Insanity: A Beginner’s Guide

By February 28, 2011 Blog

I’ve been reading about the history of mental health and it’s fascinating. Here’s a very, very potted, vastly oversimplified version, with my apologies to anyone who really knows anything about it: Thousands of years ago our ancestors reckoned that demons and evil spirits could get in through our heads. The earliest sort of brain surgery was called ‘trepanning’ and involved cutting a circular hole in the head to let the evil spirits out. What’s most surprising about this is that …Read More

Fitness First?

By February 26, 2011 Blog

Statistics claim that 1 per cent of the population is affected by an addiction to exercise. But when does a healthy pursuit become an addiction? A juggernaut that starts as a way of coping with life and ends up taking it over? The term originated with Dr William Glasser after he studied long-distance runners in 1976. Glasser noted that many of them felt depressed when they couldn’t train.  He concluded that there’s such a thing as a positive and a …Read More

Good Fear

By February 25, 2011 Blog

So what does the Bible have to say about fear? Well, it talks about it in two ways – there’s a good fear and a bad one. The good one is this –  ‘fear of God’. That doesn’t mean just being plain scared of Him.  Instead it’s recognising the Lord for who He is – and giving Him the reverence and glory He deserves.  God’s not an extension of the bullying boss or absent Father.  But as Christians, we can …Read More

Facing Our Fears

By February 24, 2011 Blog

What are you afraid of? If you’re anything like me,  (neurotic), the list runs into the hundreds. Currently, clowns and long-haul travel are topping the charts.  Imagine being trapped on a plane with a clown.  Just thinking about it I need a lie-down and some tablets ending in ‘pam’. In a 2005 Gallup poll a national sample of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15 were asked what they feared the most. The question was open ended and participants …Read More

When Granny Won’t Eat

By February 22, 2011 Blog

It’s a common misconception that eating disorders are the province of the young. Although anorexia nervosa is most commonly associated with teenage girls and young women, research shows that it is increasingly likely to occur in the elderly – and that eating disorders in the elderly are more deadly, accounting for 78 per cent of all anorexia deaths. This is exacerbated by the fact that the disorder is hard to diagnose in the older population, largely because many elderly people …Read More

The Wonder of Moi

By February 21, 2011 Blog

Socrates famously observed that, ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’.  (That’s the sum total of my Socratic knowledge, but it’s left me feeling pretty smug, let me tell you). Yet perhaps the over-examined life is just as useless. More specifically, I wonder if the process of ‘life-tracking’, can actually replace the business of living. What do I mean? Well, I’m not saying that self-analysis is bad in itself.  (For starters, if that’s the case then I’ve just talked myself …Read More

True Story

By February 20, 2011 Blog

So you’ve got a really good mate.  She’s had it tough for years now – alcoholism, depression and now anorexia.  Recently things have come to a head and they’ve taken her to the Mater to stop her dying.  They’re keeping her alive, but the future looks bleak.  You don’t know where to turn – but at this stage, you’ll try anything. Then you hear about this guy.  He’s a preacher of some kind – but more to the point, word …Read More

Liquid Lunch

By February 19, 2011 Blog

‘Drunkorexia.’ It’s a silly term that was originally coined to describe the behaviour of skinny celebrities who appear to survive on nothing but booze. However, such behaviour is not contained within Holywood. The word is now used to describe someone using the same methods as anorexia or bulimia – restricting food intake to reserve calories for alcohol and binge drinking. Unsurprisingly, this is most common at college – but though the behaviour may start here, it doesn’t necessarily end with …Read More

Great Expectations

By February 17, 2011 Blog, identity

I’ve been reading about an interesting book by historian Stephanie Coontz on the long-term impact of Betty Friedan’s feminist classic, ‘The Feminine Mystique’.  Although pro-marriage, Friedan’s argument was that many of the traditional values and roles given to women were oppressive and harmful. Her book created a storm of controversy and Coontz argues that the ripples of this are still being felt today. Whilst I don’t swallow all of Friedan or Coontz’s arguments,  they both make some  interesting observations.  Coontz …Read More


By February 15, 2011 Blog

Self-control is a concept I’ve grown to hate.  Mainly because for most of my life, it’s been my Master.  And not a kind one either.  A slave driver, urging and chastising, inciting me to ever-increasing heights of proud performance and nadirs of self-contempt. I’ve spoken in the past about how anorexia for me anyway, was all about exercising control.  Even when the rest of life seemed overwhelming and confused, my body was a safe sphere I could dominate, shape, carve …Read More