This will not break me

Guest Author: Michelle

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

I thought having three diagnosed mental illnesses, would help me write about my fourth but holy hell, this one … man … it’s been difficult!  

While I am a sufferer … scratch that … while I continue to recover from Severe Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder, I’ve been met with another challenge.  Recently, I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa.  No shit, I know! I never thought I had a major issue with my “relationship” with food, but I was aware of my weight loss over the last little while.  Stress, right!?

This will not break me.

I couldn’t tell you how, when or why it started.  Growing up, I don’t recall ever having an issue with food.  I ate when I was hungry.  I was extremely active and I refueled my body well.  My childhood was challenging.  I was bullied all throughout elementary school.  My mum had to ask other mothers if their kid(s) would hang out with me at recess.  I’d hide under the portables, while kids would pick up gravel and whip it underneath, hitting me.  I’d return to school (I never went … I would throw a FIT having to go to school) and have letters/pictures in my desk that other kids drew of me, having snakes as hair, five eyes, three noses, etc. while they wrote, “We hate you!” “Never come back!” “You’re a loser!”  I call it bullying, my doctor calls it “emotional abuse.”

First half of high school was pretty awesome.  Really great friends, I excelled with my academics and sports, winning awards up the ya-hoo, all the while playing soccer at the Elite Provincial level.  Then, Grade 11 hit.  I had a handful of people in my life pass away, in exactly 1 month. One person a week, pretty much.  That depression I battled as a child that I thought was gone, returned in FULL FORCE.  I fell into a severe depression.  Two failed attempts at suicide, a lot of self-harm and a high school dropout.

This will not slow me down.

In my twenties, I somehow managed to get myself into an emotionally and physically abusive relationship.  It caused me to have zero self-esteem, zero value for myself and feeling worthless.  A couple years later, my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 Terminal Lung Cancer that had spread to the bones.  During his illness, I was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.  I was an absolute MESS.  30 years old, 5’5” (okay, okay…..5’4” but who’s counting, right?) and weighing in at 98 pounds.  At 31, my dad was admitted to Palliative Care.  We’re told weeks.  OMG, I almost forgot!!  Do you remember the episode from Sex and the City, where Carrie gets dumped by Burger on a POST-IT note!?!?  Hilarious, right!?!?  So, I’m with my dad in his room and my boyfriend, who I live with, knowing where I am, calls me and I shit you not, you can’t make this stuff up, he breaks up with me.  Then, after four years of the most courageous battle, surrounded by all of his girls, my dad would take his last breath and leave his physical body.  Devastating.  This is when I really became aware of my “thinness” and recognized that I NEVER ate.  I needed help at this point.

This will not push me backwards.

Today, I continue my recovery from Anorexia.  Am I pissed?  Abso-fucking-lutely.   Am I ready?  I was born ready … HA!  I wish!  In June 2015, I began my not-for-profit organization, BPD Connects Inc.  We are a peer support group dedicated to those who suffer directly or indirectly with BPD, anxiety, depression … and soon to come, eating disorders!  We are affiliated with the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and continue to grow!

This will not break me. This will not slow me down. This will not push me backwards.  This is just another bump in the road … we all experience them.  This “anorexia” is just another way to educate myself and is an opportunity to help others. Some have yet to experience trauma in their lives, some have only HAD the experience of trauma.  That doesn’t make those of us with lived experience, weaker or unworthy, or unlucky.  It means that we are the ones who have been blessed with this insane gift.  We’ve been given the strength and courage to pull ourselves up off the floor and say, “not today.”  

Most importantly though, we’ve been given this gift to help others when they reach THEIR bump in the road.  And I am SO grateful to be given this gift.  Because, I love who I am, scars and all.  I am STRONGER, more PROUD, more COURAGEOUS because my dad, another who was blessed with this gift, taught me to fight and to never give up.  And I’m just paying it forward.  

Michelle McFatridge

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You are simply amazing and i’m so glad for you! You will only go forward from here and i hope you keep up the good work.! you sound like you have been to hell and back but gosh you are strong! Keep going girl you got this! Xxxx

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