Me, My Allotment, & a Journey Back to Health
Lizzie was struck by the fact that this year’s theme for Mental Health Week is ‘nature’ – in no small part, because she considers it to have played a vital role in her recovery.
“My eating disorder had robbed me of so much by the time I was 37.
I lived alone in a county 240 miles from my family, and while my work was a good ‘front’ which allowed me to feel I was functioning and purposeful, it did little to heal my illness or my relationship with myself.
One Sunday three summers ago, a colleague asked if I wanted to meet her at her allotment, and never having so much as picked up a watering can before, I agreed to go, but with low expectations.
At that point, I was still not fully beyond quasi-recovery and had lots of disordered thoughts about food and exercise….but that one day began a momentum for change.
I spent six hours that day, digging, planting, weeding, watering, and giggling in the sunshine for the first time in years. I got home shattered, proud, and desperate to go back again.
Long story short, but I ended up heading to the allotment far more than my colleague and slowly found that this had become something I was passionate about and which was a new identity, making my illness redundant.
Today, I co-own the allotment with my friend and I find that outdoor space to be a blissful and productive sanctuary, where I spend time listening to the wildlife, and – weirdly – listening to my body and its hunger cues in ways I had never done before.
It might sound extreme to say an allotment cured me, but it certainly played a massive part. I’m now living a fully and happy life that just might not have been possible if it hadn’t been for this great new asset in my world.”
- May 2021