Keep Treading the Water

Willows over water

Living in recovery (or at least attempting to) is strange. At times, the current sweeps you under and pins you under the water until you feel your lungs about to burst. Other times, the water seems like a calm pool, perhaps even enjoyably cool and refreshing.

Then there are days, weeks, months, years when you are just treading the water. You aren’t about to drown, but your feet certainly do not touch the ground to stabilize you. Each recovery-based choice takes considerable effort and seems like a waste most of the time. However, making those healthy choices is not impossible.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Running from the Urges

What do you do when you have the urge to use a symptom? When suddenly, you feel like you must cut or you will die? When purging seems like the only option? When isolating for a week sounds like the only thing that will keep you safe?

You have to run. Run to a coping skill. Run to a loved one. Run to your recovery.

Continue reading

Sometimes You Just Need to Voice Your Needs

Be quiet. Do not complain. Remain strong like nothing is wrong.

Those are voices in my head. Sometimes those messages are helpful. Usually, however, these words create more drama and pain in my life. Instead of being honest about difficulties, I try to manage by myself until I end up sobbing, feeling alone and defeated.

Continue reading

Ten Signs Your Medication Is Not Working

Stone gargoyle at Be Our Guest

You can feel miserable with the wrong medication.

Medication for depression or other mental illness is a tricky thing to manage. Everyone responds differently to it. Some people find that Prozac allows them to think clearly while others have racing thoughts with that medicine. Others love Zoloft despite the fact that others dislike it.

Just like our bodies are made differently, our illnesses have different remedies. Finding that right medication is the key.

Continue reading

9 Beautiful Semicolon Tattoos Shared to Destigmatize Mental Health Challenges – By Laura Willard

This is so beautiful! A tattoo can be a great sign of recovery, creativity, and hope. It is not for everyone. For example, I doubt that I will ever get one. However, I think it can be a wonderful coping skill.

Kindness Blog

If you’ve been online this week, you’ve probably seen something about the semicolon tattoo.

 But in case you haven’t, here’s the short version: It’s a tattoo that represents mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention.

I wrote an article about it earlier this week. When we posted it on Facebook, our readers shared inspiring messages, stories, and words of encouragement for one another, and many also posted pictures of their own semicolon tattoos.

I was blown away by the responses and reached out to several of the people who posted their own photos.

They were happy to share their tattoos and stories. I was touched by what they told me, and I hope you also find encouragement, hope, and inspiration in their words. Here are their stories.

  1. A mom and her daughters, fighting together.

9 Beautiful Semicolon Tattoos Shared to Destigmatize Mental Health Challenges - By Laura WillardDenise and her daughters, Tayler and Olivia, got their semicolon tattoos right before…

View original post 855 more words

Lapse, Relapse, or Collapse

Taking on the Woes of the World

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. – Lou Holtz

When someone who struggles with a mental illness or addiction slips back into unhealthy habits, it is often labeled as a “relapse.” However, where does one say that a relapse is detrimental versus part of the normal recovery process?

If someone eats two extra cookies that were not in her meal plan, is that a relapse? Why, then, is the same word used for the man who eats a whole pie, tub of ice cream, and three bags of chips? Similarly, “relapse” describes when a girl cuts herself once or 100 times.

Continue reading

Trying Not to Mirror My Freshmen Year

Girl looking up confusedAs pain shot up my legs and my head spun like a merry-go-round, I felt eerily invincible today. Even scarier, my feelings were akin to those at the end of my first year of college. After so much hard work at recovering, I am slipping backward into the pit of restriction.

Eating disorder recovery is one of the hardest processes I have ever endured. Many times, I long to flop down on the ground and die. After a long and painful year, I finally broke inside and could not keep trying to move forward to a healthier place. Giving up by restricting and fantasizing about self-harm seems simpler.

However, even at this low point, I do not want to let these last five weeks mirror my Freshmen year. So many things in my life are different from then. Sure, I still feel ugly, unloved, untalented, and friendless. But there are arguments to be made against those beliefs. Since Freshmen year, guys have told me that I am beautiful, family have stood by my side through at my worst points, directors cast me in several shows, and even tonight friends supported me in buying a salad and actually eating it. Those are all beautiful blessings that I would not have foreseen as a Freshman. I studied at Oxford, was accepted into Disney, traveled to London, was paid to write for a website, applied and was hired at a job…So many steps forward have been made.

Continue reading

Self-Hatred: Part Self-Doubt and Part Self-Disgust

Without even looking down, I tugged. The denim refused to budge. Surprised, I turned my attention to the jeans from my sister. As much as I hate pants, these ones were acceptable to wear on the odd day when I felt so inclined.

The jeans, on the other hand, did not feel so inclined to me. After another tug, I realized that there was no way the buttons could close over my hips. The jeans that had fit the last time I tugged them on now were too small.

I hate recovery. That was my first thought. Hate it so much. Almost as much as I hate myself.

Continue reading

Letter from a Support Person

My father and my sister Maria years ago

My father and my sister Maria years ago

I recently received a beautiful comment on this blog. An anonymous support person wrote a letter that was much more powerful than anything I could write trying to understand that point of view. Thus, I wanted to share this letter from a family member or friend of a person struggling with mental illness. Hopefully, it will touch you as much as it impacted me.

Plus, if you ever have something that you want to bring to my attention or think that I should share, let me know in a comment. I cannot promise to always blog it. However, know that I am open to hearing your voice and what you would like to see more of on this blog.

Continue reading

Ten Things Not to Say to Someone on Antidepressants

Much debate surrounds medication including antidepressants. Some people say that diet and other holistic methods are better than Western medication. Others argue that mental illness is not a true disease but can be overcome by willpower. While medicine is over-diagnosed at times, neither of these responses helps those who are struggling with depression or another such disorder.

For the past few days, I have not taken my strongest and most helpful medication. As explained in my post yesterday, my mood has been very low. Last night, my mother convinced me to take my medicine again. Although life is still not rosy, I feel much better today if sleepier. This just proves the importance and potency of medication.

Still, as shown above, people continue to judge those who take antidepressants. Here are some comments that people have made which is hard for a person taking medication for mental illness.

Continue reading