Jenelle

I am going to be completely honest and say that it has taken me almost two months to come up with something that I felt confident about for my blog post. The first thing that I wrote was too general and not personal enough, the second was too personal, and the third one was a piece of crap.

I want to write something that expresses how everyone with a mental illness experiences their own individually; for example, even if 10 people in this campaign battle with anxiety, the reasons for it and the way it affects them are all different. It is difficult to even do that because it can cause generalizations and ultimately leave someone out. In saying that I will try to explain the way that I experience and battle my own mental illnesses in hopes to show that they can effect and be affected by different stimuli.

As seen in my campaign poster I battle four types of mental illnesses; obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. I want to point out that even though I have experienced/continue to experience these disorders they do not affect me daily, and some, such as my eating disorder, have not affected me for at least a year now. I would like for anyone reading this to understand that even though someone they know may be struggling with a mental illness it may not control their life, or even directly affect them today.

I believe that all of my disorders do not act alone, meaning that one does not affect me without the other. My OCD tends to show when my anxiety or depression is high, and my depression tends to be high when my anxiety is high, and my eating disorder tends to appear when my OCD does, and my OCD tends to show when my anxiety and depression do, and so on and so on.

The way that I experienced my eating disorder was through my OCD, and the way that I experienced my OCD was through my anxiety and depression. I wanted control over my body because I could not control what was happening around me. No matter how long I cleaned my hands for, no matter how many plastic bags or stuffed animals I collected, or how many schedules/to-do lists I made I could not control which family member/friend had died, or which boyfriend decided that they did not love me. I knew that I could control what I put into my body, and what I did to it.

I would find myself not eating at meals because of my urge to control how others around me ate due to my obsessive compulsion. At one point I found myself weighing 98lbs at the age of sixteen/seventeen, this made me upset because I should not have weighed so little and I knew I could control the number I saw, even thought my mental illness said otherwise. I then began to binge eat which caused me to gain 30lbs in less than 3 months; the number I saw on the scale was pleasing because I made it change, it was not entirely caused by my illness. Unfortunately my eating disorder and anxiety has caused my body to develop Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which I have begun to get medical help for. My anxiety will always be a constant battle for me, but my depression has a funny way of creeping up on me every so often. During high school I found myself a couple of times believing that I was going to use medication or alcohol to end my life. Fortunately I found alcohol too disgusting, and my own life too valuable to end it. I still have thoughts sometimes but they are never enough to end it.

I am not sure what has caused my mental illnesses. Maybe it was my parent’s divorce, being sexually assaulted at a young age, being bullied throughout school, or even if I was born with it, but I know that I would not be the person I am today without it. I am stronger today because I was weak in the past, and I will grow from today to be a better person tomorrow.

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