For Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important that we talk about our own experiences and stories to start fighting the stigma around speaking out. Therefore, I’ve decided to start some kind of diary. This blog in its entirety is my diary, and it’s going to be very personal as it expands, but this is a more raw look at my thoughts regarding my eating disorder. Here you can find more general mental health posts.
The thing about eating disorders is that they lie. All the time. They’re constantly trying to trick you and make you believe something other than reality. They’ll steal everything from you and still make you feel like they’re your best friend – that they’re the only thing that you have, the only thing that you’ll need. Even when you know that they lie – like I do – it doesn’t actually register that your own is just the same. I can look at somebody else with an eating disorder and tell them that they’re being deceived, that they’re being misled, but then I can’t tell myself the same thing. It’s almost as if I think it’s going to be different for me, and a part of me knows that it’s not going to be, but a bigger part of me just cannot believe that.
I’m stuck. A part of me wants to let go of my eating disorder and get my life back or make a new life for myself, but, again, the bigger part of me doesn’t want that. The bigger part of me wants to hold onto it because it’s all I know. I have had this for so, so long – longer than a lot of people would know – and I don’t want to suddenly be on my own in the deep end. Letting go of this means letting go of what I think my identity is – and then I’m going to be stuck because I’m going to be lost. I’m not going to know where I am or who I am or what I want to achieve, and I’m not going to have a focus because my main focus is suddenly going to be taken away from me. So what do I do?
I’m not sure. I’m really not sure. I write this as somebody who is an advocate for mental health and as somebody who always tries to remind people that arbitrary numbers or facts do not define who they are, but I cannot apply that logic to myself.
I know I want a future. I want to study Magazine Journalism at University and go onto be a writer or an editor or simply somebody who blends into the background. I’m starting to picture that future for myself – I mean, I went to a university convention (in a wheelchair, nonetheless, but still) and I saw so many people with bright futures ahead of them. I saw so many happy faces and excited souls who were ready to plan the next step in their journey – and a lot of them are going to make that leap sooner than I am. I can’t do that yet. Why? Because this illness is dragging me down. This illness put me in that wheelchair. This illness keeps me housebound. This illness is the reason why I can’t currently walk into a store without worrying that I’m going to collapse or that I’m going to faint or something bad is going to happen. This illness, this illness, this illness.
This disorder has taken my freedom from me – it’s taken the little bit of life that I had and thrown it into the garbage disposal. It’s made me into somebody who I don’t like. I’m not saying that I liked myself beforehand – because, unfortunately, that’s still something that I have to work on and through, but I had a drive that I was living for. Right now, I’m not even living. And I’m scared I’m going to die.
I don’t want to die. That’s hard to say, or to type, actually, because sometimes I have wanted to – sometimes I still do. But, in general? I don’t want to die. How am I going to design magazines if I’m not here? How am I going to boss somebody around to get the perfect photograph for a front cover? How would I ever be able to achieve all that if this illness got the best of me? Simply put, I wouldn’t be able to. And I can’t right now, because this illness is actually getting the best of me.
I want to change. I want a better life for myself, and I suppose that means committing to getting better, but I’m scared. Scared of letting everything that I know go and rebuilding a life from scratch. Scared of getting control over the eating disorder after it’s hard it’s grips on me. A part of me knows that it would be worth it, but what if it’s not enough?
If you or a loved one may be struggling from an eating disorder, there is hope. You can find a range of resources here.