Almost a decade ago now, I realized the price of “having it all” was far too high for me. Not only did it require me to live life at a pace that felt impossible to maintain, it required me to ignore who I really am and what I need to be healthy and happy, in all my messy, misfit imperfection. It required me to ignore that my mental and physical health could not actually bear the weight of “having it all”.
Although I’m grateful that there is more openness and dialogue around making peace with food and our bodies in the media, often what we see is over simplified, prettied up and packaged (often to sell products or services) in a way that I believe is a bit misleading and does a disservice to people embarking on this journey.
Finally, a few months ago, I opened up my drawers, armoire and closet and got rid of 90% of my clothes. As soon as I ditched the mentality that I should be fitting into my clothes and embraced the idea that my clothes should fit my body as it is now, and my life as it is now, I immediately felt a sense of relief. By letting go of all the old clothes, I was removing the opportunity to compare or shame myself back into a body that was never truly mine to begin with.
By: Rick E. In 1998 at fifty-two days old, Gabby suffered from Hemangioendothelioma that nearly took her life if it was not for Primary Children’s Oncology team in Salt Lake City, Utah. The miraculous fluoroscope procedure and Alpha Interferon treatments allowed her to heal as we lived at Primary Children’s…
Within that framework, there is a danger that suicide becomes presented as a ‘selfish’ action, addiction as ‘indulgent’ and depression as ‘dramatic.’ We need more people who suffer with mental illness and addiction to tell their stories, if they are willing and able. We need the real narratives of mental illness and addiction to both challenge stigma and to impact the policy and public health approaches that are implemented.
Years after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and gaining the tools and support to manage that disease, on some unconscious level, I stilled fundamentally believed that losing weight would “fix” me. The fly in that ointment was that whenever food was restricted, the underlying issues were still bubbling, just below the surface.
When I choose to agree with the shame I feel, I am the one giving power to stigma. I am the only one who has the power to break this internal stigma because I get to choose what I believe about myself. So for me breaking stigma requires intentionally breaking out of the mindset my childhood gave me. It requires me to talk back to my mental tapes that tell me I am not enough.
I am finally learning to live life on life’s terms, and to appreciate the fact that I am still alive. Recovery is not always easy but it is beautiful. The poem below reads more like spoken word poetry, I am not into the frilly stuff. Every word is true and every word is real. I hope I can connect to a few readers. We are not alone in this journey.