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Princess Diana

Perhaps the most famous thing about bulimia is that it was the princess Diana eating disorder. According to doctors and therapists, princess Diana’s secret battle has led to a greater public awareness of the disorder, and a better understanding of bulimia.

The ‘Diana Effect’

Bulimia was revealed as Diana’s “secret disease” in 1992 in Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story. In the book, Diana explains how she first struggled with bulimia in 1981, and was still suffering from it during the late ‘80s when she sought treatment.

During the mid- and late-1990s, after this news became public, there was a sharp incline in the number of bulimia cases. Some people quickly speculated that the news of the princess Diana eating disorder was causing more cases of bulimia to occur. However, another fact was soon revealed: it was because of princess Diana’s admission of her struggle with food that many people, about 90% of them women, were able to come forward and admit that they, too, had an eating disorder.

Because of Princess Diana’s courage to combat her eating disorder, many other people have found it in themselves to confront their problem and seek treatment. This movement has come to be known as the ‘Diana Effect.’

Causes of the princess Diana eating disorder:

  • Princess Diana admitted that she began to follow a strict diet after people made comments on TV and in magazines about her “pudgy” appearance. Once she started dieting, she couldn’t stop.

  • Her eating problems were further exacerbated when her marriage underwent great upheaval, and food became the answer to the emptiness she felt.

How a Princess helped us understand bulimia

Due to Diana’s openness and willingness to communicate, we have a better understanding of the princess Diana eating disorder, bulimia. Here are some of the lessons that we can learn from Diana‘s public confessions about her problems with eating and food:

  • That bulimia can be the response to great pressure in one’s life, especially for those with perfectionist tendencies and expectations.

  • An eating disorder is often a cry for help or a plea for attention; a person with bulimia, the princess Diana eating disorder, often needs people to understand them, but does not know how to attract their attention in a positive way.

  • Eating disorders often arise when a person does not like him- or herself; low self worth causes them to do things to injure themselves, such as bingeing on food and then purging it later.

  • Overeating, or bingeing, can provide a sense of comfort when a person feels alone or helpless. The ensuing guilt and shame then often causes the person to try to get rid of the extra calories through vomiting, using laxatives or water pills, or excessive exercise.

A final thought about the princess Diana eating disorder

When Diana spoke about her bulimia, she wanted people to know that those with eating disorders are often misunderstood. While the media led people to believe that her bulimia was the problem, she asserted that bulimia was only a symptom, and that the true problem was the emptiness she felt in her marriage. She was using food as a way to fill her emptiness, and her eating disorder as an escape mechanism.

A princess for the people

Many eating disorders therapists credit Princess Diana’s bravery with saving the lives of many people who suffer from bulimia. Princess Diana allowed her personal battle with bulimia to become public, which is only one reason that she is so beloved and will continue to be influential, even after her death in 1997.

Jane Fonda - actress

Jane Fonda, actress, activist, athlete, wife and mother, was one of the first famous women to openly discuss her eating disorder. In the late 1970s, she went public with her "bulimarexia," the binge-and-vomit cycle that nearly ruined her health. Overwhelmed by the demands of the Hollywood culture, she spent nearly 20 years in the relentless pursuit of thinness.

The Barbarella star

addressed the audience at an Eating Disorders Education Network event in Atlanta, Georgia, America last weekend, and spoke of her personal battle with the eating disorders which plagued her personal and professional life for a quarter of a century. She told the audience, "For 25 years, I could never put a forkful in my mouth without feeling fear, without feeling scared. "This feels like one of those Alcoholic Anonymous meetings...but instead it's, 'I'm Jane Fonda and I've been bulimic and anorexic for 25 years of my life.'" And Fonda, who revealed recently it was she who instigated her split last year from her media-mogul husband Ted Turner, says it's only in the past few years that she's finally been able to kick the debilitating disorder. She adds, "I'm 63-years-old and only in the last two years have I learned that good enough is good enough."

Women all over the world see Jane Fonda as a beacon of light in the eating disorders awareness movement. She is a role model of strength, determination and honesty.

Ashley Simpson - Singer

Ashley Simpson: Sister of singer and actress Jessica Simpson has publicly admitted that she battled with an eating disorder during her pre-teen years. "I was around a lot of girls with eating disorders."  Simpson says she learned a lesson from the experience and has learned to love her body."I think I have good curves, and they're womanly," she says. "I hate it when girls lose their curves. "I think it's sexy not to be a bone and it's sad when people get too weight-conscious and don't look in the mirror and see themselves as being as beautiful as they are."

Jean Claude Van Damme - Martial Artist


Jean Claude Van Damme:  was born in born 18 October 1960), professionally known as Jean-Claude Van Damme, is a Belgian martial artist and actor best known for his Martial Arts action movies His most successful films include Bloodsport(1988) Kickboxer (1989), Double Impact Hard Target (1993), Timecop (1994), and Street Fighter (1994). Due to his physique and his Belgian background, he is known as "The Muscles from Brussels."After studying martial arts intensively from the age of ten, Van Damme achieved national success in Belgium as a martial artist and bodybuilder, earning the "Mr. Belgium" bodybuilding title. He immigrated to the United States in 1982 to pursue a career in film, and achieved breakout success with Bloodsport (1988), based on a story written by Frank Dux He attained subsequent box office success with Timecop (1994), which grossed over $100 million worldwide and became his most financially successful film. It is reported that Jean suffers with bipolar illness and has recently been diagnosed although for years he did not know he had the illness I think Jean Claude coming foreword saying he suffers mental ill health is a good thing because it reduces stigma by showing Mental ill health can effect people from all walks of life.


Vincent Van Gogh- Painter

Vincent van Gogh: for whom color was the chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland. The son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere, Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence. Between 1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh had had two unsuitable and

unhappy romances and had worked unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and a preacher in the Borinage (a dreary mining district in Belgium), where he was dismissed for over zealousness. He remained in Belgium to study art, determined to give happiness by creating beauty. The works of his early Dutch period are somber-toned, sharply lit, genre paintings of which the most famous is "The Potato Eaters" (1885) The story of Vincent van Gogh's tragic life, filled with mental evils and artistic triumphs , lingers almost becoming that of legend. Due to Van Gogh's extreme enthusiasm and dedication to first religion and then art coupled with the feverish pace of his art production many believe that mania was a prominent condition in Van Gogh's life. However, these episodes were always followed by exhaustion and depression and ultimately suicide. Therefore, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or manic depression makes sense with the accounts of these episodes in Van Gogh's life.

His work is still astounding millions around the world daily, and though he sold only one painting in his life, his influence on the outcome of art has been amazing and overwhelming. His paintings have reached new records when sold for hundreds of millions of dollars, and his persona has sparked number one hit songs. Vincent van Gogh has altered mankind forever and he believed his life was a terrible failure!

Spike Milligan - Comedian

Spike Milligan: Terence Alan Patrick Seán Milligan KBE (16 April 1918 – 27 February 2002), known as Spike Milligan, was an Irish comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright and actor; the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. Milligan was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of The Goon Show, performing a range of roles including the popular Eccles.Milligan wrote and/or edited many books, including Puckoon and his six-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with Adolf Hitler: My part in his downfall. He is also noted as a popular writer of comical verse, much of his poetry was written for children, including Silly Verse for Kids (1959). After enormous success with the ground-breaking British radio program, The Goon Show, Milligan translated this success to television with Q5, a surreal sketch show which is credited as a major influence on the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus .suffered from severe bipolar disorder for most of his life, having at least ten major mental break downs , several lasting over a year. He spoke candidly about his condition and its effect on his life:Article taken from www.spikemilliganlegacy.com Spike said, "You know, I've been on the very floor of hell with depression for half of my life. I was alive, I could see, I could touch things, but nothing gave me any pleasure. But now, now I know that it doesn't last forever. It does pass.

Eduard Einstein - Son of Famous physicist Albert Einstein

Eduard Einstein: was born in Zurich, Switzerland on the 28th July, 1910 -- the second son of Albert Einstein (1879-1955) and Mileva Maric (1875-1948). Eduard was a sensitive child and was often ill. In 1914 Albert Einstein moved with his family to Berlin. Since Mileva fell ill in Berlin and the marriage with Albert Einstein was degenerating, Mileva moved a short time later with her sons back to Zurich. 1919 the Einstein's divorce was completed. It has been said that Eduard and particularly his older brother Hans Albert (1904-1973) suffered much from the separation of their parents.

Eduard, a very good pupil, was particularly noticeable due to his high intellectual and musical gifts. Despite the separation from Mileva, Einstein visited his sons and Mileva frequently in Zurich. In 1929 Eduard began studying medicine and wanted to become a psychiatrist.In 1930, at the age of twenty years, Eduard developed schizophrenia. In 1932 he moved for the first time to the "Burghoelzli", a psychiatric sanatorium in Zurich.In the autumn 1933 Albert Einstein and his second wife, Elsa emigrated to the United States. There he found a new place in Princeton, New Jersey. In 1938 Eduard's brother, Hans's Albert, moved with his family to America.

Starting from 1948, after the death of his mother, Eduard lived continuously in the "Burghoelzli", where he died 1965.

John Nash - Nobel Prize Winner

John Nash: Born on June 13, 1928, John Nash is an American mathematician, who worked in differential geometry, game theory and partial differential equations. He started showing symptoms of schizophrenia during his college years, which was in 1958. In 1959, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and mild clinical depression. In spite of the diagnosis, Nash did not lose hope. He continued his studies and emerged to become the winner of the John von Neumann Theory Prize, the Leroy P. Steel Prize and the very prestigious Nobel Prize in 1994. The very famous movie, 'A Beautiful Mind' was based on the life of John Nash. The film depicted the genius John Nash and his fight with


Tom Harrell - Musician

Tom Harrell: Born on June 16, 1946, Tom Harrell is a famous American post bop jazz trumpeter. He is also a well-known composer. He began exhibiting his talent in music at a very young age. He started playing the trumpet at the age of 8. In 1969, he passed out of the Stanford University with a degree in music composition. He soon became a part of the Stan Kenton's orchestra. He later played in many a famous music bands and orchestras. In 1989, he led his own groups. This renowned musician suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. He suffers severe side effects of the anti-psychotic drugs. He has to deal with muscle spasms, weight gain and such other side effects. Despite his disease, he continues to rock the musical shows in different parts of the world.


People who Inspire Us In The Community

Andrew's Story

I have been been coming to New horizons day centre since October 2005.  I found out about New Horizons by reading a poster that was advertising an Open Day this was on a Thursday so I thought I would take a look and see what it was all about.  I was welcomed in to the centre by one of the centre workers they were friendly to me and introduced me to the other Members. Some people I already knew and this helped brake the ice.  I had a free cup of tea I was talking to some volunteers and getting to know people.  Then I started going to New Horizons regularly what I like about New Horizons is that I have made some New friends and I have some where to go  because before I would walk my Dog a lot of the time just to have some  structure to my day i do not feel isolated. While I have been going to New Horizons I am glad that I have completed a sponsored walk and bike ride from Aberdare to Cardiff to raise money for the centre.  I also try to help the staff by getting the centre ready for open day I also enjoy the Walking Group and have taken part in the Cardiff Marathon for the centre. I am glad I come to New Horizons and I hope to do more in the future.

Tom's Story

I have been coming to New Horizons since 2006 my social worker told me about the Centre to have a look round about 2 weeks before New Horizons moved to the New Building I remember my first day I was a bit scared to go to New horizons on my first day I did not know what to expect but the staff and volunteers and members made me feel welcome. I soon stared coming in 3 days a week for 1 hour at a time after a while I became more relaxed and comfortable and made a lot of friends who were going through similar things as me.   Then I was asked if I would like to become a volunteer I was a bit nervous first but soon found I really enjoyed helping people and Volunteering gave me more confidence I have had some good experiences with new horizons including helping with fund raising sponsor forms raffle tickets and raising money at different events including big welsh bite I have also done a course Food Hygiene which I passed.

Peter's Story

At First I did not recognise that there was anything wrong with me.  I thought it was the people around me I was arguing all the time with my family. I would not go out of the house at all. Then one day my friend called to see me. He asked me if I would like to go down the pub with him. It was in the afternoon I went and sat in the Lounge with him it was very quiet. After a while I stared to relax a bit. I bought a pint and drank it quickly and had another. I started to forget how I was feeling then I started going to the pub regularly drinking and spending all my money on alcohol which I used as a crutch to help me control my illness Schizophrenia after  a short while everything came  to a head and I was Sectioned in Hospital.  Now I am feeling much better I am on the right medication that suits me and with the support from my family and health care services and mental health organisations I am on the road to recovery and I have a more positive outlook on life.


Roy's  Story

I have always loved Guitar Music especially listening to Hank Marvin and One Christmas my son bought me an Electric Guitar.  I have suffered with Depression for a Number of years and I found out that New Horizons was running a music class Tuesday and Thursday I went there and explained I had not played at all before and was starting from scratch.  I found the guitar Tutor friendly and easy going and I found I could learn the guitar at my own pace.  I have made some good friends in the guitar Group a few members were also learning to play.  I have found coming to this group every week gives me something to look forward to during the week.  I also find playing the guitar very relaxing. I am thankful to New Horizons for providing this course.

Emma’s Story

I have been going to New Horizons for a couple of years now I have always enjoyed the cooking Group on a Mondays  We each get part of the ingredients then together we are shown how to prepare a certain meal and develop our cooking skills then when the Food is cooking we clean up have a cup of tea and enjoy a meal together.  I  feel  learning to improve my cooking skills in New Horizons is Good because I feel More Confident to cook at home.  

Christian's Story

I was nervous to leave my home, I lost the will to live actually my feelings were severally emotional

This led me to feel suicidal my body felt weak and tired anything physical I could just not do and my whole body ached continuously  a good friend of mine called to my home and saw there was something  critically wrong  with me and asked me did I want him to go to the doctors with me for support. I attended the doctors my doctor was very sympathetic understanding and reassuring to me his confident diagnoses of me was that I had probably suffered a massive breakdown and this could be treated with counseling and medication still today (5-7- 2010) I am still unwell but have a better life with more stability and regained confidence in myself thanks to Psychiatrists doctors and Community Support Organisations.



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