WYL : Tell us a bit about yourself
DE: My name is Danielle, I'm 21 years old and I'm from a tiny town called Happy Valley Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. I've been living in Fredericton for 4 years now. Fashion has been a passion of mine since I was little, so I attend NBCCD to pursue my dream of becoming a fashion designer and I've never looked back since.
WYL: If you could describe your mental health journey in one word, what would it be and why?
DE: Strength. Mentally and physically this word comes to mind. It takes great mental strength to overcome such a difficult disorder, and to realize that you are good enough and that you're more than just then number on the scale or the food that you eat.
WYL: What kind of stigma have you experienced with your eating disorder?
DE: There have been a few that I have experienced. I have been called "chicken legs" because my legs were so small with no muscle tone. I've heard someone make reference to me and say "this girl doesn't eat" but the one that sticks out the most was a close friend of mine at the time told me "to go eat a cheeseburger". It's these types of sentences and negative attitudes that make this illness so much worse and difficult to overcome, especially for youth and young women. In a personal sense, i knew I had a problem; which is why it took me months to come clean to a friend of mine who also deals with mental illness. I'm an over thinker, I always have been. I wanted to fit in and wanted the "it" crowd to like me to notice me. Ironically, as a child I was very overweight. I was a picky eater, and ate fast food every day or close to 2 times a day, however puberty kicked in and the weight fell off. Bulimia and anorexia are the same yet different. I suffered bulimia in silence. In my mind I thought if I were to make myself throw up all the guilt would go away, however that wasn't the case.
WYL: When did you realize that you needed help?
DE: I knew I needed help when I was ready to talk about it. I never sought out professional help, but I turned to a close friend to open up about my situation which made my transition into recovery a lot easier.
WYL: Who inspires you?
DE: My mom, she is the strongest and most amazing woman I know. Her and I have an amazing bond. She's the one who motivated me to peruse my dreams, to move away to a city where I barely knew anyone. I would call her crying because I was stressed about school or because I missed her. She always knows the right answer and always suggests what is best for me. She tells me to focus on myself, and not to worry about what other people may think. She's still living in Newfoundland and Labrador with my family and two dogs, I love and miss them every single day.
WYL: What is your favourite method of self-care?
DE: My favourite method of self care is making tea, soaking in a hot bubble bath or yoga/meditation