Hi, Ruth here, writing to you about the incredibly important issue of mental illness. A little more serious than our usual jolly fashion posts, but when I saw it was World Mental Health Day today, i thought it apt to introduce you lovely readers to a little about my past and present experience with mental illness, and more importantly raise awareness, encourage sufferers to speak out and leave some important resources to click through.
|A few kilograms above my lowest weight in 2013|
I have an eating disorder. Sounds abrupt, doesn’t it? But sadly it’s a very real truth for me and millions of others. Though currently a healthy weight and managing my social, educational and professional life surprising well, mental illness still affects my daily life, whether that be a whole day wasted obsessing over food or a sleepless night spent destroying myself over an impossible body ideal.
|I became obsessed with planning picturing my food intake|
I’ve suffered from Anorexia and Bulimia my whole teenage life, and been in long-term hospital treatment several times due to this. Several mental and physical relapses have unexpectedly hit me through the years, affecting school, university, jobs, relationships and of course my health. I have experienced being severely underweight and/or undernourished, resulting in very low blood pressure, slow heart rate, low blood sugar, loss of periods, osteopenia, hair loss, lanugo, muscle wastage, swollen glands, infections, acid reflux, fatigue, bloodshot eyes, extreme temperature changes, bouts of anxiety and depression, and many more horrible effects that prove anorexia nor bulimia are glamorous in any way.
|One of many hospital ward bedrooms|
Throughout my time with these debilitating illnesses, I’ve met countless people online and offline that suffer similarly. Although it is often reassuring to know I am not alone in my battle, it greatly saddens me that eating disorders, along with depression, anxiety and self-harm, seem to be on the rise. On this day, I want to make more people aware of the vastness of this epidemic, and how much needs to be done in terms of outreach for professional help, supporting family and friends, and hassling councils, health services and governments for a more accessible and effective way of getting therapists, reducing waiting lists, changing traditional methods of diagnosis and increasing awareness through events, campaigns and groups.
|Positivity is key!|
I thought I would leave you with some links to useful resources online. I’d also like to add that for people with ED (anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia or binge eating disorder), instagram and tumblr have hugely supportive communities you can get involved in, as well as a variety of helpful video blogs on youtube. Whatever your personal issues, know that you are not alone and there is help out there for you.