Book review: The Sober Girl Society Handbook

Dearest lovely readers,

As a final post on alcohol awareness, I wanted to share a very little review of my favourite ‘quit lit’. I have been a fan of the blog Sober Girl Society formed by Millie Gooch for a little while. When I saw this book I pre-ordered!

The Sober Girl Society Handbook is a guide on how to quit alcohol, offering tips and advice as well as Gooch sharing her own experiences. The book immediately starts with experiences Gooch had been in, and immediately, it is relatable. She harnesses the power of humour to guide through “breaking up with booze” to “reaping the rewards” and “navigating the new normal”.

There’s a whole host of resources in the back of the book, sources of information and support.

The book contains a lot of information, but it is easy to digest and accessible to read, the chapters pace in a steady manner ending with summaries of “sober girl gains”. There are so many topics from alcohol and the body to the mind and wellness. It also covers relationships and how to cope as a sober person, and the option of being sober curious.

This book normalises sobriety, dispelling the myths. I honestly love it. So if you are curious at all, I recommend this book!

Much love,

L x

My life with Time to Change

Good morning to you, how are you?

There has been a change within my life, one that will be causing a transition in the coming months. Since September 2016 I have volunteered with social movement Time to Change as a Young Champion and alumni which has been in operation under Rethink Mental Illness and Mind for over a decade. As of March 2021, Time to Change will no longer be running as funding will no longer be available. Time to Change focused on reducing mental health stigma and discrimination and changing attitudes around mental health. They have interventions in the general public, employment and eventually in schools etc. for children and young people: which is where I was involved.

I remember Time to Change from the Stand-Up Kid days and knew that one day I’d get to talk about my experiences, at 16 I personally felt I had a lot to learn first. So at 21, I saw applications were open and sent mine on that day. I started out still loving the drink, unaware of who I was, still shy and filled with self-stigma. I will finish my time as a confident, outspoken, ambitious and knowledgeable woman. A woman who yes, has mental illness, but that is just one facet of my identity. I found a deep passion for mental health problems and it’s place in society.

I was trained to speak to others across the nation, speak my story of stigma and my experiences with EUPD among other illnesses, what hasn’t been effective and what could help in future. I spoke to my MP at the time and allowed for TTC the opportunity to speak in Parliament. I attended the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit and attended a reception at Downing Street. I have done a lot.

At first, I was so nervous in what I was doing, while I’m a good public speaker this was all very new. After a few long term dips in my mental health, and the team’s overwhelming support I started to feel so much more confident, I ended up wanting to take more on. I enjoyed doing the events, I was even able to join my partner on his events and it was always so wonderful to be able to watch him speak.

The team themselves are visibly passionate about what they do, they all have such vibrant personalities and each bring something unique to TTC. Their own skills and knowledge astound me, I feel I have found good friends in some of them.

But what I will take from my time with this amazing initiative is finding my family, in friends, in my partner whom I met there (I fell for him in the initial training weekend), in the sense of belonging and being allowed to explore what my mental health meant to me, finding great people at the centre of the cause. I will take knowledge of other people’s experiences, of learning what real boundaries represent, a new confidence and being able to challenge injustice. And so much more.

I think TTC represented so much good in this world, and I will be sad when it ends. But I know my activism will continue, I have a few big ideas churning.

All my love,

L x

My relationship with food: a history

Buckle up beautiful people, we are about to get personal.

*CW: discussion around food*

I recently talked about my relationship with food and now leaning into intuitive eating. I thought I would open up a bit and discuss more about my experience with this relationship. I have never really opened up about my experiences for fear of ridicule. But I think it’s time to be open.

So yes, my negative relationship with food started around 11 years old as a way of coping with all of the panic attacks I had and everything feeling so out of control and no one around me really knew what to do with me. I found the controlling what I let in to my body to be addictive and I spiralled so quickly it all feels like a blur today. I became incredibly fussy, I restricted what I ate a lot, I started learning tricks to look like I ate more than I did, I could flat out refused to finish my plate saying I was full or didn’t like a particular food. At this point it was never about my weight, just control. That was until I started secondary school.

I felt isolated pretty quickly and changed schools after the first half-term, I ended up wearing more and more make up and became conscious of my body to a new extent. I started weighing myself a lot. I started to worry about how much space I took up in this world.

Then I ended up in hospital on an unrelated reason, or what I like to believe to this day, I had already been anaemic once by this point and the doctors were very concerned at how little iron was in my blood and body. I had nothing in reserve. It was a little bit of a wake up call that I needed to eat.

It took a while and a few more iron tablets that were needed for me to begin eating 3 meals a day again. But I certainly couldn’t have a lot of variety in foods. The thought and sight of many foods made me feel sick and gross, polluted. Only last year did my psychotherapist suggest cibophobia and food neophobia. A fear of food, I had restricted and altered my mindset about food so much that it’s left me with a very irrational fear.

This continued, I put on weight and turned 16, after the passing of a family member I became unwell with emerging traits of a personality disorder and severe depression. Nearing the end of year 11 I started to once again control my food, except this time I binged. Whatever was cheap. I don’t want to think about how much money I have spent on food over these last few years, probably more than cigarettes. I became addicted to food and the brief numbing it would bring. I would skip meals in place of a binge.

At times I’d hate my body and try dieting and restricting, it would never last long. I had no respect of my body. Exercise became triggering and I would overdo it. And then binge. Looking back, I don’t understand why I didn’t love my body, I certainly wasn’t as “fat” as I felt.

Now here I am, at my highest weight and respect my body more than ever. I ended up, during lockdown, having at least one binge eat every single day until I realised I needed to change. Now, I am learning my hunger signals more and more each day. It’s been weeks since I have had a binge and there are no temptations to constantly buy snacks. I’m hoping as I fulfil more principles I become more open to trying new foods. It’ll take time but I’m prepared. My relationship is slowly healing and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

If you are struggling with food right now, I see you.

Much love,

L x

Reflecting and what is to come

Good morning beautiful human beings.

I hope you all had an excellent start to your week yesterday, I certainly did with many small wins. I decided not to post on Sunday as it just did not feel right given everything that has been going on in the world, and rightly so. I spent last week learning, and reflecting, so much so my mental health was put on the back burner until last night.

So yes, I have consumed a lot of content, books, podcasts, articles and videos and did a deep dive into my “all or nothing” mindset, which can be quite debilitating, EUPD can be sneaky that way, I never see her coming. But the obsessive haze has lifted and I now am able to properly take care of myself and those around me again.

I just thought I’d try something new with the blog and let you all know what’s coming up in the next few weeks in terms of content and my proposed plan is as follows:

Sunday 14th June: Children and well-being

Sunday 21st June: How I deal with intense emotions in the moment

Sunday 28th June: Routines: the night

I hope these are of interest to you. Now, I have also been debating whether or not to create vlogs as well as blogs, if that sounds interesting please comment or contact me to let me know

Much love and happiness to you,

L x

Burned out and a poem

Good evening my lovelies! How are we all? I am afraid there isn’t much of a post today. You see, this one has burned herself out. It started with poor sleep, then overworking on a university assignment (though of course it never feels like it in the moment!). I have been out of shape and sleeping for half the day for the latter part of this week. I realised the night I overworked on Thursday that I’d soon be feeling the after effects. Lo and behold! Friday morning was not fantastic. I am telling myself, at least it wasn’t a shock to me and at least it didn’t cause a spiral. Though the idea of “at least X” is never helpful. I was planning away another Lessons post since that was well-liked last time, I hope to make a pack of them really. But instead, I leave you with a little poem I like. If you ever feel like you’d like a post of some of my poetry let me know! Susan Coolidge “Every day is a fresh beginning, Listen my soul to the glad refrain. And, spite of old sorrows And older sinning, Troubles forecasted And possible pain, Take heart with the day and begin again” Much love and happiness to you all, L x