Recent Posts

Recent Comments



CW: Struggles with mental health and hospitalization. 

When I was struggling with my mental health, I hid behind the exclusive identity of mental illness. I told almost everyone about my struggles unprompted and avoided making new friends due to my tendency to project my problems onto others. Viewing myself solely as someone who was ill, I felt sad about my inability to make connections with people outside of psychopathology. This led me to feel extremely isolated. As a result, I struggled even more, which made it even harder for me to connect with other people or establish new friendships. 

When I went to inpatient/residential treatment, I wasn’t allowed to say my eating disorder diagnosis, let alone any other label. I couldn’t say anything pertaining to my disordered behaviors, and so I had to form an identity from scratch. Nothing and everything were options for me to sketch on my blank sketchbook.  It was easy to base my self-worth on others’ opinions of me, to form it from a religion that I didn’t even truly believe in anymore, to place it on how I looked. But all of those things were temporary. I was forced to start from scratch all over again in order to find out who I was; in many aspects, I felt as though I were a child gaining consciousness, except at the time, I was relearning it. I had to do it all on my own, without the influence of forced religion, societal and peer pressure, and without engaging in my disordered behaviors.

On my recovery journey and within my hospital programs, I no longer found my sole purpose or entertainment in my struggles. With this new blank canvas, I got to discover more things about myself that were healthy and more sustainable long term. I got to have fun by discovering new hobbies and revisiting old ones, like making bracelets, writing music, driving, painting my nails, styling my hair, and journaling.

As I was discovering my new identity, I began to feel healthier both mentally and physically. I was able to better manage my emotions, take more accountability for my mistakes, process information better, and truly experience peace. Because of this positive mindset, I attracted people who accepted me for who I was. Over time, I became more confident in myself. I felt so much happier not thinking about my mental illnesses all of the time because by then it had been months since I first entered treatment (I was now in a partial hospitalization/intensive outpatient). With these friendships, I was able to learn other things about myself that I like and could work on, but all with self-compassion. Although my recovery is still always on my mind, I have other things to do that I truly love instead of only talking about my illnesses.

Now, I still find a lot of my identity in my mental illnesses, but in a recovery sense. I see, recognize, and celebrate how far forward I’ve moved instead of how emotionally unwell I was. I cheer for myself because now I can do other things that don’t revolve around my struggles. I may joke about treatment, or my past struggles, but minimally and with people I really know.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call, text, or chat with the Lifeline at 988 or


There are no comments.