(Not) Skinny Love


Guys, I’ve come to the realisation that I am not skinny. I’ve also come to the realisation that I am not fat.

I am a wonderfully average, and healthy, body weight and shape. At a size 10/12  I have quite a lovely hour glass figure so maybe not “average.”

As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder and still occasionally struggles this realisation is a BIG deal. Today I tried on a dress in a shop and it was a little too tight, where usually my brain would tell me that “I NEED to lose weight”, today it just went. “The dress is just too small, and that’s ok.”

My issue with food was two fold, first it is rooted in my control issues and second in my low self-esteem. I’m trying to work on both of these things.

But there is a reason I’m writing about my self-acceptance and it is this, I am getting married in 6 weeks and 1 day. On that day a lot of people are going to notice what I’m wearing, a lot of people are going to comment on it, and a few people might even take photo’s of me. I will then look back on these photo’s for the rest of my life.

This is a big deal (though please note not as big a deal as actually becoming a wife and saying vows in front of God, family, friends and randomers.)

There is a lot of pressure on brides to look perfect on their “big day.” To spend a small fortune on hair, make-up, nails and the biggest expensive the dress. It can cost £1000’s all because of this expectation that you want to be a princess and look glamorous (and not necessarily like yourself.) I’ve chosen not to spend the £1000’s. I’m doing my own make-up and nails, might get some help with the hair and my dress was under £400(still crazy expensive if you ask me)

I decided I didn’t want to give into that pressure. Partly because it’s cost effective. But far more importantly I want to look at my wedding photos and not hate myself. My dress fits me, I don’t fit my dress. I chose it because it flatters my great figure and because there is room enough to overload on food on the day without being uncomfortable. Food is good. I don’t want to look back and wish that I was as skinny as I was on that day. I want to just be me.


And me has curves. ALL the curves.


So I made this decision to not give into the pressure, to not go on a wedding diet or get a smaller dress to try and slim into.

I was doing pretty good as well.


Then the thoughts started creeping in…. You could get the dress altered if you did lose weight…. There are going to be lots of photos…. You want to look your best and skinny is best…. Brides are supposed to be thin…. and so on.

Oh and the comments you get “You’ll look really lovely once you’ve lost that little bit of weight”… “have you got much more to go until you fit into your dress”… “your not ordering a burger are you? But what about your wedding day?”…

I want to look my best, I really do (and I am going to), but I also know my best isn’t being a skeleton, it isn’t being so thin that I look unwell, I wasn’t made to be a stick and I’m not going to conform to that.

But that didn’t stop me having to force myself to eat the other day because I was suddenly worried I would be too fat to be a bride. Like what the actual?! Being a bride with disordered eating is tough, especially when society encourages disordered eating….


So I have moments of struggling with that unsaid pressure to conform. And it really effing pisses me off.


In 6 weeks I get to say some vows, I get to make a covenant with my best friend and the man I love, the man who loves me, curves and all. We will pledge our lives to each other, to promise to honor, love, cherish, to be there for each other in sickness and health, for better or worse. Marriage is a really big deal and I’m frustrated that right now my brain, and society are making it about how I’m going to look. Especially because I am so much more than how I look.



I’ve written a few blog posts lately. Just haven’t got round to posting them or it hasn’t been the right time or something like that.

But the important thing is I’m writing one now.


I’ve been pondering the idea of healing. We talked about it at church on sunday, which lead to J and I having a conversation in the car that afternoon about it, then during chapel this morning I spoke to a friend about.

I am Bi-Polar, that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point, and normally I don’t have a problem talking about it. For some reason on Sunday I was happy to say I had a condition, to talk about the concept of healing but I struggled to say what it was.

I wish I knew why.

(Time for some Jesus stuff)

The bible talks about this idea of Healing, that Jesus is our healer, he takes our burdens and struggles and heals us. There are stories of people being raised from the dead, leprosy going, blind seeing. That kind of stuff.

I’ve seen it as well, friends broken bones not being broken anymore, people medically unable to have babies having 3 or 4 children, cancer disappearing over night. I’ve seen Derren Brown I know that some stuff can be faked, but I know this stuff wasn’t. You can’t really fake actually giving birth.


But that’s only one kind of healing. For me it’s bigger than that. Whilst all these miracles happen I think there is a bigger one, the miracle of acceptance. I have friends who had their miracle babies, but I also have friends who have accepted that because a child doesn’t share their genetics doesn’t mean it’s not their child. Friends dying of cancer being real and vulnerable, being at peace and using what time they have left to it’s very fullness.

Peace, that’s the real thing about healing for me. To be at peace with your life and what is going on, accepting the struggles and using them to be a better person, to help others, to grow and make a difference in the world.

That’s what I want from my illness. Most days that is what I have. I accept that I have mental quirks, that these quirks are part of my story, that it is a powerful story full of struggles and challenges but also great joy. I have the highs and the lows (little bi-polar joke for you all.) But to be able to use my experience, my life story to help others, to now have hear or shame about it, to know my very life has a purpose, warts and all, well that;s healing for me.

Well at least I think that it is.


You see I’m happy. Lots of great things have happened in my life recently, engagement, new job, new home, new friends, new start. All brilliant things. I’ve also not had a real low point in all of this change which is pretty unusual for me. These things make me happy (as do many other things.)

But mostly I’m happy because I know I’m happy. I can know actual happiness and not worry that I’m on a hyper, I can be sad and know that it’s probably not the depression coming back.

Is that part of the healing or just flipping good meds? Maybe it’s both.


I guess I’m talking about this because I had a moment where I was pondering the mammoth task of planning a wedding, (with someone else who is noway near as much as an anally retentive control freak,) and the time we have to do that in, as well as work and life’s and fun stuff and it was a little overwhelming. None more so then that dreaded guest list. Most of it is easy but there are a few names that I have had to battle with, a few people that deciding on fills me with that anxious dread, knowing what I have to do, what I should do, what is right to do, what is petty and childish of me, and actually what I didn’t think, but I’m not sure and maybe that would surprise me if that I feel that way to do. (Gosh that sentence is a, heck who knows that that sentence was, my bad.) anyway there are decisions and stuff and it’s overwhelming and there was this moment of fear.

“What if I get ill again because of this.”

It was fleeting as I don’t think I will, mostly because J is pretty good at snapping me out of the downward spiral, but there was that brief moment. Which lead to another moment of longing to be healed, to not have to have that worry, to function like a “normal” person.

I don’t like that I had that moment, because, for me that isn’t healing. I don’t like that moment of “I don’t want this anymore.”

But then,

well maybe,

maybe that is also part of the healing, the ability to accept that sometimes we just don’t want it, to be vulnerable in that fear, and keep on going anyway.

Sorry about the brain fart on a page kids.


Don’t worry be happy?

Have you ever had that moment where you can feel the panic rising in your chest, your heartbeat is racing, your breathing is getting faster, your hands are shaking, you’re getting light headed and all you can do is think about what could go wrong? That moment where it’s all black clouds in your brain. That moment where THE END OF THE WORLD WILL HAPPEN simply because you can’t decide what you want to have for dinner. 

The dinner might seem a bit extreme, but when I was really ill that is genuinely something I, and more importantly the boyfriend, had to deal with. 


I read some research the other day that said 45% of people with bi-polar also suffer with serious anxiety.

Doesn’t surprise me. I for one suffer from it pretty badly. 


I don’t know what it’s like to not worry about things, to not be overwhelmed when I have to make a decision. I don’t know what it’s like to not get mildly freaked out in large crowds, in new places or around new people. I don’t know what it’s like to sleep well in a new place. I don’t know what it’s like to make a big decision without thinking about the many many things that could go horribly wrong. 

I’m getting better at hiding it and coping with it though, I always struggle with this but mostly now I don’t let it beat me.


 I often tell people that I’m worried about something, or I’ve been thinking and planning and more often then not I get told

“Don’t worry about it” 

“It’ll be ok”. 

“God’s got a plan”

“It’ll work itself out”

I appreciate the sentiment, heck I get it, on a logical level I even agree. 



 Anxiety is a serious condition, and an often overlooked one. Imagine living your life almost always being afraid, constantly on edge, feeling like you could cry/explode at any minute. 

This is how I live. Most days it’s ok, it’s almost manageable. But some days, well some days I can’t get on a bus because it’s running late and I would rather not turn up then be late. Some days the thought of making a decision gives me a panic attack. Some days I’m convinced people in the office are talking about me and what a terrible job they think I’m doing simply because I heard someone mention my name. Some days the thought of seeing people makes me want to cry, Some days being in a crowded space makes my head hurt, my chest get tight and I recoil any time some one comes near me. 

My anxiety is fairly bad at the moment. I stay up most of the night worrying about things I really don’t need to worry about. I’m struggling to concentrate because my mind goes off on this downward spiral of what could go wrong. I find myself crying over little things and I’m always checking to see what’s going on around me. 


 I’m not depressed, I’m a little low cause I feel like this, but it’s different from the depression. And annoyingly there is very little we can do about it. My meds don’t mix well with others and I need to get a psych appointment before they change any brain meds. It takes about 3 months to get that appointment and they often cancel on me. (I’m still waiting for the 6 month check up I was supposed to have in January) I could probably do with some counselling too, except the NHS wont touch me. I’m not high enough risk for the Adult Mental Health services to get me an appointment, BUT I’m too high risk for the counselling service you can get through your GP. This means going private, something I can’t really afford at the moment. 

Being crazy is complicated.


I am happy, mostly. I’m just constantly worried at the same time, and telling me not to worry is like telling me not to breath. I don’t know how. Just wanted to tell you about it, in case you wonder why I freeze up when you ask me a question or invite me out somewhere. 

Slowly I AM getting better, I can make a decision on what to eat after all. 

Plus I now have an amazng anti-anxiety pack including a fabulous drawing from my amazing Goddaughter!

Father Abraham

 “For this reason I kneel before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name”

A few weeks ago I was at Spring Harvest hanging out with a couple hundred teenagers and a cracking team of youth workers. The theme was “Immeasurably More” taken from a passage in the Bible (Ephesians 3v14-21.)

The passage starts with the above line.

I’m pro-Jesus, as you should know, I believe in a God that loves us and created us, a God that made humankind in his image and according to this verse that includes families. Whatever they look like.

Anyway the reason I am talking about this Jesus stuff is because families are messy, they are varied and chaotic and wonderful and awful and caring and brutal and supportive and belittling and many other adjectives, at east I think they are adjectives. Right focus Sare. So family. Frankly mine is not great. Don’t get me wrong I have the most incredible parents, and the younger siblings are pretty great (I’m looking at you 4,) but there is a lot to be desired in my relationship with the elder siblings. (Sometimes I’m grateful that my family is so big that you don’t really miss the odd sibling)

I hate the way my relationship is with the olders. I also hate that there is sod all that I can do about it. I hate how much it hurts, how much it hurts me, my parents, my siblings, my friends and others. I hate that it doesn’t seem to impact them in the slightest, they are merrily getting on with their lives, which don’t include me. So my question with that verse is how the heck is my messy family relationships “derive” from God?

My buddy has an interesting family, they try and they care, but aren’t always reliable. She now has her own beautiful children and “family” that she has built around her, her children’s “aunts” and “uncles” aren’t blood relatives but that doesn’t matter. She has a sign in her house that says “Friends are God’s way of making up for our families.” And dude I am so behind that. She has a family that isn’t typical but it is wonderful, and I love being part of it.

Going to be honest, and you might have already guessed it, but I don’t really know where I am going with this. I guess my thought is that God inspires and is the creator of beautiful and loving things. He is truth and all that stuff. And well family comes from Him, to be in a relationship with someone where they mean more to you than yourself, where you love them unconditionally. I guess I’m saying that, as my baby sister S said, “Blood isn’t thicker than water. We get to choose our own family.” I really do think that, because that family that we have chosen, or that has chosen us, is of God too. Which I find a comforting thought.

It really hurts when I think of my situation, it hurts more when I think of those whose families are even more broken than mine. It makes me grateful and humbled that I get to be a part of so many other families.

The thing that is so important about that last bit?

The important thing.

It means that I can stop beating myself up over the complexities of my relationship with the older ones. ‘Cause for a very long time I blamed myself, I thought it must be something wrong with me if they chose to walk away, to let things become the way they have. It must be my fault because I’m insert mean words here. But if that’s true, if I’m to blame, then how come I’m Auntie Helen to some incredible children? How come I’m a sister to so many of my friends? How come I have so many extra parent? Either they are incredibly patient, which in the case of my long suffering boyfriend is VERY true, or I’m kinda loveable and not a totally heinous individual who drives away all people for I am unworthy of love. (I most definitely thought that at one or more times in my life.)

All in all I’m a very lucky girl ’cause my family loves me, mental quirks, over-sharing, oddities and all. And my family “derives it’s name” from God, which is pretty cool.

So cheers for making me part of the fam guys! I now leave you with this little gem!


 I am just having a bad day,

I AM just having a bad day,

I am JUST having a bad day,

I am just HAVING a bad day,

I am just having A bad day,

I am just having a BAD day,

I am just having a bad DAY.


Bad days scare me. I cry and I find myself shaking cause I am terrified I will spiral and get worse again.

I’m jealous of people who don’t have this worry, who for them a bad day is a bad day and they sit and eat chocolate and watch Bridget Jones / the sports / the West Wing or whatever. I wish I was one of those people. One of those people who doesn’t always have to consider their mood, are they being irrational, is their heart beating faster than normal, are they speaking faster, being more impulsive. Are they tired and sleeping all the time, irrationally angry, bursting into tears for no reason, not eating, thinking of hurting themselves. I’m jealous of the “normal” people cause they don’t have to go through my mental checklist throughout the day.

Today I am having a bad day, probably because work was difficult last night and I felt like I did a bad job. Logically I know that it is just a bad day, maybe even a bad moment and that I will be fine later on. This is mostly why I am writing this, because I explain it to people I find myself a little calmer, a little more rational and a little more able to see that I am just tired, I’ve been ill this week and I had a bad day at work. I am not getting ill again.

BUT the (not so little) voice in the back of my head is sat there saying “what if it’s not just one bad day.” Being bipolar totally sucks. Seriously, a lot of the time I am totally accepting of this condition and know that I can live with it and use it to be a better person and help other people. But sometimes, I really REALLY hate it. This bloody illness stops me from having control over my emotions, my state of being, yeah there are things that I can (and do) to gain some control and fight it, but the underlying feelings are still there. And I blooming hate it. Because there is always that (not so little) voice saying “what if it’s not just one bad day.”

I hate it because I don’t just have a bad day. I either have a bad couple of months (and I mean really flipping bad) or I have a day where I am terrified the whole time that I am getting ill again and so struggle to regain the day and make it better.

So writing centres me, it helps me make sense of all the thoughts flying round my head, the anxiety and worry that never goes away. And once I have done this I will go and clean and maybe start knitting Rosy’s beard.

I doing this because I need to remind myself that it is just a bad day, that everyone has bad days, that I am getting better and I will keep getting better, I am a fighter and I wont let this illness ruin the rest of my life.

But I’m still having a bad day, so will someone please come round and bring me chocolate and a copy of the Lion King cause I can’t find mine (maybe that’s why I’m having a bad day.)

My heart

It’s been a while.

My bad.

In the last few weeks I have been challenged by a lot of people to believe in myself, that I am far more capable then I give myself credit for, that I shouldn’t be afraid to take risks and ask people to notice me and what I can do. I should engage in a little self promotion.

This terrifies me. Like I get super anxious and the thought because what if they do notice me and I cock it all up. Or what I have to say isn’t worth saying. HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THIS!

I have an incredible friend who recently became self-employed and is a writer/blogger. And she is simply fabulous, she writes the most amazing things and isn’t ashamed to say this is what I wrote and you should read it because I am great (which they should because she is great and should in no way be ashamed to tell the world) FYI this is her blog.

I happen to have a boyfriend who is a journalist, and a best friend, and well a lot of people in my life write deep and profound articles and blogs and are super talented and I am in awe of them, and these wonderful people have no problem saying, “hey I wrote this read it.”

In the non-writing world I have a lot of friends who are simply changing the world or doing wonderful things, from changing their lifestyle, working hard to be healthier, to challenge society around huge issues, to sharing their faith in an accessible way, starting charities and taking on giants. None of these people seem to be worried about someone noticing them, to be worried and anxious about making a pigs ear of it all. They are wonderfully and honestly vulnerable.

I get I’m honest on here and some would say I make myself vulnerable, and that’s a huge step but I can’t get much further then sharing a kick tweet saying “read if you want.”

How do people believe in themselves so much that they just say “I am good at this!” “I have something to say and you should take notice.”

Anyway my point is I’m not good at that. I don’t take compliments well. Recently my team and I had to feed back to our funders about all the work we do, and we do A LOT of work. They were so positive and encouraging of us and even said we “exceed expectations.” Everyone was really nice to me and said what a great job I did and blah blah blah, and I just shrugged it off with the old “well done team” line, then tried to change the subject.

I am speaking for the South East Barnado’s team on Monday on behalf of SelfharmUK, they came to the training I did in Horsham and asked me to talk there. I can’t for the life of me understand why. I was almost ashamed to mention it to my Team Leader/ Supreme Overlord. I hate reading the feedback from when I deliver training even though most of it’s pretty good.

The idea of wanting people to see me as more than a simple youth worker terrifies me. Even that I can’t do well. I help a young person and my response is “you did all the hard work I was just there.” (the funniest thing is that I appear to be doing a lot of self promoting in this post, I guess that’s a start.)

I’m petrified that I might want to do more and that no one else agrees with me. That I’ll appear arrogant for asking. Or worse they’ll just laugh at me for being an idiot for thinking that. But I know what I want to do with my life. I know the things I want to say, the injustices I want to challenge, the truth that I want to speak into people’s lives.

What if no one listens?

What if I get it wrong?

What if I hurt people in the process?

What if I let them down?

What if I actually don’t have anything to say?

What if no one else thinks I can do it?

Basically I’m a big ole scaredy pants. Which is a problem, cause I want to change the world, cause I want my life to matter. I want to live the life that God has asked of me. So I guess I’m just going to have to get out of my own way.

I leave you with this. It is a chunk of the bible that a friend gave to me 10years ago. Saying that it would be the call on my life. I really want it to be how I live my life.

It’s from Isaiah 58 and it’s talking about integrity, challenging those about what fasting actually means.

6“Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of wickedness,
    to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’


I’m watching the west wing again.

It’s pretty much all i’ve done today, well that, church and buying some new fish. Nathan and Solomon, Solomon only has one eye. They seem to be happy with Jonathan and David (my other 2 fish.)

Anyway I’ve had a weekend of doing nothing but watching the prior mentioned TV show. And it’s amazing because I am an introvert and so I really rather enjoy my own company.

Being an introvert is amazing but it isn’t what I wanted to talk about.

I was at a thing on wednesday at met up with the Mr for Lunch, I ate without thinking and had a calorie loaded caffeinated beverage, in fact 2 as I had one at the end of the day. Normally I would hate myself for this, I would be beating myself up, counting the calories and how much work I would have to do at the gym to burn it off.

But not on wednesday, for the first time in a long time I got back from work and didn’t feel fat. I didn’t hate myself or my body. I didn’t feel the need to go to the gym.

That feeling has gone, thursday and friday, yesterday and today the feeling of repulsion over the need to eat is back. In someways I hate food, I hate that my body needs it and even craves it. I hate that my body type takes after my dad which means I will always be a little bit curvy.

But the other part of me, the rational part that keeps fighting to be well and healthy, that part of me feels the opposite, that part loves food, loves that my body has curves and doesn’t care about size. That part won on wednesday and for a few hours I wasn’t worried about how much I weighed.

Eating disorders are horrible things, I know that when people look at me they don’t physically see someone with an eating disorder, but I have one. I fight with it everyday, watching what I eat, weighing myself everyday, burning as many calories at the gym as possible. I’m lucky, I have control over mine, I know that my relationship with food is unhealthy and I know, most of the time, that my obsession with being thin is unhealthy. I know that this stems from feeling like I have no control and from a deep rooted self-loathing.

But that’s the thing, I know. I know I have, just a few, mental health issues. And everyday I choose to keep breathing, to keep eating, to keep working, to keep communicating, to keep being. I know that being healthy is possible so I’m going to keep trying and celebrating the moments when I see hope.

The last few days have been tough and I have found myself feeling resentful of my illness, asking the age old question “why God,” but I try to remember Wednesday, when I didn’t feel fat, and I didn’t feel crazy, I wasn’t Hypomanic, I wasn’t low, I was just Helen, and those moments are what I try to remember when I feel like I’m falling apart.

So yay I’m an introvert, but mostly yay that I have good days, and because I’m mostly in a positive mood today (probably because I’ve had a weekend of no people,) which means I remember the good days. I may have felt sad today because I’m not at my desired weight and because I didn’t go to the gym, I remember wednesday and remember that in that moment I didn’t think I needed to worry about those things.


Thursday, in the states, was Bi-Polar awareness day. A wonderful thing. We should be aware of it, and as someone with the condition I spent a part of the day shouting “NOTICE ME” or “BE AWARE OF ME.”

I have bi-polar type 2. Only 2% of people with BP have type 2. That means I’m even more special than Stephen Fry, Carrie Fisher and Catherine Zeta Jones, just throwing that one out there. Type 2 is difficult to diagnose because it’s the less fun one. It means my baseline is depression, my normal is low which means when I’m “Manic” I’m actually having what is called a hypomania which isn’t as extreme as your traditional BP, I appear to most people like a bubbly, outgoing, talkative version of Helen, I appear “Normal.” The problem is I’m not, I won’t be sleeping because that’s a waste of time, I’ll be almost hyperactive flitting from one thing to the next, always busy never stopping and not wanting to stop. I’ll have beyond poor decision making skills which leads to incredibly stupid or dangerous situations, I’ll drink, a lot, and spend money that I do not have. Heck on one occasion I purchased myself a car. My heart rate will be faster and I won’t stop talking, what I’m saying really wont make sense, but I’ll be funny and engaging so you won’t really notice. The thing is you won’t notice much of this stuff really because you’ll just assume I’m the normal Helen, the one you’re used to, so I must be doing well and have gotten over that silly depression.

That’s what it was for years. It’s why Type 2 is so difficult to diagnose because we are told we have depression, then we are “well” and sometimes we are, but sometimes we are “hypomanic” and there isn’t much difference and in noticeable behaviour (there is loads if you know what you are looking for) so nobody notices, and then the depression “comes back.” And that is the cycle, from the age of 12 to 25 that was what we though. It’s not until someone suggests that maybe it’s something else when it finally clicks into place and suddenly you’re not a freak anymore.

Anyway you are now aware of me. Except you’re not. You’re aware of a mental illness that I have, but not of me. And that’s why my tweets on thursday were not “be aware I have bipolar” it was “be aware of me.” I am more than my mental illness, I am more than a condition that I have. It does not define me and it shouldn’t be why people notice me or talk to me.

I am more.

I AM more


and together you, me and some other randomers in my life and on the internet are going to figure out what that more is. Currently all I’ve got to add to the more is knitter and tea drinker…..


This is one of many incredible clips from The West Wing which I have been watching obsessively (yet again) for the last few days.

I’ve not written anything for a while and a big part of this is because I have been doing well, heck I’ve been a functioning adult. The most part however has been because I keep forgetting too, which you know, my bad.

Anyway I was watching this episode of the West Wing and found a solitary tear running down my face, vulnerability, solidarity, love, friendship, these are beautiful things. Especially when we get to use it to help the people we journey through life with.

Part of my job is to do 1:1 work with young people who are struggling. To accompany them. When I was at uni there was a book that I quoted a lot, it talked about this idea of accompanying instead of mentoring. That we walk alongside people, sharing life and finding the way together. It isn’t about bestowing all your “wisdom” and “knowledge,” it isn’t about telling them what to do or how to live and act, it is about being there and discovering and learning together.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve been doing this for the last year with a number of girls that I am working with, sometimes it gets labelled “mentoring” or “1:1’s” but the reality is it’s more and less than that. I guess I don’t really know what I’m saying (not that I ever do.)

What I like is this, we should be doing it everyday. To jump in the hole which our friends have fallen into and to work our way out together, sharing our experiences as equals. Because the point of the story is that the guy jumper in, he didn’t shout down the instruction he decided to do it together.

Life is better together.

My life is better because we are together. And I guess I’m hoping and believing that your life is better because we are together (fyi I’m not just talking about the Mr here, though his life BETTER be you know better cause we are together.) So yeah I’m trying to be kind to myself today by remembering that I get to jump in the hole with the girls that I accompany, that I’m helping them discover the way out. That I’m pretty ok at that, and I’m pretty ok at walking alongside my friends too.

I’m being kind to myself cause I right now it feels like I’m starting the descent into the hole, and I know it’ll be ok because I know I have friends who will jump in with me.

Let it be?

“If to be feeling alive to the sufferings of my fellow creatures is to be a fanatic, then I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large” William Wilberforce.

Currently the world of facebook is inundated with photo’s of women wearing no make-up in a bid to “raise awareness” of cancer. Are people not aware that cancer is an issue? How is taking a photo actually making a difference? And on a feminist note why does it have to be about make up and looks and only women involved?

Their hearts are in the right place I guess.

Or are they?

Today I watched a harrowing documentary on Sex Trafficking. The director knew that this was an issue but didn’t know enough about it, so instead of taking a selfie, he travelled around the world talking with traffickers, Johns, Pimps, current and former prostitutes, psychiatrist, activists, members of government, and so on and so forth. His aim was to really understand what trafficking was, who was involved, the effects on the women and ultimately what could be done about it.

The point of this is, the director cared so actively went out to learn more about the issue and to then learn how to make a difference, THEN HE ACTUALLY MADE A DIFFERENCE, one obvious way being making a documentary to continue raising awareness.

He could have spent that time taking photos of himself and talking to people on facebook.

The world is a bit of a mess, there are so many things that are unjust, illnesses that need cures and regimes that we need to stand against. But hiding behind our computers isn’t going to change anything. What will change is finding one thing that you 100% believe in and devote your time, energy, resources, passion, imagination, skills to doing something about it.

Many of my friends inspire me in the way they live out this idea. I have a friend who is taking a sabbatical from work to go and live in an incredibly volatile and dangerous country to work with orphans, being there she runs the risk or imprisonment and possibly worse. But she believes in her cause. I have friends who run marathons to raise money and awareness for mental health charities, cancer research, rehabilitation homes and such like.

I see people making a difference.

And they inspire me to want to do the same.

There are many problems in the world that make me want to speak out and challenge people, and they are causes worth speaking out about, Female Genital Mutilation, Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence (abuse of any sort,) Pornography, LGBTQ and Hate Crime, the list kind of goes on really.

I wish I could support all of these issues and divide my time to making a difference, but I know that the reality is that my time would be spread so thin that I wouldn’t do anything other then send an occasional angry and judgemental tweet. Instead I’ve picked my cause, the standard I shall carry, the song I shall sing.

For me it is the state of Mental Health support, awareness, bigotry, judgement, misunderstanding and fear. I want this to be a world where there is no shame or fear in admitting to having a mental health diagnosis, where there is understanding and support. I want this to be a world where there is appropriate knowledge, understanding and support programs for people with a range of mental health problems. In particular, as a person of faith, I want to challenge the churches views and approach to be with mental health.

I have bi-polar, I have struggles with mental health since I was 12, with self-harm, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and a few other bits and pieces. I am not ashamed of this, more than anything I’m proud of myself for not only being alive but holding down a full-time job, being in a happy relationship for 2 years, being a friend and Godmother, a sister and daughter. I am alive and living life.

And I want people with mental health to have the same quality of life and self acceptance that I do.

The problem is people in the church are afraid of me, members of my family are ashamed of me, friends have abandoned me. I have been called many things, I have been told I was that I have a demon, that I don’t have enough faith, that I can’t be a Christian, that I have spoken it over myself and talked myself into being ill.

People are afraid to ask for help for these reasons and more.

It’s important to note that a large number of people don’t respond this way, I know plenty of supportive and loving people both in the church and out of it.

But it should’t be a large number of people, it should be all the people.

So I have my cause. I am doing something about this. I openly speak about my mental health and challenge the people who have a more narrow world view of the subject. I support and encourage people who have their own mental health problems. I work for a charity called selfharm.co.uk training people how to support those who self injure. I am constantly trying to learn more about the many diagnosis that are out there.

I wish I could devote my time to all the issues, that taking a photo was enough to change the world, but it isn’t. So I’m picking my battle and I’m fighting it, and once I’ve won I’ll start a new fight.

And that’s what I like about me, I ain’t giving up on what I stand for, I’m going to change the world.


“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know.” – William Wilberforce.

Slavery is out there, in so many forms, what are you going to do about it?