Mental health campaigner Emily Nuttall has written down her thoughts for Express as she deals with an eating disorder and other challenges during the ongoing lockdown.
Ms Nuttall is well known for her efforts to raise awareness of mental wellbeing, and as she continues to face her own fears, she wants to remind others that it is ok to not be ok.
"Guernsey, like the Uk, has been thrown into this unknown change.
Whilst it can be extremely tough for so so many of us to cope with at the best of times, with the loss of routine, and lots of new fears and unknowns it can be seen as such a very scary time. Those like myself struggling with mental health and eating disorders where i struggle and continue to fight anorexia on a daily basis my mental health and eating disorder treatment that was face to face has had to be cancelled and move to telephone and online which thankfully I am so grateful to receive. But even adapting to that change is still fearful and something to have to still adjust to in itself and a loss of control of everything around us.
For me particularly it's frightening because there have been periods in the past few weeks that have been very difficult to deal with alone. Especially with my eating disorder and reappearing trauma from my past which can be hugely terrifying and distressing and be a massive trigger for my anorexia.
Pictured: BEAT is one of the charities which Emily has worked with over the last few years.
Eating disorders thrive in isolation. Isolation is what they do, they cut you off from family and friends. They tell people they don’t deserve help or they are not ill enough. They tell people they are alone. My anorexia has been and continues to be my best friend. It has taken me out of the reality and helped me to shut off my mind get a sense of control back and deal and cope with my reappearing mental health and anorexia triggers, which has been frightening distressing traumatizing and overwhelming in itself but anorexia makes that go away but I am determined that no matter how scary or how hard it gets I will beat this and keep fighting and become a free healthy and happy and stronger Emily on the other side .
The new routine of shopping not knowing if your mealplan foods the safe foods that I have got use to and can cope with in my ongoing recovery not always being available and for an eating disorder sufferer this can be very terrifying and distressing. Having to make a back up plan with the amazing support of my dietician mental health and eating disorder team who still give me that strength and hope every single day with my ongoing recovery from anorexia, but again that is more change to have to adapt to and this is scary and frightening but even through this tough terrifying and challenging time I am holding on to hope strength and determination that I can beat this and break free of anorexia and be healthy and happy. Recovery is possible but now more than ever those with eating disorders that come in all different shapes and sizes and severities need and deserve all the support they can get no matter what. You do not need to be thin to have an eating disorder and right now support services have been needed so much more and it is so important that people can feel safe and encouraged to reach out so that they do not have to fight their demons alone.
There has also been Beat, the UK eating disorders charity who continue to help me with my ongoing recovery from anorexia as a result of this pandemic they have set up an online support group called the Sanctuary a place to be heard to be comforted listened to and not alone and that we do have help hope and support from Beat to help us fight through this scary and unknown time. To stay strong and be supported all the way to the very end of this tough time giving us the hope that we can still recover and break free from our eating disorders and as a Beat Fundraiser and campaigner for better eating disorder treatment now more than ever those like myself struggling with eating disorders and reappearing triggers and trauma we need and deserve this support to be able to keep fighting and break free and not be alone in our struggles. Because the light at the end of the tunnel is somewhere in sight it will be a hard battle but worth the fight
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place this week from Monday 18 May to Sunday 24 May and I will be speaking for an online conference with the organisation Adjuda based in Wales UK with an organisation called Adjuda sharing my behind the mask of 'I'm fine' message; my story, my work and the key things that people need to hold on to and remember in this time that the light at the end of the tunnel is somewhere in sight it will be a hard battle but worth the fight
My message is to remember it's ok to not be ok, you don't have to suffer in silence and you are not alone and there is help and hope from charities that I am an ambassador of, and work and campaign and fundraise with, which include Beat the UK eating disorders charity, Time to Change, Health Connections, Guernsey and the UK Mind and Action for Children and Samaritans. There will always be someone to support you through this tough time of the lockdown from the coronavirus and to help you reach the light at the end of the tunnel, the other side when we are through this stronger than ever united as a community."
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