frame of mind
The silence and the stigmas that surround mental health makes this place that much darker, and that much scarier. If we open up the conversation, we can ease the guilt and shame that comes with having a mental illness -- it's as if battling with your own mind wasn't already hard enough.
Maddie is my glitter. I find her every day in little nooks and crannies when I least expect it. And most often uncontrollable tears rise in my eyes and my heart cracks even further, but the smile for the memory eases the pain. May her sparkle never dull and may we continue to find her glitter in the least expected places.
We speak in platitudes about the "road to recovery" with eating disorders, like there's an easily-replicable strategy, like winning a board game. My recovery was a hellish game of snakes and ladders: I'd make progress and then have a setback and slide back to start.
I try to stay calm as my heart starts to race and my legs begin to shake. I feel nauseous and I might throw up. It's happening. Right here, right now, at work. A panic attack. My first one happened in my mid-20s. Thought I was dying. It runs in my family. My father has anxiety and panic disorder.
We need each other. We need these connections to survive and we need to talk about mental illness to share light and hope. We need to stop stigmatizing mental illness. We need to survive mental illness. You need to survive it. You have to keep moving. Keep fighting. Keep dreaming.
The holidays can be great for some, but for me, and many people I know, they are more of a nightmare. So how do we move past this? I am going to share with you a couple ideas that I have had that have worked for me ( they may not work for everyone). I am sharing these things in the interest of conversation.
"I think the opportunities to access help are just not there for people in the north."
This yo-yo or extreme dieting may be seen as harmless or even vain but we must recognize it stems from a very dangerous place. Negative body image is the negative self-perception of your body. It is often accompanied by shame; the unworthiness we feel due to our flaws. This combination of negative body image and shame is what leads us to take desperate measures with our bodies.
If there is someone reading this who is in that dark place of having a plan -- a plan of how they want to exit this life and when they want to exit it. Please wait and listen to me when I tell you that these thoughts are not with you forever. I know they are excruciatingly painful, but they do pass. I promise you they pass. I promise you are worthy, and that you are not alone. You are loved. You are strong. You are beautiful. You are brave.
There is so much pressure on these kids to not only thrive and compete but to be perfect. And our sense of balance is gone. Competition and excelling is good but what about having fun? Commitments are skewed. Genuine, quality family time is compromised because parents are stressed, pressured and rushing to get their kids to and from programs and to do too many things at the same time.