Four years ago, I began taking antidepressants for the first time. It was about 18 months after my first major depressive episode, and I still didn't feel like myself. I'd tried counselling (let's just say it inspired the title of my book, My Sh*t Therapist). I was eating well.
Journalist Michaelle Thomas suffered her first depressive episode back in 2013. Desperate to'fix' herself she read everything she could - but found everything she turned to "patronising, depressing and frankly bone-dry". So, she decided to write her own book about her own experiences. What's the difference between a natural, normal response to trauma and pathological mental illness?
A new spirit has arisen from the desecration of a commemorative mural, says Welsh writer Michelle Thomas
15 things you need to stop putting on your Tinder profile
18 Feb 2016
If you describe yourself as sapiosexual, remember that Jimmy Saville was a member of Mensa. If you value intelligence over empathy, compassion, or humour, you might be better off with a prison pen-pal than a real-life human companion.
2. Just another “____” in London!
Just another profile too dull to read beyond the headline!
3. Been hurt too many times / Are there any nice girls out there?
I recently saw a profile with the headline “lonely, pessimistic and desperate for love”. Don't. Just don't. Bitterness doesn't make you look sensitive. Self-pity doesn't make us want to be the one to “fix” you. It just highlights the one common denominator in all your failed relationships – you.
4. I never know what to write / Just ask!
Sure, out of the 30,000 people on this app, YOU'RE the one special enough for me to care!
5. If you don't look like your profile pics, you're buying the drinks until you do!
Usually from guys who've uploaded seven group shots and one close up so grainy it could be Eddie Redmayne, or Dean Gaffney.
Giving myself a sporting chance
26 January 2016
I’ve finally finished the NHS running podcast. It’s meant to take nine weeks to get you running 5k in 30 minutes. Last week, after six months of regular running, I ran my first 5k. It took 40 minutes. And I couldn’t be more chuffed.Back in 1993, my school report said, “Michelle is eight years old going on 40.” I’m a ponderous, cautious, old-headed kid who doesn’t mix well with others my age. I live entirely in my own brain, in books, in stories.
I’ve no interest in the kinetic world – I want to move as little as possible. I really want one of those reclining beds for old people that I’ve seen in adverts. I quite like the idea of being an invalid. Having a body seems like a very tedious bit of life admin. I discover I’m fat when I’m nine years old. I am informed of the fact by a girl in my year: “Michelle, I’d be lying if I said you weren’t fat.”
It’s so unfair. I don’t like having a body. Other people don’t like my having a body. So I begin to pretend I simply don’t have one. I ignore it, try to disappear into the background as best I can, and keep my head down and buried in a book.
In my teens, I grow to fear and abhor physical exercise. I feel like a different species from every other girl in my year. The most popular girls are the sprightly, sporty ones (one of whom has such body confidence that she wears a blue and yellow Adidas three-stripe two-piece to our swimming lessons, like Sporty Spice).
Being that we’re in rural Wales, there are many, many girls who live on farms. Girls who can carry hay bales and fence posts. Girls who spend their weekends traversing acres of land to mend fences and tend to the livestock. Girls who complete the equivalent of one of those trendy Tough Mudder endurance challenges every weekend, summer and winter; staunch, stoic, strong, seemingly unselfconscious girls, who seem to understand that their bodies are tools. Machines. Equipment.
I dodge school every Monday and Thursday for about two months. It doesn’t feel like a lie when I tell my parents I have unbearable recurring stomach cramps – the anxiety is genuinely nauseating. The fear is carnal. The tears are real.
Overweight Haters Ltd: If you've been body-shamed, remember it says more about the perp than about you
1 December 2015
See that? That's my pot belly. That's where I store most of my extra weight, but I also like to think that's where I store all the f***s I don't give about strangers' opinions about my body.
I can play with my nieces all day. I can carry heavy equipment. I can dance at a ceilidh. I can think. I can write. I can laugh. I can love and be loved. And if I do feel hurt, angry, sad, or hard-done-by, I can express myself without directing my negativity at a particular group of people. Without deliberately undermining someone else's confidence to boost my own, say, by wordlessly handing them a card on the Tube that reads "YOU'RE FAT AND UGLY". Frankly, without being a d**k.
That's where health and happiness comes from: self-respect and self-love. And that's where lasting, positive, healthy change comes from, not hatred and humiliation. If you've been body-shamed, please remember it says so much more about the perp than it does about you.
I suspect these cards are being handed out as some kind of a publicity stunt – a social experiment or some kind of immersive Hatey Kopkins experience, perhaps to promote some weight-loss product. But the British Transport Police have said they are aware of and are looking into the issue.
Tesco's Christmas ad promotes harassment. If we ignore men's advances, we want them to go away
23 December 2015
In the time old tradition of the supermarket Christmas advert, Tesco has stuck to a familiar formula: a stellar cast plays one funny family. In previous years, it was Prunella Scales and Jane Horrocks; this year, it's Ruth Jones, Ben Miller and Will Close.
One of this year's adverts, entitled Flirt, features the son, a man in his mid-twenties, following a woman around Tesco as she shops. Every time he attempts to engage her in conversation, she moves away. He follows her. She moves away. He follows her.
Compare this behaviour to that in the video for Transport for London's fantastic Report It campaign, encouraging women to report as a crime, ANY behaviour that makes them feel unsafe and uncomfortable, including the kind of behaviour in the ad.
I worked in my university library. There was a man who followed me as I stacked the shelves with books. He never spoke to or touched me. He just trailed behind me as I moved between aisles of books, staring at me while I worked. When I confronted him, he laughed. I reported him to security and he never came near me again.
Hated by The Daily Mail
MY RESPONSE TO:
"Is it hypocritical to shame a man for stating body preference?"
I hope you're well. I'm fine. Thank you.
Just a few teeny weeny notes on that there article you wrote in response to my blog:
1) Michelle Thomas was hailed a feminist hero for criticising a Tinder date who rejected her because of her size ...her response reinforced the odd, unwritten rule that women can say whatever they want about sexual desire and attraction, but men can't.?
Pretty sure that men have had quite a large say in shaping the rules of sexual desire and attraction over the last 1000 years or so, Pete mate. You know? Artists. Filmmakers. CEOs for multi-national companies that profit from constantly, covertly and overtly telling women that they are physically inadequate. I don't want to patronise you, but you might want to Google that one.
A letter to the young girls who wrote me after my Tinder date said I wasn’t slim enough.
26 July 2015
Dear Maria, Dear Hayley, Dear Fatima, Asli, Beatriz, Cassandra, Meagan, and Katelyn.Dear Macie. Dear Phoebe. Dear Ava.
Dear all of you.
First of all, thank you so much for emailing me. It’s a brave thing, to confide to a stranger that you’re confused, or lonely, or unhappy.
Each of you ladies has written to me because you think you’re “not normal.” Because you find it hard to make friends, or because you’ve never had a boyfriend and fear you never will because (exclusively because) of the way you look. You’ve written because you’re afraid to take swimming lessons because of the bathing suits. And you’ve asked me for advice on how to “make [your] body the kind that will attract boys.”
You’re writing to me (I think) because when a man tried to make me feel bad about my body, I responded with what you refer to as a “mic-drop” moment.I told him off for imposing his views about my body upon me uninvited. I told him what it means when a man criticizes a woman’s weight—it substantiates the fear that every girl has (something that, sadly, your letters have confirmed): that it doesn’t matter how funny you are, how clever, how kind, how loyal, how determined or adventurous or vibrant—if you’re overweight, no one will ever be attracted to you.
Nicole Arbour, as someone who's been fat-shamed, let me tell you: your "truth bomb" didn't work
9 September 2015
You personify the worst of the internet. As I watched, I expected you to rip off a mask, Scooby-Doo style, to reveal an unmoderated Reddit page populated by trolls.
Hi Nicole. I recently went viral because of a blog I wrote about being rejected by a Tinder date for being too fat. I want to address couple of points you made in your video, “Dear Fat People”, since I was so publicly identified as being one myself. If you don’t mind, I’ll come to them one by one.
“Fat-shaming is not a thing”
It definitely is. I know, I know you don’t want to believe it, but let me give you a little definition: fat-shaming is when people bully and undermine others for being overweight. Like, for example, making a video expressing your disgust at an overweight young man who does nothing more than sit next to you on the plane - “His FAT was in my LAAAAAP!!!!!” Yep. That’s fat-shaming, Nicole.
Iggy Azalea has 'finally admitted' to having surgery.
6 August 2015
We should all feel ashamed of ourselves for asking
Being a good role model is exhausting, which shows in the face. No wonder so many celebs reach for the knife.
According to numerous sources this week, Iggy Azalea has “finally admitted” to having plastic surgery. Others say she's “owned up”. A couple have even said she's “confessed”, the way one would to something terribly shameful, weighing down your conscience, necessary for somebody else to know. And in a way, of course, she has confessed. First she failed to conform to the accepted standards of beauty and was being openly mocked for it (notably by Snoop Dogg). Now she is conforming by surgically altering her looks. In the world of celebrity, this certainly warrants a confession.
Are You That Lady Off
My Nightmare Tinder Date Exposed An Underlying Culture Of Body Shaming.