08.21.19 // "I'm not sick enough"

“I’m not the best, but not the worst either, so why bother?” 

I always used to say that; it came up when someone brought up I might need help, whenever I thought I should do something about being so sad all the time, if I lost a lot of weight. I pushed aside all the ideas of getting help because I wasn’t the “worst one” out there. I didn’t deserve to get better. “Maybe if (and I never believed I would) get to that level, but I’m not there yet so why bother?”

Besides, it felt like I was getting by “ok”, not great, but still getting by. The prospect of change seemed much more daunting and stressful than just staying where I was; which, wasn’t great, but I was surviving. 

I don’t think you ever get to the point where you say, “okay, I’m sick enough, let’s get that CBT and DBT up in here now.” Mental illness doesn’t work like that, to your mind you’re never sick enough. When I was in treatment we talked about how our eating disorders would never let us believe we’re sick enough, even when we were admitted to hospital. There was a joke (twisted as it was) that even on your deathbed your eating disorder voice would just be like, “why is everyone being so dramatic I’m fine.”

The strength of people fighting their mental illness starts with a decision, one where staying where you are becomes more painful than the idea of changing.

I didn’t get there by thinking I was the worst, no one will ever think they are “sick enough”. I got there by realizing the things I wanted in life were never possible while I was still engaged in my disordered behaviours. As cliche as it was, I was surviving, not living. It’s not about convincing yourself you’re sick enough, it’s about realizing that wherever you are, isn’t the right place.

A lot of people like to stay in this state of “getting by”. Maybe it’s because you don’t think you’re sick enough, maybe you think people will call you dramatic if you complain, maybe you truly believe that you don’t deserve to live a happier life. 

No one wants to  feel like they are an inconvenience to someone, but it feels like asking for help makes us one. Standing up and saying that you need help feels selfish, and that’s fucked. You don’t need to prove to anyone that you deserve to get better, even if you don’t believe you are “sick enough” yet - why wait? It doesn’t make you any stronger, it just takes more time away from what you actually want to be doing. You can’t possibly take care of anyone else, or put your best effort forward when your struggling - so it’s actually an extremely caring act to care for yourself. 

You’ll never be sick enough to get help. Even when you hit rock bottom, you'll find a way to shrug it off and keep going.

That’s not strength, that’s avoidance.

So if you’re not the best, but not the worst, ask for help. If you’re the best, ask for help. If you’re the worst ask for help. Stop comparing yourself. You don’t need to wait, you don’t need to prove anything, just start talking. The people that care about you the most will be the people who will help you. 


Kate Farrell