Official Motherwell Cheshire Blog
Depression isn’t just feeling sad for a reason, like you lost your job, or your cat died. Those things would make anyone upset. Depression is when youre so low, you don’t have the energy to physically get out of bed in a morning. When you
feel numb, and it doesn’t matter what anyone suggests doing, you just cant. You don’t want to go for a walk, or to take the kids to the park. You don’t get any enjoyment from these activities anymore.
It feels like there is a black cloud inside your head that is stopping any sunshine thoughts from making it through.
You don’t have the energy or the inclination to wash or change your clothes, because what is the point? You don’t want to see anyone, and you don’t really care, because getting washed and changed is just too much energy and time you don’t have, when you could be in bed, or sleeping.
Making a meal is just too much of an effort, and you live off convenience food, just to keep the hunger pains at bay. You choose cereal, crisps, toast. No fruit or veg in sight.
The only thoughts in your head are those of self loathing and hatred. You wish you were dead, you think your family and friends would be better off without you. You contemplate the ways you could leave this world sooner. The ways you could stop being a burden to your family, because that’s how you feel. A burden.
You cant function like a normal human being. You lose all of your drive and focus. You can’t concentrate on a TV show or a film as your thoughts drift, and your attention wont stay.
Whilst not everyone feels this extreme, there are also others who feel differently, and those who are extremely high functioning, so they can get by day to day without showing the signs outwardly.
If you think you may be depressed, please make an appointment to see your GP, and if there is anything we can help with, please email us at email@example.com or call 01606 557666
Let’s talk eating disorders.
When WE hear the words EATING DISORDERS we tend to automatically think Anorexia. As someone that struggles with ‘disorderly eating’ I know the many different types of eating disorders that there are.
It seems a common thing now, that eating disorders are referred to more as disorderly eating. I didn’t and don’t like to refer to myself as someone with an eating disorder. But it is much easier to think of myself as having disorderly eating.
Now, this can consist of many different things. This can be anorexia. This can also be binge eating, Bulimia, you may think you just over eat and that this is not a disorder. This too can be a form of disorderly eating. It takes on many, many forms.
Now for me, I have struggled since I was 15 years old. It started with family and friends telling me I was ‘fat’. I realise now, that this was more due to the fact that they knew it got to me, as how can someone that weighed around six stone, be fat? The thing is, this stayed with me. I found myself often starving myself and doing lots of exercise to make sure the weight stayed off. Other times I found myself eating (and not always binge eating, sometimes I could just have a salad) just so that I could make myself sick.
I remember being at school and a dinner lady told the Head Teacher she had caught me making myself sick in the toilets one lunch time. I don’t recall this ever happening. Don’t get me wrong, I had done it on several occasions at school. But, never was I aware that someone had ‘caught’ me. I was very clever with it. For months I made myself sick at home, where I lived with a large family. And yet I managed to hide it. Because I was clever with it.
After this lady told the school she had caught me, they then spoke to my mum. I remember getting home and my mum having the biggest jacket potato waiting for me. Like she needed proof that it wasn’t true. At the time, I was annoyed. How dare she? Now, I can see that she was just worried and didn’t really know how to handle the situation.
Age 18, I started a new job and I can remember comments about how thin I was. But I honestly thought at the time I was really fat. At this point, I weighed 5 stone 13.
My anxiety would then make me question whether I have an eating disorder, or whether it was an attention thing. I knew what a strain this was putting on my body. It scared me. It is not something I would have put myself through for a bit of attention. Yet my anxiety would try to convince me otherwise.
At 24 years old I decided it was finally time to get some counselling to help me with my disorderly eating. I didn’t want to be like this forever. She became quite concerned about my fight with food and water. Mainly because I had disclosed to her that I rarely even drank, because it made me look bloated and I was worried about looking fat. Looking back now, I cannot quite believe that at five stone thirteen, I thought I was fat!! She encouraged me to seek medical help, as if I didn’t, she would have to seek advice on my behalf. This pushed me into going to the GP and asking for help. The GP put it down to anxiety and referred me onto the Mental Health team. This absolutely terrified me. I cannot remember who said it to me, but someone once told me that if I ended up under the MH team, that I would have to disclose this to every future employer. This is not something I wanted. Now, I know this is not true. But at the time, it was a huge worry for me.The MH team had me weighed at the doctors’ surgery once a week. If I could show that I was gaining weight, they would discharge me. Each week, I had gained. I had gained just to make sure I could be discharged. I fully intended on losing the weight again once I was discharged.
Fortunately for me, at 25 I fell pregnant and that was the turning point for me. I didn’t want my baby to think that this was normal. I didn’t want my eating habits to rub off on her.This was finally what would make me change. And it did. For some time.
Six years. Six WHOLE years!! I was free from this awful thing. I didn’t even have a tiny blip in this time. It felt fantastic to keep adding up the days, months, years that I had been free from this.
Life became very stressful. Without going into too much detail, as this is a whole other story! But life became one big fight. A fight for the right support, a fight for the right services. A fight to get the right school. A fight for everything. My child has additional needs and it was very hard to get the professionals to see what we go through on a daily basis. This fight, this lack of control over EVERYTHING, this lack of belief from the so called experts, this made my anxiety soar and it made me blame everything on myself – as this is what they told me. It was me. I now know that it wasn’t, I know that my child does indeed have additional needs. But in that moment, when everyone is telling you that the fault lies with you, you start to believe it. The guilt over having a ‘naughty child’, as they led me to believe. The lack of control over everything. Even leaving the house. It pushed me back to the days where I had control of something. The one thing I could control. My disorderly eating.
This is where I realised that my eating habits always fall back on times when I feel that things are out of my control. If I can’t control everything else, at least I can control this.
I also realised that there was a cycle to my disorderly eating.
I went to a group for adults with disorderly eating. I was so nervous about this. I had a vision of what I would walk into. I had a vision of everybody clearly having an eating disorder. Then fat me walking in and people looking at me, thinking, why are you even here? That could not have been farther from the truth. Looking around that room of eighteen people (and I know there were this many as I was constantly counting them to help control my anxiety), you would not guess that the most of these people (men and ladies!) had difficulties with food. It was such a relief!
Sat in this room, a comment was made about everyone knowing what eating disorder they had. I didn’t. I couldn’t pin point one. I had several. This is where I realised that my issues with food seemed to go around in a cycle. I would starve myself to lose weight. Then I would eat, but I would make myself sick after. I would then over eat and gain some of the weight back that I had previously lost. Then I could have some time where I ate ‘normally’ (whatever that was) and then when things were out of my control again, the cycle would go back around. Each part of the cycle could last weeks at a time. There was no telling how long each part would last.
But this is where the lack of help and support comes into play.
I went to my GP. I begged for help with my issues with food. I knew that I didn’t want to go back to this place where I had previously been. I remember the lack of energy. The awful hair and skin I had. The way my nails were so brittle. The damage the bulimia had done to my teeth, even though I cleaned them after every time I was sick. I remember it so well and I didn’t want to go back to that. I asked for help and I was told that they could not refer me onto the MH team for help because you had to have a BMI of 17.5 or below!!
So, they were telling me that someone with a serious eating disorder had to have a BMI which classed them as‘underweight’. That someone like me, that had a BMI of 36.7, could not possibly have an eating disorder!! Hence the stereotype of an eating disorder looking like anorexia! This made me so angry. How dare someone tell me that I can’t possibly need help with an eating disorder because my BMI makes me obese! Even when, in the space of 3 months, my BMI dropped to 29.9, butting me in the ‘overweight’ category, I still could not get support.
I managed to get the GP to agree to refer me onto the weight management team at the council. This is a team that helps support you to lose weight. Once they received my referral, they called me and they wanted to see me in person as ‘we don’t normally deal with eating disorders’. Within a day of this meeting, I had a call to say they had discharged me because they don’t deal with eating disorders.
Now what? Now where do I go?
I went to a centre that supports women with all kinds of mental health difficulties. They currently didn’t have any support groups for women with eating disorders.
I went to a centre that supports men and women with a whole range of mental health difficulties. They too currently had no support for eating disorders.
There was nothing. Nowhere. All I had discovered was a loop hole in the system!
I ended up having to travel 50 minutes, one evening a month, to attend a support group for people with disorderly eating. The only problem being, whilst I could attend the support group, I could not access any of their individual support, because this was only for people living with in the area. This is not something I could keep up with, as it was 7.30pm until 9pm. I had to rely on my husband to be home from work early to drive me there. We also have children who we have no childcare for and who had to be up for school the following morning. So we were back to no support.
I also travel in the other direction to the next town for counselling.
It is absolutely ridiculous that there is no support for people with eating disorders in this town, unless you are anorexic. It is about time professionals understand that disorderly eating takes on a whole range of roles. It is not a one size fits all.
Currently, my eating habits are under control. I dare say that this will come back and rear its ugly head at some point. But for now, it remains okay.
It is important for me to say, that not every area have this issue with accessing help. If you are concerned about your eating habits, speak to your GP or another professional who can help point you in the right direction.
You can also access advice and support at www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk – here you will find weekly support chat rooms, message boards, advice and help. Below, are the contact details for BEAT. Whether you have an eating disorder, you support someone with an eating disorder or you know of someone with an eating disorder, there is help and advice available.
Help for adults
The Beat Adult Helpline is open to anyone over 18. Parents, teachers or any concerned adults should call the adult helpline.
Helpline: 0808 801 0677
General enquiries & head office
0300 123 3355
Our head offices are located in Norwich:
Unit 1 Chalk Hill House
19 Rosary Road
I am a Trustee for Motherwell; I have worked in Corporate IT for 33 years now, managing huge budgets, global teams, stressful workloads etc whilst maintaining high performance and standards.But.....20+ years ago my world turned upside down within 10 days of giving birth to my beautiful son. At the age of 31 I sailed through pregnancy & birth and just assumed motherhood would be easy! From not being able to breastfeed, to not being ‘allowed’ to leave hospital till my baby had latched on, my dream of how I would leave hospital was far from ideal. My husband and mum came to visit and after seeing my blood stained nightie decided we would go home. They had bought formula on the way. It was akin to escaping prison, not quite how I imagined.Within days of baby not sleeping during the night hours and constant crying I found myself in deep post natal depression. I had never suffered from depression before (nor since) and I didn’t know anyone who had suffered from PND. All my friends seemed to be getting their babies asleep by 7, baking cakes and looking a million dollars within days. I, on the other hand, had a baby who slept in the day but not at night, I woke up and within minutes felt an overload of despair. I would lie on the bathroom floor willing my baby to not wake up just yet. His cry would churn my stomach, to this day a crying baby brings such feelings back.After just a couple of weeks the health visitor suggested I be admitted to the mental ward at the hospital. No way said my husband! So I went to stay with my parents on the south coast. For days they also tried to get my baby to sleep at the right time - to no avail. My target there was to get up and make my parents a cup of tea. From a high performing manager this was the level I was at; struggling to get out of bed in the mornings.Clearly at some point I returned home; to get through Christmas. By then I was on medication. I used to let my son fall asleep with me, for him then be put into his bed.On New Years Eve, alone, I made a pact with myself that I was going to ‘get better’. I did, I had some counselling. The words I remember from the older male counsellor were ‘things won’t always be the same, you won’t always have bottle sterilisers in the kitchen, he won't be sleeping with you when he’s 13....’...and he wasn’t!!I went back to work in the April; my husband was the home worker and I stopped medication soon after. Work gave me structure.At no point did I feel anything but love towards my son, I have always taken him to out of school activities - football 2-3 times a week- and that has been our time. We are still very close despite me being a working Mum as he grew up.But that experience 20 years ago has given me such empathy for anyone suffering with depression. And just one reason I wanted to support Motherwell.It can happen to anyone, it’s not a choice , you can’t just ‘snap out of it’ and it’s nothing to be ashamed about.
I remember so vividly the warm feeling of being so wanted, needed… not having a minute to myself, desperate to have an odd day/hour/minute to myself… but knowing that you were the person your family came to for every crisis no matter how big or small!! It gave me great purpose in life. I've always worked, but nothing gave me the great sense of fulfilment that being a mum did….
Fast forward 10ish years and how different my life is…. Those days/hours/minutes I craved for are now my nightmare. How I often hate weekends. They stretch ahead with no purpose. No one to share a giggle, a pointless conversation. I sometimes think the shop assistants i engage in conversation must think i'm some sad, lonely old woman. I crave human interaction that's why i chat to them. My week days I try to fill to capacity so I don't have to come home to an empty house...and often result in me being exhausted! But i don't mind, better than facing my loneliness. Work gives me back my purpose. Don't know what i'd do without it. I have friends who are looking forward to retirement…. NOT ME!!
My children are adults and have their own lives. I am so proud of them. They have grown into beautiful, independent people. They do occasionally need me… Maybe grandchildren will bring back some purpose?
Looking back… I don't think I enjoyed my time as a young mum as much as I should. Oh what I'd give for those times….Yes it's hard work, tiring and very frustrating but I wouldn't have missed it for the world!!