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.
You and me. Us. It isn’t easy. We both bring our own set of challenges to the relationship, but somehow they are what has made are love stronger. It is in the difficult times that love is seen most clearly and I know without a shadow of a doubt that you love me exactly as I am.
One day, things will be easier. One day, life won’t seem so painful and distressing. Nonetheless, until then, I will take each day as it comes and the challenges brought with them. I will fight my hardest and accept the help I am privileged to have. And, most importantly, I will accept that even though things aren’t okay at this moment – this moment won’t last forever.
‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’
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.
In January 2016 I suffered a bout of psychosis on par with that of my earliest breakdowns. Due to self-stigma I tried to present as “normal”, but this particular experience led to consequences which required emergency services and inpatient care.
This three-part series is meant to illustrate my state of mind at the time. Any misperceptions during my stay were due to the symptoms of my disorder. I mean to cast no aspersions. Each individual responsible for my care did their job to the best of their abilities. I am grateful for their kindness, and have the utmost respect for them and their profession. ~HBJ