It's Not All in My Head
Hi I'm Katrina and this is my story of battling mental illness for years.
Anxiety didn't become a problem until around middle school, I probably always had it, along with OCD and other things I didn't get diagnosed with until later. One of my first OCD memories was when I was 7, I had to step on the cracks on the sidewalk a certain amount of times or until it felt right. Middle school is when my OCD got really bad. My school was very strict, you would get in trouble if you forgot your book in your locker, this led me to obsessively checking to make sure I had everything a certain amount of times. It got especially bad when I got put on a stimulant medication for my ADHD, when I got diagnosed in 8th grade. I stopped the medication about a year after because I realized it was worsening my anxiety and OCD.
After middle school, I went to high school. There I was comparing myself to everybody, which eventually led me into developing anorexia nervosa, my parents made me go to therapy, and I never opened up with her because I didn't feel I needed to be helped. I felt as if it was something bigger than me, taking control of me. I wasn’t until I was in and out of the hospital many times that I decided I had to recover. One thing I learned in recovery is that recovery starts with you, nobody else can make you recover. My therapist had to play uno with me for months to get me to open up.
I started medication, went to therapy once a week, and saw a nutritionist. When I started eating again I developed insomnia, and my therapist said that was caused by anxiety, I was put on trazadone, and learned breeding exercises to help me sleep. Eventually I recovered and became very obsessed with eating healthy, what helped me through this were my friends, seeing them eat gave me the courage to start eating all types of food again. I am very thankful for the friends I have, they have always been supportive and listened to me. I have educated them on mental health. They used to always say “It’s all in your head” until I educated them on my own mental illnesses.
A few months later I developed binge eating disorder. I would eat whenever I was depressed or stressed, my therapist helped me through this and I eventually learned how to create the healthy relationship with food that I have today. My eating or not eating were almost like coping mechanisms or ways of feeling in control, so I had to find another outlet, which was self harming, I told my therapist about it and I was sent to a residential treatment facility specializing in DBT, There I met many new friends, that I still have to this day, and got the help I truly needed. DBT taught me better coping skills and ways to tolerate distress. ADAA's resources have helped me find support groups in my area- that I found really helpful, and really educated my on my own mental illnesses. I am now eating disorder free and haven’t self harmed in over 6 months.