Friday, October 10, 2014


So it's Mental Health Awareness Day, and I wasn't going to write anything because I kind of begrudge there being just a day for raising awareness, but then I got called a 'Mental Health Blogger/Activist' and decided I would write the blog that has been in my head for a few days now. One that's been going over and over.

This one is not for those that suffer with Mental Health problems, but for those who have loved ones that do. Those that watch on from the side lines and feel helpless to the destruction. I can't promise you that I have the answers because everyone is different, I can't tell you what will help, but I can try to shed some light from my experience.

I know what it's like to watch someone that you love suffer and shrink in front of your eyes, it's heart breaking, and although you would move mountains to help there is little that you can actually do. 
The one thing that I can say, and it may seem impossible, but the one thing that I know that would of helped me, is to be a pillar of strength.

Now before I continue I would like to say that whatever I write I am not saying that my Mental Health problems were due to my Ex Husband, he did not cause my Anorexia, just as my Anorexia did not break down our marriage. 
We didn't survive my Eating Disorder because of the people we are, I coped by internalizing and he coped by expressing his anger, our personality's clashed and in the end we did not survive because we didn't fit together. We didn't belong.
I had an ED before I even met him but when a big event happened within our relationship I turned to self destruction because I blamed myself and it became worse, when things got so bad I would be approached with anger (which is understandable), but this anger made me feel even more of a failure so I began to hide my downfall, be secretive, lie, which just made things worse and fueled his anger. 
It was a viscous circle which not only encouraged the reasoning's for my Anorexia but also meant that we were stuck in a bubble of unhappiness. 

Being approached with anger made me feel like I wasn't trying hard enough, so I gave up even trying. It made me feel like a failure which fueled my self hate. In the end, when I was at my worst, I was told that I was no longer loved, having spoken to him since I know it was a desperate attempt at trying to make me realise that I was losing everything and needed to fight, but I was already trying and it achieved the opposite.

I believe that for someone to truly start on the recovery journey that THEY have to want it, no matter what actions you take, or kick starts you try to give. I know that it is so hard to not do anything when all you want to do is swoop in and take action, bargain, beg, plead, shout, but it needs to come from within THEM. The more you beg and plead the more guilt and pressure lays on their shoulders. There is something you can do though, what you CAN do is to be there, to not give up on them.

I truly believe that within every person that suffers there is a part of them that doesn't want to be this way. 
I know that on the days that I used to class as 'good days', the days were Anorexia called all the shots, I would go to bed feeling happy, feeling like I had done well, but I'd also have a part that cried as I fell asleep because I didn't want to feel like that anymore, because I so desperately didn't want to think or act in the way that I was, I so desperately wanted out even if I didn't feel ready to act on it yet.

Remember that, in the moments where you get so frustrated, where you just want to shake them and scream at them and tell them to stop it, that that part is in them too, apart from that part doesn't want to just shake themselves, that part of them wants to do so much worse so that they don't have to put everyone else through it as well, because they don't know how to make it stop, because they are just frustrated as you are and yet they know that it's only them that can fight.

Be a pillar of strength. 
Stand by them and let them know that you will never leave them in this fight. That you are in it together. That you wont pressurize them, or get angry, but you will be there for support, that you will never give up on the belief that they can get better. 
That in an unstable world they can trust that you will still be there. That you wont give up.

I know that this is asking a lot, because how can you stand by and watch some one dance with death so closely, but you just have to keep on believing that things will get better, believe in their strength, even if you can't see it, believe that it's in there and that they will find it.

Your unfaltering belief will be what strengthens them in the end. A spark of doubt can ignite the Eating Disorder more then you will ever know. 

 Your belief is valid, because people can and do get better, and then they can begin to be strong for themselves. I am very lucky I seem to have found someone that has already been a pillar of strength without even knowing, not because I have needed it, but by indirectly reminding me that right now I am strong enough to not need a pillar of strength, and that feels amazing.

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