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Meet Rachael Hollwey, author of new book ‘At War with My Mind’.

Meet Rachael Hollwey, author of new book ‘At War with My Mind’.

Rachael Hollwey has recently published a book called ‘At War with My Mind’ which tells her story of suffering with Anorexia Nervosa and depression. In honour of Mental Health Awareness month, we wanted to shine the spotlight on Rachael’s painful story, which is one that many can relate to.

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Without giving too much away from your new book ‘At War with My Mind’, can you tell us what prompted you to sit down and write your story?

Having kept diaries through the stages of suffering with anorexia and depression and during my hospital admissions and as I was relapsing, it was my way to unsilence the demon in my head and try to cope.

When I was lucky enough to find a full recovery, I realised how valuable this could be to help others who are also suffering with mental health issues. However, this insight will not only help those suffering, but also in educating carers, professionals, and society. ‘At War with My Mind’ is the raw, true insight into what is happening in the mind of someone suffering in ‘real-time’, not just recalling from memory.

I have battled against my mind and body for half of my life. I lost friends in the process and I’m still suffering from severe physical side effects. I hope that by sharing my story, I can somehow try to stop anyone else from enduring this very misunderstood illness.

 What helped you get through the tough periods in your life?

Without a doubt my family. With my hand on my heart, they saved my life, and I would not be here today without them. Throughout it all, they stood right by my side holding my hand. They fought for me and with me every single day. Together, we defied the odds for me to now be happy and free. 

Mvintage is a brand which strongly promotes female empowerment. What does empowerment mean to you?

I believe that being true to yourself and being your own best friend is the ultimate source of empowerment. It means allowing yourself to feel life's emotions, through both turbulent and euphoric times, while being present during the moments in between. This then radiates to help others around you to do the same, and strengthens all forms of life's relationships. Being self-loving is the greatest skill you can ever have and the greatest gift you can teach others. 

Who is your female role model and why does she have this impact in your life?

My two sisters, Amanda and Kim. I took so much of our parents’ time due to my struggles, while they were still trying to find their own way in life and going through tough times as well. They never held this against me but only stood by us all, caring for my parents, as well as me. They visited every hospital, tried to stop the relapses when I was home, and constantly tell me how proud they are of me now. I genuinely have tears in my eyes thinking of just how incredible they are for this and their achievements in life. 

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How can fashion brands help to promote mental health awareness?

I refer back to being true to yourself and for brands to highlight how unique every single person is. By choosing their fashion, jewellery and style, based on what makes them feel their best, not who they are told to be. Brands like Mvintage are the perfect example, putting meaning behind jewellery that will lift and celebrate people. I love the way you do this!

What message would you like to pass on to people who are facing mental struggles?

I know that sometimes it feels like there is no hope and that there is no way out. You may feel like no one cares and that you are alone, but I assure you that you are not and that you CAN and WILL get through this. There is no shame or weakness in what you are going through but only a huge amount of strength, so please reach out for help and find the freedom you deserve, do not give in to being a prisoner of your mind! 

Thank you, Rachael, for sharing your story with us. We highly recommend reading more about Rachael’s story by purchasing her new book, At War with My Mind.

For anyone who is passing through hard times, don’t be afraid to speak up to family, friends, and/or a professional. People start to heal, the moment they are heard. You will get through this!

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