I have been so blessed to have met a group of the most amazing friends through blogging. I’ve been inspired, given hope, heartwarmed. I’m sharing their ups and downs as we all fight our battles together.
Melis at http://iamnotshe.wordpress.com/ has touched my heart by reaching out in unconditional friendship, sharing her struggles and triumphs, and having the courage to speak out. She has given me so much hope. Thank you Melis for the CandleLighters award – I hope that I can keep the light shining with my own sharing of truths, stuggles, and TRIUMPHS and that I can reach out to people as you have all reached out to me.
I’ve also been nominated to take the Blogging for Mental Health pledge, which I gratefully accept – raising mental health awareness is very close to my heart, not just for myself, but many friends who struggle, and from my volunteer work in the homeless community which brought home to me just how many people with mental illness fall through the cracks in our society. Thank you so much to Emma at http://doesmybumlookbiginthis.org , another blogging friend who both reaches out to me in friendship and inspires me as she raises awareness and shares her fight.
The rules of the pledge are:
1) Take the pledge by copy and pasting the following into a post featuring Blog for Mental Health 2012
I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2012 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
2.) Link back to the person who pledged you.
3.) Write a short biography of your mental health, and what this means to you.
It’s hard to know where the actual mental health issues began – I think I was born with some of them. Certainly I have had weird food/eating issues as far back as four years old. I was first diagnosed with major clinical depression at age nine after a suicide letter was (supposedly) found. I was again diagnosed with the depression as a teenager and tentatively labelled with borderline personality disorder. Anorexia was officially diagnosed when i was about 19 years old after years of struggling with anorexia, binge eating, and exercise addiction. I started self harming at this age too, much to my own shock as before that I had no idea anyone did it at all – I just thought I was some crazy nutter and if anyone found out I would be locked away forever. I developed bulimia in my mid twenties after several hospitalisations.
Today at 34 I have over 150 hospitalisations mostly for Anorexia type 2 (binge purge type) but for the first time in years I’ve managed to stay out of hospital for nearly two years and maintain the highest BMI i’ve maintained in most of that time too. I no longer self harm and have not overdosed in years. I still have major depression. The label of Borderline Personality Disorder has been rejected in favor of Complex PTSD, which does fit me. I’m not a fan of labels, but they at least help me know that someone knows what’s wrong, why i’m this way, etc. And hopefully if they know what’s wrong, they know a way to help me help myself.
I’ve lost a lot – lost friends, homes, an incomplete degree (with only half a semester’s work remaining), been unable to keep volunteering, never had a paid job, lost my dream of being a dancer, lost people I loved dearly, independence, lost a lot of health and strength.
I’ve gained a lot – amazing friends who now are my family, a wider view of the world, insight, maturity, a gratitude for life and even the most basic things in life, an amazing cat Shalimar, hope… and so much more.
I know I’m going to beat this now – I’m not out of the woods by far, but I can see now how far i have come all those years I thought I was getting nowhere. I’m never going to stop fighting now.
I would like to pledge other people who inspire me and raise awareness – it’s hard because I think most of the bloggers I read have already been pledged but I will see who I can find -
Melis at http://iamnotshe.wordpress.com/
Anorexic Chap at http://anorexicchap.wordpress.com/
Eliza at http://elizadolly.wordpress.com/
Elizabeth at http://thespiralupward.wordpress.com/
Missy at http://missymiller.wordpress.com/
And Surviving Anorexia http://mylifewithanorexia.wordpress.com/
There are many more of you who I would love to pledge but you either have been pledged already or i have forgotten you (and I’m deeply sorry!)
Again, thank you so much to you all, you are all awesome – and we are slowly but surely making sure that in the future, the stigma and ignorance of mental illness is greatly reduced.
Depression update : I’m still here, still fighting – still reading your amazing blogs and still needing a bit of a quieter time. Sending love to all of you xxx