Ignorance isn’t always bliss – Accepting I need help
On July 26th, I got to walk on stage as I was awarded the most inspiring tutor of the year. Sadly, that night I went home and continued to struggle with my eating disorder. I didn’t feel like an inspiration, I didn’t feel deserving of that award. I felt like a failure, but I carried on like normal, I still posted my appreciation for the award on social media. The next day, I flew half-way across the world, carrying on like normal. I even bought a house and got engaged and continued to post all these achievements online. My life was everything I ever wishes it to be, and I was so grateful for it all, so I continued to ignore I had a problem.
I looked forward to the new semester starting, hoping teaching would save me. September arrived and I tried my best to carry on like normal, but I was mentally drained. I was emotionally and physically exhausted and I knew this time I couldn’t give teaching my all and that I needed to take time off to work on myself. A couple weeks at home and I thought I was giving my mind and body the rest it needed but in fact my eating disorder was getting worse, and I was still completely ignorant to the illness.
At the start of November, I was sent to hospital and was told I couldn’t go home. This time I couldn’t go back home and carry on like life was normal because it wasn’t. I was dying and close to the point of no return and in that moment, I knew I needed to accept I was mentally and physically ill and that this was something I couldn’t fight myself, I needed help.
During my time in hospital, I thought to myself:
“I am 27, I can’t have an eating disorder”
The truth is mental illnesses do not discriminate.
“How could I have possibly done this to myself after achieving all that I have?”
The truth is we are not prepared for the mental challenges life might throw at us and we do not know how to respond. It’s our first time living, we are still learning.
“Imagine if my friends or work colleagues saw me like this, what would they think? I am no role model”
The truth is, yes I feel embarrassed and ashamed to share my story, but I know that if I can speak out and if I choose to recover loudly, I can help those from dying quietly. And if I can help at least one person and be their role model, that is enough.
I am now starting my recovery journey and it is hard to accept that this won’t be an overnight fix. I have always been a very impatient person and most days than not I feel like giving up and giving into this illness but there are very brief moments I feel ready to fight and those small moments I am holding onto tight. I look forward to being able to teach again, I am surprisingly looking forward to the stress of work and normal things.
There is a huge burden to perform well and be the best version of ourselves at all times. I am always the first person to post my career and personal achievements on social media, but it has taken me sometime to build the courage to post this version of myself. It feels uncomfortable and difficult sharing something personal and vulnerable but not being able to talk about it can be one of the worst parts of the illness.
This is now part of my life story and the journey I am on; I cannot pretend it isn’t happening.