Buck Bond Group
Have you ever?

Have you ever?

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Have you ever had that moment in your life, when you know things are never going to be quite the same again?

That fight or flight moment…only to realise you can’t run anywhere … as you need to be the one to listen, to help, or to lead the battle.

Eight years ago, I had that precise moment.  My world stopped turning when my beautiful, outgoing and clever 16 year old daughter became dangerously ill with Anorexia.  Just as she was due to complete her A levels, she went from being her beautiful, confident bubbly self to a tiny frail child. Lost inside a mental illness.

Even in the last eight years, we have come a long way in terms of accepting mental illness and where we can go to talk. It’s not an easy fix, it’s not just pulling yourself together, and it may never fully go away.  There are so many myths and preconceptions surrounding an illness like this, which I have learnt are untrue.  It is just like any other physical illness – you don’t choose to have it; it chooses you.

I spent many late nights trawling though the internet looking at terrible statistics on Anorexia, scaring myself silly seeing that it holds the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.

I began emailing professionals all over the country to reach out for expert advice, options and just understanding and help. I found it so incredibly hard to obtain.  The NHS is overwhelmed and education around these types of illness is very limited.

My daughter never wanted to be thin and Anorexia isn’t about that, but people including myself didn’t understand.  I thought I could fix her, as any parent would – but where to start?

That fight or flight moment.  Such a scary feeling – when you call for an ambulance as your daughter has passed out in the bathroom… When you find yourself walking through the front door to an eating disorder clinic – and they lock the door behind you … When you must patiently spend two hours reassuring her that nothing bad will happen if she eats that slice of toast.  Fight or flight.

Whilst I was balancing all of this – hospital appointments, late nights, worry and not wanting to talk to anyone about what was happening – the managing director of the company I worked for at the time called me into his office, and personally gave me the telephone number of the Employee Assistance Programme.  He gave me permission, that I wouldn’t have given to myself, to use everything and everyone around me in the fight for my daughter.

My managers fully supported this and I was given the help to choose fight over flight, and to talk to those around me when I needed to.  I’m forever grateful.

Thankfully, I am so fortunate to say that we got the help and support we desperately needed for our extremely brave daughter.  She is now in her fourth year of medicine, enjoying every placement, and teaching ballet dancing to five years olds on Saturday in The Welsh Valleys.  She enjoys a huge social life with friends from both school and university. She has a special quality of understanding others, the biggest smile, and the most caring heart. I know she will make an amazing doctor and I am incredibly proud of her.

She also still has ongoing support from health professionals, and the lines to obtain help if she needs it – recovery from any mental illness is not a linear path.

I think it’s fair to say at some point in our lives we will all experience that moment.

That moment when we suddenly need some support, advice and help.

There are so many places we can get that help from.  The resources are there, and often they are in our workplace. …we just need reminding and signposting.

I wanted to take the opportunity to share this soon after National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.  Now more than ever, mental health and employee wellbeing needs to be given focus and exposure, and this can be supported far more through resources such as Employee Benefits.

It’s something I believe passionately about.  Anyone at a desk, out on the road, or in their place of work could need that support right now.  Let’s share that, and make it happen.