I share this because I am a professional working with people living with severe mental illness and I still struggle to practice what I preach. I consider myself an advocate but the stigma around mental illness continues to affect my relationships. I encourage everyone to share their stories to find support and especially to remind those who have a loved one with mental illness that they also need to take care of their own mental health. I seriously believe we can end stigma if we step up, share our stories and not be afraid to talk about the taboo subjects.
This is the way I muddled through the beginning of my diagnosis. Asking for help and being willing to receive that help, humbly and with gratitude. I became vigilant about my own health, my triggers, my treatments and my medications. I learned to be my own advocate even when I felt like I was sinking in quicksand or clawing at my own flesh, desperate to get out of my body. You do these things because you are stronger than you think you are. You allow yourself to rest, retreat and then put your britches back on and saddle-up again.
I only disclosed my diagnosis to maybe 2 or 3 people and even then I didn’t explain the extent of the situation. I was constantly trying to prove that I was just a normal happy girl, even though I was dying inside. Last year, I decided to stop fighting it. I disclosed my diagnosis to all of my family and friends and was both humbled and surprised by the amount of support that I received. This was the best decision I could have ever made. Now that I am able to be open and honest about my diagnosis, I feel like I can live my true self. I can show the world the real me.
I have won my eating disorder but I had to fight like hell. I had no option but to be strong. We had a great relationship until I realized it was fooling me and I was really hurting. To you ED you are the reason my life was so difficult, but you are not the reason I am stronger today. That is because of me. After all you put me through I chose not to let my entire life be consumed by your foolish and tricky ways. I keep choosing recovery every day 7 times a week without you.
On the bright side, although I continue to cycle through depression, mania and mixed states, for the last year I have been consistenly happier than I can ever remember and am very optimistic about what the future holds. I have rediscovered my spiritual beliefs, made significant positive improvement in family relations which have been horribly, but not irrevocably damaged.
This has been a classic American Tragedy and I hope my experiences educate, and, hopefully, help someone else who is struggling. Even If no one reads this, it has been very helpful to publicly acknowledge my condition and continue to move forward with my life.
I have come to know more people who suffer in these shadowed places, friends and family who ache with the pressing waves of anxiety and depression and what comes to feel like shame in the suffering. And I ache to help relieve them. May this place and the people here help you find peace and a joy that can wrap around you when you begin to feel overwhelmed. We stand with you.
I don’t like the way people look at me: as though I’m completely helpless. Everybody does because I’m completely dressed in scars, from head to toe.
I used to hide away in my room because I couldn’t stand the striking feeling of eyes on me. I had very few friends and still do due to social anxiety. I get scared of the simplest of things.