Thursday 31 December 2015

I am so strong I feel like Charles Atlas!

Just before Christmas I picked up a copy of "Depressive illness, the curse of the strong" by Dr Tim Cantopher – and I think that this book has done me more good than anything else.

I'm speaking at a carers' conference in Edinburgh at the end of February

SEDIG is Scotland's charity for "supporting, connecting and informing anyone who is affected by eating disorders" and they've invited me to talk about my son Ben's recovery from anorexia at their annual carers' conference in Edinburgh on the 27th February. So I've been putting together a script over Christmas, updating the script from the talk I gave in London a couple of years ago. Things have changed since then; Ben has come on enormously, so I've cut down the "before" story with the emphasis much more heavily on Ben's recovery.

Wednesday 30 December 2015

A very Merry Christmas, belated!

I think we had one of the best Christmases we've had since before my son fell sick with anorexia. We just relaxed as a family, in front of the fire and the television. On Christmas Eve Ben put together a fantastic spread of tapas and are Christmas Day he cooked the Christmas dinner and made the most delicious sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and ice cream that you've ever tasted. He also made a Christmas Arctic roll, with home-made toffee ice cream surrounded by home-made chocolate Swiss roll. Then on the 23rd, on his birthday, we all went to a local pub that specialises in serving stews and casseroles. It was the kind of Christmas I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined when my son was sick with anorexia.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Wow, wow, and wow again!

A therapist friend of mine, who is part of the eating disorders network of people I've met over the past few years and who can always be depended on to provide great insights into things, suggested I take a look at this book: Depressive illness, the curse of the strong.

So I downloaded a sample on my Kindle and very quickly realised I had to purchase this book, so I did. And I'm sitting here exclaiming: "Wow, wow,wow and wow again!" as it describes my personality to a tee.

I feel freeeeeeeeee!

Here's a post I put on my Facebook page today, following yesterday's 'confession': It's amazing how liberated I feel now I understand it. One of the good things to come out of my son's eating disorder (and my battle to help him overcome it) is that it helped me understand mental health problems, raise awareness of them and recognise that stuff I'd battled with on a personal level for decades and felt 'weak' about and 'to blame' wasn't my fault, just as it's not my fault that my eyes are blue. The sense of liberation, the more I accept all of this, is truly incredible. I have also been very fortunate to have excellent support from NHS mental health services over the past 18 months, on and off.

Monday 21 December 2015

Why my own depression went undiagnosed for decades

One afternoon in 1989 - on one of the frequent days I took sick from work - I lay on the bed with the large coffee jar beside me. Its potentially lethal contents, carefully amassed for this purpose over the past weeks during visits to different pharmacies and supermarkets, were just feet away from my mouth. A glass of water sat on the bedside cabinet.