Be There: Eating Disorder w/ Kenzie Brenna
Experiencing a mental illness and trying to tell people about it is kind of like convincing people that you’ve experienced a ghost. You know it’s there, you know its happening, you know something is wrong but everyone else is sort of waiting on their own version of proof. It’s only when you've hit a full blown crisis that maybe you’re taken seriously. Mental illness can be passed off as if someone isn’t trying hard enough, that maybe if they just kept grinding and were stronger then they would get over it and be mentally and emotionally healthy again.
When I look back into my past self, into the moments when I was most sick, I often ask myself “why didn’t someone step in?” or “why wasn’t someone helping me more?” We tell people frequently to reach out and connect when they are going through something hard but when they do, are we fully equipped to properly be there for them?
When I told people I was afraid to eat because I was scared the food was tampered with and that someone was out to poison me, I got some laughter and I got a lot of confusion. No one sat me down to say “that must be a really difficult thing to think about all of the time.” Or when I was sick people thought I was making it up. I don’t want attention for my sickness, I want attention for my strength to persevere through it.
I am grateful to a few people in my life who tried their best, they did all they could with the knowledge that they had. I am glad I learned from what I went through and for what they taught me. Being able to be apart of a community now where we share our stories, give each other constructive, emotional, important feedback is something I'm so grateful for.
Through knowledge and education we can get to a better place with how we view mental illness and how we integrate it into our everyday health narrative. Going through a mental health problem is hard, thats why I share my story, to let others know that they aren’t alone. But being there for someone who is going through it is hard as well, thats why I’m so thankful to being apart of the Be There resource.
We’ve been able to create a place where you can go to when you don’t have all the answers. Through months of surveying and researching, here we are. We’ve been able to narrow down what works and what doesn’t. I only wish this came sooner, that we had it years ago and that the stigma around mental illness was gone.
If you’re reading and struggling, keep going. You aren’t alone and we work everyday to make it better for you.