Thank You, Mental Illness

Dear Anorexia, Anxiety, and Depression: thank you. I am not thanking you for putting me through the worst parts of my life; I write this to thank you for making me stronger. In the seventh grade, I moved over ten hours away from the only place I called home. Moving took a toll on me mentally, and suddenly, you three appeared. Depression crept in slowly, whispering sweet nothings about new friends and leaving my old life behind. Depression, you made loneliness feel like my only home. Your arms wrapped me in a cold blanket of insecurity, tearing me down one day at a time. As the sadness grew, Depression was joined by a friend; Anxiety. Anxiety, you broke me down. Most people have a trigger for their anxious tendencies; for me, clothing and appearance was my downfall. Each morning I woke, trying to decide what to wear to school. I wanted to impress my new friends; instead, I nearly drove them away. You snarled words of doubt into my mind, allowing my insecurity to creep in and take over my entire existence. As these flaws came into focus, one aspect of my body stuck with me: my weight. I've never been overweight, but you two convinced me otherwise. Depression made me so upset that I stopped eating. Anxiety told me I was too busy to eat anyways. Before I even noticed, Anorexia joined the party. People say hate is a strong word... Anorexia, I hate you. You twisted my mind beyond recognition. At thirteen-years-old, I weighed one hundred and forty-pounds. Nowhere near overweight, yet you convinced me that my body took up too much space. In a matter of two months, I had lost over twenty pounds due to this trio of misery. It took a total of six months of hating myself, suicidal thoughts, and constant panic before I admitted that there was a problem. When I decided to tell my mother about what you had done to me, each of you panicked. Anxiety tried to tell me no; Depression said no one would care. Anorexia attacked my self-esteem once again. I revealed my inner demons to my mother and immediately felt a sense of relief. Now, almost four years later, I consider myself mostly recovered. The three of you nearly killed me, but today, I am thankful for the experience. So thank you. You all made me hit rock bottom. At the time, you three caught me at my worst; writing a thank you would have been a ridiculous concept to the younger me. However, I am here now, realizing that you taught me how strong the human mind can be. Depression, you taught me that in the darkest nights, a light can be found. Today, I fight that darkness every day. Anxiety, I still struggle every day to fight your words. Controlling my stress and panic is easier now that I realize that you can't control my success. I'm a 4.0 student who continually works my hardest, no thanks to you. Anorexia, I only thank you for making me come to the realization that I am worth so much more than a number on a scale. Weight will not control me; you will not ruin the only life I've been given. I allowed you all to limit my potential for such a long time. Thank you for challenging me to fight for the most important aspect of my life: my confidence.


The Girl You Almost Killed

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