You can’t “see” mental illness, but I hope my photos catch your attention enough to read the words I have to say…
One out of five people deal with mental health challenges at some point in their lives. This is nothing to be ashamed of, yet our preconceived beliefs fuel the stigma to stay quiet and silently struggle. This was the case for me. I began dealing with depression, anxiety and OCD in elementary school. I had no idea what any of what I was feeling or doing was… I assumed there was simply something wrong with me and it was my fault.
I developed an eating disorder soon thereafter. Again, I had no idea what an eating disorder was. However, it provided a way for me to cope with my mind -albeit negatively. I never told anyone about my inner turmoil. I went to extremes to push myself harder to get straight A’s, succeed in athletics and portray a happy image. “I have to be perfect! Maybe then it will make up for my inadequacy as a person and I’ll be happy and fit it.”
This faulty conclusion led me to a decade long war. The problem was that it was “me vs me” -I was fighting against myself. As a result of my behaviors that were due to my troubled mind -my weight fell to 56lbs and then only 1 1/2 years later, it tipped the scales at 221lbs. Anorexia -binge eating disorder -bulimia. My appearance changed, but I did not.
I only began the process of healing and recovery when I turned my eyes inward. I had to look at the parts inside of me that were terrifying. I was afraid of myself. But in facing myself -I realized I had all the answers within to change my thinking and change my life. I had to pick a side in the war being fought. I had to choose to fight for me. And I did.
We all have mental health issues -that’s part of being human and shared common ground. The degree in which we struggle differs. But the validity and support we deserve remains equal. Nothing is more dangerous than staying prisoner to your own mind. Nothing is more liberating than realizing you hold the key. ~Britt💜