Hi, I’m Anastasia. And in my lifetime, I’ve experienced:
- Anorexia Nervosa (recovered)⠀
- Anxiety (managed)⠀
- Major Depressive Disorder (managed)⠀
- Self-Harm and suicidal ideation (recovered)⠀
And for a very very long time, I told NO ONE about what I was going through. Secrecy was my middle name. Why?⠀
Because I thought that I didn’t matter, that my problems were my fault, that no one could help me, that I’d be judged and that I wasn’t sick enough to seek help.
Those lies ultimately kept me sicker, and I wish I’d sought help sooner. I let that fear and stigma block me, and I couldn’t see past it.⠀
What I didn’t realise at the time is that it takes people standing up and sharing their experiences to break that stigma!⠀
The stigma comes from trivialising the issues that mental illnesses present… the perception that you’re either sick or not sick, and there’s no in between. And ultimately, this fallacy contributes to those with ‘high functioning’ mental illnesses feeling like maybe they don’t actually need to seek help.
Here’s the thing:
- If you have anxiety but your grades in school are fine and you’re always on time and you can get through life… that doesn’t invalidate your anxiety.
- If you have depression but you can get through the day without crying and you don’t always want to kill yourself and you’re getting good at hiding the sadness… that doesn’t invalidate your depression.
- If you have an eating disorder but you can eat in front of other people and you’re technically not overweight or underweight and you like one part of your body… that doesn’t invalidate your eating disorder.
- If you self harm but only on weekends and you never cut too deep and you tell yourself that you’re in control and know when to stop… that doesn’t invalidate your self harm.
If you’re just a little bit sick, or feel like you’re not quite drowning but are still desperately treading water, you deserve help.
I promise you that.
Don’t let yourself slip through the cracks. Don’t wait to seek help until it’s really late and you feel like you’re drowning. Don’t lie to those around you. Recovering from any mental illness requires radical honesty.⠀
It’s scary, I know. But you have to tell the truth.⠀
If I had a dollar for every recovery patient I’ve spoken to who has selectively omitted details from their story to minimise what they’re going through to get out of recovery, or deliberately hidden scars and shut off and gone silent completely because they’re afraid of what their recovery might entail….⠀(and I understand, because I’ve done it too). ⠀
But in order for recovery to have a shot at being successful, you have to be honest. ⠀
With yourself, and with those helping you. ⠀
Because every detail matters, regardless of how small or irrelevant you might deem it and there’s no such thing as ‘not sick enough’ when it comes to receiving treatment. Diminishing your own struggles will not serve you well, and it’s up to you to be willing to be honest, open and vulnerable about what you’re going through so that you can receive the best help possible.⠀
I promise you, it’s so worth it. Even if you can’t see it now… please trust me (as someone who made it through to the other side after never thinking it would be possible).
Tell the truth.⠀
Lord knows, you deserve to.
So, to all those babes reading this right now who are suffering from depression, eating disorders, anxieties, BPD…. or any kind of illness, please hear this:⠀
You don’t have to be sicker to get help.⠀
You are worthy of help, right now. Just as you are. Regardless of your background or what’s going on in your life or even if you think it’s all your fault (it’s not).⠀
Please honour yourself by allowing yourself to seek help. It’s hard and scary and I’m sure as hell not going to pretend that it’s not a big decision, but one little sentence is all it takes. ⠀
“I’m not sure if I’m okay.”⠀
“I think I might need some support.”⠀
“I’m not sure what to do.”⠀
Whatever amount of words you can get out – that’s the perfect amount. So please, please promise me — promise me that you’ll try. Find someone that you trust and talk to them.
(And if you’re struggling and would like some 1:1 coaching, I can help. Click here to apply.)
Your story matters, and your problems deserve to be heard. ⠀
When we all speak up, together, we can smash stigma.⠀
Mental illness fucking sucks, but 1 in 5 of us will experience one. You are not alone.