Depression and meds are bad enough, but losing weight on a paltry 200 cal diet proved the ultimate injustice — at least I have my scrapbook … 


For twelve days, I was starved. Ok, so I don’t mean Jesus in the desert (or whoever it was) kind of starved, but near enough. I went to what the GP called a ‘health farm’. If that sounds like the title of a bad horror movie, it’s because this was a horror story of my own. The main reason I went to this place was to lose weight. For those of you that know me, you’ve probably noticed that over the past nine months or so, I’ve put on a considerable amount of weight. I’d probably be considered obese by the NHS but not necessarily by the casual observer.

The reason for this weight gain can most likely be ascribed to the anti-depressants I take. I’m not one to shift blame, and as most of you know, I am honest to the point of rudeness (once telling a friend’s mother she looked ‘like a mum’.) However, many anti-depressants have been clinically proven to increase appetite and therefore cause weight gain.

Depression isn’t, contrary to popular belief, limited to being a mental illness. Far from it. It can manifest serious physical repercussions, such as extreme fatigue, muscle aches, back pain, headaches and  erratic sleep patterns.

The health centre, more like a comfortable prison, was designed to detox, replenish and give you ‘a new awareness of life’ — their words not mine. There were blood tests, vitamin infusions, Epsom salts, massage and a sauna, amongst the array of treatments and tortures. Whilst the staff were lovely and my fellow guests pleasant, the food was a whole different ball game. Like rounders to ping-pong. A typical day’s diet went something like this: sheep’s yoghurt with buckwheat bread, which I hated, soup and then broth. That’s all. I kid you not. The ration was 200 calories a day. I vomited on a daily basis. But in twelve days, I lost almost a stone, so apparently fasting works. Who knew?

I started scrapbooking a few years ago, on an interrailing trip. I collected odd bits and bobs; tickets, receipts, maps, postcards. Anything I could get my hands on. I even sunk as low as sticking in a cigarette butt. Anything goes in my (scrap)book. I’ve included a few photos of some of my favourite pages. Scrapbooking gave me something to occupy my troubled mind, something concrete to focus on whilst my mind slowly fell apart. (Hey, I’m about to start studying drama, might as well get in the dramatic mood, eh?) I recommend for anyone to have a go. Doesn’t matter in what form. Maybe writing in your scrapbook is more your thing. Or photos. Scrapbooking, unlike some other hobbies, does not confine or restrict you, instead it liberates your creativity.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

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