I have experienced emetephobia, anxiety and panic attacks for 12 years. I am always very open about it with friends/colleagues etc. because although I think I appear very ‘normal’, it is important to show I am not ashamed and have no reason to be. People are supportive, but I often feel that they don’t really 'get’ it, and with understanding comes acceptance, so I wanted to make this submission, which is a glimpse of what a day in my head is like.
Hope and Heroes
depression, mention of suicidal thoughts
Depression steals words and light and inspiration.
Mum’s has hung around for a year. A whole year. The longest in thirty years.
We strove to find excuses: too much change, too little interaction, the wrong drugs, the right psychiatrist too late. It’s easier, less discomfiting, to seek reasons for a recalcitrant depression than having to accept it’s just there. Unwilling to budge.
stigma surrounding mental health
For the last few years I have had the good fortune to volunteer with Linkline, the student-run nightline for Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University. Every night during Cambridge Full Term volunteers are on hand between 7pm and 7am and answer all sorts of calls: from people who have a specific issue they want to talk through; from people who just need to get something off their chest; and from people who - rather confusingly in an age of smartphones and universal internet access - just want to know the number for Domino’s.
Smile, by Yaseen Kader
depression, anxiety, homophobia
In December 2013, I had to leave Cambridge due to severe depression that was preventing me from working, eating, and leaving my room. I took nine months out, I saw a lot of doctors, I had a lot of therapy, I went to New York, and in October, I came back, and I performed a hour of stand-up comedy about it. It’s very personal and very candid and a bit explicit. I talk about mental illness and therapy, but also about New York City and dating and movies. Of course I wanted it to be funny, and I succeeded, but I also hoped that it could be in some way relatable to people who have suffered from similar issues. I hope you enjoy it.
Let’s Talk About Recovering from Depression
Time for some good old-fashioned introspection. This is going to involve some chats about things like depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, so if that’s not your bag, it would probably be best to turn back now.
I had a piece in mind about a week ago. It was going to be a retrospective on depression.
All you need is love
depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm
Girl meets boy. They like each other and get together. They’re happy. It may end badly, but at the very beginning, they’re happy. That’s normal, isn’t it?
Well… last term, there was a lovely man who liked me who I liked back, but I was also struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts and something I’ve just been diagnosed with that I’m not quite ready to talk about. In short, I messed things up because I couldn’t deal with multiple things that were going on at the same time. I don’t actually know why I’m writing this as it’s just now acted as a bit of a trigger, but I wanted to try and make sense of it all.
The Importance of Community in Suicide Prevention
discussion of the taboo status of suicide
Suicide has been a recurrent theme in the public eye of late, first with L’Wren Scott’s suicide and then of course with regard to Robin Williams. I read these articles, and I hear about suicide not only within the public eye but within my own personal community, and I do not know how to even begin to rationalize one of the most tragic patterns of human behaviour. But the issue that we are presented with, when members of our community commit suicide, is not only to explain the motivations behind suicide, but to DISCUSS suicide. Not to leave it as a taboo subject, as it so often is, but rather to address the inescapable reality that a human being has wilfully decided to take their own life.
Fragments of a daily routine from way back when thoughts of food would gnaw and chew at me all through the day, and wake me up hungry at night.
Well this is ridiculous, you can’t still be hungry.
Stop looking at those snack bars.
Just make to it 12 o’clock and then grab something to eat. Come on now, focus, just do your supervision reading, you can easily get it done in that time.
Fine. How about a bit of marmite? No, not on bread, let’s just spread it on this knife. No you can’t eat the knife too. Do you have any idea how many calories are in a knife? Don’t be silly, this is totally normal, people eat Nutella out of the jar all the time, why not marmite? Think of it as a yeast lollipop.
Do not eat the knife.
LEAN by Isley Lynn is on at the Corpus Playroom in Cambridge later this month. In the play, Tessa returns to her ex-husband Michael, who has anorexia and has stopped eating again. She’s moving back in, and she says she won’t eat until he does.
An English finalist, who has had first-hand experience of living with anorexia, is involved in the production. She answered some questions about the play and the eating disorder.
What made you interested in being involved with LEAN?
PTSD and me
On the 9 of February 2013, I was vigorously dancing at a ceilidh. Galloping down the church hall, I ran into someone’s fist. At the time, I thought nothing of it - I laughed it off, sat out the next dance and then ceilidhed on. Fast-forward to November, I found myself rocking back and forward, hyperventilating and blacking out over the memory of that night. Every night the cold, hard room where I sat back in the church would haunt me, an impenetrable darkness. The darkness of that room - the nothingness - scared me. I developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from a head injury which led to a concussion. I underestimated it, fed it and hated it.
Highs and Lows, Ups and Downs
Sometimes I’m fucking amazing. I bounce off the people around me like I bounce off the walls. I’m lit up by their attention, absorb it and rebound it in charm and jokes and smiles. I’m the funniest person I know. I’m the nicest person I know. I’m great. I’m fantastic. I’m so happy to be me that I wouldn’t be anyone else in the world. The world is a world of lights. I literally stop in the street to absorb how fucking incredible everything is. Colours are so vivid. The sky is an eternity. I do things a calmer me would never do because fuck it, why not. Who cares that deep down, in my calmer, more stable centre, I know I’m not enjoying it. I know it won’t be good for me when this high has run its course. Who the fuck cares, because suddenly all those phrases that used to be clichés encapsulate every moment of my existence. Carpe diem. Life is for the living. No regrets. Even fucking yolo.
Eating Disorders: coping at christmas
disordered eating, anxiety
As someone suffering from anorexia nervosa, the focus of the festive season can seem to be on one thing only: food, and an abundance of it at that. The fridge is suddenly stocked full of new and indulgent purchases. Every social occasion seems to involve a buffet, a Christmas meal, or excessive drinking, and the house is peppered with more bowls of nuts and chocolate than you can shake a fist at. Food is inescapable at this time of year, and it isn’t just Christmas Day that presents an issue for sufferers, but the whole month of December and into the New Year, from the very beginning of Advent. Each chocolate from the calendar comes to mark another day spent grappling with the disorder, another twenty-four hours of avoiding, deliberating over and resisting food, another day spent engaging in crippling self-denial whilst everyone around you is busy fully exploiting the excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast and drink mulled wine at midday. Christmas is one of the most isolating holidays for anyone dealing with an eating disorder.