“She remembered who she was, and the game changed.”

Lalah Deliah


Pimkie Suede Knee High Boot: £51.00

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With my calico rescue cat, Emmy, being put to sleep in October 2022, we started off the year as a family of two with just Luna (my black and white mini-Lionhead lop eared bunny) and I. But when Emmy was put to sleep, I asked the Vet what the best thing would be for Luna and almost without seeming to take the time to think about it, she replied with “get her a friend.” As the weeks went by without Emmy though, I found myself enjoying building a better bond with Luna who had always just spent the majority of her time following Emmy around and had never really been affectionate with me. Without Emmy though, she was now following me around the home (my bunnies are free-roam) and was always stretching up on her back feet to nudge me for a stroke or a cuddle. Then she started taking the cat tunnel in her mouth and running with it in circles; myself and everyone else who either saw when they visited the house or watched my videos of her doing it, laughed and thought it was really cute. But actually; it turned out to have been a form of repetitive behaviour that illustrated boredom and loneliness.

So, in January 2023, I decided to get another bunny (you can read more about adding Gracie in the blog post about her here) because I thought it would be easier to introduce two bunnies rather than trying to have a kitten get to know Luna, and on getting Gracie and introducing the two of them the same day, I was proven to be correct! They bonded almost instantly – I kind of couldn’t believe it, to be honest! I mean, it wasn’t so much the actual bond, just how intense and incredible it was! Like, they were cuddling up together and Luna was washing Gracie within hours of meeting each other! I was absolutely over the moon.

The only difficulty though, after a few months with Gracie being part of the family, was that she and Luna were always off in another room together and I was left sat in the sitting room or bedroom by myself! It was tricky though, because I was very obviously so happy for Luna that she had a little friend – actually, I’d go so far as to say soul mate! – and she seemed to much more settled and content in that she stopped her repetitive behaviour and no longer was always seeming to be searching the entire house for Emmy. With Luna and Gracie forever being together in a different room, I started feeling fairly lonely now and so, I made the decision to get a new kitten, who I hoped would provide me with love, attention, and company!

It actually took me quite a while to find the right kitten (to be honest, this was mostly due to the prices because all those with a fairly low cost weren’t long-haired – which was something I really wanted in the kitten!). However, I finally stumbled on a litter that were all too young leave their Mum yet, but Ruby stood out to me because she had the most gorgeous eyes and she was the only long-haired, silver kitten in a litter of all-black and shorthaired ones – turns out, a cat can have one litter that actually has more than one Father in it! So, we think that’s how Ruby came about!

Having paid the deposit for her, the seller began sending me photos and videos regularly until Ruby was old enough to leave her litter. The fact there were a few weeks to go, also meant I had the opportunity to think up a collaboration with Cats Protection and get their approval and agreement for it. With the decision that it would be made into a short series of posts with one per week for the first month of Ruby being home, I wanted to give the posts a name and so, inspired by the hashtag the charity like to use (#HereForTheCats), we named the collaboration #HereForTheKittens (you can read the intro to the series which was posted on the day I brought Ruby home, here)!

Since getting Ruby home, she has literally done and been everything I wanted in getting a new kitten. I mean, all the way from cuddling in and sleeping with me at night to playing fetch without teaching her to, in bringing toys to me to throw, getting them, and bringing them back to me! One of the most important and helpful effects she has had on me and my mental health though, has been that she’s really massively added to the motivation to want to be at home. I obviously like my home and love being around the bunnies because they never fail to make me smile or laugh, but I didn’t feel a huge pull to being here. Like, if I had to stay in hospital or even just spending the night at a friend’s, I wasn’t hugely missing being home and being with Luna and Gracie, but it’s the complete opposite now I have Ruby! Which really is a good thing for my mental health and safety levels because it means I’m even more reluctant to do anything that will land me in A&E.

This Christmas just gone, it made my heart so warm to see our four stockings full of gifts and hanging from the mantel piece because it was a big reminder that I have a larger team now – that I have two new additions to my support system!



“To me, the model of success is not linear. Success is completing the full circle of yourself”

Gloria Steinem

All the way back in April last year, I received an email from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne, and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s (CNTW’s) Involvement Bank with a request for those on the Bank (service users, ex-service users, and carers) to help Newcastle Hospitals with the creation and development of their new Mental Health Strategy. Having had a number of experiences with one of the Trust’s sites (the Royal Victoria Infirmary aka the RVI) from a patient point of view; I applied to be part of the project…

The attraction for me to this opportunity was mostly centred around my previous, mental health related patient experiences with the Trust. Well, one experience in particular…

In the summer of 2012, upon discharge from yet another psychiatric hospital admission, a Psychiatrist made the recommendation that I be assessed to go into a long-term hospital that specialised in my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). After an assessment with the nearest of those hospitals turned into a refusal to accept my ‘flight risk,’ I was assessed for a psychiatric hospital 127 miles away from home. During the assessment though, they told me the daily schedule of morning meetings, therapeutic groups, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, trauma therapy, medication, reflection meetings, bedtimes etc. and I was so resentful of everything that even though they offered me a bed, I refused to go.

You can read the rest of this incredibly popular post here!


One huge credit to my Mum is that for as long as I can remember, I have felt loved. And, sadly, I recognise how lucky I am to be able to say that because there are so many people in this world who don’t feel that way and are actively struggling with their mental health and other aspects of their life due to thoughts and feelings of being unloved and unwanted. I mean, I’ll tell my Mum thanks for all that she’s done for me, and she used to just think that all parents are this way and that her actions in saving my life and helping me through so many difficult moments are the norm and really should be expected. But, having been in psychiatric hospital a number of times – with the longest admission being two and a half years – I’ve experienced a lot of instances and had many conversations that have given me a lot of knowledge and insight into the relationships that other mental health service users share with their parents and other family members. And I have very obviously witnessed and heard of many instances where a mental health service user is actually struggling in this way because of the lack of care, compassion, kindness, and love that they experience with their family.

Having insight into the fact that there are so many people going through mental difficulties and who are really struggling to stay safe and they’re doing so, without the unconditional love and support I believe and feel that I have from my Mum. Of course, on the one hand this is incredible, and I feel truly honoured and privileged just to be able to say it(!), but it can also often leave me feeling absolutely terrible that my Mum shows all these positive and amazing qualities towards me, and what do I give back? How do I thank her? By continuing to struggle and going on to self-harm again? And that, very obviously isn’t how I want things to be, and that fact then ends up providing me with motivation to try harder and to put more effort, dedication, courage, and passion to get better, to work with professionals to stabilise my mental health, to be rigorous in always taking my medication, and to keep myself safe.

In addition to my Mum’s love and support, another that I’m more than aware I have, is from my best-friends – and most of them were actually at the 10th Birthday Party for I’m NOT Disordered (which you can read about here). I’ve known two of my best friends for over 15 years (Sophie and Lauren) and the other three have been in my life for between/around 5 to 10 years (Martin, Georgie, and Jack).

I’ve always said that one quality of my best friends which I really appreciate, is that they’re each so massively different – in all kinds of ways! – that it means I feel that I gain something different from each friendship.

Sophie: We have a really fun bond that means we’ll sometimes touch on deep things, and she knows a lot about my mental health (Sophie was actually the only friend who drove to see me whilst I was in the psychiatric hospital over 100 miles away!), but we always make something happy, fun, and positive out of things. One of my favourite memories with Sophie was from like… 2011 maybe? And we were trying to do a BBQ and ended up pouring wine on the burgers and being told we were being bad influences for her younger sister! Things have changed so much – inevitably really after knowing each other for so long – and now she’s married (to Craig who is the most perfect other half for her and a total match with her bubbly personality) and has a little girl – Freya – who is literally the epitome of an illustration of just how thoughtful, kind, and funny Sophie is.

Lauren: I went to the hospital in 2012, Lauren and I would see each other multiple times per week; mostly for nights out to be honest! But also, for the odd adventure or activity! We were so close we thought of each other’s families as our second family and felt our homes belonged to both of us. But then I had to go to the psychiatric hospital… Something I haven’t actually said before (not even to Lauren!) is that I think it was so hard leaving her to go into the hospital because our fun and exciting times together were proving to be a really huge contributor to the fact, I wasn’t self-harming every single day.  Like, knowing we had plans to meet up was helpful in motivating me to stay safe, and having such lovely times with her, was great in cheering me up when I was struggling. One element to our friendship is that we don’t ever really talk about mental health, and I think that because I have other best friends who I do talk to about it, not doing so with Lauren isn’t any great issue! I actually really enjoy just sort of, putting all of that to the back of my mind when I’m with her. Like Sophie, Lauren also has a toddler now – Greylan – and she now lives in Coldstream with him and her partner. When she moved it was kind of odd because it wasn’t as though I was in her family home every day but I found that I liked knowing she was just there… Lauren and I definitely don’t talk too often; we obviously like and comment on each other’s content on social media, but what I love is that when we do get together, it’s as though we were never apart. Everything is the same.

Martin: I think it’d be fair to say that Martin (of the mental health blog: and I’s friendship is the most balanced out of all of my best-friends because it’s very rare that something happens – particularly something mental health related – that I either don’t want to tell him or don’t feel that I can. We’ve also had so many very fun adventures together! For this past year, my favourites were definitely our trip to Alnwick Gardens in June (you can watch the reel for it here), and visiting the Whitley Bay Christmas Market at the end of November (you can also see the reel for that here and the blog post detailing my purchases and all the links for the sellers here). I think the most incredible – to me, at least – quality to our friendship though, can sound a bit superficial; so, stay with me whilst I explain, ok? It’s the fact that he’s a blogger too! It kind of goes without saying that I’m NOT Disordered is one of the most meaningful and important things in my life! And, having started blogging (in 2013) when the industry really wasn’t even an industry, and with the mindset that I was only creating my blog to communicate with family and friends whilst in the hospital miles away from them, I didn’t recognise that it might become really helpful to have someone in my life who truly understood blogging. I mean, I had no idea it would become so special to me, and to have Martin to lean on when I need to throw some ideas around, to help me find – and provide me with some himself – inspiration, or to turn to for advice; is hugely relieving and comforting. Ironically, regardless of having over 1.2 million readers, blogging can still be a lonely business, and not only does Martin understands that, but he also actively helps to reduce that notion.

Georgie: Unfortunately, Georgie wasn’t able to come to the party, but she’s more than earnt a little bit about her on this post! Georgie and I actually met in a very… unusual way, maybe? She was actually my Support Worker a good many years ago and from the moment we met we kind of clicked and we would always say that if we had met in different circumstances then we would’ve been friends. So, when she left the organisation, it seemed almost natural that we keep in touch, but to be honest, I didn’t imagine we’d become as close as we have. When you think about it though – when you think about all the things we have in common and the sarcastic and dark sense of humour we share – it actually sounds quite obvious that we would be best-friends! Do you know what it makes me think of? Automatic. Like, from the moment we met we were automatically going to be best friends and it leaves me with this saying my Nana used to believe that everything happens for a reason. The organisation Georgie worked for was massive – tons of staff and tons of service users – so what were the actual chances of us being allocated to each other?! It’s kind of like a sign! So, for me, the most important part of our friendship is that… Well, in all things to do with mental health; a very popular school of thought is that no one quite knows what another person is thinking, feeling, experiencing… This is something I’m a huge believer of and typically in complete agreement, but from the vast number of conversations Georgie and I have had together about our mental health, our thoughts, our feelings, our experiences? Well, I feel somewhat certain – in both sad and in reassuring ways – that she truly ‘gets it.’ She’s ‘been there.’ And it’s hard because on the one hand it almost physically hurts my heart to know that someone, I love has even the remotest of understandings of the thoughts, feelings, and experiences I’ve had. But, on the other hand, it’s massively comforting and reassuring to know I’m not the only one going through all of…  this.

Jack: Unfortunately I really can’t remember how Jack and I first met or got to know each other; but it was obviously around 2015 because he wrote a guest post for I’m NOT Disordered (which you can read here)! After that though, we really didn’t keep in touch – I mean we were still listed as ‘friends’ on social media and gave each other the odd ‘like’ on our posts, but we didn’t have any full-on conversations or private messages. And then, I was invited to the Staff Excellence Awards for my local mental health NHS Trust: Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust in September 2022 (you can read our event collaboration post here). I was seated on the Governor’s table and Jack being a Governor and Corporate Engagement Assistant, meant I was sat beside him and oh my goodness did we have fun?! It was like we’d been best friends for years and years! We both have the same sense of humour – sarcastic and witty – so spending time with him, in general and not just at the event, brings so much light to my life. He’s actually pretty much the most fun-loving, positive, excitable person I know! And I honestly believe that everyone should have at least one person who is like that in their lives. Caring about Jack has meant I was so so so chuffed for him when he confided in me that he was going to propose to his boyfriend! I think that when you think your best friends are the greatest people in the entire world, it means so much to see that someone else thinks that too – so thank you Spencer, for bringing so much love, compassion, kindness, and positivity to Jack’s life. And, thank you to Suzanne (Jack’s Mum) not only for coming to my blog’s Birthday Party and the YND Publication party, but for bringing Jack into this world and for helping to shape him into the person he is today, because he has truly made the world a better place for so many people.

A final shout out to a really good friend and lovely person: Rachel, who actually came to both the 10th Birthday Party and the You’re NOT Disordered Publication Party! I’ve known Rachel since Middle School but when we went to separate High Schools we lost touch, but over the last few years she has been massively supportive of all my projects and collaborations etc. with I’m NOT Disordered. Rachel also works with CNTW and has actually given me and my blog a mention a few times to be involved in various opportunities with the Trust and her colleagues in particular. It’s so lovely to have someone be this supportive and compassionate but who has known you since before all of the mental health ‘stuff’ started so I feel like she has a good insight into who I am because she’s seen the before and after.  

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