Mental Health, Review

I Watched 13 Reasons Why And It Kind Of Triggered Me | Series Review | Mental Health

Okay, the moment I thought wouldn’t arrive until much later but here we are, about to watch the first episode of 13 Reasons Why. I mentioned before that suicide is a sensitive subject for me and that I didn’t jump on the 13 Reasons Why wagon when it came out because I feared what emotions and thoughts it will bring up. I’m still not sure if I’m ready to watch this show and I’m a little scared about what emotions it will bring up but I don’t think I will ever be ready to watch it. The title itself has and still does, rub me up the wrong way. Suicide can’t possibly be explained or reasoned. It’s not that simple. There aren’t 13 reasons why someone would decide to take their life. It’s can be brought down to just a number. Now, keep in mind this is my feelings before I even watched a single minute of the show.

I decided that I’m not going to watch the entire show. I will watch one episode, make notes as I’m watching it and then leave. I won’t watch the second episode until quite a bit of time has passed. I need time to process what I just saw in a healthy manner. Okay, let’s jump in. I’m terrified about pressing play but this can be good for me.

This is my notes as I’m watching the movie:

Okay, first of all, I’m one-minute in. I truly appreciate what they have done by having the cast members talk about the premise of the show and warn those who might be triggered by the topics of the series. That’s incredibly important as if something so deep catches you off guard it can do a lot of damage. I also appreciate the fact that they know that this is a serious topic and they’re being cautious. They refer the viewer to 13ReasonsWhy.info (I will check the website out when I finish the episode) for more information. Okay, so this helped with my quite negative view on the show. I like that they did this. It tells me that their intentions are good and that they truly just want to shed light on such a serious topic and start the discussion. Okay, now let’s move on to the actual show. I will be completely honest with you…my heart is racing like crazy. Last night I dreamt about my friend who committed suicide and it’s hard. It brings up a lot of thoughts like why did I survive and he didn’t? The thing is, I know how it feels. I have quite a good idea what’s going through their mind and it’s hard to accept that others who had the same thoughts than I did aren’t alive today. They’re not here to see that things will eventually get better. Their demons won and sometimes I’m terrified that mine will win one day too. Oh wow, I didn’t expect that. Where did these thoughts come from?

Let’s press play and see what happens. I do want to add then I will pause and stop this show at any moment I feel like it’s affecting my health in a negative way.

The start of the first episode by showing Hannah’s locker and it kind of made me lose my breath. One of the things I struggle with the most is the part that comes after suicide. What happens to the family members? To the friends? To the people around you? That’s the part that hurts me so deeply. When I was in my darkest moment, hours away from swallowing those pills and ending it all…I didn’t for one moment think about what would happen after. What about my friends and family? Will my school also decorate or put a picture up? Will my peers write a letter? Will my life be mourned for a few days and then will everything continue? Like I never left. Like I never even existed in the first place. Would my existence on this earth be easily forgotten? Those thoughts never went through my head but they do now. They scare me. I like to think that I’m supposed to be here. That my voice can be heard and I can make a difference. That my existence isn’t for nothing. The daily struggle, the agony that I’ve experienced, it’s not for nothing.

It’s surprising to me that just seconds of this show can pull out thoughts and emotions that I have yet to utter. It’s unexpected. I’m feeling raw and vulnerable and I’m not sure if watching this episode by myself is a good idea. I’m keeping some distance to myself emotionally from the show or well I have a wall up so I’m feeling all of these intense thoughts, but I’m numb. I’m going to see if I’m able to watch more by myself. I might watch this with my husband just so I have that comfort of knowing that he is here. He makes me feel safe and right now, I need to feel safe. I need to know that it’s worth it.

My husband came home from work and for the last 30 minutes, we’ve been talking about what has been going through my head as I watched literally not even 2 minutes of the show and I’m feeling a lot better. Let’s press play and watch some more. Oh wow. Okay, so I’m 3 and a half minutes in and it’s hitting some interesting topic. Girls posing in front of her locker and sharing it but with no emotional attachment. The teacher is talking about the death of the student and another student asks: “if we can move on, it’s been a week.” The truth is, that’s the reality. Some won’t truly understand what it means, some are so involved with their own problems and some just don’t care. That is just the harsh reality that is life. I’m not really sure what to think or to feel if I’m honest. I’m disappointed that my predictions and fears were hit right on the nose but at the same time, I’m happy the show included that because it’s the reality. Unfortunately, not a lot of people are taking mental health seriously and hopefully, that will start to change. Talking about suicide, openly talking about your mental wellbeing can save a life. Okay, let’s continue. And two seconds in…they’re talking about knowing the signs. Are they withdrawing from friends and family? I feel like this can be damaging in its own way. Some who are depressed or have suicidal thoughts won’t have these signs. I sure as hell didn’t. You learn to put on a mask, to act normal. I feel by telling people to look out for these signs can do a lot of harm…I don’t know. I feel like this can damage those who they leave behind. Oh, I should’ve noticed the signs. Oh, how I should have helped them. But some don’t show any of the signs. I don’t know, I feel like it can do a lot of harm and should be said carefully. The next signs the teacher brings up is a bit silly to me. Are they changing their appearance? Really? I feel like this is so broad, especially with teenagers. I don’t know how I feel about this one. I definitely want to Google signs of depression and someone with suicidal thoughts when I’m done with this episode. I personally feel like there weren’t that many signs or shifts in my behavior. I literally decided that I wanted to commit suicide out of the blue, in the middle of my English class. I had every intention of swallowing those pills after I got home. Before that, I was normal with my friends. Nothing was strange about my behavior.

The first sight of the parents brought some intense emotions up. My mind is racing and I have no idea what to think and feel. I think I’m going to stop and come back to watch the rest later. It’s important for me to take the time and place my emotions before I continue watching it. I need to get my thoughts straight and process everything otherwise it might affect my mental health negatively. On the other hand, I’m at the 7 minutes mark and it has taken me down many roads so far. I’m still not sure if this will do more harm than good. On the one side it’s bringing up thoughts and feelings I didn’t know I had. Which is kind of good, I guess. It’s getting these emotions out but…on the other side, it’s a lot of intense emotions.

***

A few days have passed and I’ve decided NOT to watch the rest of the episode. I’m still going to share this blog even though I only made it 7 minutes in because this is important. It’s important that I gave it a chance but decided to take a step back when it was too much. I’m not in a mental frame of mind to watch this show and I don’t know when this will change. Who knows when I will be able to watch it? Heck, I might never finish this episode and that’s okay. I still appreciate that they’re trying to open a discussion with this show but I can’t exactly tell you my opinion or experience because I barely watched the show. I don’t know. I guess only you will be able to tell if you’re in a frame of mind to watch the show and only you can press pause and stop watching the show when it’s too much. I’m not really sure what to say. This show brought up a lot of intense emotions and I need more time to process them before I can get my thoughts straight and explain what’s going through my head.

I’m going to round this blog of here. It’s an intense one and I’m emotionally exhausted. Before I do that, I’m going to check out that website that they recommend at the start of the show. Oh wow, I’m fully impressed. You can get all necessarily crisis information by whatever country you’re in. That’s really cool. They truly went the extra mile with educating others which I appreciate.

I wanted to Google signs of depression and when someone is suicidal but I’m not really in the frame of mind to do so. This entire ordeal has been incredibly intense. I’m not sure if the feelings and thoughts it brought up are good or bad. I just need some time to wrap my head around it. I definitely want to come back to this and talk more about it. Suicide is such an important and serious subject that needs to be discussed more. I truly believe it can save a life. If you’re struggling in any shape or form, I encourage you to reach out. You’re not alone in this.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

010101

13 Reasons Why Website — https://13reasonswhy.info/

#pcos, Body Love, Mental Health, Self Love

I’m A Worthless Human Being Because I Gained Weight

20 February 2019

I’m writing this blog after a really difficult day. I realize that these are my toxic thoughts now but I need to write about this. Writing is my therapy and maybe by writing out all my thoughts, I might gain a new perspective on things. I don’t know but I need to get these feelings out.

Today I found out I weigh 90kg. I feel sick to my stomach. I feel disgusting. I feel like I should go crawl into some hole and hide. No one can see me like this. No one can know I weigh so much. When I saw that number on the scale I wanted to cry. I bit back my tears and told myself, cry about this tonight. I’ve gained so much weight in this last year that it’s been an incredibly hard pill to swallow. After the big weight gain where the scale climbed 2-3kg a WEEK for two months, I thought that was it. I’m 20kg heavier but I will lose it. I was diagnosed with PCOS soon after that and it’s been one ugly mix of emotions since. I felt horrified that I gained so much weight. I immediately changed the way I dressed or constantly tugged at my clothes because I didn’t want people to see the obvious weight gain. Hello, oversized everything. And now, when I’m already so fragile, I find out I’m 10kg’s higher than that. I can’t hit that 100kg mark. I can’t.

And I’m scared. I want to lose weight because I want to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin but I’m terrified I will become obsessed with fitness again. It was truly horrifying that the pressure of maintaining the weight loss or fitness journey did to my mental health. I get so overwhelmed these days. So much extreme thing has been happening to me this last year that I’m barely keeping my head above water. I can’t add that weight loss pressure onto my shoulders again. I will break. I’ve found a system that is taking steps towards the right direction but it slow and forgiving. It’s all that I can handle at the moment but it’s not enough. I’m not doing enough. I’m still gaining weight and I’m disgusting. I need to starve myself. I need to drink just smoothies for months straight. I need to eat, drink and sleep fitness again. I need to eat nothing and just drink water. I need to make myself throw up when I eat candy. I need to. I need to. I need to. These thoughts are disgusting. I look at my body and I hate it. I hate how that is just another thing in my life that I can’t control and I hate how it doesn’t feel like my body anymore. I hate how I’m scared someone will point out my weight gain out and I hate how I no longer feel beautiful. I hate that this weight gain makes me feel worthless. Like my life has no meaning because I have back rolls. I hate that I feel this way and I want to change but I don’t know if I can handle it now. It’s a constant toss up of 1) go big or go home or 2) one day at a time. I’m struggling to find a middle ground. I’m struggling to get out of this ugly and toxic loophole. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I don’t want to be this big anymore. I tell myself I will be happy when I’m back to my fit body but the truth is, I wasn’t fucking happy back then. I still thought I was fat and worthless. I still bit back tears when someone pointed out my stomach. But now…it’s worse. Back then I felt confident and proud at least 70% of the time. Now, I feel like a worthless human being. I don’t really know what else to say. I think I’m just going to go to bed now. Maybe I will feel different tomorrow? I’m just so tired of feeling like this. It’s too much. Life has been so much. When am I going to catch a break?

***

It’s the next day and I don’t have clarity. I don’t really feel much better. I realize that I’m inching into a depressive state and what I thought yesterday wasn’t entirely true to what a really think deep down…but yeah. I still feel the pressure that I need to do something. What I’m doing isn’t enough and I’m scared that it will all get too much. I woke up, hungry. Already, my thoughts are like sit the fuck down you fat fuck. You’re not worthy to eat. It’s ugly and toxic. These feelings will pass and I refuse to surrender and do anything I will regret. I will fight these thoughts and feelings. I will fight this negative voice and when I come out of it the other side, with a clear and positive mind I will make adjustments to my way of life that isn’t anything too crazy. And eventually, over time, I will lose some weight but who knows? Maybe I will never weigh 60kg again and that’s okay…I guess. It’s baby steps.

Sorry that this blog is all over the place. I just feel like it’s something I should share. Maybe someone who struggles with the same thing or has struggled with the same thing will have some advice. Who knows?

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

010101

PS, I’m adding this as an afterthought because I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about their bodies. I’m not saying if you weigh 90kg you’re ‘fat’ and ‘worthless’. Nor if you weigh more than that. THIS is how I feel about MY body because of my weightgain.

Review

My Thoughts On The Movie: To The Bone | Movie Review

I thought long and hard about what my first review should be on. These days I’ve gravitated towards books, movies, and series that touched on serious subjects and left the user to think about a few things. To the Bone was a film that made you think. I watched it for the first time just a few months ago and my mind reeled long after the credits rolled onto the screen. It’s such a powerful movie and incredibly well done. I have so much to say about this movie and I’m going to try my utmost best to touch on all the points I want to touch on. I just want to be clear from the start that I didn’t simply just watch the movie and made a few notes on it. No, I went deeper than that. I didn’t just want to slap my opinion of the movie on this blog and call it a day. In the beginning, I couldn’t really put my thoughts into words. This movie stopped me in my tracks and it made me think. It took me some time to get my thoughts straight and for that I think they did a great job with the message they were trying to send with this movie.

My first action when I opened up this word document in order to write this review was to search for the movie’s IMDb details. I learned a lot while reading this page and there are a few key things I want to share on here. As usual, parts from this page will be italics. The first and natural step with this review is the summary for those who have yet to watch the movie. What I found incredibly interesting and very telling was that on the IMDb page, users had the option to write their own summary of the movie. By allowing this you could sense how others interrupted the film which I absolutely loved.

On the main page, the summary read: (1) Ellen is a 20-year-old woman struggling with anorexia nervosa. In the midst of family problems and her own fears, she is accepted into a group home run by an unusual doctor. Through the people she meets and the journey she takes, Ellen follows a path of self-discovery and acceptance that will lead her to a surprising place she never would have thought possible. Although the next two summaries by IMDb users say almost the same thing, I still want to share it. “A young woman, dealing with anorexia, meets an unconventional doctor who challenges her to face her condition and embrace life.” Written by IMDb user: fannyelisabeth. The third summary on the page is as follows: “Ellen or Eli is a 20-year-old woman suffering from anorexia nervosa. When her stepmother & absent father run out of options, they manage to get an appointment with a very successful but unorthodox doctor. When Ellie accepts the help she’s placed into a group home with other people suffering from eating disorders. Because she’s with people just like her, Ellie finds herself facing the truth of her disease. Will she find herself before it’s too late or will death come knocking faster than expected?” Written by IMDb user: Carrie DeCosta.

Why did I share all of these summaries when it’s so similar to each other? The answer is simple: even though the words were slightly different they all concentrated on one thing. The main character is suffering from a serious eating disorder, an eating disorder that could very much so steal her life, but she embarks on a journey where she challenges her condition. Before this movie, my knowledge about eating disorders was limited. I knew what society told me. Although deep down I knew this was a disease, something that you need to fight every day so you can live the life you dream of, society almost tied a neat little bow around it. What I mean with that is simple. You’re congratulated if you lose weight. You’re congratulated when you can wrap your arms around your stomach or when you can play the harp on your ribs. You’ve congratulated if your wrist is smaller than a coin. You’re beautiful if you’re skinny. You’re ugly if your body fat percentage is over a certain number. You’re begging for attention when you starve yourself or bring your food up soon after eating it. The list goes on. It’s such a sick cycle. They want your body to look certain why but they also belittle those who suffer from an eating disorder. Although I know things are slowly changing, we still have a big road ahead of us.

While exploring the IMDb page on the movie I paused when I saw this new user review. It was posted on the 14th of July 2017 by the user: satin. I feel that his words are incredibly important to read.

“When I heard about this movie I was skeptical. I am a male who has suffered from Anorexia since I was 14 (I am 25 now) and have been in 2 inpatient units during this time. I have gone from a weight that literally caused my heart to stop to one that is normal according to society and have recently graduated to become a doctor.

To The Bone starts off with an all too familiar look into the life of someone with an eating disorder in an inpatient unit. Once she is ‘let loose’ into the world she is clearly nowhere close to recovery. We get some degree of insight into her life struggling with her condition. Lily Collins is perfectly suited to this role given her eating disorder history. I am slightly concerned that this role may have set something off in her mind to trigger a relapse (if not now, then in the future), but as long as she has been able to cope I am more at ease. The attention to detail into her character’s daily life is incredible. From being able to recite calories in foods to the countless hours spent doing sit-ups in her room, I was amazed as to how accurate they wanted this movie to be. In my eyes, it was in no way an exaggeration and could be considered an under- representation as to the daily life of someone with an eating disorder. As the story progresses the tone becomes a lot more serious. It makes it quite hard to watch at times because you do feel concerned for the well being of the main character and her family. It certainly made me emotional at times because it resurfaced memories of things I put me and my family through. Again, this just highlights how eerily accurate the film portrays the condition. I could literally put names of people I met during recovery to the faces of the characters (patients, doctors, nurses, and family members included).

Aside from being concerned as to the well being of Lily Collins in this role, the other problem I had going into watching this movie was that it may glamorize eating disorders. However, after the first 10 minutes of watching it, I knew this was not the case. It felt a lot more like seeing the world through a real anorexic’s eyes. The other obvious problem I had was that this may be potentially ‘triggering’ for people with eating disorders. I still have this reservation, however, I cannot conceive any way a film like this could not have been triggering. Every person experiences an eating disorder differently and has their own personal triggers. Anything in this film could have been triggering for different reasons. What I know is that those without the condition will receive invaluable insight into the life of someone with an eating disorder. In a world where awareness for such disorders is certainly on the up, many people still think eating disorders are a ‘life choice’ and that sufferers should just eat. I hope this film makes people realize the daily struggles of sufferers and that it offers sufferers ambition to recover.”

After reading that user’s review I wanted to learn more. I will be straight with you, I’ve never really struggled with a serious eating disorder. Yes sometimes I would challenge myself and see how long I can go without eating but it never became something big. After I watched this movie, I realized how serious an eating disorder truly is. Although I can’t say I understand everything, I can see where the characters are coming from. It changed the way how I view people who suffer from the disease and my view on my own relationship with food. This movie really made me think. Before I deep dived into the internet to learn more about the disease I saw a very interesting did you know the trivia section on the IMDb page. When I watched the movie for the first time I wondered how realistic it is. How much research did they do? How close is it to the real thing? This trivia section answered those questions. The main character and the director/writer of this movie both suffered from an eating disorder in the past. Suddenly it made sense. The reason why the movie felt so real was that the driving force came from a place who understood the disease from a personal viewpoint.

This next part I want to insert was on the main page under the trivia section. The 28-year-old actress opened up about the moment in an interview with The Edit about the time she was complimented on her weight loss while filming the film. “I was leaving my apartment one day and someone I’ve known for a long time, my mom’s age, said to me, ‘Oh, wow, look at you!'” Lily said. “I tried to explain [I had lost weight for a role] and she goes, ‘No! I want to know what you’re doing, you look great!’ I got into the car with my mom and said, “That is why the problem exists.”

It’s so heartbreakingly true. At this point not only did I want to read and learn more about the disease, but I also wanted to learn what I can do to help. I wanted to learn what thoughts I had that was completely off and what I could do to change my words in order to prevent and help the disease. I wanted to learn how I can be sure to prevent this disease from those I love. I wanted to learn how I should word my sentences when it came to this. I wanted to learn how I can prevent saying the same damaging things to my own daughter one day that was said to me. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t one of the people who is adding fuel to the fire. So I dove deep into the internet.

Early on my search, an article popped up: 5 Things To the Bone Gets Rights, According to Two Survivors. This article was incredibly informative and answered some of the questions that still lingered in my mind. One of these questions was about the purpose of the movie. What did they want to achieve from this? (2) “Having struggled with anorexia and bulimia well into my 20s, I know firsthand the struggle, isolation, and shame a person feels when they are in the grips of this illness,” Noxon says in her director’s statement. “My goal with the film was not to glamorize EDs, but to serve as a conversation starter about an issue that is too often clouded by secrecy and misconceptions. I hope that by casting a little light into the darkness of this disease we can achieve greater understanding and guide people to help if they need it.” The article continued in its review with so much information. It was a different viewpoint of my own and I loved every second of it. I definitely recommend you read this article. The link will be listed at the end of this blog.

Another article that was one of the first to pop up is: Don’t watch Netflix To The Bone. I read it because I was so desperate to understand the disease and although I finished the article, my thoughts were still all over the place, I did learn something important. That with any complex mental health issues, there are so many different sides to the story. Every person that experiences this doesn’t fall into a set picture and sometimes the reason isn’t simple. It’s complex after all. The same can be said about depression, anxiety and etc. Although nothing stood out that I want to quote from this article, it’s important to read it if you’re not sure what to think after watching the movie.

I wanted to move away from other opinions and learn the technical side of the disease. The first website that popped up was the national eating disorders website. It was a very eye-opening experience. I didn’t realize how many eating disorders there is and how serious they are. The movie opened my eyes to this yes, but seeing an entire website dedicated on so many serious eating disorders…it’s shocking and heartbreaking.

The more I’m learning about this disease, the more I can connect and understand the movie. I’m not going to ever stand here and say that I understand eating disorders because I have barely scratched the service, but in the same breath, I kind of do. As someone who suffers from depression, I realize that the mind is a very complex thing. We’re all fighting our own demons. We need to be more gentle and caring with each other. We also need to educate others. For so many years the serious mental health issues were taboo to talk about, and still is, but we need to change this. We need to open the dialogue. We need to talk about the pain and those demons whispering into our ears. Finally, after weeks, I can put my thoughts into words and sentences. The truth is I still don’t know much about an eating disorder. I don’t know how to prevent it or how to help. I still have so many questions but I know now that nothing is simple. Eating disorders aren’t simple. Depression isn’t simple. Anxiety isn’t simple. We just need to be caring for those around us and learn about the disease. I’m not sure if this is helpful. One minute I think I understand the movie and I’ve straightened my thoughts and feelings on the matter and the next I’m still questioning everything. But writing that now, I realize that’s a good thing. We need to always question things. Without those questions, there isn’t a change.

The movie opened up the dialogue and for that, I would recommend the movie. Although it touches on such a serious subject and can trigger those who suffer from eating disorders, it will leave the viewer thinking and in return open up the conversation with others. In this regard, I’m finally going to watch 13 Reason Why. A series I’ve avoided since it aired as I feared I might be triggered by the suicide. Although I know the experience won’t be easy, I might learn something. It might change something. Maybe after watching the series, I would be able to take another step forward in the healing process. I also realize that mentally I need to wait a bit longer before I watch the show. And that’s the most important thing to note. If you suffer from any mental illness, you need to realize that some things are toxic for your mental health. Although I realize watching 13 Reason Why should be an eye-opening experience when it comes to suicide, I also realize that I’m in a vulnerable place in my life now and the series will do more damage than good. So I will wait. The same thing can be said for those who suffer from an eating disorder regarding this movie. Take your time with the healing process. Every journey is different.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

010101

Links

(1) To the Bone IMDb —  https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5541240/ —

(2) 5 Things To the Bone Gets Rights, According to Two Survivors — https://www.instyle.com/reviews-coverage/movies/to-the-bone-netflix-review

(3) Don’t watch Netflix To The Bone — https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/film/2017/07/to-the-bone-netflix-review-glamourises-anorexia-eating-disorders

(4) What are Eating Disorders? — https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-are-eating-disorders

Mental Health

Why I Deleted My Instagram | Mental Health

My decision to delete my personal Instagram wasn’t repulsive but I didn’t know it was something I wanted to do the night before. The morning of the deletion, I talked to Onno about it. Well, Onno in my dreams. It was a very realistic dream and we had a full conversation why I wanted to delete it but then when I messaged him hours later that I deleted my Instagram, he was very surprised. What is the importance of this piece of information? Absolutely nothing. I can try to spin some story how my subconscious mind knew it was the right choice to make but my decision to delete my Instagram isn’t that deep.

I started my Instagram account in 2015 to keep myself accountable with my fitness. I just started BBG (Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines) and wanted to connect with other girls who were doing the workouts. I was apart of a very small community where what you posted and the quality of the pictures wouldn’t matter. I felt no pressure to be perfect. I would post pre- and post- workout selfies in bad lighting; pretty bad angles and I just wouldn’t care. I would post pictures of my food even if it was nothing fancy. There was just no pressure. I didn’t care how many followers I had or how much my account grew. It was just a way to stay accountable. This changed quite quickly. At a certain point, I felt like I had to post quality content. I had to play this role of a perfect Instagram girl that lived a luxurious or cool life. There was this pressure to constantly be the person that is portrayed in these perfect Instagram worthy pictures. I couldn’t even explore a new city or go relax at a park without feeling the need to do a little mini photo shoot. And then when I didn’t achieve the standard of the perfect Instagram girl, the pictures came out shitty or the lighting was off, it would ruin my entire day. I also followed so many girls that had this perfect lifestyle and I would tear myself apart when I couldn’t live up to them.

When I started my blog, it was all about the numbers. The appearance of the perfect Instagram pictures and everything just needed to be…you guessed it perfect. When I couldn’t be perfect, then my dreams would never come true. Writing this now, I realize that it doesn’t really make sense. My worth never has and never will be attached to how many strangers follow me on the internet. I’m not going to be a failure or waste of air just because I don’t have a thousand likes on every picture I post. But when I didn’t get in so many likes or clicks on my links, it felt like I was failing. I also had to constantly post pictures of my body. When I was still active, I had to record all activities but when I stopped being active, I needed to fill up my feed with body positive pictures. I couldn’t just be myself because that wouldn’t be good enough for Instagram. I couldn’t just take a picture of my cup of tea in the middle of the night and caption it; tea time. No. I needed to have a super meaningful essay of a caption and it had to make a difference in the world and the photo had to be perfect as if a professional photographer took and edited it. Things got really bad. I would spend hours scrolling on those pretty perfect girls feed and wish I could be like them.

I asked myself one morning, why do I have this app? Does it spark joy? Does the good balance out the bad? Is it toxic for my mental health?

When I was sixteen or seventeen, I had this scrapbook. It was filled with cut-outs from magazines of these perfect and fit girls. I was so ashamed to have this book but at the same time, I felt disgusted that I couldn’t look like them. The truly sad thing is that even though I cut up tons of magazines, filled 100 of pages of pictures of other girls’ bodies, I never found a body like mine. I realized that Instagram has become my new notebook. It was a reflection of a life that I wanted to live, a body that I wanted but it wasn’t me. The good never came even close to balance out the bad. The toxicity of the platform poisoned my self-worth. Once I realized all of this, it was easy to delete my account.

I asked myself; if you could cut toxic people out of your life, why couldn’t you delete this one app? It’s doing you so much harm. Why are you so attached to this account? I couldn’t answer these questions. I have no idea why I’m so attached to this app. Why I couldn’t just be myself and fight against the obsession to be perfect. Being raw and vulnerable comes so naturally to me when it comes to my blog. I’m completely myself and it’s easy. I don’t have this pressure to be perfect heck I don’t even heavily edit my blogs. I’m completely accepting of myself on here and I don’t understand why the same can’t be said for Instagram.

On my birthday this year, I felt like I needed to take a perfect picture but to be completely honest, I could barely smile on my birthday. Not even for a picture. I was at such a low point that I didn’t have the energy to fake it for the perfect picture but this made me feel worthless. I told myself well you can just take any picture and write this inspiring caption how ugly you feel and you realize that these emotions and thoughts are only temporarily and etc. A few days before my birthday I got a phone call that made my heart drop into my stomach. My father is in the hospital. Just a few days prior my father had a big health scare. His heart is weak. His blood pressure is high. His cholesterol is high. His liver is damaged. His sugar is high and he now has diabetes. So, when my brother called out of the blue…I don’t have words to describe that horrible feeling I got in the pit of my stomach. That night I cried myself to sleep. My father was discharged on my birthday but that pressure I felt after I got my brother’s phone call has only loosened its reins a little, two weeks later. I’m still terrified I will get a phone call one day and I won’t make it in time. I don’t think that fear will ever really go away. My father’s health scare also made me realize how little prepared we are for an emergency trip to South Africa. We had no extra money on the side to afford a last-minute trip. I couldn’t even hire a car because 1) I don’t have a credit card on my name and 2) my South African driver’s license is about to expire.

For the first time in nearly a decade, my father didn’t call me bright and early in the morning and sang happy birthday to me and I felt that loss. I just didn’t feel happy or light-hearted on my birthday but yet I felt like a failure because I couldn’t announce my birthday or act like everything was perfect on social media. It’s stupid. The last thing I need on my plate right now is a platform I feel pressure to be perfect. Oh, you’re not super fit anymore, okay now you need to post your tummy rolls and be the bigger girl you wanted to see in magazines back then. Oh, you’re having a bad day, talk about your thoughts and feelings. Talk about your depression. The list goes on and on but I guess what I’m trying to say is, that it became painstakingly clear to me that Instagram was doing more harm than good so yeah, I decided to delete my account and concentrate on things that make me happy. When I decided that I was going to give it my all when it comes to my mental health, I fucking meant it. Anything toxic that I can remove, I WILL remove.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS. I only deleted my personal Instagram (will officially deactivate my account at the end of February. I just want to make sure everyone who cares, sees that I left.) but my two fur babies accounts are still live and active. I never for one second felt any pressure to post perfect pictures of my animals. They’re already perfect. I also don’t scroll or browse anything on their accounts so the toxicity that seemed to drown me on my personal account never reach me there. I literally only go online to post a picture and then I leave. If this ever changes and I find myself clicking on those perfect Instagram models accounts and wish I could be them, I will delete those accounts. I just wanted to make that clear while we’re on the subject.

PSS. I still have the fitcouchpotato Facebook and Twitter accounts. These accounts don’t cause me any harm mentally because I’m not on it long enough to do so. I mainly just post links of recent blogs when they go live but I might post an occasional picture or random thought here and there. You can follow me on those socials if you want to but honestly, the only social media platform I need and want is my blog. It’s my therapy.

PSS. What do you think of my new little hearts at the end?

 

Mental Health, Story Time

What Happened After I Shared About My Abusive Past | Depression | Part 4/4

I’m so excited to start with this last part that I’m just going to skip over the whole introduction and jump straight in.

Part Three — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2019/01/21/what-happened-after-i-shared-about-my-abusive-past-depression-part-3/

December 2018

In the previous part, I mentioned that things just changed for me near the end of November. My mindset changed and I was healing. I wasn’t planning on messaging my mother till I was talking to my husband about it the night before. I was ready to let go and rekindle our relationship. After we had a long conversation about it the night before, I slept on it and the next morning I wrote out my message and send it to her. I won’t insert this message on here but I basically told her I was ready to talk and that I wanted some type or relationship with her. I did make it very clear that I expected more from her and I have boundaries she needs to respect if she wanted to be a part of my life. The last thing I wanted was for history to repeat and three months later it’s back to where we started. There needs to be a change if not then contact me when there is. It sounds a little mean writing this down now but I’m proud of myself. I expect more from the people in my life. I refuse to settle for a toxic and negative relationship of any sorts. I deserve more than that. Negative friendships? There is the door. It’s wasn’t just my mom that I distanced myself from. My mom responded the next morning and we arrange to Skype and just talk about everything. It was a two-hour long process and it was a shift in our relationship. We talked about everything and we were just about to round things off when I paused. I still haven’t gotten my apology. I want her to accept the role she played and say sorry. I had hoped it would come up naturally. A part of me was accepting the fact that I will never receive this apology and I had to make peace of this fact. I was about to end this call feeling worse than when we started. I knew that we couldn’t have any relationship until she apologized and I clearly needed to tell her this or she won’t know. It was hard and I had to muster up all of my courage together to tell her this. And I got the moment I needed. I heard those magical words and at that very moment, I forgave her. I forgave her for all of her wrongdoings. I forgave her for not being my protector back then. The moment I heard her speak those words I cried my eyes out. It’s all I ever needed to hear. It’s all I ever wanted. I’m sorry. My anger and resentment disappeared at that very moment. I truly felt free. This massive burden was off my shoulders and out my life. I felt so fucking light. It was a magical moment that brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. It was a moment we both needed. We can now build a new relationship together. I have my mom back and it feels great. None of this would have happened if I didn’t ask for the distance.

We talked a lot more and then we hung up. I was in tears, incredibly emotional and immediately called my father. He was out in town and promised to call in 30 minutes. I messaged my best friend in the entire world and practically screamed that I got my sorry. She was absolutely ecstatic for me and then I got to talking. She always has this way to get my true thoughts and feelings out and I told her hearing my mom say sorry wasn’t enough for me to truly let go. I needed a sorry from my dad as well. I felt guilty for feeling like this. I was being too greedy. My father called before we could talk more about it and I told him about the conversation with my mom and how I finally got my sorry. I paused for a moment, mustered up my last bit of courage and told him what I needed to hear. That I needed the same from him. I needed to hear him accept the role he played in this, take responsibility for his actions and say sorry. He did. Just like that, I finally got what I desperately needed. At that moment, I had let go. Of all that anger, that desire for revenge, all of that resentment, of all that negative emotions, everything. I accepted my past, came to terms of it and healed from it all at that moment. Don’t get me wrong, what happened was wrong. The abuse is unforgivable and the monster will get what’s coming to him but it wasn’t controlling my life anymore. It wasn’t sucking out the joy from my life. I wasn’t broken being anymore. I don’t really know how to explain it. I was just at peace with my past. I wasn’t going to linger on it or allow it to control my entire world. I wasn’t going to just think of my abuse when I look back to my childhood. It wasn’t my identity anymore. I just let go and I was free. I wasn’t free for just a moment or at peace for a second. I was truly set free. I’m going to try to explain by using a bird as an example.

When I shared my past to the world, I had unlocked the cage I was trapped in. I had opened the door and could now leave my personal jail cell, but I couldn’t leave the cage. I wasn’t ready. When I message my mom and asked for distance, I finally left my corner and sat on the little cage door. I looked around the room but was unsure if I could fly. When my mindset shifted, I spread my wings and flew for the first time. It was freeing but my fears dragged my little body down and I dropped to the floor. When I had that conversation with my mother and I heard that sorry, I flew and flew but I never left the room. When I heard that sorry from my dad, I was able to fly out of the open window and leave my cage behind. That room is still in my house but I no longer lock myself away in the cage or limit myself to flying in that one room.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my friend about something and I said this: “Don’t clip your own wings before you ever learn how to fly.” It is such a powerful quote. It fits so beautifully with my example, it just feels like fate.

Two weeks into December I got some bad news and slipped into another bad depressive state. It was intense and I cried constantly. The truth is even though I had left that room and was soaring through the sky, it was raining and my wings were getting heavy. Life is still insane and everything will make sense when I share what has been going on but for now, I want to end this part and story by sharing what happened a few days ago.

My father had sent me this picture and I immediately liked the picture. It was an old one of us and it just felt like I was looking at another person. I responded that we both looked so young back then and that I could tell by looking at the phone I’m holding in my hands. I found the fact I could pinpoint my age by looking at this old phone very funny. Heck, it’s ten years ago so it was just funny to see how phones used to look back then. My father’s response was unexpected. Before I continue, here is the picture.

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I think I’m going to start off with my inserting his messages and then I will talk about it.

daddy messages 1

daddy messages 2

I can’t tell you how emotional this message made me. I don’t even know where to start. 1) My father is more sensitive to my mental health and is being gentler. 2) I didn’t see it coming. When I saw that picture, I just saw a younger version of ourselves. It’s a good thing. I mean what I said. When I look back, I don’t see all the bad. I see all of the good. 3) My dad was just being the sweetest about everything and made me miss him so much. Before I left, I made little notes for my dad. I was so worried for him all alone in that big house and put up little reminders everywhere. Take your pills. Don’t fall asleep in the bath. Take your food out of the freezer. Feed the dogs. Lock the house. It makes my heart melt to hear that these notes are still on, nearly two years later. I miss my parents a lot and this didn’t help much.

I don’t really know how I want to end this. There is so much more I can say. Life got really hard after I shared my story. It opened old wounds. It was a raw and vulnerable time. It was a lot of heartbreak, acts of bravery and hard decisions. It was anything but easy but I needed to go through it. I needed to go to my lowest of lows so I could build myself up from there. I had to stop clipping my owns wings and learn how to fly.

Thank you so much for all the love and support with this series. I needed to share all of this. Much love, Cassy xxx

PS I’m sorry about the weird spacing with the text images. I couldn’t really fix it.