Hi. I’m Brigit.
I have a mental illness.
I have anxiety. I have depression.
And everyday, I am recovering from an eating disorder.
My mother is always going to worry about me, and to an extent, she should.
I mean, that’s what parents do, no matter how old you are.
The only thing is, like many people, she doesn’t know how to go about discussing any of this with me.
So, to start, I would like to say:
If you don’t understand how anyone is driven to continue to starve despite everything they have lost in the process, good.
I hope you stay heavy and present and real.
If you don’t understand what eating everything in your kitchen only to throw it up solves, good.
I hope you always remember that it solves nothing.
If you don’t understand mental illnesses, good.
You shouldn’t have to.
And if you want to know something, just ask. Don’t tip toe around it, for fear of triggering me. Don’t ask and then joke about something else for fear of making me upset. I am probably more open than most people. Actually I know I’m more open than most people. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my mental illness. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my scars. I am embarrassed for society, for attaching this stigma, and shaming us for seeking out help.
I, like others, didn’t ask to be mentally ill.
I, like others, don’t do this for attention.
These things just happen; and we shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed.
So, for those of you that don’t know what to say, or how to ask, here’s a little information that might just help you find your words.
- Saying that I look “too thin” is not something I want to hear. It doesn’t make me feel better or successful, it just makes me nauseous. It makes me feel like a failure for not trying hard enough. Actually, I have a girl living in my brain screaming at me that you’re a liar. Now, because of where I am, your words don’t fuel my will to starve, nor do they fuel my will to recover. That’s on me.
- I know that my worth isn’t dependent on my appearance. However, in previous years, I didn’t feel attractive in my own skin. That’s a symptom of something else, and I’ve learned to deal with that.
- Just because I don’t find myself attractive in my own body doesn’t mean I think you’re fat or ugly. This is a self loathing, and has nothing to do with anyone else.
- I had a lot going on, and everything around me seemed out of my control, so this let me have a small piece of power, a sense of stability, if you will.
- There are a LOT of eating disorders out there that still allow you to eat, so no, it’s not hard for me to eat. I love food. Like, literally, I love food. But this, this was just a way to avoid having to deal with my feelings.
It is a mental illness.
- Eating disorders do not discriminate. They don’t give a shit about race, weight, height, gender, or sexual orientation. Eating disorders do what they want, when they want. They are also more than just the physical pain they cause you. Psychologically, I was in a massive amount of pain.
So please, do not assume I am lying or joking about having an eating disorder because you can’t see my ribs, because I don’t have a feeding tube, or because you’ve just “watched” me eat dinner.
- Yes, I am eating. Does that mean I’m recovered? No. No. No. Nonononono.
But I’m sure as hell trying. It’s not as easy as just eating a meal and all the sudden I’m cured. This is a mental process. It is a fight of when to eat and what to eat, and am I hungry? It has taken me years to become happy with myself again, and I gotta say, when I’m hungry, I eat. I don’t hate myself for eating pizza instead of salad. I don’t purge everything from my stomach because I think that will fix things.
I’ve learned to stop torturing myself because I think it’s what I deserve.
- Recovery is an everyday battle. It takes practice. The voice telling me that I’m not good enough, that I don’t deserve happiness or friends, that bad things wouldn’t happen to me if I were thinner/prettier/cooler/blah blah blah ? Yeah, she’s still there. I’ve just gotten better at ignoring her. Some days are hard, and some are almost unbearable, but I will never forget the nights I cried for hours on the bathroom floor wishing I could be someone else, anyone else.
At some point you have to stop being so angry and sad, and you have to stop killing yourself. It is a waste to be so unhappy over trivial things. I know that just because I can do anything doesn’t mean I have to do everything. I can’t control what other people will say or do. I can’t control the outcome of the weather, and I can’t control what people think of me. I am just one person. I don’t have to take it out on my body just because someone pulled out in front of me on the drive home. That happens to me all the time, but it’s out of my control, and just because some asshole doesn’t know how to drive doesn’t mean I don’t deserve lunch.
I am happy, and I am healthy, and I am no longer my own worst enemy. I appreciate all that my body can do, rather than punishing it for what it can’t do.
I am not broken. I am not weak. I am not stupid or vain.
I am human, and I am growing and changing, and I am done hating myself.
I laugh. I find joy in the littlest things. I am learning. And I will continue to grow.