11.12.18 // Four Years Ago Today
Four years ago today I had my first admission to inpatient treatment for Anorexia. I was completely ashamed and thought that I failed because I wasn’t in University, I thought I failed because I wasn’t doing what I thought all my friends were doing, I thought I wasn’t getting life “right”.
I spent four months in residential treatment, spending Christmas Eve in a hospital ward and New Years watching fireworks from our small unit. Those four months in Homewood I cried more than I thought I would and laughed harder than I believed I could after all the eating disorder had taken away from me.
Four years later and that eating disorder has put me through another round of inpatient and day patient programs, it has put me through countless therapy sessions and taken away so many moments of joy. Isolation and depressive emotions have weaved their way into my life, and there are a lot of times when I’m terrified I’ll never get better.
But then I remember - it will because I’ll never stop fighting.
I’ve found immense support in a community of people that are also fighting mental illness, support from people I would have never even thought were battling mental illness because they appeared to “have it all together”.
I’ve learned that we’re all fighting a battle, no matter how big it is. That sounds cheesy but it’s true and the more we speak honestly about what’s going on the easier it is to talk about it and the easier it is to get help.
I’m still struggling - but I refuse to let this battle define me or reduce me.
Here’s what I’ve learned since that first admission date - from the people who constantly support me, the people that inspire me by speaking about their own struggles, and from my own struggles.
It’s been over five years battling this bitch of a disorder. I’ve met so many amazing people a long the way and learned that, more than anything, people battling mental illness are bad ass. There is nothing harder than getting up everyday and fighting your brain 24/7 just to do mundane things. To all those people, I absolutely am inspired by you and support you.
Mental illness is not a choice, it is a disease that is physically wired in your brain.
More people are struggling than you can imagine, but we hide it because we are scared of being called crazy.
Everyone has emotions, we need to be ore venerable and speak about our struggles, it’s the only way we’re going to start a conversation.
If you’re not okay, that is okay. Just keep going, and I know how hard that is, but there are so many more people than you think that are fighting right alongside of you.
Just because someone looks like they are okay doesn’t mean they are; after I got out of treatment a lot of people thought I was instantly better because I was weight restored. That was only the beginning part of battling the disorder, I had to still fight to change the coping mechanisms in my brain, something that’s extremely difficult. People’s outside appearance do not reflect what’s going on in their brain.
Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder but people still think it’s a choice that someone can instantly “snap out of”.
My family is amazing. They know why, and I love them endlessly. Your support system are the people that know you are not your mental illness, they ARE out there and come from the most random places sometimes.
Fighting is scary but not nearly as scary as the idea as living with this illness forever.
Recovery is not linear, some people need one round of treatment and some people need five. You are not worse or better than anyone else, we are ALL fighting.
Every single person has a story. Take time to listen to it.
Here are some links if you are struggling.
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (2433) – Can use in US, U.K., Canada and Singapore
Suicide Crisis Line: 1-800-999-9999
National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-TALK (8245)
National Adolescent Suicide Helpline: 1-800-621-4000
Postpartum Depression: 1-800-PPD-MOMS
NDMDA Depression Hotline – Support Group: 1-800-826-3632
Crisis Help Line – For Any Kind of Crisis: 1-800-233-4357
Suicide & Depression Crisis Line – Covenant House: 1-800-999-9999
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide: (UK only) 0844-561-6855
Beyondblue info line: (Australia only) 1300-22-4636
24/7 Crisis Line:(Canada only) 905-522-1477
Lifeline Australia: 13-11-14
Teléfono de la Esperanza (Spain only) 902 500 002 / 91 459 00 50
National Child Abuse Helpline: 1-800-422-4453
National Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Domestic Violence Hotline (TDD): 1-800-787-32324
Center for the Prevention of School Violence: 1-800-299-6504
Child Abuse Helpline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-548-2722
Healing Woman Foundation (Abuse): 1-800-477-4111
Child Abuse Hotline Support & Information: 1-800-792-5200
Women’s Aid National Domestic Violence Helpline: (UK Only) 0345 023 468
Sexual Abuse Centre: (UK Only) 0117 935 1707
Sexual Assault Support (24/7, English & Spanish): 1-800-223-5001
Domestic & Teen Dating Violence (English & Spanish: 1-800-992-2600
Relationships Australia: 1300-364-277
Alcohol & Drug Abuse:
National Association for Children of Alcoholics: 1-888-55-4COAS (1-888-554-2627)
National Drug Abuse: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Al-Anon/Alateen Hope & Help for young people who are the relatives & friends of a problem drinker): 1-800-344-2666
Alcohol/Drug Abuse Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Be Sober Hotline: 1-800-BE-SOBER (1-800-237-6237)
Cocaine Help Line: 1-800-COCAINE (1-800-262-2463)
24 Hour Cocaine Support Line: 1-800-992-9239
Ecstasy Addiction: 1-800-468-6933
Marijuana Anonymous: 1-800-766-6779
Youth & Teen Hotlines:
National Youth Crisis Support: 1-800-448-4663
Youth America Hotline: 1-877-YOUTHLINE (1-877-968-8454)
Covenant House Nine-Line (Teens): 1-800-999-9999
Boys Town National: 1-800-448-3000
Teen Helpline: 1-800-400-0900
Youth Crisis Support: 1-800-448-4663 or 1-800-422-0009
Runaway Support (All Calls are Confidential): 800-231-694
National Runaway Hotline: (US only) 1800-231-6946
Child Helpline: (UK Only) 0800-111
Kids Helpline: (Australia) 1800-55-1800
Youth to Youth: (UK only) 020-8896-3675
Kids Help Phone Canada: 1800-688-6868
National Youth Crisis Hotline:(US only) 800-442-442-4673
Pregnancy Support: 1-800-4-OPTIONS (1-800-467-8466)
Pregnancy National Helpline: 1-800-356-5761
Young Pregnant Support: 1-800 550-4900
Gay and Lesbian Hotlines:
The Trevor Helpline (For homosexuality questions or problems): 1-800-850-8078
Gay & Lesbian National Support: 1-888-THE-GLNH (1-888-843-4564)
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Youth Support Line: 1-800-850-8078
Lesbian & Gay Switchboard: (UK Only) 0121 622 6589
Lothian Gay & Lesbian Switchboard – Scotland: (Scotland Only) 0131 556 4049
Self-Injury Support: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288) (www.selfinjury.com)
Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention: 1-800-931-2237 (Hours: 8am-noon daily, PST)
Eating Disorders Center: 1-888-236-1188
Help Finding a Therapist: 1-800-THERAPIST (1-800-843-7274)
Panic Disorder Information and Support: 1-800-64-PANIC (1-800-647-2642)
TalkZone (Peer Counselors): 1-800-475-TALK (1-800-475-2855)
Parental Stress Hotline: 1-800-632-8188
Parent Help Line (Australia only): 1300-364-100
National AIDS Helpline: (UK Only) 0800 567 123
Mensline Australia: 1300-789-978
Beat - ED hotline: Helpline 0345 634 1414 Youthline 0345 634 7650 (UK only)
Want a country by country list? Here are some more resources: helplines
The following sites also provides a country by country list of helplines available:
Accepting help is BRAVE! Mental illness is real!