Archives for February 2016

February 28, 2016 - No Comments!

#DearYoungerMe – #EDAW2016

For Eating Disorders Awareness week,  we asked our awesome community what they would tell their younger selves about living with an eating disorder. Here is some of the awesome and inspiration things they said! Names have been removed. Read the encouraging things they would tell themselves below:


#DearYoungerMe "Getting the perfect body isn't important and don't listen to the bullies


#DearYoungerMe try to participate in gym and not let yourself be brought down by bullies comments

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February 26, 2016 - No Comments!

Naked & Invisible

0895d8fb-3743-4f1e-8b7d-f7da2a51f8f2Leyah Shanks - TalkLife ambassador
Curva Magazine columnist

Back in August 2015, I had the sheer pleasure of working with Showem Entertainment and body painting extraordinaire Carolyn Roper for a ‘Channel 4 Shorts‘ series called ‘Naked & Invisible’.

When I was initially approached about the project which involved me getting basically naked on the streets of London and having my body painted to blend into a background, I felt nothing but excitement. The series aimed to centre itself around positive body image which of course, appealed to me like bananas to a monkey. I feel that when you want to make a point, you’ve really got to go out there and make a point. This was an amazing platform to do so and it was such a brilliant team of people to do it with. When I told friends and family, they’d say things like “you’re so brave!” and “aren’t you even a little bit scared?” To which, I had no other genuine response than “no”. The opportunity to both promote body positivity AND destigmatise real naked human bodies was something that gave me butterflies. The really, really good kind! Even just being asked to be a part of something so magical humbled me no end. Five years ago, nay, even two years ago, I would have cackled at you whilst ferociously shaking my head if you’d asked me to do something like this. And I certainly would not have believed you if you’d told me I’d be doing it now. There was never any question in my mind over whether or not I should or felt brave enough to do it. Bravery never even came into it. It was something that I absolutely had to do. And I’m so glad that I did. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life to date.

It feels like an age ago but also like it was just yesterday. The whole day we spent shooting was a very busy and simultaneously fun one. I awoke at around 5:30am in order to prepare myself for the first part of the shoot: the on camera interview. *GASP!* Somewhat ironically, this was the part of the day that made me the most nervous. I find talking on camera very daunting. I’ve always had terrible stage fright and get extremely anxious in situations like that. But Simon and his crew were a dream and made it so easy for me. As did the lush salmon and scrambled eggs I had for breakfast. NOM. The interview is not shown on screen in the 3 minute film, instead, it’s used as a voice over. I absolutely love how it’s been edited together. It really gets my message across.

0531079a-a425-4985-b55f-184f6c45eac7After the interview came the even funner bit – stripping in a phone box on the street! With two cameras on me, I stripped down to my pants in front of passers by and emerged to take my place in front of where I would eventually disappear. It was incredibly freeing to rid myself of all my clothes and underwear in a public place. I’ve never felt so liberated! I wanted to go full on burlesque star strip tease, but I’m way too awkward for that. One step at a time, eh. At first, before the paint really started to build up and it was evident that I was indeed a naked human being out in public, the reactions really surprised me. I was fully expectant and prepared for negative comments. Those who would take it upon themselves to tell me that I ought to be ashamed of myself. A naked woman who has not been Photoshopped? THE HORROR! And that what we were doing was in bad taste. Women are not supposed to be naked unless it’s in aid of a man, ya know. But there was none of that. We certainly attracted some double takes which under the circumstances is to be expected, it’s not every day you see something like this! There was a group of men in a van who drove past us (deliberately slowing down and hovering once they caught sight of my nakedness) and thought it would be humorous to shout “tits out!”. Which they then proceeded to do for a second time. The crew and I found it pretty funny. Up until this point, none of us had any idea that I was naked. So, thanks guys!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Scotland (where I’m from) – we don’t get much of a Summer. Well, more accurately, we don’t get Summers full stop. We basically get Winter and Autumn twice a year. So, the temperature in London in August at the time of filming was incredibly warm for me, I was sweltering! It’s ironic how much warmer I was without clothes than I was with them. Soon, the paint started to run off me and patches of my skin were making a mockery out of Carolyn’s work. The under boob sweat was not a pretty or comfortable sight. I’m so Scottish that I actually managed to sunburn UNDERNEATH all of that paint. And it had an SPF in it. Good job I love my country…

The whole process was incredibly humbling and freeing. To go from being so out there, as a naked person in a public place beside a very busy road, to virtually invisible in a few hours was an experience that I can’t really put into words. It almost felt like an outer body experience. It made me feel quite emotional at times. Throughout my childhood and into my teens I would have given literally anything to become invisible and merge into the background. Doing this was a shout out to my younger self and everyone else who thinks that life would be better if they were invisible. It reaffirmed my love of the diversity of human beauty and made me even more determined to redefine the term ‘perfection’.

Watch the full story here...

If you haven’t heard of TalkLife, it’s where you find friends and a place to belong. There’s a huge community of people like you, who understand. Download for free on your Apple or Android device.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, and potentially at risk of self harm or suicide, it is important to seek professional help NOW. Click here for links to emergency help.

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February 24, 2016 - No Comments!

Eating the Feelings I can’t share

headshot.jpgMental health superhero living in Toronto.
She hates stigma and loves coffee. Follow her @asraimun

I have spent the last five plus years of my short life being completely submerged in the world of mental health advocacy. I have also spent five years battling Binge Eating Disorder.

Typing those words even shocks me, so to my family and friends who are going to be upset with me for not telling them. I am sorry.

In my world, I am seen as recovered. I am quite literally put on stage to inspire people to keep trying. To let audiences know that recovery is possible and, more importantly, worth it. When I started speaking in 2010, I felt that I had conquered depression, anxiety, and suicide. At that time, I was surrounded by friends, succeeding in university (after nearly failing out in first year), and finding my voice in advocacy and on stage.  I was getting attention I never thought would be possible for someone like me. Someone who never had a lot of friends, didn’t accomplish very much of anything, and seemed to always walk a different way then everyone else.  I started to fall in love with how the people saw me (well the parts of the world who wanted to listen to me anyways).
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February 23, 2016 - No Comments!

What is TalkLife Connect?

In my first blog in December 2015, I introduced myself and right at the end I gave a little teaser about TalkLife Connect. Now that it’s been going for two months, I thought I’d write a little about what TalkLife Connect is and how it's going.

In December I predicted that the service was:

“going to be amazing, we are going to break all the barriers of traditional therapy by allowing users to instant message with a therapist in their own time, at their own pace, without needing referrals from doctors, without a confronting face to face session. The service isn’t free though and is only going to be available to over 18’s, but will be groundbreaking.”

Well I’m really pleased to say that now that we have launched and we are well into it, I think my prediction in December was right. In fact, all of those things are true! Read more

February 01, 2016 - No Comments!

The “danger” of hope


Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality. ~Jonas Salk

Why does hope feel so dangerous?

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot in the last week or so.

Two or three years ago I had planned to do an interstate day trip – about an hour’s flight – not only for the challenge it would pose to my crippling agoraphobia and generalized anxiety, but with the added purpose of renewing one of my passports. Unfortunately (perhaps in some ways predictably) the morning of the trip I chickened out, self-doubt and a thoroughly undermanaged anxiety disorder leading me to believe that the goal was impossible. This of course led to a period of frustration and hopelessness - there’s nothing like the hit your self-esteem gets when you choose to back out of something you’ve been planning for a while.

Last week however, years and a lot of personal development later, I actually did go on that same trip I’d planned to do back then. Read more