Interview with a Mad Girl

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 21.41.04.png

As an avid runner and someone who has been quite vocal about my dealings with mental health I jumped at the chance to meet Telegraph journalist, author and Prince Harry’s new BFF - Bryony Gordon. Her latest book, ‘Eat.Drink.Run’ promised to be an account of how training for the London Marathon kick-started a journey of recovery for someone who suffers from OCD and depression. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was actually very little narrative on running within the book. Instead, it is a story of positivity and of finding hope in the midst of crippling mental health struggles.

Her third memoir following the best-selling ‘The Wrong Knickers’ and 'Mad Girl’, ‘Eat.Drink.Run’ is the kind of book you wish had already been written (although I’m sure Bryony is glad it wasn’t!) Those suffering from depression, anxiety and mental health issues have been screaming out for an honest account of what it means to live with these challenges. A journey told with honesty, humour, plenty of failure and a hell of a lot of success. It is anything but a self-help book, but her tale is both inspiring and relatable and just the act of sharing it has helped thousands talk more about their experiences and the topic of mental health.

I caught up with Bryony prior to her talk as part of the Jersey Festival of Words to find out just what makes a mad girl want to run a marathon.

You recently completed your second London Marathon this year. What was the motivation behind doing this run again?

I wanted to pass on the positivity I felt from taking part in my first London Marathon, so I agreed to run it again with my friend, the plus sized model Jada Sezer. I’m also really bad at saying no to anything, its got in me in some bad situations! The experience this time was totally different though, it wasn’t as enjoyable as my first. I think I got a tad complacent and wasn’t as fit as I could have been. 


Do you feel that you need a new goal to drive you forward? Something to be your next marathon?

Yes, I am completely driven by my need for a next goal, but I am trying not to be. It’s not so healthy to be absorbed by these goals, so I must try harder to sit back at times and just let life happen. 

 Bryony training with her running partner Jada Sezer for the 2018 London Marathon

Bryony training with her running partner Jada Sezer for the 2018 London Marathon

Is there a compulsion to write another book as part of your mental health journey?

There’s a book deal, so I need to be writing another two books, but no I don’t get that same sense of satisfaction from writing as I would do talking about mental health. I find standing in front of a crowd much easier. I am working on the next book now, but there won’t be a requirement to take part in any challenge for this one. 

Has writing been a form of therapy?

There is a lot of hate that goes along with writing the books, I find it much easier to talk about my experiences and feelings than to write them down, but this is my job. Obviously I do get enjoyment from it, but there is always the pressure of a deadline hanging over me. That having been said, If I hadn’t written ‘Mad Girl’, I don’t think I would be mentally in the position that I am in now, for which I am grateful.

IMG_1824.jpg

Your book will resonate with a lot of people going through the same thing. Did you see yourself reflected in the people that you met along the course of your training?

Yes, most of what I do and write about in Eat.Drink.Run is about finding people like me. Searching for my tribe. ‘Mad Girl’ was written as an act of desperation and I like to think this is a story of hope. 

How important is humour for you when talking about mental health?

I think using humour allows you to take a bit of power back, it’s about taking those negatives and turning them into positives. If I read a book and I’m in a bad place, I want it to make me laugh, misery memoirs just fill me with horror. I also don’t think it’s as black and white as feeling happy or sad, we can be both things at one time. Although I have learnt there’s one thing more important than humour though…..sleep!

 Receiving a Mind Media Award for her work in raising awareness of mental health issues

Receiving a Mind Media Award for her work in raising awareness of mental health issues

How far should you go to get away from it all?

How far should you go to get away from it all?

I became hooked on retreats a few years go, after venturing out to Portugal one summer to indulge in a weeks worth of yoga practice. There’s something about taking a trip on your own, meeting like-minded strangers and learning to embrace new things that makes retreats feel a little bit like a holiday club for adults! It’s a voyage of discovery and most importantly a chance to destress and restore balance to your life. 

Read More

Is there life after boxing?

Is there life after boxing?

So I’m completely done in. Emotionally raw, exhausted and burnt out. After a continuous stream of over twelve months training for a boxing bout that never materialised I feel lost and ready to give up on the sport altogether. With so much of my life involving sports and a need to always be driven by the next goal, its hard to contemplate life without that competitive edge. But I cant even remember the last time I just sat down and did nothing, just took in life around me. With a family, a new career and blogging in what spare time I have, is it time to give up on being the best at everything? Can my next challenge really be to live without a challenge?

Read More

The secret of our shores

The secret of our shores

Jersey Recovery College turns one year old this month, having helped 330 students during the course of 2017, all facing difficulties with their own mental wellbeing. Established as a centre of education, rather than therapy, the College looks to teach individuals methods they can use on a daily basis to help with depression, anxiety or social issues that come with mental illness. One of their most popular courses, the Sea Swimming programme, has enabled many to reconnect with society, offering them a safe environment to explore the benefits of swimming in Jersey's shores. 

Read More

A gym with soul

A gym with soul

If you’re anything like me, whispers of a new gym opening in town will have been getting you a little titillated of late. It’s a small Island, so the idea of a modern gym pushing our fitness into the future is much like the second coming of Christ! With so much transition towards healthy living and investment being made in mental wellbeing as well as physical exercise, it was about time we had somewhere that catered for every element of our holistic demands. Club Soulgenic does this and so much more, it’s THE home to health, meeting the needs of dynamic and very busy millennials. 

Read More

Who to follow in 2018

Who to follow in 2018

This Christmas, me and my friend decided to give someone the gift of Instagram. We set up an account for her, gave her a snazzy profile and then handed over the reigns to her new-found life. With 800 million users now on the mobile photo sharing network, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms out there and rightly so, it's great fun! But, it can be hard to find those feeds you really want to follow, the picture that really is a perfect fit for your life.

Read More