May is mental health month

“Another page turns on the calendar, April now, not March.

………

I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world… I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest.

I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness…Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help.

I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape.

There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore. I am thawing.”

Laurie Halse Anderson

 

It is April now. Think of the beginning of many conversations during the day with their polite pleasantries. We ask “how are you?” However, often we truly don’t want to know how the person is doing. What if they are not doing so well? What do we say then?

For me, today is one of those difficult days. I’m blessed no one has asked me how I am doing, because I dislike having to give a fake perfunctory response. I’ll try to share why I’m feeling sort of blah.

I sadly came across a blog written by a woman who succumb to the medical complications of years with an eating disorder. Something about her story made me cry tears of fear for myself and friends whom I care about dearly who also are in this struggle. The realization that I do not want to sacrifice my life for the eating disorder came down like a crushing wave. I want the madness to stop.

When you’re falling down a dark, deceptive hole, even though you know what lies at the bottom of the hellish pit but you are unable to stop the torture.

When your mind and body are literally fighting against one another for survival, despite your best attempts to stop the maddening cycle.

When you look “great” and “wonderful” on the outside but internally you feel as if you are mentally being torn down, scorned for existing, for eating, for intensely feeling, for not feeling enough, for fighting back.

When your doctor inevitably lets it slip about your DSM diagnosis and you can’t help feel like a complete failure at life and existing. These are some of the lies of the irrational ceaseless thoughts which whirl around in my head.

 

Now that it is May, mental health month, I thought I’d revisit the above unpublished entry. The purpose of this post is to encourage and give hope to anyone who is struggling. Although I was at a very down place at the start of April, I am so thankful I am able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

After medication tweaks, time with my team of doctors, valuable sessions with my peer support specialist, and lots of prayer, I am able to confidently say mood and food stability exists. While I occasionally wrestle with unwanted bothersome thoughts related to food and weight, I have learned techniques such as self-talk which have helped lessen the compulsion to act on said mind traps.

Medications sure do not fix everything, and just like any human I have my down days, however, I truly believe actively living, thriving, wellness and recovery are possible.

Finally, this morning I was messaging with a dear lady who is one of the most caring and kind friends one could ask for. We were discussing the stigmas attached to mental illness. Here are a few of the reminders I often need to tell myself when I hear something in the media or a friend unknowingly makes a comment related to mental health concerns. What are your go-to reminders?

You are not your diagnosis or morally responsible for its existence.

Our brains are part of our bodies, so they deserve the same high-level specialized care and treatment as a person with a heart condition or diabetes.

Our differences are what make us unique.

Despite what our minds attempt to convince us of, we are not in this alone.

 

Until next time, be well

Anjelina

 

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