You are not alone
You wouldn’t know from this photo that I have depression and anxiety.
You wouldn’t know that I’ve been on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication since I was 10.
You wouldn’t know that a few years ago, I left my medication at home while traveling, and the sudden withdrawal led to the biggest anxiety and depressive episode I’d had in years, all of which culminated in a sobbing, paranoid panic attack at my friends’ wedding. (They are still my friends.)
You wouldn’t know that in college, during a period of “recovery” from my eating disorder, I started cutting because it became an alternate coping mechanism for my depression and anxiety to starving myself.
You wouldn’t know that when I was 14, I wrote a list entitled Reasons to Die/Reasons to Live.
You wouldn’t know that one summer, I took a bunch of Xanax one night, but nothing happened except that I woke up feeling relieved and embarrassed 24 hours later, and that no one ever knew about it.
Even though I’ve been able to be transparent about my eating disorder this year, it’s much harder to talk about this. There is still so much shame about this part of my past, present, & future.
But today I’m saying, screw that. My shame is what kept me in the dark for so long and unable to ask for help. It made me lie to my friends about how I was really doing. It made me post deceptively happy photos on social media. It made me turn away from God. And perhaps worst of all, it made me not reach out to people in my life who may have been going through the same thing, and could have used a sympathetic ear.
Hear me on this: I would never have called a 1-800 number when I was feeling my lowest. I would not have asked for help. I would not have known how, or I would have been too ashamed, or too stuck in the darkness to even want to bother.
What can you do for the people around you who may be struggling? Call them. Invite them over. Show up with a rom-com and a pizza. Listen to them. Sit next to them. Pray for them. Let them know that you are there, and that you want them in your life. Don’t get embarrassed if they cry or push you away.
Just show up, and don’t push them away.
To anyone reading this who is struggling: It gets better, and then sometimes it gets worse, and then it gets better again. You are worth it, you are loved, and you are not alone.