Pat Benatar would have us believe ‘Love is a Battlefield’. Though that may be true, I believe the greatest battle each of us faces every day is in our mind.
For years I have struggled with an unnamed illness that just didn't seem to have a cause. My test results would come back clear. There was no diabetes, Lupus, STDs or arthritis. I'd been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, IBS, gastro-reflux, severe sleep apnea, depression, and anxiety. Even with treatment for all these other conditions, I still felt constantly sick, achy and fatigued to the extreme. Finally, after a barrage of not so great doctors (who treated me like I was stupid, lying or didn't know my own body), I found an amazing clinic with doctor's who would actually listen to me. I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
I'm writing this letter with hopes that those who suffer alone or are deemed lesser can get a bit of piece of mind!
It was a comfortable retreat: the familiar sadness, the open arms of melancholia that was constantly there for me. I knew I could always turn to It. I knew that no matter what, I always had It. It. The dark entity that embraced me whenever I needed It.
Having been engaged in the mental health system as a youth and going on to become an addiction/mental health worker myself, I feel I have a duty to share my story in hopes of empowering others who may be suffering. Having taken many different psychiatric medications as well as having learned to meditate at a young age, I want to be a voice for promoting empowering messages in this community where people can often feel labeled, stigmatized, and alone in a world that may place undue pressure on them.
I'm 38 years old and live with an eating disorder. I weigh 105 at 5"6 and wear a size 1 in pants that, even after wearing them all day, they will sag. I can goes days without eating and not think twice about it. I start noticing the effects only by the fatigue and body cramps. My heart races at times for no reason. When I feel those symptoms I binge eat for a couple of weeks, maybe even a month and a half. It's like my brain rewired itself systematically. I know it's all part of the disorder. I have never weighed more than 115 and I don't even know when I have fallen off track until I start feeling the symptoms. How long will I keep going like this? Will it last forever? I read about cases all the time where they won the battle and became healthy.
I have suffered from mental health issues my entire life. In fact, I am certain I suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) even in public school. Unfortunately, in Canada, one cannot receive a mental health diagnosis until after the age of 18 so I was not diagnosed until after reaching adulthood.
Expectations... We all have them. They're those ideas that float around our mind before being sewn into the soil of our conscious selves. They grow as weeds from this mental earth, strangling our garden of values and beliefs. Even worse, like weeds, they spread rapidly until our emotions and identities have been altered to suit their needs. Expectations... We all have them, but what can we do about it?
I understand that I, as a female, am complicated. I’m going to tell you a little story about my struggle. Now at the age I am I’m more secure in myself about the way I look. I always thought that I truly was ok. I have forgiven myself. My struggle first started in my teenage years. I know a lot of people might say, but you were young. Yes, I was, but I already had started to figure things out. I had curves, had a body was still just me. I won’t go into detail about the next part just know it was bad. I changed after this incident. I wasn’t beautiful to me. I wasn’t perfect. My innocence was gone. I covered my body so no one would look at it. I was ashamed of it. I was ugly, fat, all around not good enough.
Hi! My name is Chris and I have an invisible disability! When I was 12 years old I was in school, and I made my way down some bleachers when I found that I couldn't move. I collapsed and everyone laughed, I was mortified. I found that it happened every day since then, and it was worse every time. I thought, "It's in my head, I'm fine." So, I kept it a secret from my family, until I was fifteen.
My name is James. I am a 19 year old Canadian guy with too much time on my hands. I struggle with a few different things. I have a type of colorblindness called Protanopia. It is a red/green colorblindness and I can't see the color red. Because I don't see red, either because I don't have red photoreceptors, or they were underdeveloped, I also don't see pink, purple, or orange as they are offshoots of red.