Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, either from suicide or other medical complications associated with the illness. Anorexia occurs when a person does not allow themselves access to food which provides the required energy and nutrition for a healthy life. This condition is not always connected to dieting, and may be rooted in deep seated feelings of self-hatred or low self-esteem.
This condition is characterised by behaviour which includes binge eating (eating large amounts of food at one sitting) frequently followed by purging (getting rid of the food just eaten). Weight loss or gain is not noticeable and therefore the condition can go on for many months or years without loved ones or work colleagues being aware.
Binge eating is when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time.
1. Find your confidant – choose the person you feel most comfortable opening up to. It does not have to be someone within Chambers or your place of work. Some people might prefer to talk to someone that does not know them or their situation.
2. Good timing – try to find a time that suits you both, and when you can discuss it privately. Also take into account any looming deadlines, or potential conflicts in your schedules.
3. Prepare for others’ reactions – This is a difficult conversation to have. People may be pleased that you feel comfortable enough to open up, but they may be shocked, upset or dismissive. Try and give people the time to process it, as they may be worried about the impact of their words and actions on you going forward.
It is quite difficult to overcome your feelings and manifestation of self-harm on your own. As well as speaking to someone you trust about this issue, it is important that you also seek professional support and help as soon as possible.
Some avenues to consider are:
1. Think – before you approach someone, think. Do not assume, but think of kind things you will say so that you are not caught off-guard if they are defensive. Remember that they may be dealing with a number of stressful factors (pupillage applications/pupillage), and the last thing you want to do is add to their burden with any judgment. Consider: are you best placed to speak to them, or is there someone more appropriate who knows them better or can relate in a more effective way?
2. Timing – try to find a time that suits you both, and when you can discuss it privately. Also take into account of their schedule, and any looming deadlines.
Be patient – they may not feel comfortable opening up from the outset. Do bear in mind that this might be the first time they have to confront their issue, so be patient.
The information and resource packs above are designed to help you during a very specific period in your training to become a barrister. If you want to provide feedback on these resources, or to get involved in promoting wellbeing amongst those in a similar position to yourself please get in touch.
Training to become a barrister is pressured and demanding. Intensive competition for limited pupillages (and when in pupillage for tenancy or employment) can make collegiate relationships difficult. This website aims to provide you with the knowledge to manage those stressors, make emotionally informed, wise decisions and hopefully thrive in your chosen profession.
A simple expression that sums up wellbeing is ‘travelling well’
2 in 3 barristers feel that showing signs of stress equals weakness