Updated: Mar 4
As it's Eating Disorder Awareness Week, we have a special guest blog post from Clare Good who is a Senior Associate in the Disputes team at Capital Law. She will be doing her first ever marathon next month in aid of Mental Health Research UK. Find out why mental health is an issue so close to her heart below.
On 23 April 2023 I will be taking part in the London Marathon for Mental Health Research UK. To say I am scared is an understatement!
I want to give some background about me and my story to provide context on why I (a cyclist!) have found myself agreeing to run 26.2 miles...
When I was a teenager, I suffered from an eating disorder. When I look back it doesn’t really feel like it happened to me – I was floating through life at that time, with my brain and body taken over by the eating disorder. Luckily, that version of me is nowhere to be seen in the current me.
But getting to where I am now was not easy. The treatment offered was focused primarily on ‘fixing’ the physical side effect of the eating disorder – getting me to a ‘healthy’ weight and ticking it off as a success. There was no real plan or treatment in place to deal with the mental side of it. This is a mental health issue that has such a drastic physical impact – but only treating (or focusing on) the physical side leaves one lost and, in a spiral, likely to have continuing issues.
The time after regaining weight is often the hardest part: you are no longer seen as having an issue. You’re discharged and left to work it out for yourself. This is no criticism of the professionals who are there to help – I had an amazing dietician, and I could not have recovered without her help. But I lost the years after I was deemed ‘healthy’ because no one knew what to do with me.
I am so lucky that I found a love for life. A love for riding my bike. This helped me reframe my relationship with food. With my body. With my mind. At a time when I felt lost and didn’t think I’d ever feel normal again. Exercise cannot (and should not) replace properly funded and researched treatment, but it can be a vital element of recovery and also for the prevention of mental health problems.
I never thought I would fall in love with running. But signing up for this challenge has made that happen. Don’t get me wrong; it hurts, and it is exhausting training to push your body to extremes. But it is also a time to sit (/run!) with your thoughts. It’s peaceful, and it’s a time I use in order to find clarity. It’s now added to the toolbox of things that help prevent me from ever going back to where I was when I was unwell. That said, if you ask me after the marathon, I may say I want to burn my running shoes…!
I really hope that doing this marathon helps to get much-needed donations for Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK). I also really hope that my taking part, and the fact that I’m raising money for MHRUK which seeks to make a long-term difference, can provide others with some hope. If you are currently being impacted by a mental health problem, you may feel like there is no way out and your life will always be that way – but I am proof that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can beat it, and you can enjoy life again.
If you would like to donate to give Clare a boost in her marathon challenge, you can sponsor her here: https://2023tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/clare-good
Clare Good is a Senior Associate in the Disputes team at Capital Law. Clare heads up Capital’s internal Mental Health & Wellbeing Committee and provides training to colleagues on how to prevent mental ill-health in the workplace.