Learning to Cope with a Borderline Personality Diagnosis

January 10, 2018

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert by any means, nor am I going to pretend that I have my shit together. But, since getting my shock diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder back in September – and the benefit/downfall of  having a severe lack of filter – I thought it might be helpful to those who are struggling, or to those who know somebody who is struggling, to have one person’s insight on how they’re learning to cope with their diagnosis.

As I mentioned in my previous post about BPD, I never thought that it was a mental disorder that I could attribute to me. Yes, I’ve been diagnosed with depression and generalised anxiety in the past, but I never caught any links of anything further than that. However, following my diagnosis, I see so many explanations for behaviours that I’ve had in the past – and to this day – that formerly, I had no reason behind.

Let’s not beat around the bush: BPD is a fucking hellhole of a disorder. Sparring with Schizophrenia for the highest stigmatisation rate amongst modern mental illnesses; it isn’t anyone’s favourite mental mishap. Factor in the fact that it’s a disorder with a very low recovery rate, which people only learn merely how to moderate, yeah, it’s really not the greatest. Let’s not even get into the 10%+ suicide rate in sufferers.

However, BPD is not the curse I thought it was initially. There are times where I feel like I am nothing more than this illness; I’ll give you that, but there are other times where I know that having BPD can be dealt with, and it offers its own bizzare multitude of ‘benefits’.

For example, if you’re friends with someone with BPD – and I mean – if they consistently trust you enough to really let you into their life – you’ve got one motherflipping loyal friend on your hands. When I connect with someone truly, I’ll go to the ends of the Earth – oftentimes to my own detriment – to ensure that they’re okay. Granted, that means that we do often gravitate towards those who may not always deserve our care, but it’s still there.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve lost a number of people in my life – for various reasons – but I’m starting to wonder whether those people were actually meant to be there, or whether they were riding on my inability to leave someone be when they’re in a crisis. I can’t say that getting diagnosed has been a walk in the park by any means, but it’s been so fucking enlightening to understand why I do the things I do – especially in moments of crisis.

The sad fact is, regardless of anyone’s self-awareness of their disorder, a therapy called DBT is pretty much a must when it comes to proper treatment of those with BPD, which – unfortunately – is something that I can’t access through the NHS (for 12-18 months) without forking out £320 a month for private therapy, so it definitely has its downfalls.

All I’m trying to do with these posts is open up about Borderline and hopefully give others suffering the strength to do the same. And for those who aren’t, I’m writing to show people that a ‘normal, functioning person’ has that very same disorder.

Love Thy Neighbour Manchester – Review

January 9, 2018

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After visiting the original Liverpool branch of Love Thy Neighbour last year – where the waitress, unfortunately, spilled coffee all over my jeans and didn’t apologise – I had to check out the Manchester offering that opened less than a month ago in Chorlton. I even wore the same jeans.

Gorgeously kitted-out with its Instagram-ready aesthetic and health-conscious menu, Love Thy Neighbour is the brunch spot to have on your radar. Whether you’re looking for an oat milk peanut butter hot chocolate, or a buddha bowl; you can tick off every delightfully wanky food fad in a mere couple of hours at this place.

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Let’s start with the coffee, as it was a damn good place to start. After hearing the hype about matcha lattes and spotting one on the menu – I had to give it a go. Served picture-perfect and at an ideal temperature; the matcha latte is definitely one that I’d opt for purely for its alleged benefits, as it had a slightly bitter aftertaste and tasted a bit like, er, chalk.

After necking a metric shit-tonne of water and revelling in my virtuous matcha choice, I went balls-deep for the new health-kick bad boy on the block: the turmeric latte (can someone please tell me how you pronounce turmeric – despite being on the planet for quarter of a century – I’m still lost).  This was a winner. Subtle enough not to hugely deviate from your usual latte (and yet hopefully benefit from those anti-inflammatory properties), the turmeric latte is a great alternative for chai latte lovers as it offers that rich creaminess without making you need a lie down after it. Tip: opt for oat milk.

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When it came to the brunch itself, I went with a spin on the coconut-creamed mushroom bagel: switching out the bagel for two poached eggs (soz, am a low-carb loser). Splitting a side of smashed avo with my friend Kara to round it off, this was a great portion size and wasn’t ridiculously expensive. In fact, my share of the bill only came to £15 including tip, which for two coffees and a breakfast in Chorlton – where you can buy hand-sized plants for upwards of £50 – is pretty damn reasonable.

The food was nice, but I didn’t taste any coconut milk on the mushrooms and – if I’m being honest – it didn’t really deviate that far from something I could’ve rustled up in my own kitchen. Next time, I’ll be more adventurous and try a smoothie bowl – Manchester freezy weather permitting.

The good news is, nobody spilled any coffee on me and the wait staff were far more pleasant than their Liverpool counterparts, phew. I’ll definitely be returning to Love Thy Neighbour sometime soon and indulging in that turmeric latte fix again. Also, there’s a shop two doors down that sells cat trinkets and treats – highly recommended.

Have you checked out Love Thy Neighbour in Manchester or Liverpool? What’s your favourite thing on the menu? Hmu @Ebzo.

Getting Diagnosed with the Disorder That Changed (and Nearly Ended) My Life

January 6, 2018

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It’s taken me four months since my diagnosis to even start being open about the topic of this post. My family, some friends – even medical professionals – have all but begged me to keep a lid on it, but I refuse to continue perpetuating the stigma by keeping my gob/blog shut.

My name is Ebony Nash. I’m a writer, and Senior Marketing Executive for one of the country’s largest sports fashion retailers. I have a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing, will always be found wearing red lipstick, and live with a Persian cat called Sneaky. What you mightn’t know is, I also have Borderline Personality Disorder.

Cue boos, hisses and shudders (mainly from my ex-boyfriends).

BPD gets an incredibly bad rep across the board; whether it’s through the media, general misinformation, or even the field of psychology itself. Whether we’re immortalised as Fatal Attraction’s bunny boilers, mardy Girl; Interrupted wrist bangers or pathological crazy ex-girlfriends in, uh, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Hollywood for one definitely ain’t our biggest fans.

But, what is Borderline Personality Disorder?

The DSM-IV’s criteria of symptoms run as follows (patients must exhibit at least 5 of 9 for diagnosis):

(1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

(2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation

(3) identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

(4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sexsubstance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).

(5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

(6) affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

(7) chronic feelings of emptiness

(8) inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

(9) transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Feel free to unfollow me/block me/change your I.P. address as you will. I kid. When I got this list of symptoms presented to me following the catalyst of my actual diagnosis (let’s save that for another post), I genuinely thought they were having a laugh.

My (unfortunately former) best friend has BPD. She’s outgoing, quick-witted, and will talk to just about anyone about things she’s passionate about. Her BPD often manifests similarly, which always led me to believe that the disorder was for people of a more extroverted persuasion. I’m shy and guarded, until you put a vodka in me and you’ll only wish I’d shut the fuck up. So, in my head, BPD + me = no chance mate.

However, after looking at each of the criterion in isolation, and then discovering there’s a delightfully insidious sub-type of BPD called ‘quiet BPD’; I started to see the similarities – as much as I didn’t want to.

I want to start a blog series about the struggles (and triumphs!) I’ve faced since my diagnosis – to both break down the stigma and to hopefully help those who may be suffering in silence – so this was just a little confessional to begin with.

If there’s anything you want to know about BPD – on a broad, or more personal level – tweet me @Ebzo and I’ll do a post on it. If you’re a fellow BPD-er, get in touch.

Christmas Lust-List

December 4, 2017

Also known as the things I – as a 24-year-old woman – have shamelessly begged various members of my family for, until they have now stopped replying to my texts.

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Gabrielle by Chanel

They say you should change your scent with each new man you date, which is something I forgot to do with my fella and we nearly murdered the other recently – so I thought I’d give the poor lad a break and invest for superstition’s sake.

After riding the Estée Lauder Modern Muse train all the way from 2015, the natural progression from ‘pretending-I’ve-got-my-shit-together’ to ‘oh-fuck-I-might-actually-have-my-shit-together’ scent came in the guise of Chanel’s latest offering: Gabrielle. Inspired by the leading lady herself, this youthful take on the timeless Chanel family will hopefully let me convey some semblance of togetherness – on the premise that you can only smell me; not see me smearing lipstick all over my chin on the tram.

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EVE Memory Foam Pillow

Given that a good’s night sleep is about as fabled as Father Christmas himself these days, I’ve somehow convinced myself that spending over £50 on one pillow is wholly justifiable. Whether it’s the cat pissing in the corner of the room (I wish I was joking), or waking up early to hairdry my knickers clean (should really put a new washing machine on this list); getting more than 6 hours zzz is a nightly struggle.

At this price, I’m still hoping it’s going to give me a lap dance too.  

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Zoeva Makeup Brush Set

I had one of those day-crushing moments last week, where the world instantly slams to a halt and you have to swallow a scream on the packed bus: I only went and dropped my trusty makeup sponge on public transport. Given I merely have to think about being 15 to sprout a new chin spot, there was no way the ‘5 second rule’ was coming into play here.

What was a girl to do? Stop being a greb who uses artful finger blending teamed with a circa 2012 Mac blusher brush, of course – enter the Zoeva *insert whatever the hell it’s called*.

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Kiehl’s Haul

On the note of dodgy skin, the haunting calls of true womanhood (hi finelines, hello dull complexion) led to me scouring the Kiehl’s website (with a handy 20% off Black Friday code clutched firmly in my Ctrl+C, that is). I’m not going to tell you what I ordered just yet – a) in case it’s shite and I’m a lost cause b) I’ll review it in the New Year. Although I did order that Midnight Recovery stuff and – swear down – if Karlie Kloss herself doesn’t emerge out of my pores, shit is going to hit the fan.

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Oral B 3D White Whitening Strips

Shout out 2 my ex for introducing me to these badboys (lol jk, you’re an absolute weapon). Given my sister and I haven’t a well-functioning maternal bone between us, we have opted to thoughtfully split a pack of these dodgy af imported whitening strips for our respective Christmas presents this year. Any excuse to FaceTime her at 3am with just me teeth out.

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What’re you hoping to find under the Christmas tree? Peace, love and an unlimited Wagamamas card aside, that is… Drop me a comment, you never know: might buy it for ya.

Okay, that’s a lie – but worth a try, no?

 

Review: Netflix Original ‘To The Bone’

August 4, 2017

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Warning: spoilers and potentially triggering content for those suffering with eating disorders.

It’s taken me nearly three weeks to summon the courage to sit down and watch this film. As a former sufferer of Anorexia Nervosa – one of the family of eating disorders that you may recover from, but which never go away – exposure to any material related to restrictive behaviours is usually a surefire trigger. It conjures up memories of sleepless nights binge-watching as many ED documentaries as I could get my hands on in the throes of a relapse, idly stroking my gaping collar bones; proudly exhausted.

However, being fresh out of a relapse around a month ago and in – what I like to think – is a reasonably good place, I thought I’d give it a try. Having read that Lily Collins had suffered from Anorexia Nervosa herself throughout her teens, I marvelled at the strength she must’ve channelled to the lose weight for such a triggering role, without relapsing herself.

The film itself serves to breathe a little life into what is often portrayed and experienced as a pretty lifeless existence, without stirring any prickling sense of glamourisation. It goes beyond the wild-child, untouchable halcyon-days depiction we saw through the likes of Channel 4 Skin’s Cassie Ainsworth; instead opting for a more realistic and well-rounded insight into the characteristically insular lives of those suffering with Anorexia.

Lily’s character – Ellen, or Eli as the film progresses – has been led through a series of in-patient programmes to fruitless ends, leading her step-mother to suggest the unorthodox approach of Dr. Beckham’s (Keanu Reeves) treatment centre. The general gist of the treatment is a reintroduction to the more positive experiences that life has to offer, through a series of sometimes cringe-inducing outings and tasks.

When watching some of the scenes, it can strike as a tad uncomfortably off-the-wall, as we see the world through the eyes of a starving girl’s loose grip on reality. At first, the more hyperreal moments were off-putting and bordered on cheesy, but afterwards I recalled a number of moments during my illness where sheer lack of food would lead to the dissolution of the real world, leading to me wondering whether the kookiness was an intentional art direction or not.

An element of comic relief comes into play with the introduction of the protagonist’s larger than life love interest – a fellow patient on the programme – Luke (Alex Sharp). Luke is a former dancer who suffers from Anorexia and has recently sustained a knee injury, halting his performing whilst subsequently leading to a relapse.

The character lends a well-needed element of humour to the film: from wacky, to naively inappropriate, to refreshingly dark. You root for Luke throughout, hoping he gets the girl, whilst simultaneously tensing up with second-hand embarrassment from his brazen one-liners. Without this character, the film would struggle to lift itself from the drudgery of its central theme.

However, Luke’s character and his eventual influence on Eli’s illness brings up a quietly problematic trope. As the characters become closer and it becomes apparent that there’s a mutual interest, Eli becomes more receptive to getting better. She eats a chocolate bar Luke buys for her and, in the midst of a mental turning point of a fever dream, he is the main spectacle. The film ends with her returning to the in-patient facility and thus, returning to him; implying that she is opening up to help in the light that they will be together.

This strikes as a bit of a ‘damsel in distress’ ending, where the vastly complicated causes behind her illness are cast aside and immediately replaced by this new-found lust for life inspired by a boy. Her family issues are barely resolved and there’s little touching on the guilt Eli harbours after a girl killed herself due to her ED-themed artwork on Tumblr. It would be damaging for an eating disorder sufferer to finish the film with the take-away that all their problems can be fixed by a boy. Perhaps we can hope for a sequel where these are resolved?

This reductionist slant felt almost as demeaning as simply saying “eat” to somebody suffering with an eating disorder. It also begins to feed into the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ trope, when we consider that the last interaction the pair have before Eli runs away is Luke begging her to stay because – after discovering he can no longer dance – he needs her as she’s all he has left. Bit intense after 4 weeks of dating if you ask me, mate.

On the whole, the film was a carefully-crafted representation of a very difficult illness to portray, without dulling itself at the edges for the sake of playing it safe. Presenting well-rounded characters and a consistent lilt of humour throughout, it’s well worth a watch for anyone who would like to understand more about this ruthless mental illness. 7.75/10 (’cause Keanu Reeves was shite).

If you found yourself affected by anything explored within the film, Beat was a great source of insight and help when I was in the darker days of my eating disorder. 

 

The Pessimistic Northerner’s Guide to La La Land

January 20, 2017

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Betraying my usual disdain for anything that falls under the category of ‘musical’, I went to see the critically-acclaimed Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling bonanza that is ‘La La Land’ this evening. Lauded as ‘the most romantic film of the year’, which – let’s face it – isn’t all that difficult considering we’re only twenty days in, the film follows the entanglement of two dreamers living in Hollywood, Mia and Seb.

To give credit where it is due, the film shed its predictable love-story plotline and finished with an altogether inspiring message – for those of us who are hellbent on pursuing our creative endeavours/are as unlucky in love as  Bridget Jones circa 2001 (I, alas, fit snugly into both categories).

Here are the most pressing matters of the film as perceived by a self-professed Northern pessimist (SPOILERS AHEAD):

As cinematographic musicals tend to, ‘La La Land’ throws us in at the deep end by commencing with a traffic jam that results in an all-singing, all-dancing flashmob-y number. A girl does a high kick and flashes her underwear, which is perfectly matched to the shade of her dress. This would not happen on the M6.

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Mia is dragged out to a party by her fellow actress-hopeful housemates, in a bid to arse-lick their way into new casting opportunities. This scene presents a whole host of burning questions. Namely, who the fuck goes out in a flock of colour-blocked dresses and why is nobody shit-faced and why is Mia drinking Lilt at a party? Also why does the party end before a restaurant closes downtown? Unrealistic plot, or bunch of squares?

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I fly my quirky-girl-loving flag high for her but, let’s be real: Emma Stone cannot sing for toffee. And given the consistent musical motif throughout the film, surely you could’ve at least made all the lines rhyme, guys? Bring back that 10/10 Easy A miming scene, ta.

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Will Ryan Gosling convey more than one facial expression this movie? And am I the only female alive who thinks he’s nothing to write home about?

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Three words: Griffith Observatory scene. It can only be hoped that Seb slipped something in their popcorn to induce that pure cringe floaty ceiling-dancing. Nearly vommed up my beer.

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After the onslaught of DIY BDSM following the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, are we going to now see an influx of tap dancing in the street? Will starstruck lovers now start foxtrotting into Greggs after too many pints on a Sunday afternoon?

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Tune in next time when another unsuspecting male lures me away from my pit of solitude to the cinema. xo

Hyperreality and Hashtags: How to navigate Instagram without a body-image crisis

August 9, 2016

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As a platform, Instagram is great. It allows you to catch a glimpse into the worlds’ of your friends, family and those who inspire you across the globe – usually whilst you’re dossing in bed with your phone held precariously above your face, wearing last night’s makeup. Doubly, it allows you to share your own experiences (*cough* selfies *cough*) and manipulate them in a fashion that – 99/100 times – conveys your lifestyle as ‘more’ than its reality.

However, with this opportunity to curate online presences that convey an hyperreal, ‘rose-tinted’ approach to an already media-saturated society, comes an inevitable spike in low self-esteem and body-image issues. With magazines and adverts already bombarding young people with airbrushed images of unattainable perfection, the onslaught of unfathomably beautiful, often very thin girls on Instagram’s Explore function can often be too much to bear.

As someone who has struggled with body-image issues for over a decade, the Explore function had – until recently – been banished to 4am comparison sessions of blood-thirsty self-loathing, which would leave me utterly dysmorphic and disgusted with my own appearance within a matter of minutes. Friends and I would sickly revel in comparing ourselves to girls half a decade younger than ourselves, cursing them for their boyishly skinny figures, berating ourselves for not being as “thin”/”pretty”/”good at makeup” until we’d be sulking into our respective pints.

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But then, finally emerging from some self-professed chrysalis of ‘I-no-longer-give-a-fuck’, I gradually started to realise: it’s all a bunch of bullshit. People are beautiful – yes. Occasionally I will see someone in real life, have a pang of jealousy at their appearance and it will mar my confidence for a fleeting moment. However, I came to realise the frequency at which that happens in reality, is drastically less than the inescapable barrage of ‘beauty’ we encounter whilst perusing our friend the Explore function.

And why is this?

This is because Instagram isn’t real. Just looking into my own profile, I know that I spend a pathetic amount of time manipulating each post. Firstly, there’ll be the act of actually taking the ‘selfie’ (which, as we all know, is initially more like 236 selfies per ‘selfie’), which will subsequently take a good few minutes of narrowing down to about 10-15 shortlisted shots. Let’s not forget that these initial eleventy-million shots will have been taken in a number of different rooms for different lighting, and at a plethora of different angles until my back hurts from subtly jutting my collarbones out. Also, you can bet your sweet life that I don’t take any pictures of my face from head on. All about that tilt, grrrl.

Then, it’s onto my basest of loves, VSCOCAM, for some hxc editing, which is repeated for each of said 10-15 images until I find a couple I can actually get down with. One of Instagram’s built-in filters is applied to about halfway across then I’m good to go.

But, #plotspoiler: I DON’T LOOK LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE. My skin isn’t that clear (I’ll sometimes put an amount of concealer over a spot solely for the sake of the picture, that would look ridiculous face-to-face), my face most definitely isn’t that thin and to be honest, my body isn’t THAT banging (tho’, it’s pretty damn bangin’).

This is just me. Some random fashion-loving writer girl from Instagram who spends a little time working on her pictures. I’m not a fashion blogger, or a celebrity, or an Insta-famous lady who relies on the creation of perfection in her (actual) work, so let’s just imagine the fine-tuning that goes into their snaps.

I’ve met many of the people I follow, and many fashion bloggers who I’ve first encountered on social media, through my old job in fashion – and, whilst they may all be beautiful in their own ways; they seldom make me want to wear a paper bag over my head or starve for a week, like the absolute falsehood projections of Instagram are almost always guaranteed to do. It’s just not real.

I’m a 23-year-old woman who likes to think she’s pretty in-tune with herself these days, despite my struggles with eating disorders and BDD, but imagine the internalised ideas of what ‘beauty’ has become to younger generations growing up on Instagram now…

Just please: when you find yourself in that 4am Instagram comparison pit of doom – stop. It’s not real, and until the day when we’ve all been fitted with futuristic virtual contact lenses, nobody is the walking embodiment of ‘Valencia’ in the flesh. You’re a babe, I’m a babe: we’re all babes.

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Posted by Ebony in Life

4 Ways In Which The NHS Mental Health Service Is Making Us Sicker

April 28, 2016

An uncomfortable cocktail of depression and anxiety has been dubbed the most common mental disorder in the UK at present, the International Business Times reported during Depression Awareness Week (18th-24th April). With around a quarter of the population set to find themselves in the throes of some mental disorder guise in the coming year, the UK’s collective mental health is deteriorating – and quickly. This would be disconcerting enough, had Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt not decided to all but obliterate the mental health budget, slashing a £1.5 million chunk in Manchester recently alone, to make up for a 7m budget shortfall.

Having suffered with a veritable smorgasbord of mental health issues since my early teens, I’ve experienced firsthand the gradual, crushing damage that has been done to the NHS mental health system over the past decade. As someone looking once again for assistance to get myself back on my feet, finding a wall built with more reinforcement than that of my depression itself; it’s become apparent that the their shortcomings are not only failing us by ignoring the issue: they’re worsening it.

So today I thought I’d pull some absolute corkers from my own little collection of frankly terrifying anecdotes, to basically remind you that we’re all absolutely screwed and thanks a fucking tonne for voting the Tories in:

  • Of all the people I know – friends/colleagues past and present/family/Internet folk – I haven’t met a single person who has gone to the GP with a mental health issue and left without being essentially told to ride it out for a couple of weeks and slung a prescription for anti-depressants/anxieties. And this is including people who have attempted suicide or overdosed – of which I know somebody who is STILL waiting for an appointment for psychotherapy MONTHS after the incident…

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  • The fact that GPs are now more hesitant to prescribe antibiotics than they are anti-depressants/anxieties is alarming. That’s before taking into consideration the fact that these mini mind-fucks may sound to a suffering person like a miracle quick fix, but that isn’t always the case. In my third year of university I finally succumbed to the lure of medication after seeing no way out and, upon taking them, found myself 3598347598745% more unwell than before due to an influx of panic attacks and hallucinations…

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  • I once got told “Next time you feel like doing this, just go out with your girlfriends and have a glass of wine!” by a nurse in A&E after self-harming so badly I couldn’t walk properly for a week afterwards. The amount of horror stories flitting around surrounding ineptitude when dealing with those in vulnerable positions is genuinely frightening – especially for those suffering from eating disorders, often sent away from GPs for not being ‘thin enough’ for treatment…

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  • Waiting lists. These were the inspiration behind this post and I could write an entirely separate one solely on this bulletpoint. After finally admitting that I needed a therapist again after 3 years of insisting I was a-ok (funny joke), I recently got myself referred by a GP for a new round of counselling/CBT sessions. After inevitably being thrown a prescription for medication (deftly binned), they told me to contact a service for a telephone triage – which I did. It then transpired, after a very personal and uncomfortable 30 minute interview, that I needed a different service and would need to SELF-refer, despite being initially referred by a GP. I’m now waiting for a self-referral form and have to send that back for consideration before even being placed on the 6 week+ waiting list. This is now commonplace…

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  • The worst part is: it isn’t even their fault. With only 5.5% of the country’s health research budget going into mental health, we’re being set up to fail on a longterm basis. Not to mention a 10.8% decrease in practicing psychiatric nurses across Britain in 2015 alone. Nice one, C-… Hunt.

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If you’ve found yourself in any situation akin to the above, please drop me a comment or tweet me @Ebzo – there needs to be more dialogue about this and less apathy (says the depressive).

You Have Body Image Issues? But You Post So Many Selfies?

April 8, 2016

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If I had a pound for each time somebody asked me this question, I wouldn’t be claiming Universal Credit, put it that way. Assuming that you’re a frequenter of my blog, you may have happened upon a post which outlines my history of eating disorders and poor body image. If not, I would politely recommend you have a gander at the first post as this has a lot to do with the BDD I have surrounding my face shape.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been quite the ardent selfie-taker. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always vehemently despised the shape of my face. If you’re (un)lucky enough to be close to me, you may have had to endure a drunken Ebony sobbing over the fact that “no matter how skinny I get, my face will always be fat” around the 3am point of a night out (sobs, sniffs and chip breaks edited out for concision). If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you’ll find that the vast majority of my tagged photos are of me artfully perched next to a friend, selfie pose initiated, always the one in control of the camera – a stark lack of normal group shots or candid snaps.

For this, and the fact that I post at least one selfie to my Instagram a week, people seem to assume that I’m vain and utterly besotted with my own reflection. My exes have thought it, former frenemies have thought it, even my own mother thinks it – despite watching me physically shrink myself through my eating disorder as a teenager, in a futile bid to burn off the biological shape of my facial bone structure.

I wish this was the case. I wish that every time my nan gleefully brandished her camera and declared it family photo time, I could happily oblige without the fear of subsequently looking at the image and wanting to quite genuinely take a knife to my own jawline (or lack thereof). I wish I could be less uptight and not beat myself up for days after seeing pictures from a party, ruthlessly berating myself for not having the dainty heart-shaped faces of my friends. I wish I could let boyfriends take cute candid pictures of me without getting in a psycho tizz if I look like a glorified moon adorned in red lipstick. I wish my head would let me spend more time caring about things that actually fucking matter in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I feel like a badass bitch and I do everything in my power to internalise the fact that I have a similar face-shape to Dita Von Teese, and she’s an internationally-renowned, bonafide bloody babe. However, even on those days, let somebody pull a camera out and watch how quickly my face contorts, or how I just magically disappear altogether.

So, where do these selfies come in? If I’m such a moon-face, why am I always whoring it out across my social solar system? Why is my Instagram curated solely of my meticulously vsco-cammed pouts, some vegan meal snapshots to profess how endlessly virtuous I am, and a bunch of personally relevant quotes/poems? Am I just completely vapid and shallow?

When I take a picture of my face/body/outfit on Instagram, I’m conforming to the social media standards of externalising my life to look all refined and rose-tinted-glasses, but I’m also striving to internalise a version of myself into my own head – one that isn’t the moon-face. One that has cheekbones and an actual jawline and a face that doesn’t look like it belongs to a podgy 12-year-old. One that hasn’t led me to starve myself or self-harm because I can’t handle the ‘reality’ of it. Given the nature of BDD, whereby I haven’t the frigging foggiest as to what exactly my face-shape actually looks like in person, I tend to use images of myself as a form of body-checking which, in turn, creates an internalised ‘reality’ of what I look like mentally.

By taking all of these staged, angled and filtered up-to-the-nines pictures, and surrounding myself with them – projecting them out to the world – they become ‘me’, and I can just about handle being that ‘me’. If I lived life with the gay abandon of most people who aren’t lunatics and let people take photographs of me here/there/everywhere, I would internalise myself as this fat, satsuma-shaped mess and my self-esteem would baseline, leading to my eating disorder’s immediate resurfacing. Whether that’s what I actually look like, or not.

It may seem delusional, bizarre or just completely fucking stupid, but it’s how I get by day-to-day and it’s just one of the mechanisms I use to help myself get out of bed. If anybody can relate, in any shape or form, kindly leave me a comment or hit me up on Twitter @Ebzo, cause I’m a tad concerned that I sound insane right now. But I beg of you: nobody ask me that fucking question again…

New York Fashion Week: The Picks (Part 1 Marchesa, Ralph Lauren etc.)

February 18, 2016

How better to alleviate an unrelenting sense of FOMO where NYFW’s concerned, than to chime in with my favourite pieces of the season? I’d like to thank the handful of brands/party hosters who emailed me with invites over the past week but alas, I have been stuck in fair Blighty with about ten quid to my name. Maybe next time. Fly me over, yeah?

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MARCHESA

Whilst my day-to-day sartorial uniform consists of trusty black-on-black, catwalk shows that convey more than shapeless beige/tonal shades really resonate with me (*cough* sorry DKNY). The intricate craftsmanship that is endlessly apparent from Marchesa is as close to classic fine art as the fashion world gets. With a floral update from SS16’s focus on glitz and volume, this collection looks like the result of The Great Gatsby throwing a Valentine’s party. And I want an invite.

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RALPH LAUREN

Ralph Lauren was something of a mixed bag this season. Starting off with a theme that conjured images of Gossip Girls’ Blair Waldorf at a 70s throwback school disco; ending on a jewel-toned medley of evening gowns, variation was key. However, the standout looks for me had to be the monochrome offering, with slick tailoring contrasting against exaggerated blouse ruffles – think Adam Ant after a packet of face-wipes and a blow-dry.

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NAEEM KHAN

The first two dresses in this segment are some of the only ‘Ready-to-Wear’ pieces I’ve seen that are plausibly ready-to-wear – though perhaps not whilst you’re mooching around ASDA of a Thursday eve. The geometric cut-outs bring a quirky twist on two somewhat traditional styles, with the velvet of the black dress sending me back to my purple velvet catsuit days of the nineties (I was 10, don’t judge me). The latter styles scream opulence, with another insurgence of roses akin to those of Marchesa, elevating two of my favourite hues – pillarbox red and ebony black – high onto the trend ladder. Yaasss.

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RR331

A label that, admittedly, had never crossed my path before, RR331 surprisingly knocked Proenza Schouler off my list for this rundown. I love a good staple black piece, but my tendency to veer towards safer options is obliterated with this collection and I’m more than willing to take the risk. With asymmetrical hems and outlandish silhouettes, RR331’s ability to remain sophisticated and classic, whilst straddling the kooky and unique, encapsulates the contrasting ethoi of its designers Ralph Rucci and Sander Lak. The former, a veteran American couturier, creates pieces that are driven by exquisite fabrics and lines, whilst the latter – 30 years Rucci’s junior – designs with youth and a casual edge, resulting in this delightfully contradictory pairing.

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Ebony. 24. Manchester.
Freelance Digital Content Editor who likes to mouth off on here about stuff she cares about. Talks to the cat more than people, but seemingly has a lot to say.
ebonylaurenn@gmail.com

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