My Mental Health Journey
Consider me an onion peeling back a layer right now. I've never really shared this layer of myself with others before, but honestly I didn’t even come to the realization that something was wrong until I broke free. This will all make sense soon enough.
The other day, I looked at myself in the mirror. I mean, I really took the time to look at myself. I’m beautiful. I then took away the hair extensions, the push up bra, the fake eyelashes and even without these things, I’m beautiful.
Tears overcame me when I remembered how I felt looking at myself in the mirror years before, in high school. I could still feel the hatred towards myself from years ago as if it were yesterday.
Oh high school. I started high school with a broken heart. You’re probably laughing, “broken heart?” You’ve got to realize that when a thirteen year old girl goes through a break up at that age, that may be the worst thing she’s experienced. As I have dug down deep into my memories, I realize that the break up wasn’t the true beginning to my poor mental health, it was words said to me soon after.
“He told me he didn’t even want to date you. He’s been telling people he thinks you’re ugly and fat. He never even liked you.”
Words. Words get stuck inside your mind and never leave. Thirteen year old me rewrote her definition to fit the description she was given about herself. Ugly and fat stayed with her for the next few years. Not Everything You Hear Is True
Bags of chocolate chips became my best friend. I remember my mom buying bags of chocolate chips for the blonde brownies she would make for her real estate clients, and a bag would go missing every other day. I call this stage of my sadness, “bingeing Chocolate Chips to Make Me Happy.” In all seriousness, I think during this time in my life was the closest I‘ve been to depression.
The chocolate chip bingeing didn’t last long though, because one day, I looked in the mirror and was reminded of “how fat I was”. I knew I needed to stop eating and starting losing weight.
This is what makes me cry though, because I was 60-80 pounds LIGHTER than what I weigh today at twenty three years old and I looked g r e a t.
This is when the excessive weigh-ins began. Every time I used the bathroom, every time I ate a snack or meal, every time I took a shower, every time I drank something, I HAD TO WEIGH MYSELF!!! “ .01 Ibs lighter, YAY!” This continued on throughout high school. It is such an emotional, crazy ride everytime I look back on photos of myself because I just don’t remember seeing myself as the beautiful girl in the photos before me. Is that really what I looked like? I don’t remember seeing this girl in the mirror.
I wish I could have told my younger self to not be so hard on herself.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been happy and bubbly. No one would really know this was going on, and honestly, I didn’t even realize how bad my mental health was until I could look back on those years and notice the differences.
I‘m not upset with my younger self, I just wish she didn‘t dislike herself so much. I am proud of myself though for going through this stage in life and breaking free from the words that defined me for so long.
You are not ugly or fat. You are beautiful no matter what you weigh. Your beauty isnt defined by a number on a scale or by what someone has said about you.
So what broke this awful cycle? I’m not sure, I think it could be many things. I think when I had a big surgery the summer after my high school graduation forced me to stop excessively working out and weighing myself. I think when I moved to Florida for the Disney College Program, I realized how awesome I really was and that people like me for ME. I felt like a caterpillar that turned into a butterfly, a flower that blossomed.
It’s strange, because during this time, it felt normal to feel this way towards myself. I remember feeling happy with life, just not happy with my appearance. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I've learned a lot about mental health and I’m so proud of myself for becoming such a confident, happy woman. Now don’t get me wrong, I still have tiny downfalls in my mental health. Anxiety gets the best of me and I do tend to over think and worry, but I’m working on me. I recognize when these things are happening and I put a stop to them as much as I can. Toxicity also enters my life as well and sometimes I don’t realize it until it’s affected me already, BUT what is important is once I recognize it, I remove it.
So this is a little layer of me.
I write this down to keep track of my mental health journey, but also maybe this could help you process your mental health too? Im not sure, but this has been heavy on my mind lately and I felt as though it needed to be written down❤️