The fabulous blogger The Bloggess' post yesterday has been haunting me for the better part of 24 hours. I read it, and my first thought:
Thank you, Jenny.
She writes about "coming out" with mental illness, and how dangerous it is to keep quiet about. And it's true — it can be hell, battling mental illness(es). But it's so much worse when you're battling alone.
I've been going to group therapy for eating disorders for over nine months, and I can't tell you the relief I feel when I sit there surrounded by other girls who know what it's like. To know they understand every little bit of what I'm feeling. It takes a bit of weight off me just knowing I'm not alone.
Likewise, I have a friend who also battles depression and anxiety. When either of us is going through a particularly hard spell, the other steps up. There are no words needed: just knowing the other is there, and that the other knows, is such a comfort.
I'm not going to lie...it's still hard for me to talk about my eating disorders, depression, and anxiety publicly. There is a very real part of me who is ashamed of them, and embarrassed by them. And the fact that I have to take medication to help me cope? My god, I'm embarrassed by that too.
I tell you, I'm embarrassed to have mental illnesses. I honestly do feel like a freak sometimes when I talk about them.
But then I have to remind myself that though the eating disorders, depression, and anxiety are a part of my life, they are not my WHOLE life. And I will fight constantly to keep them from taking over. The real me is here, and the real me is a funny, kind, fiercely loyal girl.
Having mental illnesses is nothing to be ashamed about. It's no more my fault than if I were to have a physical disease. And, like a physical disease, mental illnesses need treatment. And there is nothing wrong with that.
So hi. I'm Nanny, and I have:
And that's okay.