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The life and thoughts of me

[Purple Angel]

“Suicide is Selfish”

To explain the complexity of what depression does to one’s brain is impossible. Not only because everyone’s story is different, but because there’s no words to describe how such an all-consuming darkness can also feel like you’re only friend. At the end of this month, May 29th to be exact, is the fourth year of this world no longer holding the life of my brother. To some, his decision to take his own life might be selfish, only it’s anything but.

To live a life with depression, especially growing up as a child with it, can seem like such a normal way to live. You don’t know anything but the negativity in your mind. You don’t know how to believe in yourself and feel proud of accomplishments. The ability to believe it will get better like others say seems false considering a depressed mind is all you’ve ever lived with. When people would tell me to just have hope, I simply didn’t know what hope was.

Depression and its familiarity during hard times is what almost makes it a friend. It’s so complex due to this aspect. The cycle of hysteria to numbness repeatedly, day in, day out, makes hard times linked to this depression. This depression becomes familiar, even though it’s also what can cause the hard times. It becomes the only “thing” there for you. It almost feels comforting. To then be told to get over it, or even just to change and get help, is terrifying. How can I cope without this self-harm? How can I just sit with these painful thoughts tearing apart my body without allowing myself to feel comforted by them too? How can I, instead, try and combat these thoughts with positive thinking? The positive words feeling fake, unfamiliar, heavy inside me. Wearing me out, I can no longer stay up with the anxiety allowing me to clean the house. The healing process begins when this occurs, but it’s so painful. So exhausting. So lonely. Only, it is possible to get past the whole “it gets worse before it gets better” thing. I have gotten through it. I’m determined to continue to get through it. Healing can take a lifetime. But every minute I heal a little more. Every minute, it gets a little bit easier to breath.

Please, if you need help, make the step and get help like I did. It’s not easy. I can promise you that. It will be the worst pain fighting against yourself. And I’m so sorry for that. You will hear people say things like “suicide is selfish” or “just do x activity,” they simply do not get it. Do not take it personally, it’s like a sociology major giving advice to an engineer major’s project. They just do not get it!

I am beyond the worst of it. Not because my life itself got easier, but I learned (through much therapy and hospitalizations) how to cope when things get hard. I learned how to believe in myself. Every inch of me believes in recovery. It’s possible. It’s a process that I’m still in, but I’m more faithful in myself than ever. It’s an amazing place to be. I believe in you. I know it seems like the right thing to do, to give up, it’s what my brother thought too. I’ve been there, luckily I survived it though, and had the ability to keep fighting. I don’t believe my survival was because I’m more special or deserving or blessed than anyone else, but rather a random aspect of life. I take this randomness, however, and try and put it to as good of use as I can. If I am the one who survived, I want to help others do it too.

Take care. Keep on recovering.

 

 

Hope: The Other Side of Recovery

There’s something to say about the beauty of life. With a fully honest heart, I never could even imagine I’d reach the point I have today. The point of joy and acceptance in my life. I struggled for as a long as I can remember with anorexia, anxiety, depression, ADD. I didn’t know a life without one of those things. I never thought my life would get better or that waiting out the hard times would equate wonderful, joyful, accepting times in my life. It’s so hard to give hope to the hopeless, but I promise I’ve been to dark places. I’ve gone miles past any light left in my life and it aches to remember those traumatic experiences all due to my own illnesses in my brain. The enemy is literally inside you at those times. It’s terrifying to figure out who to listen to. Only, if you try each day to make some sort of good decision. To just keep thinking, slowly, about what’s the best thing you can do for yourself each day. It won’t be perfect at first, sometimes you might do the worst thing you could do to yourself that day. It’s okay. Forgive, try again. Eventually you’ll be able to make more and more decisions for YOU! I’m not perfect either, at almost 22 years old I still have so much to learn. In those dark times, I (very) slowly learned how to accept other’s help to guide me back to the light. It took me literally until this year. Only my life wasn’t 22 years of torture, and now it’s simply fantastic. I had and have my ups in downs throughout life. While this may be an “up” time for me, I’m accepting of it and not waiting for the down to hit. I’m excited and proud I’m here. Because every time you have an “up” moment, however fleeting, it means your heart and soul are still fighting for recovery. You are still fighting to figure how to inherit self-love and acceptance to the flaws and hiccups along the way.

To get here wasn’t just motivation to get better, it took trial and error for what therapist was best for me. It took 3 hospitalizations. It took over a dozen different kinds of medications. Only, I don’t regret any of those times because I learned so much about myself through all of it. It made me all that more passionate about who I want to grow into and how I want to live my life. I’ve grown so much and I am so proud of myself. I’m also so thankful for everyone who’s helped me along the way, because no I couldn’t have done it alone. No one can. Accept help, forgive yourself for “bad” decisions, continue to recover even if that means taking 10 steps back. I promise the fight is worth it. I’m so sorry it’s been so bad for so long, there’s no timeline that can tell you when you’ll start to see the light again. Just do everything you can to imagine a better life, though, envision a true you that can accept life for what it is. Life is covered with boundless and spontaneous perfections and horrid tragedies. It’s inevitable to get affected by the tragedies, but keep powering forward for the moments we all could describe of as perfect. When everything just feels okay for once. I’m not talking about moments without any sadness, but moments where you have faith in yourself and your abilities to live how you’ve always wanted to live!

My Struggle with Anorexia. (**Trigger warning: There is a picture)

For a good while my eating disorder wasn’t something I wanted to fight against. I flirted with the idea of death, due to the starvation. I daydreamed about one day having a heart attack because I starved my heart’s ability to support me any longer. That might sound fucked up because it certainly is. Only, it’s not like that wasn’t my reality. Anorexia stirs even the most rational brain into an irrational one. It’s impossible to summarize how it changes one’s thinking and desires in life. Everyone’s story is different, but this is mine:

There isn’t one day I remember waking up and desiring to lose weight and hating any fat I had. It honestly gradually built since I was a little girl, is it too far to say since I was born? In my other post, called My story. Let’s get it all out there, I share how I was born prematurely. Therefore, ever since I could understand speech I was told how I was so tiny when I was born. Then as I got older how cute and little I still was. Friends would comment how I was just “skin and bone” and somehow I took pride in that. I remember when I became more aware of my body in 4th and 5th grade. I started wearing tighter shirts and skipping breakfast. I would do sit ups before school to make my stomach “flatter” for the day. Those are also the years I would get weak after a hot shower and almost pass out. My mom would have to come with crackers while a laid on the floor soaking wet, wrapped in my towel. I remember getting so pale, sometimes losing eyesight, and shaking. Looking back, it always seems obvious, doesn’t it?

As I grew older and moved on to middle school, 6th grade-8th grade, I would do the same things except now I began to grow fearful of eating in front of people. I feared doing something weird and everyone watching me. So, I started to skip lunch too. I remember the guidance counselor commenting on how I looked “quite thin, but not anorexic or anything.” That just reinforced my brain that there was nothing wrong with me. I wasn’t sick and never could be! In 8th grade I got this book called Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and I remember wishing I could be just like the girl with anorexia, but I knew my weight wasn’t thin enough. Once I got to high school I began to run cross country, I also went on my first antidepressant which caused me to gain weight. I hated its side effect, so I went off it cold turkey. My mom somehow supported this decision because I remember telling her about it. She didn’t try and stop me. That next year, my sophomore year, after being off the medication I think I became more depressed than I realized. My eating disorder dipped to a new and unsustainable low. I decided to find an “ana buddy” in the UK and we’d email each other about how caloric intake and how much we’ve lost or gained. We’d encourage the disorder, even still, I never thought I had actual anorexia. It wasn’t until I started to feel extremely suicidal around the holidays that I realized my life had taken a turn. I ended up being honest and calling my dad about my desire to die. He rushed home, long story short, I ended up in an adolescent psychiatric unit where I would spend the next two weeks. While there, I let it slip out about my restricting and desire to lose weight. I remember telling my parents and my dad saying, “yeah, I guess I do see it in your face” when referring to the weight I’d lost. We were all so ignorant to what an eating disorder was.

I was transferred to their eating disorder unit to where my dad and I thought I’d spend possibly another week at. When I realized, I’d be there for most likely month or more I was shocked! I wanted to get out, but it turned out to be the best place I could have gone. It was where my dad learned how to truly help me and when I started to learn how toxic my mom was for me. I spent the next 3 months there and while it was terrifying, it was where I needed to be. I needed to learn how to eat healthy for the first time ever in my life honestly. From the earliest I can remember I had problems with food.

I did relapse after I was discharged, however. My weekend home before I was discharged, I lost weight, and my mom still, against medical advice, discharged me. So, to say the least, it was bound to happen. When I first left to go home, though, I felt so alive. I felt like I was better and I could take care of myself! I felt like whole new me. Only, I didn’t listen to the rules I learned about nourishing my body on my own. It didn’t feel purposeful to restrict. It was almost like it “just happened”. Only, once I noticed the weight coming off, I was addicted to my anorexia all over again. Therefore, it’s important to not shrug off any weight loss as “normal fluctuations” in treatment! Anyways, it was in that time that I met my therapist who I still talk to today. My dad encouraged me to still seek treatment, but it took months afterwards to find someone. The program Adrianna worked at, specialized in eating disorders, had group therapies, family therapy, and even had meal groups together. I also got a nutritionist there, but it wasn’t intensive enough for how far I’d already dived back into my eating disorder. I needed to be monitored for every meal.

It was the spring of my Junior year in high school I was sent to another treatment center. I hated it there, it was nothing like my first place. I didn’t get along with much of the patients there and the treatment teams were harsh and cold people. It wasn’t a supportive environment. I ate every meal and gained as much weight as I possibly could to get out of there ASAP. I trusted myself to relapse after I was released because it was only a few months after that I’d be 18. Being 18 meant I couldn’t be forced into treatment anymore. I could cause as much harm to my body as I wanted. I could ultimately die.

The amount my eating disorder consumed me amazes me today. It wasn’t that I was selfish and didn’t care about the harm I was causing everyone else around me, but rather I was so sick the reality of their words didn’t make sense to me. Hearing people say I need help and I’m too sick didn’t impact me, I remember laughing somewhat at those comments. I was in complete denial.

I didn’t see how obsessing over how the peanut butter I ate earlier is going to make me gain 5lbs. I didn’t see how me fearing 5lbs was irrational. I didn’t see how, rather, gaining weight would have been a good, healthy thing for my body. Instead, I repeatedly looked up diets. I calculated my calories. I watched YouTube videos on anorexia religiously. I watched them over and over, obsessing how all these girls managed to lose weight and look so sick, but I couldn’t be them. Tragically, I very well was. I spent hours googling the quickest weight loss tips and how to burn the most calories during the day. I scared myself over the science behind skipping meals and how it’s supposed to lower the metabolism. I rationalized that I had to eat less and less, to compensate.

I didn’t see how a 4th grader worrying about her stomach bulging out with her tight shirt is so heartbreaking. I didn’t see how the doctors assumed my weight was naturally underweight even though I remember one year admitting to them I skipped breakfast and lunch. Their solution? They recommended my mom bought a nutrition shake for me to bring to school. I didn’t see how sick I was. What’s even worse? No one else did.

We all need better awareness, because I could have been on a much healthier path much earlier on in my life if I had just had the proper care and treatment when I needed it first!

My eating disorder, while I’m in a much healthier place today, still does affect me. It is a lifelong struggle, especially when living in a society that has such a huge diet industry and fat shames. My weight is not where I want it to be at and I find myself making excuses as to why it’s okay. When really, I need to be fighting to eat enough and nourish my body. I can confidently say, however, I will never be as sick as I used to be. My perception is significantly better than it used to be. I don’t admire sickly thin anymore. Instead I desire to gain weight and look healthier. I want to feel stronger. This is a huge deal for me as for most of my life I thought the opposite way. It wasn’t easy, it took so much support from others and the proper treatment to get me to where I am. It also took the loss of my brother after my second treatment discharge, for me to realize my value to my family and how I couldn’t be their second child to die. I needed to keep fighting. So I did. J

I have below a picture of me at different weights.Different weights.png

The one on the left is me my sophomore year in college, which is about the weight I’m at today. It’s not where I want to be, but I can still love myself. Then, the middle pic is not me even at my lowest weight, it’s also my sophomore year of college, but months later after I had a severe hiccup in recovery. It happens, though, and I still gained weight back on my own. I just want to gain more to where I’m close to the weight I was at on the left. That was me right after my second treatment. It’s a healthy me. It’s a beautiful me. I thought I was “so fat” then, but looking back I looked good! Which is so truthful to how sick anorexia makes your mind. My point in showing these pictures are to show how while recovery can be brutal and terrifying, it doesn’t make you fat. Even if a doctor comments on how you might be “overweight” or something, it doesn’t mean you’re not where your body needs to be to function properly. My best friend, who I met in my first treatment, had that happen to her and she realizes now that 1: she looked amazing still and 2: it’s where her body needed to be at the time 3: it’s still around the weight she’s at now and she’s fully recovered. Therefore, just because a non-eating disorder doctor might comment about your weight, don’t trust them! They just don’t understand. They missed me being significantly sick, I’m not surprised they criticize healthy too.

Feel free to comment with questions below about more of my journey or any tips on recovery! I just felt I rambled on enough for now. Have a splendid day! J

Purpose

Life is beautiful and fleeting. Life is also terrifying and heartbreaking. Life is what we all go through. It’s what we make of the choices we’re given. Life can be unfair for people born in harder, tougher, poorer conditions. Life can seem easy for those who are living rich and excessively. The truth is, though, we’re all human. We all have our inner battles and external battles. It’s not to disregard those suffering in harsher conditions because I believe those who go through tougher times have the option of coming out stronger and more connected to their purpose. They had to choose to fight. Some days it feels like you gave up, but the fact that you’re still here today shows you fought even when you had the most doubt. Life has its hardships for everyone, but isn’t it those little moments of such joy, forgiveness, and freedom that we end up sticking around for? We must know it WILL get better, maybe you’ll come back down to the same low again, but then it WILL get better AGAIN. Each time you get back up you become stronger and more connected to your purpose, because it’s those times that guide you to where you’re supposed to end up. It’s those times you tend to reflect on who you are and how you want to live your life, figuring out what needs to change. I sure have my fair share of “regrets” and “failures,” but honestly if I hadn’t “messed up” I wouldn’t have reflected on myself and who I want to be. I wouldn’t have grown to the more connected and stronger me I am today. We need to stop beating ourselves up all the time because it only hinders the journey to a more fulfilling life. Perfection will never be met, we’re imperfect beings, but we can all try and make the most of the choices we’re given in life.

To the Doubtful:

There are good people in this world. I know it. I’ve seen it through tearful eyes just how giving, kind, and good people can be. It’s easy to get caught up in the perspectives of our negative people, but I have to ask, what about our quiet warriors? The ones fighting for change, going on protests, whatever it might be, in order to create a better world. We need to remember the ones that don’t bring attention to themselves, but rather try their best to bring it to others in need. I want to love and help this world because so many of us are so broken and so lost. I want to be able to make a difference. I know I can’t fix everything. But I want to be on the team that tries.

The truth of me is so fragile, so scared, but so wise.

Surrounded by others, though only agonizingly isolated in my mind.

Panic.

Thoughts that won’t slow or even pause.

Silence, no.

Instead they’re scrambled, intertwined, lacing, above, below, and through one another.

It’s hard to keep track of the chaos, yet not one sound is made outside of these lips.

I’m screaming I swear, I’m trembling in anxiety, but my super power is invisibility, you see.

It’s what I always would say I wanted when asked what super power would I choose.

I promise you this: it’s not so great going unnoticed in order to freely observe others.

They’re not always interesting.

Even worse, when you need them the most they have no idea what’s going on past those beautiful eyes.

You blend in.

You’re seen as just another boring human.

You’re pretty?

Oh so what, you have no personality.

It’s all trapped in that mind of yours that no one knows about.

Maybe I’m fearful of sharing it because it’s the one thing that keeps me feeling different from just another girl in this world.

If I share it and it’s rejected, judged, laughed at, the truth of me will diminish away.

The truth of me is so fragile, so scared, but so wise.

Once someone comes to take pieces for themselves, disrupting it’s order and not giving anything in return, I’ll disappear.

Only fragmented pieces will remain and I don’t know if it’s possible to build back up.

How to escape myself?

 

In my head. In my head. In my head.

It’s all I do all day is experience life through my thoughts. I need to start living like I’m dying. Because I am, I’m dying everyday. We all have our timelines. There is no way to predict when it’s supposed to stop. No matter how much prevention, caution, consideration we put into our decisions…anything can still happen.

How to get out of my head and be present in this world around me is a mystery. I’ve been having these realizations more often of how much I hold myself back, yet I still can’t seem to escape. I feel like I need professional guidance it’s so difficult for me to do.

Any guidance anyone? I forget that someone might actually read this..so if you have any sort of guidance pass it on!

To Be Free

To be free of my doubts would be the most liberating feeling in the world. I hold myself back too much. I don’t dance, I don’t sing, I don’t do or say what I want because I fear others views of me. I doubt in my ability to dance freely, I fear I’ll be too awkward and make everyone else uncomfortable, so I just don’t dance. I don’t sing for the same reasons.

I care far too much about others perspectives and I just want to say FUCK THAT. It has held me back from enjoying my potentially bomb ass life! Fuck. That.

But to completely let go? Just get up and dance when I want next time I’m with friends? Even though I know I’m not very good and might look goofy as anything? HELL YES. I need to do that in my life. Even so, the thought of it sends a shock of fear through my body. How can I, purpleangel (Heather), whatever I want to go by, do that? How do I just let go? How do I not care about the looks and snickers? I’m not sure yet, but maybe it’s a practice until perfect thing. I just have to try and mess up sometimes and be anxious, but accept that whatever happens, however embarrassing, it’s nothing to fear. It won’t put my life in actual danger. I’ll survive and move forward.

I’m going to try to escape the security of doubt and let my true self shine. 🙂

My story. Let’s get it all out there.

So what’s my story? That is a big question to answer, but this post will be partially representative what my story is or at least a timeline of what’s happened. I’ll try and be as brief as I can. Anyways, here it goes:

I am a 21 year old survivor today and I’ve been a survivor since the day I was born.

The day I decided to come into this world, I was 3 and a 1/2 months premature. I was supposed to be born in October and came out in July. Weighing just 1lb 3oz, I fought for my life. Granted I don’t remember any of it, just what I’ve heard from my parents, and even that’s fuzzy right now. Anyways, with the help of some amazing medical staff I began to grow, but terrifyingly I had another set back. A catheter (I think that’s what it was?) that was somewhere in my arm (or hand or wrist?) got caught in a vein and sucked around my heart.
My parents had to get in contact with a doctor from outside the hospital to come up with a plan to get this tube away from my heart and out of my body. I was too small and vulnerable to have any kind of surgery, so this doctor finds a way to go through a jugular vein to get this catheter. And I survived. I grew up to have no physical and mental disabilities.
Well, with the exception of mental illnesses later on in my life. 

My childhood was complex, I grew up with two older brothers who loved and cared for me, but I can get more into that on another post. I’m going to jump ahead here…

It wasn’t until 7th grade that I first realized I might have depression and anxiety. I had symptoms early on, but I didn’t know any better. However, in 7th grade things got out of hand and I started self-harming. I went to my guidance counselor and she called home. I didn’t get much help for my depression, I only went to two therapy sessions. The rest of middle school was hell and then I entered high school. In 9th grade I started obsess more over my image. I joined the cross-country team and decided to lose a little weight. By 10th grade my depression, anxiety, and anorexia were out of control.

I ended up being hospitalized for suicidal ideations the winter of my sophomore of high school. I then started eating disorder treatment a week later.

I was in the hospital for 3 months before being discharged. I honestly thought I was recovered, but quickly my behaviors came back and the weight fell off. I was so ignorant to the whole recovery process. I was then put into a day treatment plan and met my therapist I still talk to today (5 years later). Although the treatment program was helpful, I needed more support. So I was hospitalized again in the spring of my Junior year. I was there for a month and a half before they released me for 3 days to see how I would manage eating at home again. It was my first morning home my brother died. He was just 19 when he took his life. I was discharged from the hospital and decided I needed to stay recovered for my family. I didn’t want them worrying about losing another child or sister. 

That next school year, my senior year of high school, I lost all 3 friendships. The only friendships I had due to them not understanding the space I was in mourning my brother. It was a year after my brother’s death that my parents finally divorced.  

I managed to graduate and left for college in August of 2014. It’s been a tough road since being here. My depression and anxiety get the best of me at times, but I’ve managed to fight and survive, even today. 

Today I’m a junior in college studying my passion, sociology. While I’m currently going through a tough time with depression and might need to partially withdraw from the semester, I’m still fighting. 

I’ll probably elaborate on a lot of these events in future posts. Nevertheless, there is my story! Which is more my story of the past, not so much of the present. 

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