For as long as I can remember I have always felt the need to look after others. It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member, friend, or even someone that I barely know. I have an inherent need to help “fix” the lives of others whether they want me to or not. Now wanting to help others is not a bad thing, unless it begins to be at the cost of your own physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. I am extremely sensitive to the feelings of others, and I find it very difficult to take a step back and remove myself from situations in which I over-empathize with someone else. This is especially true if it is someone I care about. I became almost obsessive in my need to help others, and I would often begin to sacrifice my own mental health and financial stability to support someone who I believed to need my help. When I look back now, I realize that I was providing support to people who hadn’t even asked for my help. I truly believed that they needed me, they just didn’t know it yet. My feelings of self-worth began to “depend” on my ability and need to make things better for those whose lives I believed needed to be fixed.
I have always wanted to share my story with people, as I think I could bring on some wisdom, advice, and comfort to others. This is just one part of my huge story, just a day in my life with mental illness.
Being diagnosed with Anorexia at the age of 16 was not a part of my plan. I dreamed of being an ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor while gigging in a band as a drummer on the side. For as long as I can remember being a doctor and a drummer was my plan, that plan took a huge turn after my parents made the decision to pull me out of the art school I was attending and put me back in the public school system. The short story for why they made this decision is that while I was already knee-deep in Anorexia at this point, yet still went unnoticed, I had decided I wanted to be a psychologist to help other people so therefore I did not want to take percussion as my elective any longer which my parents did not approve of.
Where do I begin? Ashley, for all intents and purposes is my life line.
Almost to the exact date of my momentous mindset shift just last year.. this story will tell a different path decision going into 2020.
When I was younger than 16, I had already started suffering from my first eating disorder. Anorexia.
There are few things more terrifying than quitting something that you once felt connected to in any way. This might mean a relationship, a friendship, or even physical toxins that you expose your body to. If you are used to having something as a part of your life, it can be really hard to let it go even if you know that it is bad for you and is harming your body and soul.
It felt like I was in a dream. I pulled my new-to-me iPhone 4S out of my pocket to capture the moment so that later I’d know for sure it was real. I kept the flash off, using the stage lights only and angling my phone just so in order to avoid the glare. I guess all those years getting a Fine Arts degree weren’t completely for naught. My heart felt so full I didn’t know whether to laugh, smile, or cry. An hour before, I’d been part of the VIP lineup to meet and take a photograph with the band, my mother’s words echoing in my ears. “You get a hug from him, don’t leave without it.” When my turn came to meet them, I squeaked out my request - twice, since he didn’t hear me the first time. He laughed, told me I was cute, and gave me a hug. I tried not to smile like an idiot for the photo, knowing this moment would take at least a week for me to fully process.
I’m starting this Story as a very confused 9 year old, about the time I started to wish I would hurt myself so badly that I would be in a Coma and all the bad things would be over.
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