Eating disorders awareness week 2019 – a sense of pride.

This is blog 1 out of 2 which I will publish this week. In this blog I am sharing a series of photos that I have prepared for the Local Health Integration team for Eating Disorders. In my second blog I will talk about things which can support recovery and how important discharge planning is. For me personally I’ve lost all confidence in myself since I’ve been unwell, I have no confidence in my abilities, I feel that I am a disgusting human being and I’m consumed by guilt about the difficulties my illness has caused others. I am sure I am not alone in feeling these feelings. Unfortunately feeling this way can leave someone vulnerable to relapse or unable to progress to a full recovery, stuck in a hideous ‘limbo land’. Producing these photos to be displayed in my local arts venue has helped in two ways – it’s kept me focussed on a task so I am distracted from my difficult emotions, it’s given me a sense of achievement and a sense of pride that I am contributing to something useful. Helping someone to identify these types of activities can be key in a sustained recovery.

I hope you enjoy seeing my photos. Remember we all have something to offer each other, you may FEEL useless, but you really aren’t. You’ve taken the time to click on my blog and view my photos, this shows that you are wanting to learn and support others. 

Pausing on the shore
This photo was taken when I was having a difficult day, my thoughts were racing and I was feeling distressed. I paused for a moment and took my phone out of my pocket. I noticed the reflections of the trees on the ice, the starkness of the fallen branch, even the edges of the melted holes drew in my eyes. I breathed. I’d not noticed the beauty of all of this until I paused.

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Droplets of light
The beauty of droplets on a leaf – Westonbirt Arboretum. The droplets make me think of the small glimpses of hope in recovery, the small steps towards a bigger stride. Collecting them all together in one place can help you to see how far you have come.

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At the end of the day
Having the energy to watch the beauty of a sun set. The mad dash out of the house to get there just in time. An element of predictability when things feel uncertain. The joy of sitting on a blanket with a hot chocolate saying goodnight to the day just gone.

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Ripples in the sand
Family life can sometimes be full of ripples, especially turbulent when unwell and trying to recover. Standing together to walk through the ripples, taking the time to do something small together, on the beach. Together we are stronger.

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My daughter
Supportive and encouraging in my recovery. A shining tolerant sun.

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White out
When you try to do too much, too soon and things feel a bit bleak. This photograph to me is a reminder of a particular struggle which I don’t want to be in again. Capturing the moment in a photo takes me back to the experience and reminds me of where I don’t want to be.

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Knowing when to pause
This photo was taken at the exact moment on a hike where I recognised that I needed to turn around, as I had walked far enough. I was trying to run before I could walk. Taking stock and seeing where you are at can be helpful in recovery. Building back up to where you were slowly, in small steps.

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The top may be foggy
This photo was taken on a walk where I really wanted to turn around before getting to the top of the mountain. I was tired, the wind had picked up and we were surrounded by mist. It looked really intimidating. With some words of encouragement I continued and slowly the mist dispersed and this fantastic view appeared. A metaphor for recovery…

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Just me and the sea
The power of the waves is all consuming. The sound and sensation of the sea isolates me from the confusing world and helps my mind to relax. Recovery means being able to feel the sea, not sitting on the side lines.

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Confusing paths
Recovery feels like a confusing place. There’s so many choices to make. Which is the right one?

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At Last
I’ve looked down on this lake many times and had always wanted to swim there. It took me some time to find the opportunity. It was worth the wait though. I like to remind myself of moments I want to get back to by looking at photos of better times.

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Just for fun
Finding moments of humour when things are really difficult, I am not my eating disorder, this is me.

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