This was the headline of my recent article in The Independent, which was purposefully published during Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I wrote it to demonstrate that, even when all odds are against you, it is still possible to recover from an eating disorder.
The whole article can be accessed here:
The story of my eating disorder in the Indy article is just a pinprick of a book I am writing, about recovering from an eating disorder (“The Butterfly Emerges”). This book develops into a raw, shocking, but compassionate and empathic portrayal of suffering, whilst ‘living’ (or not) with an eating disorder. The butterfly becomes my symbol of recovery; embodying the butterfly, I can fly away from disorder. I describe what has helped me to recover, and — by also including the clinical outlook of the medical team who helped me so much during my last admission — I open two perspectives: that of the clinician who is treating the disorder, as well as my own lived experience of being a patient in recovery.
The book becomes an innovative, scientific study that examines treatment from a clinical perspective, and using my nuanced, artistic expression—with poetry, prose and art, which narrate, apply and question the clinical approach. I am the ‘voice’ of someone who suffers from an eating disorder, which I narrate in my poems. I talk about the suffering, the transitioning, and the progress of not just surviving after mental illness, but also thriving in recovery — as the caterpillar transitions into a butterfly.
My Indy article was the culmination of a number of media appearances during Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I was interviewed by the BBC and appeared on BBC1 ‘Inside Out’. There is a clip of my piece on the programme:
I’m also in the Oxford Mail, here:
A radio interview is forthcoming. Meanwhile, I am making progress with “The Butterfly Emerges”, and a second book — a longer study, my memoir: “Being (Sedated)” (working title).
I am now working as the Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire Representative of the Arts Health Early Career Research Network. I’m also on the Steering Group of the MARCH Network (an organisation that works on building social, cultural and community assets, enhancing public mental health and wellbeing, preventing mental illness, and supporting those living with mental health conditions; building resilient communities at the heart of mental health.
Meanwhile, I continue to work as a tutor and lecturer in the fields of art theory, art history, art practice, art criticism, philosophy, media studies and creative writing.