October 23, 2016
I want to write to you and I also want to write to my future self. We have just created social change as a combined society. The Suicide Self-Harm Latex costume has been taken down. I received an email with their official statement.
“The costume is appalling and it was unacceptable for a third-party seller to list it on our marketplace. It clearly violated our prohibited items policy and we removed it yesterday morning when it was brought to our attention.”
My organization is lifting off it’s tiny feet. I couldn’t be more happy, excited, and thankful. I want to quickly thank Walmart for acting so quickly with the petition and taking the product off the shelves. I want to thank Richards for being my analytics super star, my family for helping fund my life, Ryerson University for education, Lakeridge Health for dealing with me, and all the friends I have met through being both and advocate and a patient.
My life goes in waves – maybe that’s why I like paddle boarding so much. Sometimes I’m up and sometimes I’m down. I always have that fear that when I’m up that the downfall will come – and I know it will. When I’m low I look for the rise-up… but I know for the rest of my life this will be the pattern. I have a chemical imbalance on top of PTSD, Abuse and Gender Identity Stigma – I’m chronically ill. Getting to the point where I could accept that was the hardest road I’ve ever been on.
Drugs took away my memory. I often repeat myself, I stutter, and I get constant migraines. All of these symptoms are irreversible and it was my choice. However, I also chose to get clean. The journey I went on with drugs and addictions I would never erase. I know it sounds strange, but I learned so much from those experiences. Everyone has a story and whatever that story is you won’t know how it feels unless you are the one experiencing it. The stigma that all addicts are evil and mean is completely false – I met some of the most amazing people in my world in detox.
Just like I learned when I was Bulimic Anorexia-sub-type. That road itself was rocky. Eating disorders don’t just affect you but they affect your relationships. People see your downfall. I’ll never forget when my mom held me and said “my poor baby’s spine” since my whole spine showed through my skin. Being on the smaller-side I learned it doesn’t matter your size. If you have an eating disorder – it is just as deadly at any size and anytime of the disorder. I have lasting effects again from this disorder as well. I am 20 years old with osteoporosis, anemia, and an irregular heart beat. I got my license taken away since I fainted and felt dizzy often. After I regained my license I use it as a tool to remember to eat. I learned many coping strategies and finally learned to love food again.
Borderline Personality Disorder has made my life a living hell. With 30+ hospitalizations I never experienced a normal “teenage hood”. My gossip wasn’t who-is-dating-who. It was who-died. (Moment of silence for those lost in the mental health system) —————— I’m going to go back to the beginning when I said that I know I will suffer from this for the rest of my life – which I will. I just want everyone to know – I never made this saying but it describes my life like no other – it’s not how many times you fall that matters but how many times you get back up.
I wrote this letter today, October 23rd, 2016, because I made my first real impact in the mental health community. I have received awards but this – this I worked for. 25 hours, 8 days of the week. I want to remember how hard I worked to get here and how I broke that pattern. I broke that pattern and coped. I coped every damn day so I could help people in earlier stages of mental illness. I’m finished with the system – I have learned everything I can. I have to chose recovery every-single-day. That includes self-care, coping strategies, opening up fully to family and friends. Everything in the beginning I thought I could never ever do. To my 13 year-old self – I can do it. I can recover from every damn thing this world throws at me, I can recover from disease, I can accept I will always have a disorder, I will accept the repercussions of my actions, and I will help anyone and everyone I can, every-single-day in my future.
To my older self I promise I will always work as hard as I do right now. Nonstop emails, social media, classes, teaching, instructing, interviews, videos, admin routines, trying to get funding, meeting people at network conventions, going to meetings, and continuing to learn as long as I can.
I didn’t choose to be sick, but I chose not to stay stuck in the depths of my illness and In hope you will too.