My GP made a comment that I can’t get out of my mind, so it felt right to write about and get my thoughts out. 

“Are you sure you should be going to work abroad? People with complex mental health needs often find a stable environment better for them”

On the one hand I understand that familiar things can be comforting, and that change can provoke anxiety in the best of us. However, a comment like this gave me 2 very contradictory feelings: validation and irritation. 

Her concern justified my illness. This negative attention felt good, even if that isn’t an ideal way of seeing it. But, I did feel annoyed that she expressed this when she hadn’t known me very long. My feeling is that I could be well or ill in any setting. Surely the biggest determining factor is my attitude towards recovery. I mentioned my concerns to my therapist, and while she agreed that performers are put under the pressures of lots of change & importance placed on appearance, she believes healing is always possible. 

What do you think? 

Having put things in my life on hold in favour of my mental health- such as romantic relationships, missing days or certain activities during education etc, I think that doing something you want to do can add something positive to your life and a reason to focus on getting well. It’s certainly challenging for me to work full time and handle my problems, but my problems will be a challenge wherever I am & whatever I’m doing!

If you celebrate, happy Easter; if not, happy bank holiday weekend!


9 thoughts on “

  1. hey! I’ve been thinking of you ever since I read this and wanted to write a reply but haven’t had time to sit down and get my thoughts in order so just seizing the moment and writing now as best I can! I relate to this dilemma a lot, I think my instinct is to take the job because – my sense of it for myself has been that engaging in work that is meaningful to me is rewarding and that in itself is a kind of ‘health insurance’ and promotes resilience! Things have become more difficult for me as the years went by but I’m glad that I worked and travelled and danced while I felt I could and while I had the passion and drive… I found myself asking myself if your doctor is being a bit ‘black and white’ about it and wondering if that in itself is kind of fostering ‘second guessing’ and instability in you? it’s good to question and enquire into our motives for things – and I admire the way you do that – but it is also good to trust ourselves and our hearts too ๐Ÿ™‚
    Would you find it helpful to make a list for yourself detailing what are signs you’re doing well, what are signs you might need help, what are signs that you need to ask for help and then just making sure to check in with yourself and assessing things as you go? I always found it helpful and helped me feel confident about going if I had a plan in terms of who I would get touch in with, who I would ask for help, who would be my ‘listening ear’ while I’m away. Kind of like a coping strategy for travel..? X sending hugs and courage ๐Ÿ™‚ Em

    • If I’m honest, it hasn’t occurred to me to not go until somebody mentioned it. Although this doctor has been extremely nice, she has known me for hardly no time at all, and so she probably doesn’t realise that I’ve got through years of education including dance training while having this condition. I think her comments just threw a spanner in the works! I love the idea of thinking about a travel coping list- i will be doing this later! I’m also aware that I will still be having therapy over Skype, and that will add both support and familiarity to my life. Thanks for your (as always) well thought out advice! Xxx

      • yay that is brilliant ๐Ÿ™‚ yup I’m a big fan of coping lists! they’re empowering, validating, practical, active expressions of self-care and they nourish and help create opportunities for enjoyment of life! I make lists for most things these days!! Skype therapy appointments are a brilliant idea! I remember being in New York a few years ago and I found it so grounding to be able to keep in contact with my therapist via phone and email – support and familiarity are so important and once those pillars are in place you can get on with enjoying the gig and being in a new country x hurrah! And you make a very good point about this doctor coming to you ‘fresh’ and the fact that you’ve been dealing with ed for a long time, have a depth of self-awareness and resilience and were able to get through dance training with it too. Hold your ground x you’re an inspiration xx Em

  2. PS I also wanted to send a massive hug and respect to you for dealing with the conflicting feelings about ‘validation’ and needing validation – you do have an eating disorder and you deserve as much help and support as you need xxx I totally get this feeling so wanted to say that and send you a hug brave friend xx

    • Thank you โ˜บ๏ธ validation is such a confusing part of it all, isn’t it? Today at my blood test I could see the reason was down on the screen as “anorexia nervosa review” and I had all the mixture of feelings that brings. Feeling great for the validation, guilty for having that kind of thought at all, disappointed that I’m still in this situation… you name it. My therapist nailed it the other day with this sentence: anorexia is an ironic illness. In fact, the confusion over whether you have it, if you want it etc ironically acts as proof that you do.

      • omg yes – I know exactly that mix of feelings… I try and remind myself ‘nobody asks for an eating disorder’ and try not to blame myself x I LOVE what your therapist said – and agree 100% – I think I don’t know a single person with an ed who has worried about whether or not they “actually” had a problem, and I know myself, that worry has been there no matter what state I was in physically or diagnostically… we just have to mind ourselves as best we can, remind ourselves to mind ourselves and then take our lives back! xx Em

    • Pressed send before I finished… awkward.
      Anyway, you deserve help too. You deserve to be living your life with a future in mind that doesn’t involve this illness. I think everyone who suffers is brave- brace just for existing and carrying on. Xxx hugs x

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