I am a survivor. For most of my life I have struggled with depression, anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Anorexia Nervosa. Quite a mix there, huh? It’s almost too much for me to swallow sometimes too. It’s hard picking out a place to start my story, it has started over so many times. I guess I’ll begin with a year and a half ago, my complete rock bottom. I had gone away to college for a semester where I thought my life would change for the better, but I was utterly and completely wrong. My depression and anxiety crept up and consumed me once more while my eating disorder was the worst it had ever been. I had the most severe relapsed I ever experienced. Everything I had hoped for, gone. And all because my mental illnesses decided to come out and play again. They fed off of my greatest weakness, loneliness. I felt so alone without my friends and family around me. I turned to my eating disorder to cope. I began restricting and over exercising that fall semester. Then over the holidays I binged and purged and would try my best to exercise it all off or fast. Then when I left to go back to school, I stopped eating and drinking completely. I felt numb, weak, and euphoric, though not in a good way. I couldn’t focus on my schoolwork or even when people spoke to me. My mind had detached from my body and floated away elsewhere while I just walked, breathed, and continue with my daily routine. Or at least tried to. I remember when I would have to take a shower and I couldn’t stand up for long so I had to sit down. I could barely lift my hands over my head so washing my hair took 5x as long to wash than the the average person. I sat there engulfed in sadness, weakness, exhaustion, and numbness. I could feel the warm water dripping on my back turn freezing after sitting there for too long as getting up seemed to be too great of a challenge to endure. Crawling out was the only option. I realized I wouldn’t being surviving much longer, it just wasn’t possible. Dying walking down the street or alone in my dorm room were not the ways I wanted to go, not at 19. I had been in treatment before, but all the skills I had learned seemed to have floated away with the rest of my mind, so I knew I needed to make a change. I knew this wasn’t going to end well if I didn’t do something about it. So I made a phone call. I called a place called Timberline Knolls. I had been there before in the past and they really knew what they were doing. My case was so serious they took me in as soon as I possibly could get there. I didn’t believe it was that serious at the time, I even regretted calling for a while as I thought I could go longer without eating. “Just a little bit longer” I thought. But a little bit longer could have been a little too late. Within 3 days I traveled from school, to home, to Timberline Knolls. I cried my first day when I held a cup of applesauce in my hand and I just could not get myself to eat it. That was when I realized how great of a grip Anorexia had on me. “Ed”, as I call my eating disorder who also happens to be a he, had me by the neck in which his hands only grew tighter if I tried to resist him. I felt trapped, helpless, and alone. But thanks to Timberline Knolls, I was able to pull through. I have obtained DBT skills that I continue to use today and I am surrounded by an amazing support system. It’s been rough along the way as I had to receive more treatment for my depression and anxiety, but I have continued to pull through and to fight my hardest. This is a battle I will continue to face everyday for the rest of my life, but with love, support, and a fighting spirit behind me I will make it. Fall down 7 times, stand up 8 is a motto I continue to use today. Never give up on yourself and choose to be brave and stay strong. Just because it hurts, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. The pain is just a temporary thing. I believe in you.
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