I can post just about anything online and often feel no shame. The picture of my twelve-year-old self wearing frosting as lipstick? Clearly, back then 12 years old looked a bit differently, but sure, post it. My fall as I walked away after receiving my high school diploma? Slightly scarring, but a great story, so up it goes. However, if you ask me to discuss what rock bottom of my depression felt like and the constant hospitalizations, I freeze and feel nothing but shame. And that is exactly why I need to do this work.
I am Sydney Scott, a 21-year-old Psych student who loves walks in nature, late-night campfires, and horror movies. But most importantly, I am someone who is about to discuss something that I have tried to hide for over a decade now: my depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and PTSD. Five years ago, revealing my struggles around mental health to the world would have felt impossible. Actually, the mere thought of the girl in third period seeing the scars down my wrist when my sleeve went up a bit too far as I passed her last night’s chemistry notes, would have been enough to make me lock myself away for all eternity. And now, I sit here, typing up what were once my darkest secrets without a second thought (okay, maybe some second thoughts).
But I know it should be done because it is time to destigmatize mental illness and ensure all have access to affordable resources. I grew up constantly feeling ashamed, as if I were so irreparably damaged that there was no hope of ever being fixed. But after some time has passed, and some coping skills have been employed, I have come to realize I was never broken at all. None of us are.
Sure, I would love to offer some beautiful story of finding peace and living happily ever after (maybe with a couple million, a cute dog, and a house on the beach… yup, well that goal is set), I cannot do that. Mental health is messy and often a life-long journey. So instead, I just want to offer you space.
A space for you to let down your guard for a few moments. A space where you can learn to heal and cope with some of your stressors. A place where you feel a little less alone and a little more supported. Most importantly, a space where you feel valued and safe.
A lot of these entries will revolve around eating disorder recovery, coping with depression and anxiety, advocating for yourself, and more. I want to offer you guidance in your healing journey, but there will also be days where I just want to enjoy the small things in life. Because the reality of it all is I am not my mental illness, and neither are you.
We are so much more than our diagnoses. We are a series of poor choices and great stories, learning and loving, falling down and learning to get up again (both literally and figuratively for me), a summary of all our greatest (and not so great – like that time I fell down the school steps and my pants fell down with me) hits. I do not just want to offer advice and/or guidance, but an opportunity to grow together and build community.
And it is okay to be anxious, or hesitant, lord knows I am every time I write anything in regard to my mental health, even though I have been doing it for some time now. I am simply glad you are here. I hope this can be the beginning, or the facilitator, of the healing we all deserve. Please stay tuned for new blogs, prompts, and texted affirmations every Sunday!