WYL: Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m 22 years old, the oldest of six and grew up in the small town of St. Stephen, NB. In my spare time, you will most definitely find me compulsively posting on @tjsrecovery, watching makeup tutorials or trying to convince someone to buy me a puppy.
WYL: What stigma (if any) have you experienced with your eating disorder?
When I first came forward about my struggles with bulimia, I was faced with a lot of non-believers. My motives were questioned and I was accused of seeking attention.
While I had expected some backlash, I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of negative attention that was being thrown my way. I felt absolutely alienated. Their cruel words got the best of me, causing me to crawl back into the hole I was so desperately trying to escape and I let my eating disorder further consume me.
As Wayne Dyer said, “When you judge another, you do not define them. You define yourself”. This was something that I had to actively remind myself of daily and it has become my mindset.
WYL: What are you most proud of yourself for?
Some play sports. Others play instruments. Maybe you’re amazing with watercolors or a whiz with computers. For me, school has always been my thing, my outlet.
In January of 2015, I chose to leave university. My mental state had become so low that most days I didn’t leave my room. I wasn’t eating. I was sleeping up to 16 hours a day and the 8 that were spent awake were excruciating. As much as I absolutely despised the idea of ‘dropping out’, I had to put my mental health first.
In the 2 years that I had been out of school, I sought out the help that I needed to stop the war inside my head. I can proudly say that, as of January, I am a student at UNB, continuing to do what I love. Of course, there are still times where I fall victim to my own mind, but they’re manageable.
That is what I’m most proud of. For finally fighting back even though it meant giving up a piece of myself. What I gained was well worth it. My life.
WYL: What do you do when you are faced with a challenge/struggle?
When I’m faced with a challenge or struggle, I turn to my friends and family. If there’s anything I’ve learned on this journey, it’s that you are never alone and it’s more than okay to ask for help.
WYL: Who is a Role Model to you?
To me, the individuals who walked into my life, shared their stories, pushed me to keep fighting, showed me nothing but love and compassion while battling their own demons, those are my role models. It would be unfair and wrong to pick only one because they all had their own unique impacts.
WYL: If you could describe your mental health journey in one word, what would it be?
Exhausting. Physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting.