He Called Me The “T” Word.

Our first submission piece in Eating Disorder Awareness Week comes from Morgan, titled “He Called Me The ‘T’ Word.”

Throwback Thursday, time to choose a tacky photo to make a thoughtful post about good times from years before:

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 5.00.20 PM“#tbt to freshman year homecoming- miss yah girly”

Steady stream of likes flow in, slowing to a trickle as the day goes on.

3 hours after posting, there was a dink of a notification:

“Looking really thin Morgan, *thumbs up emoji*”

Looking really thin Morgan.

Looking really thin Morgan?

Creative Pieces dear hope Uncategorized

Eating Disorder Awareness Week: An Introduction

The next week will be a very special week for Dear Hope; this week, we will see a featured piece every day relating to a topic: eating disorders. Allow me to explain where the idea originated.

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Last fall, I came across a great organization titled Active Minds. Over a decade ago, a wonderful woman named Alison Malmon began this organization after losing her brother, Brian, to suicide. The conversation on mental health needs to become commonplace, thought Alison. Of course, this is not a quote, but rather one of the driving ideologies behind Active Minds. Its purpose, in abbreviated form, is to embed chapters into college campuses, bring together passionate students with the common goal of raising mental health awareness, decrease stigma, and create more accepting, welcoming environments among a demographic where mental illness is rampant.

I started a chapter at my school, and I have loved everything about it over the last year and a half. I have loved being shown the sides of people that would never have emerged had the conversation not been started. I have loved opening myself up emotionally to something that I have never felt fully comfortable with because such an omnipresent stigma exists.

Dear Hope loves to focus on these goals in many different ways, one of which is through personal narrative. Coping: This is Who We Are is such an incredible series because it gives us living, breathing proof that mental illness is so real that it feels tangible. It shows us the true stories behind our loved ones, our acquaintances, and strangers across the globe. There is so much that the surface does not show. And so, the many driving forces behind awareness and reducing stigma, such as Active Minds or Dear Hope, simply want to make what is under the surface come up and gasp an oxygenated breath of relief, free of any shame.

This week, February 21st-27th, is Active Minds’ National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. The events occurring on campuses across the United States will range from speakers, to narratives, to panels, to screenings, and far into the realms of creative mental health education. As I organized for our week, I thought, why not include Dear Hope?

So, we gathered narratives, poems, and other creative pieces to showcase those who have identified with struggling with some sort of eating disorder. Some are anonymous, some are identified. Some are narratives, while others are creative pieces. Regardless of the format or identity, we wanted to dedicate an entire week to showcase stories of struggle, self-doubt, and healing within this specific area of mental health. Every area of struggle deserves its highlight, and we at Dear Hope  want to spread the message that no matter what you experience, you should never feel marginalized or alone.

This is our test run; we only have room to grow. Four pieces: four stories of mountains and valleys with all of the details beautifully scribed to evoke emotions of empathy and compassion is just a start. 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States alone identify with struggling with an eating disorder, with many more unreported. Let these narratives be a seed to relate to, to expand upon, and to spread the message that you truly are beautiful and good enough just the way you are. Even though eating disorders go far beyond a conscious dislike for one’s self-image or diet, encouragement such as this is an abbreviation of “I validate your struggle, but want to encourage you that the person you are is one of a kind, and thus, amazing.”

So, if these pieces speak to you in any way, spread them. We want to hear narratives of more women who have struggled with the concepts of skinny, societal expectations, and self-image. We want to hear stories of those who have suffered from bulimia and other binging/purging experiences. We want to hear from men who have struggled with a category of mental illness that is constantly pounded with the societal hammer of masculine expectations to have muscles and be tough. We want to hear your stories of using food as a coping mechanism and overeating. The list goes on.

To wrap things up, my point is that while these four profound, insightful, and wonderful stories have infinite potential for impact and empathy, they are only a snippet of the experience behind food, body image, and mental health. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a few impactful steps that leave permanent prints in the ground, in this case at least.

Tomorrow you will see some background information on eating disorders. What are they? How do you know when restricting, overeating, or looking in the mirror becomes unhealthy? This information is vital in understanding the symptoms that serve as a baseline, in some way or another, to these stories.  The following four days, we will share these stories with you. As always, feel free to always ask questions, provide support, give feedback, or build upon anything that is discussed this week.

© Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporation

Remember, you are not alone.

And you are loved.

-DK


This post is a part of our Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Find the other posts here:

An Introduction To Eating Disorder WeekWhat are Eating Disorders?He Called Me the “T” Word”  – An Empty Home & An Empty Stomach: My Lifelong Struggle With Eating Disorders – The Fine Print Doubt: Sarah’s Poem – A Journal on the Imperfections of Perfection – Nervosa


Source(s): https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-facts-eating-disorders

Note: If you want to read more about Active Minds or Alison, please follow this link: http://www.activeminds.org/index.php . I’ve naturally abbreviated all of the wonderful work that they do, so if you’re interested, I encourage you all to check it out 🙂

Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health or mental illness? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

dear hope Uncategorized

Losing Your Mother to Mental Illness

This piece, titled “Losing Your Mother to Mental Illness”, comes from the incredibly brave Ariana Hegarty, who reflects upon her mother’s bipolar disorder.

I’ll never forget our shopping sprees and laughing until our stomachs hurt in the dressing room when something I thought was adorable, looked ridiculous. But as the years go on, the good memories fade away while the bad ones continue to stand out. And I’m not sure if it was the bipolar disorder or her mere disinterest in raising children, but on my 14th birthday my mother moved out and I would never see her again.

There was no casket, no funeral was held, and you won’t find an obituary anywhere but by all other definitions, my mother is dead. She is simply a shell of a woman who was once married to her high school sweetheart with two daughters who loved her endlessly. But now, I don’t know exactly what she does on a day to day basis, maybe she’s still drinking, and perhaps she stills spends most of her days in bed. Its five years later and I can’t help but worry about these things, because at one point I thought I could help her.

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“A Day Without Love: How My Depression Made Me Who I Am” – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 16

In our latest submission in the Coping series, we have the story of Brian:

Depression came to me before I was aware of it. The first time I felt out of place was in kindergarten when I waited for my mother to pick me up from school. I lived right across the street from my school, and my grandmother would meet up with me to walk across the street.  Things started to change when I was told that my Mother would pick me up. At the time, this was important to me because my relationship with my Mother was distant. My Mother didn’t really do much for me, and treated me like I did not exist.  When I found out that she was going to pick me up from school, it meant the world to me, even though I was not aware that this would be the beginning of feeling like an outsider. My mother suffers from cerebral palsy and has a walking impediment. As you would guess, this was a challenge due to the public perception of disability in 1992.

Coping: This Is Who We Are dear hope

Smoke Detectors: An Evolutionary Silver Lining Behind Anxiety

As many of you know, and experience regularly, the downsides of mental illness can be exhausting and extremely detrimental to well-being. Many of you have regularly experienced the impossible tasks of arising from bed on a dreary morning, having no escape from an overwhelmingly anxious situation, or containing a dangerous manic state. Obviously, these are not easy occurrences to handle or control. Obviously, mental health issues have plagued enough people where they are worthy of careful observation.

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To gain more knowledge of mental health and its discrepancies, we must ask two questions- “How?” and “Why?”. When we look into modern psychological pathology, the former question seems to dominate the latter. Chemicals, and a lack thereof,  have been most abundantly accepted as the main reason why mental health issues physically exist. When we have an abundance or scarcity of certain chemicals in our system, we experience maladaptive mental symptoms. However, when we ignore the “Why?”, we avoid some of the most important information behind mental health.

Article dear hope Mental Illness

Monday

So on a rainy day this past summer, I woke up with depression at its finest, where it was one of those days where I felt so drained of energy that I definitely was not going to be able to go to work. I called out, slept for most of the day, and managed to write this. I hope it can be relatable to those of you having a bad day, or those of you who may have felt similarly. Here’s “Monday”-

I’m not taken aback by the beauty of the sun or moon.

But that’s okay, at least I’ve learned in time that there are very little differences between objects labeled mine and days considered wasted time. Entitlement is a false concept paralleling a religious purgatory.

Creative Pieces

Extinguishing the Invisible Fire: Changing the Conversation on College Suicide

Hey everyone.

First off, thanks for welcoming me. I’m so happy to be here. I’ve advocated for mental health for years now after realizing my own struggle and for empathetically stepping into the shoes of those who don’t quite know how to find their voices yet. Paul has done such a wonderful job with these things on Dear Hope. You all have done a wonderful job in fighting your own struggles and doing what you can to find your places and raise awareness. For this, I thank you immensely. Change starts with emotions and ideas. Fires start from sparks. The smallest seeds grow into the largest trees, and  you are all much larger seeds thank you actually think you are. Your potential is endless and I hope that we here at Dear Hope can help you realize that.

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On that totally hopeful and optimistic note, let’s discuss something I’ve dealt with lately-suicide.

Now, the intent of education is not to sugar coat. The world is unfortunately not covered in chocolate frosting. Negative and detrimental issues exist both in our society and on a global scale.

Suicide is one of these issues.

Article dear hope