July Warrior – Maggie

July Warrior – Maggie

Welcome to our first Warrior of the Month post! I could not be more excited for this you guys! Maggie and I met last year online and she quickly became the person I vented to and who would always listen to me talk about my problems and my illness. We have become best friends and I feel so blessed to have someone like her in my life. Like myself, she struggles with plenty of mental health issues, but she continues to amaze and surprise me with her strength and endurance. Read her story below:

Courtesy of Marina Christine Photography

Hi! I am Maggie. I am 21 and I deal with depression, suicidal thoughts, an eating disorder and anxiety. I consider myself a mental health advocate and I run a mental health Instagram page and blog. I started to be open about my mental illness/health issues a couple months ago when I came across a Ted talk that changed my view point and they said we have to talk about the uncomfortable things in order to make a change and stomp the stigma around mental health. From that day forward I was very open about my mental health. Cierra is my best friend and she asked me to share my story. I was happy and honoured to be her first warrior of the month.

 Growing up, mental health was not something that was talked about. I didn’t even know it existed. I dealt with thoughts like “what if I was never here would anyone care? Maybe I will be better off dead.” As I grew older I realized that was not a normal thing. I thought everyone has fights with the voices in their head (not only my own voice but multiple. It was like I had a devil and angel on my shoulders and many in between). I was later informed that its not something all people deal with. My mind is never quiet. I don’t have silent moments in my head, I am always overthinking and thinking of the worst-case scenarios. And arguing with my own voices in my head.

I dealt with a lot of general and social anxiety in junior high and high school and still continue to do so. I was depressed and confused with trying to fit in and never being able to. Not wanting to eat because I needed to be in control or to punish myself.  Fueling an eating disorder, I was not consciously aware I had-it was my first form of self-harm I performed.

The year after high school things got worse for me. The depression was very prominent, some days I wasn’t even getting out of bed and not eating all day. I was isolating myself from other people. I was sleeping all the time or not at all. I was hating on myself, telling myself I was not good enough and I did not fit in anywhere. That is how I felt.

Courtesy of Marina Christine Photography

Fast forward a couple years to a messy breakup, lost friends and then I finally snapped. I had bottled up and not dealt with my mental illness, I had pretended it wasn’t there, and my bucket overflowed. I started to psychologically self-harm by constantly hating myself and thinking and doing things that I knew would hurt me until finally I started cutting to deal with the pain and the undealt with emotions I had bottled up. I was cutting regularly – almost every single day. I was seeing a psychologist I was not ready to see. Lying to myself and to others that I could handle it on my own. I was barely eating and sleeping-or sleeping too much. I was going through the motions of living, but I was not. I lost people from isolating myself and putting up walls.

I had to hit rock bottom before I could start to get better. I had many nights of suicidal episodes, sitting up in the middle of the night crying and fighting the urge to kill myself because I knew I didn’t want to, but my brain was telling me to. I was fighting myself, dealing with my emotions and punishing myself with self-harm – restricting food and cutting. 

Its been a year since my breaking point and the hardest year of my life. I had to get up every single day to go to school. It was the thing keeping me going. I met the best people in my life when the lights were out. I realized that I needed to get better for myself, not for other people. I started going to a psychologist weekly and now bi-weekly and working on myself. I am still looking medication that will help me, but I get up every day willingly to try and with the best support.

What they forget to tell you is that once you get to recovery your fight does not stop there. You have to fight to stay in recovery every single day. Recovery is roller coaster. I still have days where I am suicidal or that I want to self-harm, but I have to fight it. I have stopped cutting and I got a tattoo to cover my scars by such a lovely tattoo artist, Julia whom cared enough to hear my story and covered my tattoo to remind myself that it is not my entire story. They are battle scars and I am not ashamed, but I am ready to move past them. I am ready to cover the reminder of the dark place I was in to focus on the present. My mental illness is not me, although I let it be me for a long time.

I got to recovery and then relapsed and started restricting and not taking my medication, but it was just a bump in the road. My psychologist told me just because I slip up once doesn’t mean I restart at zero. If you were at 6 days, you stay at 6 days clean and continue counting. Recovery is a roller coaster and it isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Some days the only energy I have is used to not get worse and stay where I am but most days I fight to strive to be better. I gained all my weight back from when I was restricting my food and sometimes seeing that number isn’t easy, but I am not the number on the scale. That number does not determine my worth.

This past year, I started being more “selfish”, I discovered friends who support me for who I am and lift me up. I found a love of modeling and a love of writing poetry. I made the decision to go vegan for my health. I started to embrace a journey of finding who I am. And on a journey to truly loving myself. Although that journey still continues even today.

 

Thank you all for reading Maggie’s story! I hope she can inspire others and be living proof that you are not your illness and that you can fight through the darkest times and come out a better person than before.

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