Confession: sometimes I'm afraid of complete eating disorder (ED) recovery. What does this mean exactly? It's hard to articulate, but there is a small (albeit influential and persistent) voice in the back of my head that warns me not to lose the ED behaviors I relied on for so long. As irrational as this might sound, I feel a sense of comfort and reassurance in knowing I can re-access the eating disorder anytime I need it.
When you are the victim of verbal abuse, making decisions and navigating everyday activities can be overwhelming. I have noticed that when my anxiety levels climb due to external stressors, my brain and body want to shut down. Then, I would return to my old coping skills from when I suffered abuse by giving up, abstaining from fighting against any opposition, and retreating internally.
It's one thing to tell someone you've hurt yourself accidentally. But what do you say when you hurt yourself on purpose? What's the best way to tell someone you self-harm—and who should you tell first?
When talking about schizophrenia, we must remember that everyone has a different experience with the illness. Some people live with few or no symptoms, while others live with significant symptoms. I had one period in my life where I lived symptom-free for almost a decade. During that time, I held a full-time job, completed training programs, was involved in hobbies, and was more independent than at any other period in my life. I haven't had a day entirely symptom-free in the past ten years.
My birthday is coming up this week, and I've been writing and reflecting to prepare for it. When I reflect on my last year, so much change has happened, but those changes aren't visible from the outside. This is the reality of going through recovery from eating disorders like binge eating disorder (BED). There are so many emotions, habits, thought patterns, and behaviors to change, and these massive internal changes aren't easy to see from the outside.
In our society, people are shamed for not having a positive outlook. In fact, I just read a comment on LinkedIn that said, "Maintaining a positive outlook, ALWAYS, is so very important. Always look for that silver lining. Trust me, in the end, everything is exactly where it should be." And that sums up how many people feel about a positive outlook: it's critical, and something's wrong with you and your line of thinking if you don't have a positive outlook.
No matter how much someone covets mental illness recovery, some part of it feels scary. My struggles with mental health started when I was very young, and there were years and years where I was desperate for recovery—but I was also terrified of it. From what I’ve seen, my experience and feelings are not uncommon, so I wanted to take a closer look at that.
"Snap Out of It!" is honored to have spoken with Saskia Lightburn-Ritchie, the Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of My Cheshire Without Abuse (My CWA). Saskia lives with bipolar disorder, and she is proving every day that it's possible to be successful even with a serious mental illness.
Recently, a report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that every adult under 65 be screened for anxiety by their primary care doctors (family doctors). When I first saw the headline, my initial response was, "Well, that's stupid. You go to the doctor when you're sick, and people know when they're sick." But, upon second thought, I realized this was wrong. Screening for anxiety in general doctor's appointments does make sense.
Self-harm is not avant-garde. Depression is not mysterious. I know these two statements to be facts, so why do some forms of media want us to believe otherwise? On the one hand, maybe I should be grateful. Grateful that topics such as suicide are even portrayed on television or in movies. Why, then, is the predominant emotion, not gratitude but sheer anger? (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)