It is empowering to empower another person. Aside from (maybe) an orgasm, there is no feeling more satisfying. When women support each other, incredible things happen. And, as women, we are fighting a pretty tough battle; against history, against sexism, against racism, against homophobia, against the patriarchy and against ourselves. We NEED the support!
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.
Loneliness is not an illness. Like dehydration or hunger it is the body's call for something crucial it lacks, though like an illness it can be debilitating to an individual, stripping them of their happiness and self esteem, not to mention potentially dangerous physical symptoms, such as high blood pressure. It is recognised and certifiably dangerous, and loneliness isn't nearly as talked about as it should be.
When I was first diagnosed, I became extremely withdrawn. I hated being touched, hugged, or shown love because I felt I was unlovable, unworthy, unclean, and frightened. This was even with my own family. My mum continued to support and hug me even when I would push her away. A simple hug makes all the difference, this allowed me to grow to trust and love again.
I clearly recall thinking we'd never travel as a family again as Natty's diagnosis of Down's syndrome was delivered, and that it was bitterly ironic to try to explain our new life path with a travel story. Telling us that our life wasn't heading where we'd planned was crushing at that time... I for one am glad I'm in this boat. And I am grateful for the friendship of my wonderful travelling companions.
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.
When people want to tell us who we are, it's important to consider what they have to say. They may have something to teach us. But their perspective is based on their experience. Ultimately, they must be heard through the filter of the love you have for yourself. Don't take somebody else's word over your own heart. That is resilience.
Our new figures show that not only have the numbers of carers increased by a third in the past five years but friends and family are spending around 17 hours a week looking after loved ones. Some carers are even spending 35 hours a week caring - the same as a full time job - and yet many won't have the pay packet to show for it.