Mental Health and Illness

I was doing so well with regular updating and then I fell off the blogosphere. Life happened. Some good, some not so good.  Back in May I hinted at some of my mental health history. For some people, mental illness is acute and then seemingly never reappears. For me, and a fair few people I have met with mental health issues, it’s a reoccurring  part of life. A number of normal life stresses popped up;

  • anxiety around starting a new degree;
  • the ongoing work that comes with being a new mum;
  • finances;
  • changes to my marriage – (nothing major just new dynamics with our dual roles as parent and partner)
  • feeling helpless about my husband’s stress at work;

People with or without mental health issues could or would struggle with the compounding factor of all these things. But, I found that the weight of all these made it difficult for me to cope in a healthy way. It felt so unbearable that I found myself going back to old, harmful, ways of dealing with stress. From the age of about 10-11 I have used food to deal with my emotions. I battled with Bulimia Nervosa for many many years and put my body through hell. And, recently, I found those old urges and thoughts come back. .

I was embarrassed and ashamed. I thought I had this eating disorder thing sorted and it was in my past. Unfortunately for me, being overweight/obese means that a lot of medical professionals focus on it as the root of all ill-health. During the course of my disorder, I was overweight (normal weight and underweight) and I had ill-informed GPs tell me that if I lost weight X, Y, or Z would magically get better – everything from pains in my ankles to depression. Anyway, this focus on my weight and how it is “bad” got twisted in my head. The stress in my life was due to my weight rather than from normal life stuff.

My husband has been wonderful during this whole experience. He doesn’t really understand eating disorders but he’s been a great support. Even taking a day off work to help look after Ethan when I wasn’t doing so well. I also have the support of my psychiatrist and I’m on the look out for a good GP who is knowledgeable in mental health issues.

Ethan and I

Ethan and I out and about

In the past, I’d have just let myself fall down the hole that is Bulimia and Anorexia. But, since getting married and having a child I have so much more to live for. I can’t have both – some people can continue functioning with an eating disorder, I cannot. And, out of the two, I’d rather a life with Tim and Ethan. Things are finally starting to improve for me. I’ve discovered exercising, specifically going for a walk, seem to help release stress. I’m also linking in with a dietitian who specialises in eating disorders so I can get my eating back to a healthier place. And on that note, I should actually be studying JavaScript and e-waste so I’ll leave it there.

If you want more info on eating disorders – Butterfly foundation
If you are feeling distressed – Lifeline (13 11 14)
or KidsHelpline if you are between 5-25  (1800 555 1800)

2 thoughts on “Mental Health and Illness

  1. Hang in there Keira :) You’re doing so well. While I have not had an eating disorder, I am family with addictions and can somewhat relate to the urges for old behaviours. Thinking of you :)

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