Over the course of 6-8 months, 25 young people with mental health disorders were asked to film their lives, for a groundbreaking documentary. In January of 2013, I was one of those people to be asked. At first, I couldn't think of anything worse than putting an iPhone in front of my face, especially during my worst moments.
If having experienced trauma or acute vulnerability ourselves, are we prepared to accept and share that part of ourselves in the work that we do with our patients? It is my view that in order to offer people the best possible chance of recovery we have to offer them something more intimate than clinical expertise.
One mental health issue facing misrepresentation and discrimination is anorexia nervosa. When portrayed in the media, anorexia sufferers are often depicted as obsessive teenage girls who made the choice themselves to stop eating, or celebrities driven to starvation through their strive for perfection. The reality is far more complex.
Unlike a lot of people in today's society, I will happily admit to taking anti-depressants. A mental illness is just that - an illness, which needs treating. If I had a physical ailment I wouldn't think twice about taking the medication, so I don't understand why there is such a taboo on medication for mental illnesses.
As a devoted Company reader, it was with a mixture of disappointment and disgust that I read 'This Is Skinny Club', an anonymous opinion piece in their June issue. 'Anon' describes how she lies to close friends about what she has eaten to avoid their concern, forces herself to exercise even when watching TV, and spends 90% of her life denying herself food.
No matter how old you are, if you have or have had an eating disorder and are at or have been to university, please do take just five minutes of your time to fill it out. Your contribution to this vital research could play an integral part in improving the lives of hundreds of students with all types of eating disorders and the services on offer to them!
Only two people have ever told me it is possible to recover completely from an eating disorder: the psychotherapist who I did an internship with last year (who had, herself, 'recovered') and my boyfriend. Before I met these two people, I was firmly of the view that 'recovery' meant learning to cope with the illness in everyday life.
for me, the readily available information just helped catalyse my anorexic behaviours as I strived to consume fewer and fewer calories every day. I spent hours walking round the supermarket every morning examining food labels, working out the lowest- calorie versions of the food items I was allowed to eat.