What mental health problem or mental illness are you in recovery from?
I am in recovery from eating disorders. My eating disorders ranged from abusing laxatives to starving myself.
What effect did your mental health problem or mental illness have on your life?
In my early childhood years, I grew up a bit on the “chubby side” and was constantly pressured by my family to be skinny. This ultimately led me to be self-conscious about my body and see my body in a negative light. It started off with cutting out certain foods and starving myself. I found that this took a huge toll on my energy levels and found a different way to get rid of the food in my body. Then, began the cycle of bingeing and purging. When I wasn’t able to purge the food right away, I turned to laxatives to get rid of the food.
What were some of the challenges you faced on a day-to-day basis?
Some of the challenges I faced on a day-to-day basis was eating out with my friends or eating at family/friends’ house. I remember having dinner at my friends’ house once, and immediately going to the bathroom after to purge. She later found out and was extremely upset with me.
How did your family and friends respond to your mental health problem or mental illness?
My dad found out about my eating disorders at a doctors’ visit. I had gone for a routine check-up, but little did I know it would be the start to curing my eating disorders. The doctor had asked my dad to step out of the room and I just broke down. This was taking a toll on my mental, emotional, and physical health. I poured my heart out to her, explaining the damage I was doing to my body and the depression I had been through at the time. She said I seek immediate health and strongly encouraged me to tell my parents about what was happening. Once my dad came into the room, the doctor began to explain what was going on. I sat there ashamed and upset at myself, but my dad was understanding and agreed I seek immediate professional help.
What made you decide to get help?
I decided to get help because my doctor urged that the abuse of laxatives and long-lasting purging could have permanent effects on my digestive system and could ultimately prevent my menstrual cycle from occurring.
What was your experience in seeking treatment?
My experience through seeking treatment involved weekly therapy sessions with a psychologist. As well as seeing a dietician for putting together a meal plan and the amount of foods I should be taking in from each food group. Along with my eating disorders, I was seeking therapy for my depression and was put on anti-depressant pills.
What was helpful in supporting your work toward recovery?
I had a huge support system from my family and friends. As well as the professionals I was seeing weekly. I started weightlifting and felt an inner strength in me that I had craved.
Why is it so important to have an open dialogue about mental health/illness/wellness?
It is important to have an open dialogue about mental health/illness/wellness because there are a lot of people suffering in silence, and need immediate help. If workshops were put into place and theses topics were spoken more of, not only would it help those suffering but bring more awareness to the cause.
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