usually classes as secondary care- meaning you wouldn’t be sent to them if you could be helped with a lower level of care. The CMHT deal with more complex cases, often taking referrals from those seen in a and e for suicidality, psychosis etc. Because they are a team, your care is monitored and discussed with the relevant professionals meaning everyone you see is kept up to date.

I think that’s about it… If anyone has any other good knowledge or thoughts then COMMENT and spread the word.
It can suck when you’re waiting and/or when you get to see someone and they are terrible at their job. It’s taken me about 5 years to get the right help- so you can do it too!