World Book Day: Dear Stranger

This world book day why not check out the book ‘Dear Stranger’. All profits from the sales of these books goes to the mental health charity Mind.

Dear Stranger is a collection of inspirational, honest and heartfelt letters from authors, bloggers and mind ambassadors to an imagined stranger. Insightful and uplifting, ‘Dear Stranger’ is a humbling glimpse into different interpretations of happiness, and how despite sometimes seeming unobtainable happiness can, in the smallest of ways, become an achievable goal.

Letters included in ‘Dear Stranger’ are written by a variety of people including myself, Fiona Phillips, Matt Haig, Caitlin Moran and Richard Branson.


Okay so it’s been a while, I spent 8 months in a secure unit with my weight dropping and my mental health declining, then in December an eating disorder nurse from my home team came to see me at 8am in the morning. I remember being woken at 7am and having a shower on a chair because my legs would not stand and then being whisked off to the relaxation room to see her.

The nurse wanted to admit me to a general hospital for refeeding but I refused as it was so close to Christmas and I just wanted to be where I felt settled for the festive period. That night I was driven back to my home county and admitted to a general ward. I felt like I was living in a nightmare. I had an NG tube inserted and was started on a feed straight away, drips were in my arms and blood tests taken.

A month later, here I am, still in the same bed, still being fed through a tube and struggling enormously. I feel fatter with each day, the sips of ensure are getting harder and not easier. The plan from here is to go to an eating disorder unit in London which I’m super scared about. I don’t know any more. This battle is hard.

I Need You to Know That I Have a Personality Disorder

I need you to know that I have a personality disorder, it is the diagnosis that I don’t speak about publicly and rarely talk about to anybody because I’m scared that telling you what I have will make you think I am a bad person. I desperately need you to understand what life with a personality disorder is like. It isn’t an excuse for the way I behave, it’s an explanation.

My personality disorder makes any kind of relationship difficult. No one seems to stay long in my life and I often find that I am ‘too much’ for people as I am vulnerable and dependent. I feel inadequate a lot of the time. I struggle to fit in and often my efforts lead to me embarrassing myself. I have powerful relationships and a lot of love to give but they are full of terror and fear. I fear abandonment and rejection so much that it normally leads to the relationship breaking down. Being close to me is a challenge and I find myself constantly asking for reassurance in relationships but in the end the mistrust and need for reassurance pushes the other person away. The slightest change in a relationship feels unbearable. I find it hard to believe peoples’ excuses for not seeing me and I take it as rejection. I often end up attacking those who are close to me ensuring the very abandonment I fear. I can’t control myself. I’m like a tornado destroying everything in my path. Personality disorders are destructive. Never think that I don’t care about others, my struggles with relationships make me think I should be alone forever and stay away from everybody. Self-hatred is always with me and the hurt I’ve caused plays on repeat. I’ve lost so many people because of my personality disorder and it’s agonising.

I struggle with my identity, I don’t really know who I am, and neither do I understand myself. Things can change dramatically one moment to the next. In two minutes I can go from being full of hope to completely hopeless. I can be motivated to change the world one minute and the next not have the motivation to wash myself. I am impulsive which leads to me spending money I don’t have and getting into a financial situation that I need help to get out of. I struggle with bursts of anger that take over me and often lead to me self-harming. I struggle with suicidal tendencies but no wonder death is appealing, my world is very confusing and painful. The mood swings, paranoia and delusions on top of the confusion and anxiety in relationships is exhausting. I’m terrified of the future, what if I’m always like this? Will I ever be able to have normal relationships and get married and have a family? Will that ever be a reality for me?

I can explain my personality disorder to you but I can’t make you understand it. I just hope that somehow this piece of writing helps you to understand how complicated life with a personality can be and I hope that the people in my life that read this can give me their time and patience to remain in my life.

Spending: The Silent Addiction

When most of us hear the word ‘addiction’ we probably think about alcohol and drugs. There are other addictions that float around society and we hear of from time to time such as video game addictions but for the most part addiction is often assumed to be to a mood changing substance.

I have a fairly addictive personality and throughout my battle with anorexia and bulimia I have also struggled with exercise addiction which is fairly recognised within eating disorders. I am also the type of person that will watch a film and immediately want it on again or I will listen to the same song on repeat for an entire hour. I will go ice skating for the first time and want to go the next day and the next day but these addictions are okay, they are enjoyable and do not have an impact on my quality of life. However, there is one addiction that I am silent about and today is the first time I am really admitting that this is a problem. I have a spending addiction.

I’ve struggled with spending for a very long time and for most of that time I have spent nights under the duvet googling away in the hope of finding some help and information on spending addictions but there really isn’t much out there. I cannot be the only person struggling with this and I know how isolating this feels and the horrible, scary feelings that comes along with this addiction and so I decided it was time to speak out about my troubles and to try and find the answers and share them in the hope that someone else under their duvet googling away in desperation can find some information.

I’ve hidden my spending problem for a very long time because I feared that people would judge me as greedy, self-indulgent, careless and selfish but in many ways it is similar to the binge eating I struggle with during my battles with bulimia. I don’t enjoy the food, I don’t taste the food, I don’t want to eat the food but I cannot stop myself and it is incredibly distressing. It’s the same with spending. I don’t want to spend, I have got life plans that I want to achieve, I have got food I need to buy and places that I need to go and money is vital for survival in this society. I don’t often look at the things I buy and they and their packaging end up hidden around my bedroom. I don’t want to fall asleep with the thought that my bank account has gone overdrawn and I’m getting charged £10 a day for it. I don’t want my life to be this way but at this moment I have not found a way to stop. I am working on it and trying different techniques because I am determined to beat this and help other people to beat this too.

Before I was sectioned last summer my spending hit the worst point it ever had and during my time in hospital I had bailiffs threatening to come to my home which was incredibly stressful and scary. I am a tidy, neat and organised person and I never wanted my life to reach that point and I’m terrified it will again. I was online shopping the other day and a bubble popped up saying, “How can we help?” and I honestly felt like typing in the bubble, “I have a spending problem, please help me.”

I am determined to beat this addiction now and the first step was admitting I had a problem. I am going to post my journey with spending addiction on here every time that there is an update because there really is not enough information out there and I am 100% certain that I am not the only one going through this.