March 3, 2014

holly chinneryBetween 2004 and 2008 I suffered from Anorexia Nervosa and was formally diagnosed in 2008. This soon developed into Bulimia Nervosa when the pressure to eat developed from others' expectations and my desire to reach my career aspirations.

I undertook a course of Cognitive Analytical Therapy, a nutrition course and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for the above disorders between 2008 and 2010. In 2010 I was diagnosed twice with Borderline Personality Disorder from two different mental health services. During this time I received Psychoanalysis and Mentalisation followed by group Psychotherapy.

I no longer meet the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa

I no longer meet the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. However, my eating habits are at times erratic where I often find myself on a working week binge or full diet mode where only certain foods can pass my lips at certain times. Whilst I still carry many of the traits of Borderline Personality Disorder, I am a lot more self aware and am able to either rein in and/or rationalise the, at times, consuming negative thoughts that lead to destructive feelings and behaviours.

Supporting and guiding patients towards recovery has given me a new depth and appreciation of the complexity that is mental health

Not only am I a well versed service user, I am also a service provider offering psychological treatment to patients suffering from mild to moderate mental health disorders. Supporting and guiding patients towards recovery from anxiety, worry, low mood, phobia’s and obsessive compulsive disorder via the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy model has given me a new depth and appreciation of the complexity that is mental health.

My unwavering perseverance allowed me to keep a toe on the path of life

The desire to combine my life experience with my professional development is born from my sheer determination to be a contributor in reducing the stigma of mental health disorders. I feel duty bound as both a service user and service provider to bridge the gap in service user involvement in mental health care.

Not only has this desire for the greater good been instrumental in my recovery, so has my faith that there must be something more to my life than being the girl with mental health difficulties. Even during the toughest times, my unwavering perseverance allowed me to keep a toe on the path of life.

Love allowed a re-evaluation of my life from darkness to light

What I did not account for, despite it making numerous appearances in my wishful thinking was LOVE. I am not speaking about the love from friends and family, but the love from a complete stranger who enters your life and truly accepts you for who you are, warts and all. Feeling that I could be accepted and liked, even loved, by someone new allowed my constant re-evaluation of my life shift from darkness to light.

Over time as our love developed I have slowly been able to loosen the shackles I was tied to. My initial thought, gut reaction or feeling of being a naive, stupid, gullible girl with no common sense who will not go far in life is now secondary to my true personality as a determined, ambitious, hard-working person with a, at times, childish nature. In all honesty, I can say that this has come largely from the love of my life.

With my family, friends and partner by my side, I know that I can achieve my goals

My career is now taking off and I have so many things to look forward to. I still have my dark days but with my family, friends and partner by my side, I know that I can achieve my goals. At the end of the day, that is all anyone can really hope for.


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