It is estimated that there are over 1.6 million people suffering from diagnosed or undiagnosed eating disorders throughout the UK. But the truth is, there will be thousands who don’t feel able to reach out for support. People who feel like they aren’t “sick enough”, “don’t look like they have an eating disorder” or are too embarrassed, because they don’t fit that “stereotypical eating disorder image” we all have in our heads.
My story starts two years ago; I was involved in quite a bad car crash. I passed my driving test when I was 19, drove for about a year and then sold my car and started driving again two years ago (I’m now 25). It took a lot of courage to start driving again. I got a new job, which I needed a car for and I was excited and full of confidence! I had the car a week when the accident happened - it felt like I lost all my confidence in a matter of seconds. The lady’s decision to pull out in front of me, across a dual carriageway, changed my life and it was beyond my control.
Some people with depression are made to feel like it is their fault for feeling the way they do and are told to simply ‘get out more’ and ‘snap out of it’. Similarly, those who have anxiety or OCD are told to ‘pull themselves together’ and to ‘stop worrying over little things’.
The other day, I wasn’t feeling quite right. A few things were getting on top of me at work and at home, and I was talking to a friend about how I felt. We were discussing whether I should take a day off, and he said that he would never admit that he wasn’t coping to his work, and would probably just say that he was feeling a bit sick.
To the HR manager sitting at your desk, perhaps sipping a cup of coffee, whilst going through the big pile of application forms. Please do not just throw mine in the bin, as soon as you see I have a mental illness. Take the time to see the positives; the value I can bring to your organisation. You may see me as a ‘challenge’ or ‘problem’, but if you support me and give me a chance, I will show you the hard work and commitment I am capable of.