Another Q& A, this time with wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan. Michaela has kindly been very open about her health struggles and how various things including therapy and reading has helped her.
Q. We all have mental health or ill-health, and we all have a being, well or not. What are, or have been, your biggest challenges in mental health well-being?
A. I had anorexia when I was 17. I was a classic text book case. I came from a very middle class, sheltered family life which fell apart when my Dad lost his job. I couldn’t control my situation so controlled myself.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 48.
Q. When you’re feeling down, what are the things that help you through? What are your top three tips that might help others?
A. I connect with nature. I go for a walk in the mountain with my dog Rio. It definitely help my stress levels and my well being.
I talk to friends and share what I’m going through.
I have in the past had Trauma Therapy release which helped.
Q. What do you do for day-to-day self-care?
A. I keep fit. I do yoga, pilates, waking, running and dancing. I’m vegetarian and believe in eating in moderation. I love massage. I am very open and talk and share daily stresses and problems. I try to appreciate the little pleasures in life to balance the weight of the big issues I take on! I try and get 8hrs sleep a night.
Q. I work with a lot of young adults experiencing difficulty. If you had one piece of advice for teenagers and young adults what would it be?
A. To connect with your natural environment. Take a break from the social media and the online gaming. Communicate stresses and concerns with friends and family in person, not just on line. Do something that keeps you fit and healthy.
Q. Do you think reading is important, and why?
A. Reading is vital. Reading fiction to escape, reading factual to learn and educate, reading things online to expand your mind and interests.
Q. What are you currently reading?
A. I’m half way through the new Ben Elton book called ‘Identity Crisis’. I’m a huge fan of his books.
Q. Are there any books you go back to time after time?
A. Not really. I don’t read as much as I would like to, so I like to read something new rather than something I’ve read before.
Q. What book has had the biggest impact on you?
A. Born Free which I read when I was about 10.
Q. Where and how do you do most of your reading?
A. I read in bed, on trains and planes. I’m very into my kindle. I love actual books but the ability to increase the font size and have a backlight is a huge plus once you get to over 50!