Many of us with eating disorders, like to personify the illness as a separate person or voice. 'Ana' for Anorexia and 'Mia' for Bulimia. Don't get me wrong; Ana is definitely not a 'friend' even though the internal voice I hear says otherwise. Personifying my eating disorder is definitely something that I found rather useful in my road to recovery.
My journey has not ended. I would like it to, desperately, but for now it continues. I will fight till the end and as strong-willed as I am to allow this illness to fester, I am strong-willed enough to rid of it. I know recovery is worth it.
I went through a phase in my journey where I was sharing my anxieties with women and men. Generally it was well received, sometimes not. It didn't bother me. But by me becoming aware of my anxieties and not taking them personally or seriously I was able to let them be as there were, and they had less power over me
When it comes to work, the term 'mental ill health' still holds certain stigmas - it is something that we just don't talk openly about and often the illness will remain completely hidden.
I have accepted the fact that I may never recover enough to feel comfortable again. Instead, I live for the times when my pain level is only a three or four out of 10. Still, I'm one of the lucky ones. Twenty-four of my anorexic friends have lost their fight. They're already dead.
I started to wonder why this didn't happen to me at other times in my life, which were also pretty high on the trauma richter scale. Like when I worked in retail, or I had a gigantic needle stuck in my hip bone, or when my boyfriend dumped me on our anniversary, or when I was forced to read out a poem about my invisible pet gerbil in the year two leavers assembly.
Back in 2013, a high-profile financier, with more accolades to his name than zeroes in his salary, "came out". Two years prior, another followed suit. What they both shared in their high-profile roles was matched by one other significant factor: they both "came out", of course, in admitting to mental health problems.
I did not believe I had PND. My perception of the illness was based largely on the front page news stories about mothers harming themselves or their children and TV dramas that showed women with PND pushing their pram into the road.
Mindfulness isn't about smelling a butterfly wing, though if you're into it be my guest, what it does deliver is a practice that may potentially give you a longer life and while you're living longer, living better.
As you twist and turn and spiral round depression's star everything else in your life can become a distant noise, a murmur in the background like Charlie Brown's teacher. You are aware of a presence of others but they are minor parts in your play, in your event.
While there has been much written about mindfulness since it was introduced as a third wave cognitive behavioural therapy in the UK almost a decade ago, it is often still thought of as the ability to simply "zone out".
The challenges are many, and the obstacles are significant. But a focus on maximising funding, creating integrated and effective services and promoting wellbeing among young people will give the incoming Minister the greatest chance of building on the momentum of the last few years. Mental ill-health often serves to harden pre-existing inequalities, and can severely impact our ability to work, build social relationships and contribute to our communities. If the ambition is to truly create the Big Society, then mental ill-health cannot be ignored.
When I look back to the worst times in my mental illness it was like I was being blinded, almost like I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face. I couldn't see anything, I couldn't see the positives in my life nor what I looked like. I especially couldn't see my future. All I could see was darkness and the distressing images that mental illness placed in my mind.
Effort being put into supporting police involvement in mental health demand however, still leaves the fundamental question - often undiscussed - about the extent to which we rely upon the police service in our mental health system and the extent to which we should want them involved. Do we want people in crisis to be arrested or brought into contact with flashing blue lights before then providing a nurse-led response that is more appropriate than a police officer with comparatively limited training?
Would you believe me if I told you about the time I ended up in hospital after having an asthma attack and, instead of helping me, the nurse I saw simply lectured me about how 'I'd regret this one day'. She knew plenty of people who had experienced asthma attacks 'and 30 years down the line, they always regretted choosing to have one'.
It is currently Mental Health Awareness Week, which means that the term "mindfulness" is being used a lot. Mindfulness is a hugely popular topic, and many of you may already be aware of it or even practice it yourself.