Official Motherwell Cheshire Blog

5. Feb, 2019

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 – 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.



Contact Us


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

Help for young people
The Beat Youthline is open to anyone under 18.
Youthline: 0808 801 0711

General enquiries & head office

Tel: 0300 123 3355

Our head offices are located in Norwich:

Unit 1 Chalk Hill House
19 Rosary Road


4. Feb, 2019
My journey to Motherwell was one for self help after being diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety in 2017 and then PTSD IN 2018.
I had experienced bereavement many times in my life, I had lost all my grandparents by the age 6. When I was 9 my brother died from Leukaemia aged 19, after an 18 month battle. This all seemed normal at the time, I remember people saying how young my brother was to die, but to me he was a grown up!
This is where things changed, we no longer had family holidays as neither my dad or my other brother could face going back to our caravan where we’d had such great family times😢 I suppose this is when my brother began to use achohol as a crutch as he was only 15 months younger than his brother and they were inseparable. He and dad would not speak of him again for many many years. The adoption of my sister stopped so she remained ‘fostered’ in her forever family.💕
We continued to lose family members, including an uncle, my mum made it her job to support my auntie, to raise awareness and funds for leukaemia research, Christie’s and Manchester Royal as well as working tirelessly for the Royal British Legion. She was an amazing women.
My fiance and I were also trying for our second child which took 5 years, it was all I could think about every single day. Even though I told people I was happy with one healthy child! We decided to marry for my 30th birthday and lo and behold I fell pregnant three months later😁
Little did I know, my mum battled Leukaemia herself for some 15+ years until it took her life 16years ago, I now realise that may well have been the start of my dark days, but life had to carry on I had my dad to look after.
He was a different person after losing his wife of 50+years, he finally grieved for his son too. At this time he lived with me as he wouldn’t return to our childhood home without his wife. We managed to buy him a bungalow so that he could have independence again. Unfortunately my dad was very hard to care for being diagnosed with dementia and then bowel and colon cancer. We became nurses for a very proud man who had served in the army and we had never seen cry. He was like a terrified child unable to understand or accept his colostomy. He lost his battle some 13years ago. Unfortunately I felt relief from the situation.
Contact with my brother deteriorated as he used his inheritance to line the pockets of local bar managers! It was when his partner was taken into hospital with a brain tumour, which had previously been mistaken as alcoholism! Unfortunately she lost her fight within weeks aged early 50s. Contact was resumed to support my brother who now had six daughters to support and 6 grandchildren. He was broken, but he tried hard to do what was expected of him, this brought a different side to him out that I hadn’t seen much before. Unfortunately SS were involved as one of his daughters had had a child at 16 and then twins when she was 18.
The negative relationship with the children’s father broke down and this culmunated in her children being removed from her care only 18 months after losing her mum!
My sister and I stepped in to retain the children within their family. At 49 my sister took on  a 4 year old as well as having a foster son with additional needs and her son & daughter. I was 44 and took on 3 year old twins boys, as well as having a 13 year and 22 year old sons living at home. To say it was difficult is an understatement, we needed to complete foster training whilst the boys were in situ. 3 months after placement SS came one day and wanted to remove the twins from our care. We were told we hadn’t been open and honest about our eldest son. A situation we had known nothing about until then, it was horrendous, I still can’t bring myself to discuss it.
As a consequence of this my son had to move out of his home or the boys were to be removed. After hiring a barrister we fought SS and beat them and the little boys were able to stay in our loving, stable, safe and secure family home💙❤️ SS would not allow us to foster the boys and therefore had to go to battle for Special Guardianship.
We All these battles had brought our family so close, we were there for each other, with my brother being the matriarch! Life was good he fell in touch with an old flame which turned out to be the making of his new life. They became engaged to be married, life was good they bought a camper van to travel the British isles in.
This was his life, sorting the van for their travels. It was whilst he was doing this there was a horrendous accident in which he was crushed under his camper. He was airlifted to hospital and fought for 10 days but never regained consciousness. These were the worst 10 days of our lives being told one thing and the something totally different. There were false highs and plenty of deep lows. We stook together to stay strong to get each other through. There was now my sister and me and 6 daughters not knowing how to cope from one day to the next.
I held all my hope in the inquiry sorting everything and giving me closure, that didn’t happen and that’s when my struggles really began, I was signed off work a couple of weeks later. I thought I could manage everything myself, I didn’t think I needed medication or counselling and I continued to resist the help offered. The following month my nephew was set alight by boys from college who then left him ablaze, how much more. We cried and cried some more. Then the next month my cousin was killed on the motorway when I was told, my response was ‘ok’.
I think I realised I needed help, I began medication and agreed to be referred to a counsellor through my GP. This I was told would take 3 months, in the meantime I spoke with my boss and she referred me to a counsellor via HR things started to unravel but it was only 4 sessions, I’d hardly broke the ice. Unfortunately my boss refused to fund anymore, this in turn made me realise my value and duly revoked my contract.
I was fortunate that I was able to pursue private counselling. It was a full 12 months before the GP referred counselling came to fruition. These are now complete and I am now in the recovery stage of anxiety and depression and continue the medication. I still have difficult times but I am armed with my toolkit to help me through these times. Anxiety is still an issue but I try not to let it worry me too much. I try not to look backwards as I’m not going that way. I try not to worry about things I can not alter, I try to live for the now as that is what I can change. I realise now I have to look after myself before I can look after anybody else.
3. Feb, 2019

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!!

3. Feb, 2019

I was asked to share a personal story for Time to Talk 2019.

I want to share my story of medical termination in 2010. A heart-aching decision which I still carry around with me today. I wanted to share as it’s a story rarely told and a subject where women are faced with shame and feelings of judgement from others.

I found out I was pregnant at 2weeks, the morning-after pill with the pharmacist hadn’t worked two weeks before. I was a mum to two young children.

I went back to the same pharmacist and she led me to the same quiet room for a chat. She was kind and a good listener, she supported me to find out my next options. I knew what I was considering and she was there as I rang a local clinic for an appointment. She did not rush me and I felt safer with her than going into the doctors.

I had to wait for a phone call back. The next day a lady from the clinic rang and spoke to me, explaining exactly what happens. I was sure this is what I wanted although I felt sad at the decision. She explained what happens at the two appointments and the aftercare. I booked an appointment for their earliest slot which was 2weeks later.

At 4weeks pregnant I went along to the first appointment at the clinic. I felt sad, scared, nervous, and most of all terrified of having a pregnancy scan, an internal scan which is a probe to detect a gestational sac with embryo. As first signs of a heartbeat is about six weeks of pregnancy. At this appointment I needed to complete paperwork for consent, none of this information was shared with my doctors and felt very private.

The clinic was in a discreet setting in South Manchester and outside it simply said the building name with a sign saying private clinic. (Although private there was no cost to me.) All the staff were lovely and put me at ease. The difficult part was to sit in silence in a room of other ladies waiting for their ultrasound scans, with just a few friendly smiles exchanged.

I felt fine leaving the clinic after the first appointment. I needed to go back for a second appointment. I returned to the clinic a couple of days later as there are two parts to a medical termination of pregnancy. Again the staff were all lovely and this time there was a very short wait for the appointment.

I was advised to rest. Back at home, after my partner and I had collected the children from nursery we sorted to an easy tea and put a movie on. A couple hours later I felt similar to period pains. It felt like waves of pain. I put them in bed and went to lay on my bed to try to relax. My partner was very supportive, he had come to the second appointment and we both knew what to expect. The pains became more painful I went to sit on the toilet, then my waters had broken and, as I start to bleed the pains passed. I did have the following day off work, I bled for the next day or so with mild pain.

The aftercare by the clinic was good and I felt supported. I started counselling to help me to accept my decision, I found it heart-breaking, I felt sadness and a paralysing feeling of guilt, also I felt I couldn’t talk to family. I went to counselling sessions every week for nearly 3months (again this was private although there was no cost to me).

It certainly is good to talk. Best wishes to anyone who is going or gone through this, I would recommend accessing counselling.

Motherwell team member