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My first blog

22nd May 2014

"Well, this feels like it's been a long time coming. My first blog as official patron of SEED. The reason I am patron? Easy. SEED evolved from mine and my family’s battle with my Eating Disorder. My Mum and Dad being co - founders, Dennis and Marg Oaten MBE (Note the 'MBE', yep my Mamma is a special lady...the one of a few people to be awarded an MBE to someone fighting for the care and awareness of Eating Disorders.)

As many of you may know, for 2 and a half years I played the trackie bottomed wearing Rachel Breckle in Emmerdale. One half of Samchel (that being Sam Dingle & Rachel Breckle) where upon I left on screen in January, on a coach, doing a runner after taking the wrap for a fire I didn't start, with my son, who's Dad is Jai Sharma, the husband of Charity Dingle, who is the cousin of Sam Dingle, conceived when he, being Jai, and Rachel did the dirty on the factory floor after too much whisky surrounded by toffees...only in soap eh?!

Upon leaving Emmerdale, Eating Disorder Awareness Week was just around the corner and finally I felt I had the time and the incentive and the courage to speak out about my own personal battle with an Eating Disorder from the age of 10 years old.

My recovery began at around the age of 22 years old. By which time I'd lost half of my life to this awful mental illness. There's the truth. There's the cold hard light of day truth. I was alive but inside I was dead for all those years. To say I'm here writing this blog, as the patron of a charity born out of almost losing my life is nothing short of a miracle.

I'm here now to tell you recovery is possible. IT IS. There's no doubt about it. Please, I implore you, if you ever hear it said or be written on social media, by a fellow sufferer, by a bully or by an imbecile, that it's not - I want you to do me a big old favour and stick your fingers in your ears, sing lalalala and then proceed to sing a song by The Spice Girls or Glee whilst doing a jazz hands shimmy. Trust me, it makes you smile and blocks them out!

I always start writing and struggle to know where to go with it. Then it takes over and I can't stop! But this is going to be a regular 'thing what I do' so I'm going to try and keep this at a nice length, so no snoring please! Ha ha! I suppose what I want you to get from these blogs is comfort, hope and a smile...if you get all three then that really would make me happy indeed (and of course you too!)

Here's the thing you need to know. I aren't just some person off the telly who is preaching to raise a profile and to spout rubbish because one day, once upon a time, I skipped my lunch or made myself 'almost' sick. I am writing because I KNOW this stuff. I have BEEN THERE. I was that daughter. The girl of Marg and Dennis slowly wasting away. I know what it's like to be on bed rest, not allowed to see your family. I know what it's like to talk to a 'therapist' who has absolutely no clue what an eating disorder is. I know what it's like to cry yourself to sleep, never wanting to wake up. I know what it's like to be consumed 24/7 by counting calories, by trying to find a way to exercise, to thinking about the glass of water that just forced its way to my lips. I know what it's like to almost lose it all and die to this monster. I KNOW IT. I also know what it's like to look back.

I also know what it's like to RECOVER. I also know what it's like to LIVE. I'm not here to preach, not ever. That is no right of mine and nor would I want to. I just want to make you feel like you're not alone. SEED and my parents have done this wonderfully. For me personally, they saved me and now they are there for you and your loved ones too. I am the proudest daughter alive.

My first idea for you over the coming weeks is to start reading. Yep, that's all. Read.

It may seem hard and time consuming, but you need a source, you need a clarity. You need pages in black and white, that can't be changed by your mind that is in the control of an Eating Disorder. I absolutely loved and still do love reading 'The Secret' and 'Mindfulness (Finding peace in a frantic world)'.

The reason being they opened my mind, the brought me comfort and they brought and harnessed positivity and an understanding of myself. They helped change my life.

Obviously I have had many therapists along the way, many a family therapy session, paint splattering arty therapy and some weird idea about curling up like your own foetus/regressing therapy (Really!) many a CBT course, and they are all valuable in different ways (Alas, regressing to my foetus wasn't really the way forward for me...I just felt rather blooming silly!)

But these 2 books are starters to YOU taking control and doing something for YOURSELF.

Doesn't that sound marvellous? Even though I am out the other side now, I still read these books. They are paramount in my life. The Secret is all about attracting what you want...the good stuff you want. Sending out that message into the universe and receiving it back. It's about being grateful and never ever wallowing in self-pity.

The Mindfulness book is about finding head space. It's about dealing with the anxiety, the stress and the confusion life can often bring. It helps clear your path. It gives you time for you. There is also an app you can down load where you meditate (bear with's not as pretentious as it sounds!) it's just about having those ten minutes each day for YOU.

How amazing would it feel for just ten minutes a day not to be ruled and controlled by the ED? How amazing would it feel if one day you raised that to 20 minutes, to 1 hour, to 2 days, to ALL YOUR LIFE. Freedom as that guy from Brave Heart once cried. FREEEEEDOM! I digress...was watching it last night!

So my main can do it! That's actually my only point. Let's do this together.

Links are below.

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (on amazon)

Mindfulness A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Dr. Danny Penman (on amazon)

Much love,
Your proud patron Gem xxxx