Third Way

By February 28, 2014 Blog

  Man up Look up Give up Suck it up Hold fast Buckle under Soldier on Hand it over Cave in Push through Take heart Break down Dig deep Hold on Bail out Step up Stand firm Back down Share…

The Gift

By February 27, 2014 Blog

A friend of mine is in the psychiatric wing of a hospital. She’s been there for a long time now and we don’t know when she’ll come out. I call her. She’s tired – I can hear it in her voice – and the drugs she’s taking are making her very sick. She can’t leave her room, let alone the building. ‘It’s sunny’ I say. She replies with the ghost of a laugh: ‘Is it? That’s nice’. We talk.  About the …Read More

The Myths of Perfectionism

By February 26, 2014 Blog

1. It makes me into a better person. Actually, no. It makes me more of an ass.  Grumpier. More critical.  More self-focused. And lonely (because ‘friends’ are actually competition). 2. It helps me perform. The truth? It stops me even trying. 3. I feel better knowing that I’ve done my best. When has your best ever been good enough? 4. It protects me from feeling ashamed or judged. Right. Nothing as cheering as repeatedly falling short of my own ridiculous standards. …Read More

Peace in an Age of Anxiety

By February 26, 2014 Blog

Scott Stossel is the successful and influential editor of American magazine, ‘The Atlantic’.  He studied at Harvard and has written an acclaimed biography of Sargent Shriver, the brother-in-law of John.F.Kennedy. Stossel lives in an affluent Washington suburb with his beautiful wife and two beautiful kids. In the world’s eyes, he’s an unqualified success. Yet since the age of two, he has been dominated by anxiety and fear. Fear has marked (and marred) the most significant events of his life: dates, …Read More

Going Live

By February 25, 2014 Blog

This Sunday eve I’ll be talking to the folks at Premier Radio. It’s going to be live, so I would really, really appreciate your prayers. There’s a phone-in (see below) if you have questions. (Example: ‘Emma, I’ve just read your amazing book and it Changed My Life.  Is it true that you can get for the bargain price of  X at bookstore Y? What a Billy Bargain.’ Or: ‘Who’s your favourite Cluedo character?’ ) If not, then I guess you …Read More

Silencing Self-Harm

By February 24, 2014 Blog

An email I received after yesterday’s post, (quoted with permission): “I just read your post from yesterday and I just wanted to say I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. I go to a private school and self-harm is not spoken about enough.  I’ve recently been isolating myself a lot more after I was told I had to wear a cardigan under my blazer because I have scars on my wrist. I also have a friend at another …Read More

Protecting the Brand

By February 23, 2014 Blog

“A silent epidemic of anorexia is sweeping through the country’s top independent schools, affecting thousands of teenage girls, experts say. Girls from aspirational families are the “fastest-growing” group using mental health services as they struggle to cope with the pressure to achieve top grades, according to psychologists. Mental health charities say that many of the top private schools are in denial about the scale of the problem because they do not want to damage their brands”. The Times, 22 Feb …Read More

Left Behind

By February 21, 2014 Blog

Last night my mum came to stay.  It was lovely.  But now, I’ve got the Lefties. Not left-handed or left-wing or left-hooked.  Left behind. A big hole in the universe where she ought to be. And empty – like I’ve been evacuated too. Going to uni, I was determined to leave home and counted down the days – but when I did, it felt like my chest had been scooped out. Mum and dad, peeling me from the car seat, like …Read More

Life After

By February 20, 2014 Blog

Yesterday I wrote on the struggles you can face when addictions no longer have their old power.  They’re not always the ones you expect. Here’s a great example from ‘A Marriage In Recovery’, published in the Guardian, May 2013 Life after rehab: my husband, the alcoholic: “As I pulled into the sweeping drive of the Priory to collect my husband after he had completed the 28-day recovery for addiction programme, I was elated. We hugged, cried and did all the things that …Read More

How To Be Sad

By February 19, 2014 Blog

Glen asked if I was depressed, but I don’t think so. Depression is darker, emptier. I think I’m just sad. I have a very low sad threshold. When I’m watching a film and it looks like the bad thing will happen, I leave or press stop. I’d like this to stop too. But I’m not sure how to turn it off. In the past I’d stop eating. I’d go running or go to bed.  I’d work.  I’d write lists. I’d …Read More