Monthly Archives: December 2013

Sick enough?

One of my friends posted a link to this article on her Facebook wall:

http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/12/soft-grunge/

It’s an article about Millennials and this new “style” called soft-grunge, which at its core makes intense emotion, depression, and mental illness appear beautiful. The article argues that this beautification of mental illness by young adults who may not have or understand mental illness leads to “erasure” of the experiences of those who really are suffering, thus worsening the stigma of mental illness.

The part of the article I really connected with, however, had little to do with the “soft grunge” stream of thought. What hit me was about halfway down, where the author writes, If you can selectively channel an emotion at will, it’s not mental illness.”

For me, that really resonates as an accurate way to describe mental illness, even though it defines mental illness by way of saying what it is not.

Mental illness is not having control over your emotions.

I have always struggled with defining mental illness– how do I know something is wrong with me? How do I know that I’m different? How do I justify, unfortunately even to myself, that I have a problem? That I am sick enough, and thus worthy of, my meds and all that expensive psychotherapy? It seems like a silly thing, a side point, but I am constantly trying to reassure myself that I need all of it.

I started my meds because I no longer felt safe with myself. I was too suicidal, and I couldn’t control my feelings. Using the article’s definition, I was suffering from mental illness because I didn’t have control over my thoughts or emotions. I was scared to be left alone with myself. 

Yes, I think that is “sick enough.”

Why do I need to keep reassuring myself of that?

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I love food. But it sucks.

One thing that is frustrating me right now is my weight. Well, actually, my weight is fine (I weigh 10 pounds less than I did a year ago at this time, and am very healthy). I’m frustrated with my worry over my weight.

I was doing pretty well when I was at college. I was controlling my eating more, as much as you can in a dining hall situation, and exercising a lot. Almost every day. At home, I just don’t get to exercise as much. Somehow, there’s no time.

I need to exercise at home, though. Not doing to makes me feel anxious. When I do exercise, I can go about the rest of my day without any worry over food or what I have eaten. But if I don’t, thoughts of food and of my body pre-occupy me and take over my mind. I start to resent the people who take me away from my workout time, and get angry at the food I’ve eaten. I plan my meals– what I am going to eat and when, and struggle to restrain myself from eating anything else.

I went to a Christmas party tonight. Of course, I ate more than I needed, and I didn’t work out today. Had I worked out, I know there would have been no issue. But since I didn’t, now I am left hating my body.

I don’t understand– It’s f*ing (sorry) Christmas. You’re supposed to eat lots of Christmas cookies! I keep trying to tell myself that it’s okay, that I’m beautiful and thin (which logically I know I am!), but it doesn’t always work.

My mom brought up my weight today. She asked me if I’d lost weight (I haven’t since summer), and told me I looked thinner (I was secretly pleased). I am worried about my worry over my weight. I have talked to my counselor before about disordered eating, and will continue to do so.

Underneath all this mess, there is a healthy desire to just be physically strong and to love my body. That exists. If I can keep that frame of mind, I’ll be okay. But I have been skating on the edge of an eating disorder for over two years now.

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