There is so much STIGMA attached to mental illness. Most people don’t understand that mental illness is NOT a choice.
My name is Kat. I’m here to tell you that if it were a choice, I would NOT be suffering right now. No one wakes up and says to themselves “hey you gorgeous hunk of human, let’s be an emotional wreck today and wreak havoc on ourselves because that’s going to make everything all rainbows and cupcakes today.” No. That doesn’t happen. Quite the contrary actually. We wake up and say things like, “it’s a beautiful day today, let’s spend some time soaking up the sun and enjoying life,” “I think pancakes and bacon sound wonderful for breakfast,” or even “oh my goodness I overslept and I’ve got a million things to get done today, better get a move on it.”
And then somewhere there’s a disconnect and our brains get all wonky on us and turn normal everyday routines like eating or running to the grocery store into insurmountable mountains.
“I can’t eat that because I’m going to be allergic to it, my throat is going to close up and I’m going to die.”
“There’s too many people at the store and they’re all going to look at me, or someone may even touch me on accident.”
“It’s work traffic time right now, I can’t go anywhere because I’ll be gridlocked in on the highway and if I start having a panic attack I won’t be able to get to the hospital or the ambulance won’t be able to get to me in time and I’ll die.”
These are examples of thoughts someone with an eating disorder such as ARFID, or an anxiety disorder such as agoraphobia, or even a disorder such as OCD might have. To the outsider, and even half the time–to ourself–these all sound ridiculously irrational. But still, these thoughts impair our actions. They control what we are and are not comfortably able to do.
Teal is the awareness ribbon color for anxiety/panic disorders and OCD (among other medical/psychological ailmaents); Periwinkle is the awareness ribbon color for eating disorders (and again, other medical and psychological ailments).
It is my hope to discuss my own journey and battle with these diseases as well as be able to provide some information to those who say “it’s all in your head just get over it” through my ramblings here on WordPress. You wouldn’t tell an epileptic to just stop having a seizure, or for an Alzheimer’s patient to just snap out of it and comeback to the present day and time. Why do people feel that it’s ok to tell a person with anxiety that it’s all in their head and there’s nothing wrong, or to tell a depressed person just be happy, or tell someone with an eating disorder to just eat because there’s nothing wrong with the food or they are too skinny??? Stop judging, stop trying to fix what you don’t understand, and start asking questions to gain a better understanding if you want to try and help. Don’t assume just because you don’t deal with it or have never experienced it, that it isn’t a very real war for the individual who is suffering.
I have some things I need to work out in my own mind, but I’m still very much a human being in need of compassion, friendships, family members, and a treatment that works together to help me find and rescue ME, because I know I’m still in there somewhere…I just need a little help.