TESA DREW: THEY DO NOT DEFINE ME

Depression, Anxiety, and Eating Disorders. These are my diagnosis but they do not define me.

Depression: It makes getting out of bed in the morning feel like the most difficult thing in the world. Makes you think that there is no way out for you, other then ending your own life.

Anxiety: It makes you worry endlessly about every possible negative thing that could happen to you/ to someone you care about. It makes you feel like you’ll never be good enough.

Anorexia Nervosa: It makes you feel disgusting, fat, unlovable, and hopeless. Mental Illness.

For the years and years I struggled with the vicious cycle of my Eating Disorder, Anxiety and Depression. They all played a part in tormenting me to a point of no return, or so I thought. My Eating Disorder would tell me that I was so fat and ugly, which then led to me worrying that no one was ever going to love me. I had this constant fear of gaining weight and that if I weighed over 105 pounds (and I am 5’9), no one would even be able to look at me, never mind BE with me. The nonstop Anxiety and Eating Disordered thoughts then led to a Depressive episode because I was so damn miserable trying to maintain this extremely unhealthy body, which led to not getting out of bed for days and days, which then led back to my Eating Disorder telling me I was so fat and lazy and that I would never accomplish anything since I couldn't even get out of bed. And there continued the vicious cycle between my Eating Disorders, Depression and Anxiety, for years and years. Finally I was able to break that cycle. Well actually it was more just chance and my inability to end my own life, I got extremely lucky and was given another chance at life. I was determined to get better. To be better.

And there started my road to recovery...

They say that recovery is a lot like a roller coaster ride. There will be ups, where you feel like you're on top of the world, and that nothing and no one can bring you down. And there will be downs, and you will feel hopeless and lost once again, wondering why you even decided in the first place to choose this recovery bs. And there will be straight parts, where you feel like not much is happening, negatively or positively. You are kind of just in limbo.

My recovery so far has looked a little like this.... Hospital, Recovery Centre, Out patient programs, Group meetings, Counselling, Hospital, Out patient program, Group Meetings, Pills.

Pills... Something that I was so against for so many years. So many different doctors told me how much it would help, but I was just so stubborn and narrow minded I thought I knew it all. So a year went by into my recovery and I got to a point where I felt like I had my Eating Disorders under control. But my Depression was still lingering around. I just couldn’t shake this dark cloud that was over my head, day in and day out. I was exhausted and I just wanted to be happy. To not cry every damn day and just to not feel so sad all the time. I am extremely lucky and have so many wonderful people in my life, and have been spoiled endlessly by my amazing parents all my life, yet I was still just so sad all the time. I finally caved. I thought I had wasted enough of my life missing out on things because I was too scared or too sad to get out of bed to do them. I wanted to feel what it was like to be truly happy and excited about something again. So I went in to my doctors with an open mind and agreed to try anti-depressants.

There are many different kinds of anti-depressants, and by no means am I a doctor nor am I going to tell you this is the way to go and it will fix all your problems, because it wont. I am just here to honestly share with you my experiences with certain things during my recovery.

SNRI’s ( Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor’s) is the class of anti-depressants we found (my doctor and I) through trial and error, that worked best for me. They are used amongst many other things, in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder. Like anything new, it took my body awhile to adjust to this new medication. Many sleepless nights, horrible nightmares (some of which still occur), loss of appetite (Which is hard for someone recovering from an eating disorder), and mood swings all happened in the first few months. But for the first time, I stuck it out and gave it a chance and to my complete and utter surprise, I began to see that dark cloud slowly disappear from above my head.

Over the past couple of months, I have felt what it is like to not be sad 24/7, to not struggle getting out of bed every morning, and I can tell you it has been AMAZING. I know this isn't a permanent solution, nor do I want it to be, but for now if it can help me to truly start enjoying and living life again, I am all for it.

Because of the stigma around Mental Health and Pills, I waited a long time to give it a try. Even at first I wanted to hide it from everyone. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was talking pills to try and make me happy again. I was ashamed that I wasn't able to create my own happiness and I didn't want anyone to know. Because of the STIGMA around it all, I felt this way. Eventually I just realized that I didn’t care what people thought of me and of the things I was doing during my recovery. It was really helping me for the time being and I was happy. I just wish more then anything we could kill the stigma around Mental Health and different recovery options so that other people wouldn't be so afraid to give something that might possibly save their lives a try. The more we talk about it the less ashamed and alone people will feel about it.

Please never give up. There is so much out there to see and to do. Recovery is worth all the pain and tears. Life is worth it.

And most importantly, YOU ARE NEVER ALONE <3 xxx