It’s been my title for half my life, the mental health girl, the girl that people know has depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, the girl defined by the scars on her body, and the girl that has been overcome with negativity for most of her life.
This title I have wanted to give up for years, I’ve wanted to recover before, multiple times before, but once I became close enough to a recovery milestone, a month without cutting, a week without restricting, no panic attacks while speaking on the phone…I would get to afraid and give it all up. Why would I give it up though? I had spent those moments, overcome some obstacle while not needing to cut or purge or restrict or have a panic attack, so why did I end up giving up again?
I gave up because I was afraid of who I was without my mental health issues, without my disorders my addiction to cutting. I’ve/I was the mental health girl for so long and that was who I was, that’s who I was known for I was the girl that you came to for advice about stress and when you felt overwhelmed because people knew I had been through it, I would understand, I was the girl that people knew had been in treatment for mental health, had to give up schooling multiple times so that I was able to be in treatment. Who would I be if I wasn’t that girl anymore? If people didn’t look at me and automatically know I had mental health issues.
I have spent so long defining myself by my mental illness’ and meeting this milestone of one year without self harm has made me realize I’m not a mental health girl anymore, I’m so much more, I’m that girl that loves to write, that can write and it doesn’t always have to be about depression, about my anxieties, about my negative past and the negative things I’ve had to deal with, I can write positive things, I can write about love, about being a mother, I can write about so much more.
The biggest thing I define myself as is a mother know, Lily, my beautiful daughter means so much more to me then any razor-blade or being in “control” (what I believed was control) of my weight and thinking I’m worth something only if i’m skinny. Lily makes my life so much better, she’s made me realize I can do all the things i’ve wanted to be, i’ve always wanted to be a homemaker, I’ve always wanted to support a child, any child, she’s made me realize I can accomplish my dream of working with children because she has proven to me that I am an amazing mother and I am good at taking care of children.
I’m defined by the positives in my life, the way I can take care of a home and not get overwhelmed, the way I can write without always bringing myself down, I’m able to cook a meal without fear of actually eating the meal and enjoying it, I can make my daughter smile just by giving her a smile, I can see the positives in my life and define myself with them, and I am no longer the “mental health girl”