To My Mental Illnesses, I'm Actually Grateful For You

To My Mental Illnesses, I'm Actually Grateful For You

I'm strong, brave, and dedicated to creating a change.

Living with you has been more difficult than I could have ever imagined. It's as if you wait to strike until I'm at my lowest, knocking me out and kicking me while I'm down. In the past few years, I have experienced thoughts and feelings that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.

And yet... this struggle has brought tremendous growth, and I am grateful to you, my mental illnesses, for being a part of my story.

There's been so much pain. But there’s also been a reduction in my suffering as I’ve started to work through these feelings and experiences, instead of avoiding and ignoring them.

It has been harder than anything I've ever done. And it’s shown me how strong I am and that I can conquer anything.

There have been days where I’ve wanted just to give up and give in to every urge and behavior because it would have been “easier.” And each of the times I persevered has shown me how brave I am in the face of adversity.

Yes, there have been relationships loved and lost due to people not getting it or not wanting to. But I have also been introduced to incredible souls that I would have missed out on if I hadn’t begun recovery.

There have been experiences and opportunities I've missed out on because I was struggling. But deciding to recover has given me so many more chances at greatness that I would never have had otherwise.

Yes, I do get frustrated and disappointed and feel so low and hopeless I could scream. And I can also recognize the wonderful gifts that having mental illnesses have brought me. I can hold them together, and realize they can both exist in the same space.

It is so easy to resent the things I can’t change–my brain chemistry, my genes, the environment… whatever it is that could have caused you, my mental illnesses, to come into my life and stick around. It's too easy to get wrapped up in the "life is unfair, why me?!" mentality.

And it’s important to not stay too stuck in that mindset. The best way I’ve clawed myself out of the dark places has been to try to acknowledge the positive. The more I’ve done this, the better I’ve felt, even if it’s only temporary.

And so, yes, I would say that I am grateful for my situation, especially when it’s the hardest. I can confidently say that I have grown and changed for the better in the process of recovery. My life is certainly different than it was pre-mental illness or pre-recovery, and for that I am grateful.

I am strong, brave, and dedicated to creating a change, not just in my life but the lives of others. I am no longer afraid of hard times or the painful stuff. I have become a better person, and I couldn’t be more thankful for you, mental illness, for changing my life so much along the way.

Cover Image Credit: SONAH Photography

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.


Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.

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Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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