Tag Archives: self harm

#TruthTellers

Why are we so afraid to tell the truth? Isn’t honesty the key to any successful relationship? It doesn’t have to be romantic relationships, it can be relationships with friends and family members. Instead of being honest, we tend to tell “white lies” and justify them by convincing ourselves we were just looking out for those around us. Half of the time we don’t see white lies as lies at all, so the conscious backlash we feel towards ourselves is minimal at best. Maybe we even start to be honest with those closest to us, but never really give the whole story, out of shame or fear. Again, there’s less guilt attached to this because technically we didn’t lie, we just didn’t tell the whole truth.

But what good does lying or covering up some part of the truth do for us? Trust me, I used to be (or at least I like to think I was) an expert half-ass truth teller. In the moment where your kind of lying but not technically lying, it may seem worth it to keep that arms-length distance. Nobody gets hurt, and your real pain, the shame or the guilt is still protected in this nice little cocoon of deception. Do you want to know what I believe is the number one reason for why we lie to those around us when we’re walking through some hard situations? Ok even if you don’t want to know, you’re here reading this so there’s a 99.99% chance you’re going to hear it anyways.

We don’t want to be vulnerable

That’s really all there is to it. I remember when I was in the depth of my eating disorder and self-injury I would half-ass the truth constantly. Someone would ask me if I was eating (because apparently I was looking like I was losing weight fast, even though I couldn’t see it through the funhouse mirrors that were my eyes), I wouldn’t lie but I wouldn’t tell the entire truth either. I’d tell them “of course I’m eating! I’m just watching what I eat and working out more”. The truth is, what I was eating was more like what I wasn’t eating. I was also working out so that wasn’t a lie either, but the amount I worked out was enough to cancel out the miniscule number of calories I consumed that day. I felt this strange ownership over all of this too; it was mine to have and I’d be damned if someone wanted to take it away from me. To put it simply, it became my entire identity. I was no longer a daughter, a student or a friend; all I was, was that number on the scale that was always too high and the number of calculated calories I consumed and then disposed of. So when I got asked about it, I didn’t want to be vulnerable so I hid behind deception and half-assed truth.

Sooner or later, however, I did start telling the truth and boy was it painful. But I didn’t start being a truth teller until I was on the other side of those things. The “shame about the pain” was too great for me to face when I was plummeting towards rock bottom. I remember the first time I was able to tell the truth and be vulnerable, I was in a room with a bunch of people who were broken just like I was, and man did it suck. The ironic thing is, I had been in therapy for a couple of years before all of this too, but I never once told the honest to god truth. I was 23 and in a residential treatment center, and then again at 24 in an outpatient treatment center (which sucked so much worse than residential! I actually had to deal with real life… ew). Truth telling felt fake at first, because I realized that even I was starting to believe my own crap. The sick part of my mind made up the lies to begin with, but soon they became who I was in a way. But when you’re in a room of broken people who are just like you when you’re being honest and vulnerable, you get a lot of head shakes and “me too” as feedback.

Yet truth telling in treatment is so much different than truth telling when you’re placed back in your life. Like I said, I didn’t start really telling the truth to my family and friends until I was certain I was on the other side of most of my crap. I was ashamed if I was struggling and I was “just wanting to protect them” (another lie my lovely sick mind created). There’s a phrase one of my therapists in outpatient always used to tell us; she’d say that sometimes we just need to sit in it (the “it” being the discomfort and everything else we were avoiding by using our eating disorder). Well, I didn’t want to sit in it, because sitting in it requires facing life and feeling vulnerable. So instead of sitting in it, I’d lie and tell people the half-ass truth so I could continue using the one coping mechanism I found to be most successful in avoiding vulnerability. Yet I realized that not telling the truth to those people in my life when I really should be not only hurts me, but it hurts them as well. I like to think of keeping up those walls and giving the half-assed truth as a nonverbal middle-finger.

A lot of it too has to do with how we feel society wants us to be. Go on Facebook or Instagram and people have their lives displayed like it’s a freakin’ Hallmark movie where everything is just peachy. I’m pretty sure we all know that that is a load of B.S, but that’s how we feel like we should act and portray ourselves even offline. Everyone has their crap, but we put our stage lives out there to hide the behind the curtain reality of what’s really going on with us. We get this feeling that people don’t want to hear about our struggles so we bottle it up and say nothing, only revealing the scars after the wounds have healed. Is that fair to those who love us unconditionally? Nope. Is it fair to us, who deserve to be loved unconditionally, supported and valued for being who we are? Nope. So here’s what I’m learning lately:

  • Being vulnerable sucks
  • Hiding behind shame and fear is easy
  • Being a truth teller is hard
  • Covering up the truth with lies is easy
  • Shame only amplifies the pain
  • People closest to you in your life won’t judge you for being honest, and if they do they’re not the people you need walking the path with you
  • It’s better to be vulnerable with others when you’re going through hell than to be vulnerable alone

Sparks of Hope (January 30th)

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

– Steven Furtick

 

I often find it difficult to not compare myself to others. It’s when we engage in this unconscious activity that we end up damaging our own self-identity or self-esteem in ways we never intended. Nobody has their life completely together and we don’t know what that person who we are comparing ourselves to has had to walk through to get to this present moment. On the surface they may appear to have the life or the body we want, but it’s the things lying underneath the surface that matter more. For myself, I am my own worst critic and I can look at others around me and wish to have their life because it looks so much more glamorous than mine. But that mindset is not only a delusion, but a dangerous one that can land you on a slippery slope.

 

Goal: Today instead of looking at others and being envious of what they have, think of your own journey. Write down 5 things you’re thankful for having or experiencing at this moment in your life. It’s when you learn to accept & appreciate what you have, that you can learn how to embrace the path your on and not want to be where others seem to be.

Sparks of Hope

Hey guys happy Thursday!

So last night I decided I wanted to try something a little different with some of my writing time. I’ve found it so easy again to let my negative thoughts come out on paper as of late and writing has become more of a “need to do” leisure activity than a “want to do”. I’ve always loved starting my days off with a positive quote and so I decided to try and come up with my own so-called daily inspiration book. I’m thinking that at the start of everyday I will jump on here and post what I have for the day, and maybe even impact others day by sharing what is on my mind in a positive way.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the bad and forget all about the good things in life. Below is the first entry I’ll be posting and I hope you all sincerely enjoy it. Comment below if you wish, I’d love the feedback from you guys!

canstockphoto-spark


“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.”

                        – Rachel Naomi Remen

When you have close friendships or relationships in your life that hold meaning to you those people tend to come to you when they’re facing difficult situations. Often times while our friends or family are talking to us, explaining their situation, we are in our own heads trying to come up with a possible solution. I know for me, I have always been the kind of person who had to fix everything. But some situations I’ve learned don’t need that silver lining or words of wisdom; all that needs to be heard by those who come to you is that you heard them.

 

Goal: This week if a close friend or family member confides in you, make a conscious effort to simply listen. Try your best to hear what they are saying, pause before speaking and remove the pressure from yourself of having to fix it.


“Adolescent Issues” (**May be triggering to some**)

I allowed my mind to wander on my way to class this morning back to the days I was reliant on cutting myself to get through a day. As I drove I couldn’t help but glance down at my wrists and sort of admire the white lines marking them; telling stories of pain, despair and hopelessness. It’s been well over a year since I last resorted to it, but every day is a fucking battle now that I’m in recovery of an eating disorder. I can remember almost every line and the meanings behind why I did what I did. Maybe the word admire isn’t the correct word, but seeing them and realizing they have in a way become a part of who I am today brought me back to the young, hurting and suicidal girl I was since the age of 12. I’m 24 now and no longer wish to end my life, in fact I want to live my life for everything I have in me. But as those of you who struggle(d) with similar issues know, it’s not a simple fix where one day years later those thoughts/urges are completely gone. Call it giving in, but I’ve accepted that these battles are ones I will more than likely face for the rest of my life.

When I was in the depths of my self-injury addiction (some argue it’s not an addiction, while others do) I was ashamed beyond belief about what I was doing to myself. I knew that need to feel physical pain and see what was inside of me come flooding out was wrong but I didn’t know why. I didn’t know why something that helped me feel alive for a second in time was something to be shameful of, but I also knew that this feeling of being alive by physically hurting myself was not acceptable to my friends and family. I knew it was scary but as a teenager, it was all I knew how to do to get through yet another day at the school I hated because it was filled with those who bullied me since Kindergarten.

I went into a psychiatric hospital when I was 21 (I think I’ve written about it a few times on here) and when I was in intake that search the nurse did of my body, the one where she saw every visible & hidden cut/scar I have ever made on myself, was absolutely humiliating. It was like being forced to stand in public, stripped down and naked for all the world to see you at your most vulnerable state.

But as I got older I began getting the sense that this way of coping was too “young” of an issue for me to have, which is where I believe my eating disorder came in and took over it’s role as key coping skill in my life. So looking down at my wrists this morning all of this went running through my head; but then I had a question and I want to ask it here as well…..

What makes such a thing as a manifestation of mental illness an “adolescent” issue? My dad said the same thing in a meeting with a previous whack-a-doodle therapist I was seeing at the time; that meeting was meant for me to tell him I had an eating disorder. He told me only teenage girls get this, which I know was out of ignorance, but the issues of self-injury kind of fell into that category as well. So what makes these things adolescent issues?

Absolutely fucking nothing. They’re not adolescent issues, adult issues, kid issues, black or white issues, rich/poor/middle class issues. They’re fucking mental health issues that don’t discriminate or frankly give a flying fuck whether you’re 5,10,15, 20 or 50 for fucks sake. It’s not an issue of any of these things except the fact that the person struggling with these things have a mental illness/mental health issue that needs fucking help.

What You Can’t See From the Bottom

I’ve hit rock bottom a few times in my life with mental illness stuff and it’s never pretty or glamorous like the movies or television shows have it appear to be. Rock bottom isn’t a place I would wish on anyone because it removes any and all rationale or clarity from your life. It removes the ability to think rationally and the entire world around you becomes black and white, this or that. It’s terrifying, heartbreaking and the most lonely of states one could ever be in. I was thinking a lot about the times I’ve hit this rock bottom, and I realized that there are things you cannot see when you’re there lying on the floor with the surface of that pit millions of miles away.

1. You Can’t Feel Love.

Do you know how many times I would think to myself that nobody loved me? A lot. Do you know how many times that was actually true? None. When you’re in the pit the ability to feel loved is nearly impossible. People say they love you and they don’t want you to hurt yourself, but with everything in you, you can’t accept that as truth. So many times I’ve heard something along the lines of “I love you and I don’t want to see you hurt yourself” but I never once believed it. Maybe it’s because I was so far down and that because all self-love and respect towards myself was gone, I thought there was no way others could love me. They didn’t know who I was, and the “lies” of being told I was worthy of life and recovery and all of these positive things that were said to me about who I was all seemed to be lies because I didn’t feel that way about myself.

It took me getting admitted into a psychiatric hospital to feel a shred of love, and it was the love of my dad that I never even knew existed that I finally felt for the first time. I’ll never forget the petrified look on his face as he and my mom walked in to that check in station; he looked so scared I thought he was going to either cry or shit his pants. Up until that point he didn’t know of the cutting, the impending eating disorder or the fact that I was suicidal and was on the verge of killing myself (which obviously landed me in that place in the first place). But after that first or second visit I’ll never forget how he wrapped his arms around me, squeezing me so tightly that I was certain I was going to pop, and with the most sincere voice I’ve ever heard him have tell me he loves me. My new combo of meds were making me see/ feel clearer, and I knew for the first time in my life he meant what he was saying to me.

2. You Don’t Know Hope.

Not having hope is terrifying, at least for me it is. I remember the few times I had a plan to commit suicide that feeling of hope was only a dream. I could see the end of my life, and I was certain there was no way out of that endless depression. Days on end I’d walk around feeling empty inside and wondering why this is the best my life would ever be. Not even with depression but with my eating disorder as well. I’d try and envision my life in recovery and without it, but all I could see was the present moment. That hope of a better life didn’t seem real. Being so entwined in something whether it’s mental illness or an addiction or an eating disorder fucks with your mind and picturing a life without any of it seems like a fairy tale. When hope isn’t an arms length away, it feels like it will never happen.

3. Help is Seen as a Threat.

Being propositioned with treatment a couple of years ago for my anorexia seemed like a threat. I was so numb to everything and on the verge of landing in a hospital any ways from medical complications that when I was told about getting help I felt threatened. It was help and hope, but I was so far down in that hole that I couldn’t see it. Instead, I saw it as a threat or punishment. My eating disorder was mine and mine alone, I was good at it, and in a weird way it separated me from everyone else. I was so blind that I saw my constant losing weight and excessive hours spent at the gym as an accomplishment. People would bitch about how hard it was to lose weight, and I would sit back in a sick way and think “but look at me! I’m clearly finally doing something right!”

Having that taken away from me was hell. I would get so pissed off when my friends and mentor (of the time) would talk to me and voice their concern about my deteriorating appearance. I felt like they wanted me to stop finally being good at something and that in a fucked up sense they were jealous. I know, this is all so shallow but at the time it was important to me. Concerned talk after concerned talk only seemed like daggers being thrown at my bubble.


I would never wish rock bottom on anyone. It turns you into someone you’re not and places such strong blinders on you that it’s nearly impossible to admit that you’re on your way to being 6 feet under the ground. I don’t know exactly how to end this, so I guess I’ll just say this:

When you can’t feel hope or love and feel like there’s no way out of your mental illness, addiction or whatever is controlling your life and dragging you down into the depths, when loved ones and friends talk, just listen. Don’t react in the moment, listen. Let their words at least settle in your ears for a moment.

Staying Strong

A lot of us out there in today’s world struggle with mental illness but there is hope and people out there that can offer you support. I’ve had several blogs on this site where I’ve written about my own personal struggles with mental illness and am planning on transferring them over to this blog as it is my most recent. Before I do, however, I want to equip this site with links to those who are expertly trained in dealing with specific mental health issues.