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

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

Top Ten Quotes on Self-Harm

Self-hate and self-harm

When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves. – Chuck Pahlahniuk

Self-harm is a difficult topic to discuss. On one hand, you do not want to trigger other people which might result in them hurting themselves. However, staying quiet about it can cause you to harm yourself even more.

Lately, SIB has not been as difficult for me. Still, the urges will rear up at times. Here are some helpful quotes for understanding and suffering through this unhealthy coping skill.

Continue reading

I See the Pain in Your Eyes

Me in black and white

The look is so full of pain and inflicts more on you.

Certain comments bring it out the most in others although actions or refusal to speak up can too – that look.

The other day, my friend gave it to me when I mentioned not wanting to live into old age. The sorrow, frustration, confusion, and utter hopelessness made me stop thinking about death and start evaluating my response. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that thought aloud.

Continue reading

Can Someone Just “Get Over” Mental Illness?

Oxford in the morning

A morning in Oxford

One of the hardest comments that I have received regarding my mental health problems has been “Why can’t you just get over it?”

Other people I have spoken with throughout my treatment have echoed aggravations about similar responses from family or friends. Many variations of this question occur, and even more frequent are the people who treat me in this manner. Knowing how to answer is very difficult.

However, the more that I think about it, the more that I realize how often I ask myself the very same thing. My brain is constantly berating me for not “getting over” things. Anna Rose, why can’t you just be a big girl and ignore the pain? Can’t you snap out of the depression that you are in? Why don’t you just stop thinking about that topic and get a life?

Continue reading

Perfect Everywhere Except with Family

saint on building

A saint at Oxford

Growing up, most people had one of two comments after talking with me for a little while – “You are so sweet/perfect/nice/angelic/holy/happy!” or “Did you grow up under a rock?’

Neither one of these comments is completely true or fair. I certainly was not raised under a rock, in a barn, or locked in a tower. Also, I am not perfect. My family can attest to that.

Being thought of as an angel on earth was reassuring at times but also stressful. Suddenly, the pressure to be perfect came not only from myself but also others. Everyone seemed to expect me to do the right thing, keep a smile on my face, and never understand anything crude or kind. Thus, I constantly worked to be innocent, cheerful, and sweet.

Continue reading

Ten Things Not to Say to Someone Who Self-Harms

Self-hate and self-harm

When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves. – Chuck Pahlahniuk

For centuries, people have used self-harm to cope with life or discipline themselves. From religious ascetics to depressed teenagers, SIB (self-injurious behavior) can be found in all cultures and eras. Some societies have embraced it while others criticize it. Currently, most people lack awareness and even empathy for this symptom of mental illness.

I am not going to debate what drives every form of self-harm and the validity behind those motives. There are people who believe one can self-harm for good reasons. However, any form of inflicting pain on oneself (outside of for some extreme purpose) is problematic. Yes, that is very controversial and black-and-white. Yet, I have seldom, if ever, seen an exception to this.

Continue reading

Why is it Strong to Endure Physical Pain?

Rainbow over St. Paul

Here is the sky that I arrived home to on Saturday

At my medical checkup today, the physician instructed me to schedule a bone scan to make sure that I will not have osteoporosis. Numerous people have mentioned this condition to me, hoping to frighten me into eating more. The idea of my bones deteriorating is anxiety-producing, I will admit.

Yet, the sick part of my brain proclaims this a victory. After all, physical pain is good. The more that you endure, the stronger you are as a person. We respect and affirm those who battle each day through agonizing pain.

That is, we applaud them unless they are causing that pain to themselves.

Continue reading