By: Micaela Shambee, Editor MickeyStyle.com
Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.
The other day I was on Facebook, trying to distract myself from writing this “truth” post and I came across a picture someone posted of their bedroom with clothes thrown all over the floor. The person’s caption went something like this (I’m totally paraphrasing here): “I am not posting this because I am proud of it, I am posting this because this is what depression looks like.”
I was shook.
Depression: It never looks like what people think.
After seeing the post, I knew I could not wait any longer. I had to begin admitting my truth. Several times in my life I’ve lived in a space just like above. I guess you could say I have high functioning depression. I’ve always considered the clutter my “creative mess” but I’d never made the direct correlation between my “mess” and depression. I always thought, “Oh, I’m just really busy, I’ll get to it,” but some days turned to weeks, that turned to months, that eventually became years.
15 years to be exact.
The same amount of time I used to obtain my Bachelor’s degree. The pattern has always been the same: Study, wallow in depression, study, eat my self-esteem, study, help an ailing family member, study, look at the accumulated mess.
Ignore, rinse and repeat.
That was my pattern of escapism: work, work, work like Rihanna, and avoid the messes. This problem of mine came to a head recently, when after I graduated, I looked around and my life was in disarray yet again.
This problem has affected my health, relationships, and self-esteem for too long. Just writing these words stir feelings of fear and anxiety, but acknowledging it also feels good. It takes the power out of the problem.
Here’s where my battle with Depression started:
I’ve had many experiences in life that have beat up my self-esteem, but the most prominent are from my childhood. I remember a time when I was 9, trying out for the Cheerleading team in grammar school, and my own Mother (who was one of three coaches at the time) denying me a spot because I needed to work hard like the “skinny girls.”
Or that time when I was 16 and my primary care physician fat-shamed me in my face. She looked at me, disgusted, and asked, “What do you do for exercise?” I told her the truth–I was the captain of the Volleyball team, Softball team and Bowling team. Still, the doctor suggested my Mom get Weight-loss surgery for me immediately, and loudly announced I was lying about my activity. She scolded my mother, saying, “I was clearly (as far as she could see) living a sedentary lifestyle that would kill me by 30.”
This experience crushed me. For those of you that truly know me, you know that I was into every sport I could get my hands on in high school (besides basketball, though I was good at that too). Despite my body changing rapidly, (getting wider, taller, wider, taller) I had always been an active kid. The increased activity did increase my hunger (I can admit that seconds were apart of my diet) but as a growing kid, this experience only added to the confusion I was already experiencing with my body image.
By the time I turned 17 years old and began living on my own at the University of Illinois in Champagne Urbana, my self-esteem had been shot, stabbed, and stepped on. Despite graduating High School 5th in my class with a 4.8 grade point average, a Harvard Prize Book Award Finalist, 5’s on my AP Drawing and Painting Exams at Gallery 37, and scholarships, those self-esteem issues were always bubbling underneath the surface.
Unfortunately, the issues I had with my body turned into a series of binge-eating episodes and purging, an act I have never shared with anyone until today…
This is my story…
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Coming up next…
Day 3: Purge
Throwing everything away…