I have been symptomatic all of my life…but I did not always know it. Until diagnosis and medical intervention, I had never had a baseline. I just assumed my normal was “normal” or “neurotypical.”
CAVEAT: The validity or efficacy of psychiatric labeling may be in question, and I understand, accept, and will respect any client’s reticence to use it but, for the sake of understanding, I will use it in telling my story.
Abuse, punctuated by truly idyllic childhood moments, permeated my world from birth until a culminating traumatic event that resulted in the dissolution of my immediate family when I was 13. From this moment on I struggled with C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) and ED-NOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified, restrictive eating disorder/anorexia) until, through a lot of self-work, becoming entirely symptom-free from these disorders after over a decade of suffering with them.
This was not without hiccups – a hospitalization for my eating disorder and a near-death experience as a result when I was 23, in response to taking grief out on my body the year my grandmother lost her life to leukemia, was a wake up call.
But in October 2010, at 27, came an ultimatum from those I love and respect most dearly because my pain and the pain of those around me persisted. So I walked into a crisis centre and told them my story. In that instant, the trajectory of my narrative changed forever.
It doesn’t define me but it does define my problem and has empowered me to make previously unimaginable change. Now, in my 30s, I enjoy a daily peace, general contentedness, and relative stability I once relegated to others and believed impossible for myself.
My gratitude for all those who intervened or tried to, for all of those I have gotten to learn from as a peer supporter, abounds.
I just want to give back.