Imagine waking up in the morning and being unable to take a step outside, imagine not being able to pop down to your local store or leave the house to visit family and friends. This is reality for those experiencing agoraphobia. The mere thought of leaving an individual's 'safe space' can result in a full blown panic attack.
What really keeps you going? Think of that. Think of recovery and how beautiful it is to experience life when it's good. Think about others who have recovered or who are in recovery and let them inspire you. The bottom line here is that it's not easy but it's possible. Anyone can recover. You can and will. Just like I am.
If there is one group of creatures on earth who find Christmas dinner more stressful than all the turkeys out there do, it is people with eating disorders. Actually scrap that, when it comes to having an eating disorder it isn't simply Christmas dinner that is stressful, it is the entire build up over the festive season when suddenly it feels as if EVERYTHING is about food.
In my opinion, one of the most overlooked facts in world mental health is that of the health of teenagers, wherever they may be from in the world. Illnesses often start with the onset of puberty due to changing hormones. This means that illnesses in the mind and brain like bipolar, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, addictions, self harm, eating disorders, trauma can all start in the teen years.
I personally interact with hundreds of women on a regular basis who have lived, and are living, through the shattering discovery that their partners and husbands have a secret sexual life. I am committed to giving them a voice so I asked them what they would tell you if they had the chance. Below is a summary of the major points they wanted you to know.
To anyone suffering with anxiety, I know that there is a road out of it. I'm not off that road yet - and who knows when I will be - but I am on it. And that's what matters. To anyone suffering, do yourself the biggest favour and tell whatever (or whoever) is making you suffer that they aren't going to prevent you from completing a duty - whether it be to yourself or, like mine, to others. It's easier said than done, but it is so incredibly worth it. Trust me, I know.
Her book performed a rare feat. It penetrated the unfathomably isolating pain of mental illness. Her writing assured me that I wasn't alone. Her writing was unblinking in its honesty and it showed a complete lack of self-pity. It lacked the jocular cheerfulness that writing on depression is often mired with.
When sufferers are trying to fight but are struggling, it isn't simply a case of being "scared of food" or "scared of gaining weight", often it is also a fear of what they will lose, of throwing away everything that they think they are, the removal of their core identity, leaving a hole they have no idea how else to fill.
Reducing corruption...would represent a significant and direct benefit for a substantial number of Sierra Leone's people - more money in their pockets, improved access to services that are vital in the literal sense of the word, and the satisfaction of knowing they can be part of the solution to the problem.
Mental illnesses are horribly isolating at times, this is a message for all those who are struggling right now. Whether you are someone I know or a stranger far away, this applies to you. Heck, this isn't purely for people who are finding their mental health a challenge right now, but includes all those who are struggling with life or situations being put their way.
It will take some time before I am fully in control of this illness. Before I can manage to inject insulin four times a day. I am not, by any means, cured of the paralysis caused by Diabulimia. It is a bit of a shame that I cannot finish this with a happy, sugar-free ending. But every day, I am trying my best. And right now, that's good enough for me.
None of this would have been possible without the commitment and dedication of more than 300 volunteers and partners who have gone the extra mile to support people who need it the most, but there's still lots more be done. As this New Year gets underway and recovery and reconstruction continue, we must not lose sight of Nepal's most vulnerable children - girls and children with disabilities - who desperately need an education to escape the cycle of poverty.