Mental Health is the One True Wealth

A Princess and her Journey to Health

Tag: recovery

Healing, at Last

Today I took my first big step towards healing. For months, for years, I’ve been fighting this mental battle with myself. My mental health is really good at times and this can last anywhere from days to months but always, that good spell comes to an end and I’m feeling very low and anxious again, without reason, cause or explanation. Last week it all finally came to a head when I was just mentally exhausted and I wanted to give up. I’ve never quit this battle with my mental health in my life so this was a terrifying experience for me. I’ve never reached that point where I’ve just thought fuck it, I’ve had enough. I was in this terrible place where I just couldn’t muster a happy thought and it scared me. I have finally reached the point in my life where I can’t keep riding these highs and lows anymore. I’m too exhausted to constantly have to got through this. So, I asked for help.

I’m officially on the waitlist for childhood abuse counselling. That phone call was the hardest, most necessary, thing I have ever done for myself. I’m so ready to be free from this suffocating feeling that has come from my silence. I’m tired of trying to cope with and understand this trauma by myself. This was never my fault and it’s taken me a long time to come to terms with that. I still haven’t grasped why this happened to me and maybe I’ll never have an answer for that.

It had become unbearable these past few months to have to work through the PTSD of these supressed memories alone. There are horrible, traumatic incidents that I’ve gone through that sometimes just surface and I have no idea what to do with them because in general, I feel over-dramatic when I think of myself as a survivor. I downplay all these things that happened to me, just so that I can function in my day to day life, at any capacity. I can’t verbalise some of the things I remember because I just cannot comprehend the evilness of some of it.

My eating disorder stemmed from these situations. I have an excellent memory and yet I haven’t a single memory of a time before I was made conscious of my weight. I had a complex about my weight at 8 years old. At 8 years old….I can’t finish that sentence. There’s unrest in my soul that I’m finally ready to deal with and I need help for that. I’m done with trying to deal with all of this alone, without the tools to do so. I’ve already given this too much of my life and I know that I can never have kids when I feel like this. I am aching to start a family, I have so much love I want to pass on, but I also have trauma that I won’t ever knowingly pass on. I’m so grateful that there is a free service out there that will help me through this.

I’m ready to start healing and living my very best life. It’s taken me so long to get here but I’m glad I finally made it.

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Photo by Mark Tacatani on Pexels.com

Sticks and Stones

There’s this rhyme that goes around the school yard and it goes like this, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. It means that the shitty kids on the playground can say what they want and those insults will just bounce off you. But I’m calling bullshit. Physical wounds will heal, verbal wounds seep into your system and poison your mind. Keep hearing something over and over and pretty soon you’ll start believing in it.

I grew up in a toxic environment. It’s taken me so long to openly admit that to those that are not closest to me. On a level, I was still trying to protect my abuser, but I can’t anymore. My father was a bully. His family were his victims. My whole life I’ve lived with this negative, draining presence in my life. He worms his way into every area of my life and takes the goodness out of it. For years I went through this constant onslaught of abuse. I was fat, lazy, useless. As a kid, this hurt me. I was a smart kid, I was always popular at school, I had a lot of friends. I was never bullied at school, but my bully was always waiting at home for me. When my teens started creeping in, I started taking all this stuff I was being told to heart. I was self conscious. About everything. My weight, the way I laughed, my accent for crying out loud. He pointed out everything about me, every single thing, and all of it was wrong. So I became cut off. I pretended to be someone else. My home life was miserable for the most part because I was afraid to draw attention to myself and set him off. He flipped in a second and those rages were unbearable. I was severely uncomfortable in my own home, always on edge.

It was around age 15 that this started really taking a toll. I developed an eating disorder because I thought I was fat and ugly, I suffered major anxiety, I developed depression. I was obsessive, a perfectionist. I had to have control. I had to be everything I wasn’t because the real me wasn’t good enough. I blamed my mother. We’re two completely different people. I didn’t know why she didn’t leave him. Why she didn’t protect us from him. But as I’ve gotten older I know that he manipulated her. Fed her lies and messed with her head so she couldn’t leave. He told her that all her family were tired of her, he was the only person that loved her. He’s a complete narcissist. Everything is always about him, he’s always, always, the victim. I recovered from my eating disorder 4 years ago but I still feel the effects of it. I moved away from home for almost 2 years. In that time, he couldn’t reach me. I finally found peace and happiness. I found self love. But now I’m back in my home town. He calls to my house. I hate it. But he won’t leave me alone. I don’t know how to cut him out of my life for good, because he’s so convincing. I still fall for the lies. Today is the day I call an end to it. Today I finally told him how much he hurt me. That he put me through hell, that he caused my eating disorder, my depression. I told him that he was supposed to protect me but he did the opposite, he instead was the person that put me through the most shit.

His reply was that he’s sorry I feel that way. His reply was that I’m just dramatic. His reply was essentially him dismissing my struggles. Belittling what he has done to me, worse, not even acknowledging it. All I wanted was for him to just once say sorry. He’s incapable of doing even that for me and so I’m finished. I don’t pity him. I have no more compassion left for him. I don’t hate him because that’s a waste of my energy. I simply don’t wish to acknowledge him anymore. He’s irrelevant to me. My mother took us out of that environment eventually. Now he doesn’t get to see his kids. He doesn’t get to do to my younger siblings what he did to us. My little sister needs to grow up knowing she is smart, she is beautiful and she is loved.

He tried to ingrain his beliefs in me. His beliefs about me, his racism and sexism. His intolerance, his nastiness. It didn’t work. I’m still here, a proud intersectional feminist. I am strong. This bully will not win.

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Why can’t I recover?

theres very little that upsets me more than eating disorders. More specifically, people who have spent years as slaves to their eating disorder. So how do you recover? What separates the strong from the weak? The people who stay stuck to the people who recover? In my opinion, it’s self belief. It’s wanting to be healthy bad enough. It’s a change in mind set and it’s finding a strength within yourself. Having an eating disorder is easy. Now hold on a second. I don’t mean like that. It breaks your body down and it’s psychologically torturous but I mean in a competition between recovery and staying disordered, the latter is the easiest option.

Recovery is tough work. It demands 100% commitment. You either succeed or you literally die trying. You can’t wean yourself off of eating disorders. You can’t just be like, okay so today I’ll only purge 5 times. Nope. You just have to stop. It is terrifying. It is difficult. It is an internal struggle. But you just have to bite the bullet and do it. There is no easy road when it comes to recovery. You can be weak and simply accept that this is your lot in life. Be complacent in it, but darling, you’re not gonna get anywhere fast. You’ve got to fight it. You’ve got to kick ass and be strong and find that self that your eating disorder repressed. You’ve got to be in charge.

You will cry. It will be horrific. At times, you are going to want to give up. Along the way, you probably will feel disgusted with yourself. You’ll be horrified to see how your body starts filling out. But it’s just your soul having more space to shine from. You’ll grow into yourself and it won’t be ugly. It will be so beautiful. You’ll be beautiful. The most beautiful thing you can be is healthy. You deserve it. You deserve a life that is not confined to calories and numbers and food. You deserve to feel powerful and sexy and goddess-like. Recovery allows you to grow into yourself. You should own the space you fill, not feel ashamed of it. Confidence is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Confidence is what I wish on all of you throughout your whole life. Self-love is really beautiful too. Treat yourself as well as Leslie treats Ann. 

  

Life Update

It’s been a while since my last post because I honestly just didn’t know what to write. My level of motivation has once again plummeted but I haven’t taken two rest days in a row, like I would have before. My workouts aren’t as full scale as they were but I’m trying to at least fit in a small workout on days I don’t feel up to it. I’m struggling with the balance between physical and mental health again a little bit. When I’m sad I don’t want to workout and I don’t want to feed my body properly. Despite that, I haven’t given in to it. It’s much easier for me to get down in myself when I’m sad and my instinct is still to pick apart my body when things aren’t going right. That scares me. This body is strong and it has the capacity to grow life. So why do I care so much just because I don’t have visible abs yet? I’m trying my best and that’s all I can do with anything.

When I feel restless I fall out of my routine and I’ve been out of it over a week now. I’ve been sleeping late and waking up early and my body isn’t fit for it.  Food wise, I’ve been having a few too many treats but I’ve been as balanced as possible. Balance. Such a strange word. Balance is something I lack in almost every area of my life. I go from one extreme to the next and I have a tough time controlling that. My emotions are too heavy for me to handle at times and of course, that throws me off balance. My life is divided into sections and while one is thriving, another could be in ruins. It feels like too much trying to keep the ball rolling in every part so sometimes parts suffer. I’m not good at everything. Actually, I am quite bad at most things. The simplest things to most people are the hardest for me. My social skills are getting better because of my job but when I’m home, I don’t really have friends. If I don’t make the effort, no effort is made with me so I’m trying to be okay with that. 

It’s hard to have friends when you spend most of every day just trying to find yourself. When you’re just trying to stay true to who you are. I spend time getting to understand myself and I still don’t so why am I surprised that other people can’t? Another problem is that the people who knew me a year ago don’t necessarily know me anymore. I’ve changed so much in the past few months, but I guess fundamentally I’m still the same. My goals for this month seem harder and harder to achieve with each passing day and my goals for this year as a whole are upsetting me. Some of them just aren’t in my reach. I should have made more realistic goals. I can do better next month, I hope. 

 

A letter to Him

You won’t come back and I don’t know why you left. You didn’t even say goodbye. Do I really mean that little to you? You built me up and now you’ve knocked me back down onto my ass again. I’m getting feelings back that had gone away for over a year, all thanks to you. You set me up for destruction. You said you loved me more but this just confirms what I knew all along. I love you more.

Maybe I just got too much. Or maybe I just wasn’t enough. I don’t know for sure and at this stage, I doubt I ever will. I don’t feel like doing anything. I want to sleep and when I wake up, I want to go back to sleep. I can’t find a reason for myself anymore. You’re everywhere. I could get a tattoo of your name on my skin, but it would never go deeper than the engraving of you that’s on my heart. You’re in songs, you’re in books, you’re in feelings and you’re in words. You’re in me

I have the music you told me about in my playlists, the book you told me to read on my shelf and the words and promises you made in my head. I can’t escape from you. You’re in my dreams and you’re faceless. I wake up and it all shuts down again. 

I stopped crying myself to sleep a long time ago, but it’s back again. I don’t know how to live in a world without you in it. I lay awake at night thinking about you, knowing you’re out there somewhere. Wondering if maybe you’re thinking of me too. Wondering if you see me in tv shows and songs and if my words are in your head too. I wonder how you could say you love me and then just cut me off. Without so much as a goodbye. I know you lied. The lie hurt but this hurts more. I always thought that no matter what, you’d still be my best friend. But you just walked away. 

Part of me thinks I’m over reacting, but after a day short of two weeks, I think it’s safe to assume that I’m right. You’re not coming back and I have no way to reach you. But I miss my best friend. I miss you. I have nobody to talk to like I can with you and that’s devastating. The weight of the emptiness is crushing. I guess if you said goodbye, I never would have accepted it anyway. I’d never have let you go. 

You’re out there somewhere and I’m betting you’re still checking in on me. Know that I just want to know that you’re safe. I want you to be happy. And mostly, I want you to know that I love you. You gave me meaning for a while and you showed me that I’m capable of happiness. You showed me I can really love someone. I’m sorry you can’t be with me. I’m sorry I’m not doing so well. I’m looking after myself though. Mostly. I miss you.



Things my future daughter should know

This post has been brewing inside of me for weeks now and an event this morning just finally triggered me to write it. So basically, I want to know what the whole deal with slut shaming is. I was scrolling through Facebook when I got up and I came across a post from a girl. This post was a rant about teenage girls she encountered while she was walking her dog yesterday. This post outlined the problems with teenagers today and it honestly bothered the hell out of me. Firstly, you are still a teenager. Stop acting so superior. And secondly, it is not okay to assume a girl is a “slut” based on how she was dressed. If she wants to wear leggings and a thong, good for her. If she wants to wear an ankle length skirt, good for her. If she wants her ass hanging out of her shorts, that is her decision and it sure as hell is not any of your business. Do you know why? I’ll tell you. That is her body. You have no say in what she does with it. She is owning her body and her rights to express herself and I’m sorry that you feel the need to shame her for that. A world in which women feel as though they are in constant competition is a sad place.

I admit that in the past, I have called other girls sluts and I really do regret that. Girls are brought up to compete with each other. We’re taught to fight other girls for the guy, to be the prettiest, to be the most popular. But I just don’t buy into it anymore. Are you really that dissatisfied with your own life that you can’t pay another woman a compliment? When you are confident and happy with yourself, maybe then you’ll get to that place where you can spread the love and appreciation for other women.

I hate the words slut and hoe. I especially hate them coming from the mouths of women. You know how hard it is out there, why are you calling out another female for doing what men do all the time? Why is it only okay if a man does it? If you want to sleep with hundreds of men, you go do it. It’s your choice. Women are constantly reprimanded for doing things men get away with. Because boys will be boys and it’s not ladylike behaviour.

Bullshit. I’m tired of it. Girls are brought up to believe that if a boy hits her, he secretly likes her. When you tell a little girl that, you’re telling her that boys express their love through violence. You’re letting her grow up to be a woman who will sit back and take a punch because deep down, he loves her really. My daughter will never think like that. If a boy hits her, she can hit him back. It won’t be unladylike. And damn right I hope she hits like a girl because that is not an insult. Girls have a power that boys can’t even comprehend. We are beings full of this strange energy and ability to do great things, it’s something a man can only hope to witness. 

Growing up, I didn’t know much about feminism. I thought it was a bunch of man-hating, bra-burning lesbians. That is what I thought feminists were. I’m embarrassed about that now. But that is just how I perceived it and how our patriarchal society would have me see it. These days, I know better. I wear makeup, I love skirts, high heels are my weakness and I am a feminist. If you’re not, you’re doing it wrong. I believe in equality between the sexes and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think women should be paid the same as men and treated the same as men. I believe education should be the same for both males and females. I don’t believe in gender roles. Don’t set limitations for children, you’re stunting their growth and squashing their potential. 

If I’m ever lucky enough to give birth to a daughter there are some things I’d like her to know.

  • Don’t ever let anybody tell you you can’t do something because you’re a girl
  • You don’t need a man to make you complete, you were born with everything you need
  • If he hits you, he isn’t worth shit. Walk away from him, and if you feel it, hit him back
  • You have the potential to do anything you work for

Lastly, I’d like to share this short verse I found on tumblr :

“Don’t you dare
Shrink yourself
For someone else’s comfort-
Do not become small
For people who refuse to grow”



Looking for a Calling

I realised earlier that I have yet to apply to college. I know in my heart that I will be spending the next three to four years of my life in college. So why haven’t I applied yet?

I guess I’m just still not sure. I’m not fully committed to choosing a college course right now. I tell people I’m going to study arts and become a teacher but really, I’m not so sure. I want to follow my heart and I can’t do that on a deadline. So I guess really, I’m gonna study arts and see where I go after that. Don’t get me wrong, teaching is incredibly attractive to me. I would love to teach. But there are still some doubts there. What if I choose wrongly and I end up stuck?

I can’t feel stuck and I can’t feel confined. It would crush everything I’ve built inside myself. My heart tells me that I should help people. I want to help people who suffer with eating disorders. I want to be a part of that recovery process and undoing the damage eating disorders make. The thing is, my eating disorder ruined that dream for me.

There are so many things about my bulimia that I could get over and leave behind, but my education isn’t one of them. I’m still incredibly angry every time I think about my exam results because I would have done so much better had I been mentally healthy. But I wasn’t. It’s too late to change that.

Anxiety kept me home from school for a lot of my senior cycle. I was afraid of being confronted for my eating disorder, I wanted to distance myself from my friends and basically bad grades confirmed that I wasn’t good enough. School was an ordeal. I tried my best given the circumstances. I didn’t fail any subjects, not even the ones I would consider my weakest but I still felt like I could have been better.

I could have been better if not for… for what? I can’t say that because what happened, happened. I can’t change that. I need to accept that I had an eating disorder and it messed with my academics.

But I will go to college. In September, I will leave my family, my friends and my home town to start my new chapter. I’ll see where it takes me. I know it will be the most difficult step I’ll ever take, including my whole recovery because I find change hard. I find it difficult to make new, solid relationships. I find it difficult to let people know me on a deep level. It’s scary but it’s exciting and I’m ready.

I might be a teacher, I might not be. But I have plenty of time to figure that out.

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With great Love comes great Happiness

The strangest thing has happened in the past two weeks. Like for me, it is a mind blowing occurrence. I’m in love with myself. I’ve been working on myself, getting to know myself again. I feel like I’m in a healthy relationship with myself. I feel almost as if I’m dating myself.

I just realised how obnoxious that probably sounds. Maybe even arrogant. But it isn’t. The thing that nobody tells you is that you’re allowed to love yourself. It’s perfectly okay. After such a long period of self hate, I think it’s time I started to see all the brilliant stuff I have inside me.

It’s been a strange couple of weeks. The old me didn’t know how to love myself. I didn’t know how to be alone, I blamed everything bad that happened on myself. But now, not so much. For the first time in my life, I feel untouchable. I feel as though there is just all this beautiful, radiant energy inside of me. I feel as though I can actually do this. Not just exist. I can live. That is the most rewarding feeling.

My social interaction skills are improving dramatically, I’m getting fitter and I’m getting healthier. I don’t suffer from fatigue, starvation, dizzy spells or extreme headaches. I’m alive. I feel good. A year ago, I’d have never thought that possible.

I’m two weeks away from my 19th birthday. That makes me so happy. I wasn’t ever sure I’d make it here. But I did. Despite everything, I made it. I’m gonna go to college, have a career, a family and live for a very long time. I believe that. Also, I look forward to it. I feel indestructible.

As hard as this journey has been, it’s taught me a lot. The main thing being, do not underestimate yourself. I took a gap year from college because I really didn’t believe I’d be strong enough for it and honestly, I feel like I let myself down. I let that lack of faith hold me back. I am so ready to go but I didn’t. I let myself be held back. But that’s okay. Next year I will definitely be ready to leave home and I will be strong.

I’m almost 19 years old and I finally feel strong. I feel like an adult. I feel independent and I feel wise. I feel like if I haven’t been crushed yet, I won’t ever be. I feel happy.

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Improving for Myself

So I haven’t posted here in a while but I’ve been busy focusing on myself, bettering myself. In the past two weeks I’ve left my Instagram recovery account and that was a big step because I think somewhere along the way I became reliant on it. I thought it was helping but in reality it was keeping me tied to my eating disorder. In the wise words of the love of my life:

Ed doesn’t need a stage.

That’s what instagram had become. A platform full of food, leading my obsession and pulling me back into a world where my whole life was revolving around food. Food is fuel. It’s something we all need but it does not play the lead role in our lives. We are cast as the lead role in our own lives, we’re not extras and we are in control, not food, not calories, certainly not an eating disorder. Food is just the thing that keeps us going. It is not a defining factor of who we are as people.

It’s only food.
I was told to repeat this 3 times after a certain meltdown because my brother ate my prawns. Yes, I had a meltdown over prawns. It hit me then how ridiculous this whole thing was. I will eat food and it will sustain me but it will not define who I am, not ever.

The past few weeks I’ve been working on me. Just being Sorcha, eating disorder free and getting my life back on track. About a month ago I made a list of things that I wanted to change in my life and I stuck it to my bedroom wall. I wanted to be more independent, I wanted to find something I love doing, I wanted to be okay on my own.

I started working out, following a workout calendar made by Cassey Ho. If you haven’t already, check out blogilates on YouTube. It’s amazing and Cassey is so positive and just makes you smile while doing some kick-ass workouts. I’ve been following the workouts for just over a week now and the change I’ve felt already is incredible. I don’t feel so tired all the time, I’m less emotionally dependent, I feel happier with my body and I also feel like each time I finish, I’ve achieved something.

I’m on an 8 week challenge to work on me. Make myself happier and get the body I want in a healthy, safe way. Not only have I improved physically, emotionally I’m a lot better too. No more comparing myself to other people. This is my journey. It’s all about me, being the best version of myself. I’ve also decided on what course I’m taking in college next year and as a whole, I really just feel like I’m getting myself back together. And that is an incredible feeling.

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Things I need to say to past me

First of all, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all I put you through. I’m sorry I thought you were fat, I’m sorry I thought you were stupid. I’m sorry that I didn’t think you deserved to live. I’m sorry I gave up on you.

You deserved better than that. I look at old photographs when I was deep into my eating disorder and part of me wants that body back. Just so we’re all clear, I was never really underweight. At 5 ft nothing, I’ve always been at a healthy weight for my height. But I see this girl in the pictures and I don’t want to be her ever again. I like how her body looks but I don’t like her fake smile, her dead hair of the faraway look in her eyes. I don’t like seeing that body and knowing what was going on inside that head. She was dying to be thin.

If I could go back and tell myself anything, it would be that it gets easier. At times, it felt like I’d be trapped inside my mental illness forever. But that isn’t true. It does in fact get better, it gets easier, you find yourself again.

I’m not eating disorder controlled anymore. I haven’t got the same addled brain I once did. I’m better and stronger now. I saw a before and after picture of myself. I’m not the before girl anymore. Nor am I the after. I’m a new version of myself. Because both before and after, I was still the girl full of self hate.

Now I’m the girl with the curves. Curves for days. My whole body is just made up of curves. I have these big hips, I’ve got a booty and I’ve got boobs. I need all these curves to hold my happiness. To hold my future and hopes. I need them to keep me alive. I love me, most of the time. I’m more than a number. I’m more than a size. I’m even more than what I look like on the outside. Looking at me you won’t know that I love to read, you won’t know that I love cuddles or that my favourite season is autumn. You won’t know that I sing at the top of my lungs when I’m home alone or that I’ve watched The Holiday 3 times in the same day. There is a whole lot you will not know about a person just by their appearance.

A common misconception is that if you lose weight you’ll be happier. That is wrong. So, so wrong. Don’t buy into it. An eating disorder will not make you any happier. If you’re struggling, make a change. I can promise you, you don’t wanna look back at old pictures and feel that same sadness for how much you hurt yourself. But you’ve gotta learn to forgive.

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