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.

  1. 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.

  2. Mental illness is not a choice, it is a disease that is physically wired in your brain. 

  3. More people are struggling than you can imagine, but we hide it because we are scared of being called crazy. 

  4. 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. 

  5. 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. 

  6. 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.

  7. 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”.

  8. 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.

  9. Fighting is scary but not nearly as scary as the idea as living with this illness forever.

  10. 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.

  11. Every single person has a story. Take time to listen to it.

Here are some links if you are struggling.

Depression:

  • 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

  • Veterans: 1-877-VET2VET

  • 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

Domestic Abuse:

  • 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

  • TeenLine: 1-800-522-8336

  • 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 Hotlines:

  • 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

Other Hotlines:

  • 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!

x Kate

Personal BlogKate Farrell