I have an eating disorder. But the moment I am asked, "Do you cut yourself? Please lift your sleeves and your pant legs so I can check," my spot on the treatment totem pole for my eating disorder drops considerably. Because I don't cut myself. I never have.
I'm a postpartum nurse, recently diagnosed with mental illness. I will share my stories whether you want to read them or not. Stopping the stigma of mental illness now.
I have openly talked about my use of laxatives for years; I make no secret of the hours and days spent avoiding food, and more specifically eating it; I talk about my death and my desire to die as though I were sharing a favourite recipe; my naps are long, and often I refuse to actually wake from them, instead pulling covers over my head and pointing to the door with a hissed, "Get out get out."
07/21/2014 12:59 EDT
Rather than seeing nothing after I post a particularly bleak tweet or a caption speaking about mental illness, my notifications explode with questions and comments, all curious and positive about this awful invisible assailant. Total strangers will send their love and prayers out to me. Others will thank me for being brave and outspoken.
07/17/2014 08:47 EDT
This past year I've discovered that mental illnesses come in threes. Actually, in my case, they have come in more than threes, and unfortunately with each new disorder that I am diagnosed with, I am forced to reevaluate and relive the painful events of a past which have invited demons into my life who have been telling me since almost infancy that I am not worthy of freedom.
07/10/2014 12:30 EDT
Here's the thing: eating disorders are not about a fear of getting fat. The weight gain is not fueled by the number on the scale, but by the feeling of perfection at having maintained self-control.
07/07/2014 05:48 EDT
As I was reading through Twitter accounts and bios of people advocating for the recognition of eating disorders as real and dangerous, I came across the words "ex-anorexic." I was jealous. I am able to eat a meal with my family, and quietly endure the self-loathing afterwards with no physiological consequences; but the mental battle drags me through such an obstacle course, that by the time I've reached the finish line, I am no longer certain of whether or not I want to get better. Unfortunately, part of me is convinced that there is no such thing as getting better from this
07/02/2014 12:51 EDT
This past year has seen me in the lowest of emotional states. I was diagnosed with depression in October, 2013. Somehow, some way, through the guidance and help of the team of doctors monitoring me psychologically and medically, the stabbing in my chest is subsiding. The depression may be lifting. I'm hopeful.
06/30/2014 01:09 EDT
I know PTSD. I live it. I am assailed by the images every day; images which have made me fall to my knees as flashbacks so vivid and ugly wrapped themselves around my eyes like a blindfold. The incident plays on a constant loop in my broken brain, sometimes slowing down long enough to allow me a moment to breathe; other times the nightmare so real I forget I'm no longer that young child pinned underneath a grown man.
06/12/2014 12:38 EDT
I'm going to eat this muffin. I am. I really am. I'm so useless. I suck. I need to put this muffin down. And just not eat anything for the rest of the day. Nobody likes me anyway so who cares if I even eat this muffin? I can't do anything right.
06/10/2014 06:07 EDT
We all have a defining characteristic. To accept that depression defines me means that I know who "me" is right now. That will change in the future. But for now, accepting that depression defines me means that I know who I am.
05/27/2014 12:20 EDT
Depression doesn't decide when it will attack. It sits on your head, an ever-looming presence, watching you go about your day. Sometimes, it can sit there for so long, you will forget it's there. You will start making plans for yourself; glorious, luxurious, productive plans. They will be ruined.
05/18/2014 09:15 EDT
Before being diagnosed with depression in 2013, I could be described as miserable, ungrateful, negative. I decided to own my depression for what it has been for too many years to count, and rather than continue to bemoan my diagnosis, I would celebrate it by embracing the positive aspects.
05/14/2014 12:33 EDT
What I have always believed to be my "parenting style" is now an onslaught of question marks as I wrestle with the heartbreaking realizations that perhaps my depression and I have caused irreparable damage to one or all of my four children.
05/08/2014 12:43 EDT
I was born in North Bay, Ontario, in 1968 as Dorothée Labrosse. I was placed for adoption immediately upon my birth, and two months later, was blessed with a wonderful life with my adoptive parents. Since recently being diagnosed with mental illnesses, a synopsis of my birth family's health could help in the treatment of my illnesses and potentially those of my children.
05/06/2014 12:27 EDT
Simple childhood moments between siblings and friends of "You show me yours, I'll show you mine" were turned into interrogation sessions were my finger pointed at each child demanding, "Where did you learn that?" To this day, 10 years later, my kids will still remind me of those episodes with arched eyebrows, querying, "What was that all about anyway?"
04/29/2014 08:22 EDT
I had never shared it. With anyone. Ever. Until May, 2013. As we sat in her sunroom, the heat warming my skin while my heart sunk with dread, I finally told another person about the man who had sexually abused me before I even knew how to write my ABCs. Blame cannot be placed on any one person or profession since society as a whole makes childhood sexual abuse a dirty little secret.
04/25/2014 12:16 EDT
I've spent these past several months adjusting to the diagnoses of my mental illnesses, redefining who I am as compared to who I thought I was. Sadly though, dependent on how news of my illnesses is viewed by others and based on the fact that my healing is partly based on perseverance and strength, never has the company I've kept been subject to more scrutiny.
04/21/2014 04:59 EDT
To tell someone with mental illness that treatment is not necessary in order to overcome the symptoms of the disease is about as sensitive as telling someone with a treatable cancer that surgery, chemo, and radiation won't be necessary.
04/16/2014 12:31 EDT
Yes, during the most severe times in my life when I was bedridden for months, my body moulded into the mattress, not only did I not even know how to be a mother, but I didn't care. Strength and what little energy I had, was poured into staying alive. But during these worst of times, my children, the older ones aware of my illness, the younger one suspecting, were never very far from my side.
04/14/2014 12:30 EDT
As I watched a documentary on Bell's "Let's Talk" campaign recently after my Major Depressive Disorder was diagnosed, although I was busily leafing through a book, of which I couldn't read one single line as my brain was a muddle of fog and pain, I refused to look up at the screen as Clara Hughes discussed of her personal struggle with depression.
04/11/2014 12:38 EDT
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