Well that’s a loaded question if I ever heard one. Depends on how much you want to know. Given that I am writing this I am getting to decide how much you know. And honestly that is a scary power to have. I have been through many personal struggles over the course of the last few years. People tell me I have my life together and I am perfect. That may be what it seems like from the outside. And that is what I used to want my reputation to be like. But that masks my daily struggles of existence.
I started this blog in the summer of 2016 as an outlet for me to write about some of my struggles. When I started this blog it went by a different name. I called it EnDED because I started it to write about ending ED. ED being eating disorders. By summer of 2016 I had spent many months in treatment for my eating disorder. I developed anorexia as a junior in high school and am a survivor of the most lethal of all mental illnesses. I have come a long way on my journey towards recovery from my eating disorder, but it takes an average of seven years to fully recover. I still have hiccups and talk to my dietician on a weekly basis.
I used this blog for several months as an outlet to discuss my struggles and hopes as I was making real progress on my recovery. It was a great place for me to get my thoughts out there and feel heard. As I was doing better during my first semester of college, I decided I needed to cut back on my blogging because I didn’t want ED related things to continue to be such a focus of my life. I stopped blogging for a while because I needed a break.
Eating disorders are about so much more than appearance. Eating disorders make you numb to feelings and give you a false sense of control. By eating normally again and challenging my eating disorder, I was forced to reconnect with my emotions and deeper thoughts. My eating disorder had been hiding the depression and anxiety much deeper within me. I came home from my first semester at college for winter break and I feel into a major depressive episode. I am fortunate to have a great therapist near my home in Illinois who has helped me immensely. I visited her over winter break and she told me I was dealing with existential depression (this is a great article on existential depression that I have used). This is a type of depression I had never heard of. Basically, it is a type of depression that occurs in gifted individuals who understand larger abstract concepts about the world.
There are four main concepts that contribute to existential depression: death, freedom, isolation, and meaninglessness. Death is inevitable, so why is there life? Humans have all the freedom of the world, so why do we structure the world in a way that causes so many issues? No matter what, we are only human and alone, so how can people truly connect? These three concepts lead to the fourth which is that life seems meaningless and as only one human what power do I have over any of this? These are complex concepts that many people won’t understand, but it is the way my brain thinks. I easily spot the inconsistencies and flaws in our society, which is frustrating because 1) I feel at a loss to change such things and 2) most people cannot understand when I try to explain these abstract concepts.
So, back to my story. This post is already getting long so I will cram several months worth of occurrences into a paragraph. In January of this year I went back to college in Virginia, still depressed and also confused about why I was still struggling so much with my mental health. I relapsed and began restricting again. My eating disorder told me, come back, I will help you feel in control again. ED is such a liar though. Things got worse quickly. I was skipping meals and restricting so much and exercising in unhealthy ways. I got in contact with a new therapist at school who was my greatest asset there. I don’t know what I would have done without her. She helped me so much. I also went on antidepressant medication with her help. Prozac is not a happy pill though, it does not make me instantly better. The medicine in tandem with therapy is important for me to make progress, but I still struggle everyday with depression. At this point I often pendulum between my different issues. Depression is what most often takes hold of me these days, but my eating disorder and mild anxiety issues are there too.
So why am I writing on this blog again? I needed this outlet again to fuel myself. I need to have purpose in life to propel me forward and fight the meaninglessness I see in life. I renamed this blog Daring Deeply for a reason. I have found Dr. Brené Brown’s work incredibly helpful these past few months. She does research on shame and vulnerability. Her work has really spoken to me because I have struggled all my life with being vulnerable and my fear of shame. One of her books is titled Daring Greatly after a quote from Theodore Roosevelt. I want to not only dare greatly, but also dare deeply in showing my genuine self. I often get too caught up in trying to be who others want me to be that I lose myself. Am I enough? That is the question that is at the root of all of my mental health issues.
If you got to the end of this, then thank you. Thank you for clicking on this link. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Thank you for being invested in my journey. Thank you for accepting my struggles. I hope you will stick around and continue to grow with me and accept me as I am.