As well as taking a toll on your bank balance, all this eating also impacted my weight and overall health, both mental and physical. My relationships suffered, and I lost countless work hours to the void of binging and depression. The more I binged, the worse I felt. The worse I felt, the more I binged, and the more I spent – and not just on food.
My parents came to the UK in the mid 70’s to study. They intended on returning home to Iran after they graduated, but like so many Iranians in the UK (the 2017 census found there were approximately 70,000 Persian Iranians here) as the Iranian Revolution took hold, they were forced to seek asylum, and so their planned futures suddenly became a blank space.
10 years ago, on a Friday night, tucked up in bed I was woken by a loud rap at the door. A scene we’ve seen so many times in TV dramas, it’s the police and they ask you if you are Mrs Jones, can they come in, tell you to sit down, they have some bad news. My husband had killed himself at the friend’s house he was staying at following our recent separation.
Many people often describe their experience of finding out that they are pregnant as joyous, wonderful, even exhilarating. I always thought I would feel the same. However, upon finding out that I was pregnant, I distinctly remember feeling fear and acute distress.
There’s a saying that goes, ‘don’t worry about [the cost of] babies, they bring their own pizza.’ But as a queer woman, I don’t worry about the cost of raising a child, well, no more so than anyone else. I worry about the cost of bringing a child into the world and the many unknowns of the financial and emotional cost of doing so. My partner and I know that we want to settle down, buy a house and start a family.
Finding financial wellbeing when… your relationship with money mirrors your disordered relationship with food
When I started a recovery program for an eating disorder, my therapist gave me plenty of warnings about what to expect. She warned me that I would want to justify overexercising and undereating and needed to manage my stress through the process. She also told me to be gentle with myself, take plenty of time to reflect, and engage in self-care. However, neither of us anticipated that the urge to “diet” would slowly start to take over other parts of my life.
Mental health and money are inextricably connected. It’s difficult to find true emotional harmony if your finances are in a mess. If you manage long term mental health conditions, as I do, you’re more likely to experience debt, have reduced earning potential and have challenges managing your finances.