There has been growing debate about the usefulness of mental health professionals sharing their own lived experience of psychological distress. As a social worker with my own mental health label, this naturally interests me. I have written about the difficulty of being on ‘both sides of the desk‘, and the tension between my professional role, […]

Because people do, don’t they. Even those who know us well and would call themselves friends or colleagues. Or maybe it’s just me.

Part of the challenge is that I have been MUCH more open about my eating disorder recently. For years, no one in my wider life, including work, had any idea. If I weren’t trying to change things, I could have continued this indefinitely. But keeping things private at work wasn’t an option if I wanted time off for therapy. So far, my manager has been supportive. The work friends I’ve been open with continue to express confidence in my ability. I suspect I’m fortunate. It’s no secret that mental health services haven’t always been great at looking after their own.  Continue reading

Opening up, reducing the amount of compartmentalising we do, it’s massive in eating disorder recovery.

My husband came to my therapy session this week. This is HUGE. A friend commented that the degree of anxiety it caused me is quite telling. What is so difficult about having my husband, who I share the entirety of my life with, sitting in the same room as my therapist and talking about my eating disorder. I don’t know. It is just not something I have EVER done. I have always tried to manage things myself. It’s my issue, after all.

For a long time I’ve had a habit of keeping things separate, without even really realising it. Especially, but not solely, when it comes to eating and weight. I recognise this is about protecting myself, but it is also about protecting others from things I feel they are either unable to, or shouldn’t have to, cope with. Sometimes, sharing seems unnecessary, not because I want to hold things back (though sometimes I do) but because it feels like the most responsible option. I have also worked very hard over the years to function and keep going, and I definitely do not see myself as a ‘patient’ or someone who is very ‘unwell’. I don’t want other people to view me as that – or certainly not as only that either. Continue reading

I recently bumped into a colleague in the waiting room. She was there for ‘work stuff’. Naturally she assumed I was also there for ‘work stuff’. But in fact I was there for my own therapy appointment. You’d think in a huge mental health trust, these encounters would be rare, but so far I’ve bumped into someone I work with nearly every week.  And when I bump into people, I go into therapy feeling vulnerable and ashamed. Not the best starting point.

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