Anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or has helped someone in their recovery process can appreciate how complex, unique and different every experience can be. Reading personal essays and stories is a great way to understand what others have gone through and what they have learned. Our blog, In Their Own Words, is a forum for people to share their insights, experiences, and, importantly, to let you know that YOU are not alone

Appreciate those that don’t give up on you…

Appreciate those that don’t give up on you…

I have been very lucky in my life, to have friends and family that have never given up on me. Through all my good days, bad days, ups and downs… I have never been unloved or rejected.

Recovery from any kind of mental illness is a challenge that you live with every single day, and some days are a bigger struggle than others.

What some people don’t understand is that mental illness is just that… it’s not about food, drugs, alcohol, compulsive shopping or self-harm.

It really is all about emotions.

It has taken me 25 years to finally understand that my eating disorder isn’t about food at all… crazy right? When I drink too much wine, it’s not about the wine… crazy, I know.

It’s because something is hurting me so much inside and I don’t want to feel the emotions.

I want to numb the pain until I can no longer feel it, and then I want to hide away, to be alone.

I have learned a lot of wonderful coping skills and I am learning to feel my emotions… to make myself feel them… and recognize why I am hurting.

But I’m not perfect.

Some days as life keeps piling shit on me, it can get very overwhelming and I forget to cope.

So, I thank the people who check in on me, call me out when I am hurting and let me speak.

Thank you for having faith in me, and for just loving me.

On the days my soul is hurting, and I don’t know if I can go on… I stop. I breathe. I find wise mind. I am learning to cope.

If you know someone struggling with a mental illness, please choose to be kind, and listen when they are hurting.

It is not their choice to have a mental illness, and they are doing their best under the circumstances.