Speak Out and Ask for Help | World Mental Health Day

Speak Out and Ask for Help | World Mental Health Day

While today is “officially” World Mental Health Day,  to be frank, everyday should be so. As much as physical health has always been recognized as important, I think society today has made great strides in eliminating the stigma against mental health.

But in my perspective, I don’t see mental health and physical health as a black and white dynamic. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, mental health and physical health go very hand in hand.

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Some people regard eating disorders as a very physical thing: in fact many insurance companies delegate which of their clients is eligible to get coverage for their recovery treatment purely based on weight. If their client maintains that they have an eating disorder, however they are a certain low weight, they will not be insured. Some people depict anorexia, bulimia, and all disordered eating in the in between with skinniness where you can see the bones and no muscle. And soon as we gain weight, we are deemed as “recovered.”

However, disordered eating carries more than the physical manifestation. Actually, I think it is more than the physical. Disordered eating takes on a whole psychological battle: internalizing your worth through food, exercise, and body image. So even if you are at a physically “healthy” weight, your thoughts are still unhealthy and damaging.

And although very depressing, sometimes these thoughts will never be gone. There isn’t necessarily something as full, complete recovery where you can live a life drastically different and with no fear of food. There will always be lingering thoughts – sometimes felt more severely than other times – and so recovery means something greater than completely eliminating those thoughts but rather, knowing how to handle them when they do pop up because they do.

Mental health is  viewed in society as something that is treated once and will never come back. No, just as much as a physical fever or cold, we get sick frequently. And that’s we have doctors and medicine because we know that we don’t just get sick once in our lifetime, but dozens and dozens of times. Very much so, mental health problems are not something that just passes by, but rather with each time, will make you a stronger person and more ready to handle it the next time it comes, because it will come again.

So on behalf of World Mental Health Day, prioritize your health: both physical and mental. And always always know asking for help does not make you any less of person, but actually brings and shows the humanity in you. We as humans require help and support to grow into stronger forms of ourselves. There is always someone out there that sincerely cares for your health. You are never alone.

xoxo,

Stephanie

life is precious

life is precious

In the wake of Kate Spade’s passing, I wanted to drop my two cents on mental health.

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Mental health has always been a delicate topic to discuss on: I’ve realized this when naive freshman me signed up to conduct a school-wide investigation on mental health for the high school newspaper. At the time, I was not familiar with mental health besides clinical depression. And even clinical depression for me was manifested in a severe way to a close family friend at my church.

After seeing depression inflict my family friend in both a mental but physical way, my freshman self  did not realize that mental health could easily be concealed. Interviewing students across campus, I was shocked that physical health did not necessarily lend itself to mental health. Indeed, to me, Kate Spade and her brand represented bright colors, happiness, bubbly designs and playful prints. But to hear of the passing of a visionary person who I assumed embodied those characteristics due to depression and anxiety revealed me that I and our society have still much to learn about on mental health.

Assuredly, I am someone who falls victim to putting up a persona despite conflicting internal conditions. The strain of having to keep up with such “performance” hit an all-time low this past winter. For a bit over a month, I was constantly downhearted and unhappy. A day wouldn’t pass without a breakdown and staring blankly at the wall. It was difficult time, made even more difficult because I couldn’t exactly place a finger as to why I was feeling the way I was. All I knew at that time was that I was unhappy, unfulfilled, and couldn’t be bothered to do anything.

The whole time I tried my hardest to keep my usual persona: bright, inquisitive, and optimistic. I tried even harder to appear resilient to not only others but to myself as well. And it worked for most, most people don’t know that I had such time this winter. Only my close friends and family are aware and I am infinitely grateful to them. I was and still thankful for those who were perceptive and realized that this Stephanie was unwell. They were all understanding, loving, and most of all patient as I slowly recovered.

While mental health, like any health in general, is a battle overcome by the individual alone, the brunt of that battle can be shared by many. The encouraging nudges and constant comforting words helped me come back to a healthier and stronger self.

To everyone, our lives are precious. Every single one. I pray that you remember and practice this truth.

There’s one quote from my mental health investigation from freshmen year that still stands out to me this day. From my Latin teacher: “Why is there a stigma attached with a psychological illness or disease—in a literal sense, ‘dis-ease,’ un-ease, or not feeling at ease—but not to the physical ailment?”

Allow yourself to come back to ease. And you are not alone – you are surrounded by so much love and support. Tell those who you trust that you are not at ease and in need of their encouragement and help. You are loved and your life is precious. Please remember that.

If you find yourself in crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

Sending much love,

Stephanie

 

 

One “Bad” Meal Won’t Make You Fat, Just Like One “Good” Meal Won’t Make You Skinny

One “Bad” Meal Won’t Make You Fat, Just Like One “Good” Meal Won’t Make You Skinny

I think the title says it all, don’t you think? One “bad” meal won’t make you fat just like one “good” meal won’t make you skinny. Note that I put the “bad” and “good” in quotes, if you don’t get it, check out my blog post from a few days ago about stop moralizing your food choices.

Anyways, I just wanted to give a short reminder to y’all. This week has been a “bad” week for me. In the past two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) I’ve eaten five slices of pizza. In the past two days, I’ve eaten in my school dining hall for 3 times. So the other 3 times, I’ve been eating take out.

Now, in my standards, this is “bad.” I’m the one who advocates for clean, unprocessed foods, but here I am eating junk food. But you know what? What happens, happens. Life is life and some days are out of my control that I need to eat those foods. Those 5 pizzas were all my meals. They weren’t snacks, but a meal replacement because I was so busy I missed my school’s dining hall hours. If I didn’t eat the pizza just so that I could maintain my “good” diet, than I would have been starving myself. And that’s not healthy.

I hope you guys realize that in some context, “healthy” doesn’t mean eating “good” foods all the time. It’s about sometimes stepping down and acknowledging that your meal this one time is going to have to be “unhealthy” because there are no other foods that you can eat. And that’s perfectly fine. Don’t be hard on yourself, because … One “bad” meal won’t make you fat just like one “good” meal won’t make you skinny.

Have a great rest of the week!

What are some of your “naughty” eats this week?

xoxo,

Stephanie