My first Eating Disorders lecture

If the pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that I want to spend my time doing things that help people and make a difference. Things that are more worthwhile.

This week I got the opportunity to present to a group of Child and Youth Studies students at the University of Derby about eating disorders in young people.

It was brilliant!

I used all of my own experience and resources from the charity I work with and put a presentation together to help the group understand these complex conditions better. I learnt a lot of new facts along the way too.

We covered the visible and less common signs that someone might be struggling as well as misconceptions and created a toolkit of skills to support a young person.

The class was so engaged, asking thoughtful and insightful questions. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

It was such a rewarding experience and the feedback was really positive. Everyone learnt something from my time with them and I really felt like I had made an impact.

I love days like this!

G x

Keeping positive this unique festive season

Like many, I can’t believe how close to Christmas it now is and that this crazy year is drawing to a close!

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the festive period because there are elements I adore and others I really struggle with.

This year is no different, yet totally different!

The traditions are still there but come with limitations and we can’t act as we usually would. For some that’s a relief, but for others it’s harder to take.

I feel very mixed. I’m sad about the things I can’t enjoy experiencing this year but happy to be safe and well in a loving family home that we spent last weekend decorating.

I love seeing friends and family but it now feels like a risk and something to take great care doing. I will keep my social events strictly outdoors and at a two metre distance and won’t be able to meet my long-distance pals in person, so those encounters will have to be through a screen.

My immediate family is small but we have a circle of 15 people we would usually celebrate Christmas with. If we all come together we will exceed the number of households that can mix so I doubt it will be possible unfortunately.

This is undoubtedly the most upsetting bit – the cancelled unions of loved ones.

I know we’re all in the same boat. I’m not bothered about having fewer presents, or even too scared of the different food (shock horror!) but it breaks my heart to not maintain our beloved festive family party traditions. That’s the saddest part.

Change is scary, daunting and sometimes upsetting and I have found myself feeling really down about Christmas ‘not being the same’ this year. But maybe that’s OK.

Maybe it’s time to count our blessings however small and try to be at peace with things being different this time round.

If we still have a safe home, loving family and friends in our lives and our health, we’re more blessed than we think.

We’re all feeling the strain, but trying to do our best.

G x

Thought of the day…

You can’t heal in the same environment that made you sick.

I recently heard this quote and it really struck a chord with me. How true is it?!

I think so often we wonder why we get stuck in a cycle of poor mental health and can’t break free from it.

We try therapy, mindfulness, self-care, distraction techniques and even medication to rid ourselves of our demons but we don’t look at our immediate circumstances to spot the problems.

I remember once saying to a friend that whilst all the things that caused my difficulties were still there I couldn’t ever get better. Not properly anyway.

It wasn’t ever going to be possible to change my habits and coping strategies whilst surrounded by the situations that started them.

I stand by that. I was in a toxic work environment with challenging people around me everyday. I had some triggering friends, hardship at home, a deliberate lack of professional support and secrecy weaved into my daily routine. I had to break away from all of those things before I could even start to make improvements. It just wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

So if anyone feels that they are static, unable to progress but wishing they could…maybe think about whether you can truly make changes whilst remaining in the same environment that caused you problems in the first place?

Body image and baggy jeans

I used to hate baggy clothes.

When I was younger, if something wasn’t skin tight I had no time for it. I guess I thought loose fitting stuff somehow made me look larger.

Nowadays it’s my saviour! Especially having spent the majority of 2020 in hoodies and joggers.

The thought of returning to my skinny jeans fils me with dread and more insecurity than I can handle. I’m struggling to accept my shape at the moment so really don’t want any one to see it through my clothes. I need garments to hide in.

Enter the humble ‘mom’ jean (or ‘boyfriend’/‘girlfriend’ depending on which shop you’re in).

I love them!

I’ve wanted some for ages and finally plucked up the courage to enter a shop and buy some this week.

I haven’t felt confident enough to purchase any new clothes since lockdown started. My body image is at its lowest and I’m worrying about clothing sizes and how I look in different garments and fits.

These jeans have combatted a great deal of that.

They’re perfect for my needs and luckily fashionable enough to get away with. They’re so comfy and loose and I don’t feel remotely revealing while wearing them.

Thank the denim heavens!

G x

#WorldMentalHealthDay

Elvis Presley had the right idea when he sang: ‘A little less conversation, a little more action please.’

I doubt he had World Mental Health Day in mind when he penned the lyric but nevertheless it’s very appropriate.

I’m in huge support of anything that raises awareness of mental health problems and it’s great that days like this get people talking and sharing experiences.

But do these conversations ever get us anywhere? Do we make a difference on days like today? Do services improve so that people get better treatment? Do waiting lists shrink in length? Are we healing the many sufferers of these cruel, relentless conditions?

It’s true we have to speak out before anything will change, but with mental health problems on a steep upward trajectory we need to see improvements in care now more than ever.

It breaks my heart that people are left to decline on long waiting lists and some haven’t heard from their care providers in months.

You wouldn’t leave someone on the ground with a broken leg, but too many with mental health issues feel abandoned for too long.

It’s just not right 😔

So whilst I love seeing solidarity at times like this, what would be even more incredible is if we could see some change. I pray we can use our collective experiences this year to boost services more than ever before.

We’ve got to keep going! 🙏🏼

G x