Can We Talk About Mental Health?


I had a few posts planned for this week, but today I just feel like getting a few things off of my chest.

First of all, I’m really ecstatic to have a few new readers around this site. I am loving getting your feedback and I really appreciate you all taking the time to stop by and hang out.

Last week was really terrible for me. I mentioned that I had gone off my meds for a few days, which I knew wasn’t a smart decision.

Still, there was a part of me that thought I might be better… that maybe I didn’t need them.

I was wrong.

I brought this up on Facebook and mentioned it on the radio show, and it brought about some interesting conversation.

I knew it was a polarizing topic, but it was really interesting to hear everyone’s experience and points of view.

Regardless of your stance, I do think mental health is something we all need to be talking about. It’s not something to be embarrassed about, and it’s not something you should feel like you have to hide. (Unless you want to)

For me, it has helped immensely to be open and ask for help. I know that everyone’s situation is different, as well as everyone’s needs.

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling on and off with various degrees and manifestations of eating disorders for the last  17 years.

I didn’t receive any sort of treatment for the first 12.

It wasn’t that I didn’t have health insurance… and my parents would have done anything in their power to get me well had they known the severity of the situation.

It saddens me now to know how open and supportive my family and friends have been towards my situation. But back then? I was scared. I knew that I had a problem(s), but I didn’t want to be seen as different or “less than” or sick.

I think women with eating disorders especially have a difficult time with perfectionism. It’s part of the disease.

For a while, I thought I had beaten my eating disorder on my own because I stopped purging. But I took to abusing food in other ways and became extremely unhealthy and overweight.

Even then, it wasn’t talked about. People tip-toed around my bulimia and people tip-toed around my “fat.”

My father eventually took me aside and told me gently that he was worried about my health. At that point, he vaguely knew that I had a history with bulimia, so I know he was worried that the conversation would be triggering.

That conversation was difficult. But that was the first time I realized that people cared about me and about my well being… and I knew that I had a support team and that I didn’t have to be alone.

A few years later, and after a drastic weight loss, I found myself back to my old restricting and bulimic patterns. I kept it quiet at first, but after a while; I knew I couldn’t deal with it on my own.

I also knew that my parents would be understanding and supportive. They were worried,sure;  and weren’t sure what their role should be, but it helped just having someone I could talk to if I really needed it. I didn’t feel completely alone.

It’s still difficult for me to talk about. It wasn’t until recently that I started opening up to my boyfriend and a few friends, and talking about it here.

Even now when I’m going through my most difficult times, my first inclination is to keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to let anyone down. I want to appear strong.

Still, I’ve learned that the more open I am, the less strong a grasp these disorders have on me.

My point to all of this is-it really made me happy to have gotten so much feedback from others who have had some experience or another with facing their own disorders and mental hurdles.

Medication works wonders for some. For others, not so much. Some of us prefer therapy or support groups. Some of us are dealing with eating disorders or addictions. Some of us are depressed. Anxiety Ridden. Obsessive Compulsive. Attention Deficit Disordered. All of the above.

We’ve been abused. We’ve been ignored. We’ve felt shame. We’ve felt paranoid. We’ve felt that we weren’t good enough.

We’re all on some sort of journey.

And while yes, I agree- the smarter choice would be to talk to a doctor before quitting all of your meds at once- it’s a much more pleasant world when we can talk about our experiences.

I wish that I had known earlier in my journey that I had a community of people that I could lean on. I still have a ways to go, but I’m not so scared anymore.

Keep sharing your journey. Whether it’s to a friend, a therapist, a doctor, a support group or social media.

We’re all in this together.






Related posts:

  1. National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: My Renunciation
  2. Women’s Writes: A Weighty Issue
  3. What I’ve learned in 61 Days of Sobriety…
  4. Curing Chronic Mindlessness (Just Fucking Dance)
  5. Gratitude And The MS 150

    i know a little girl being treated for anorexia and it is breaking my heart. she is losing weight and it hurts that i can’t help her at all. it is her choice. i applaud the transparency of revealing mental illness and letting others know they are not alone.

  • Melissa The Llama

    Ohhhh my goodness after the day I had yesterday this is such a touching post. I think a lot of people, esp young people don’t realize how much support they really have with friends and family. It’s difficult to talk about things like this but in the end it all works out. Hubby’s doctor wants him to see a therapist. He’s not thrilled about it but I think it’ll do him good

  • Stacie

    I so applaud you for this post today! First of all, I think that for whatever reason there is still this stigma of shame that surround mental health which should not be the case. I am so glad that you do have a supportive network around you who genuinely care about you and your health. It’s sad though to think that not everyone is as fortunate as you and me in that area.

  • CarissaJaded

    That’s terrible. All you can really do is be supportive and let you know you care. Hopefully she will get the help she needs to get back on the right path.

  • CarissaJaded

    I know meds aren’t for everyone, but I do think therapy can be helpful for EVERYONE. We all can get to know ourselves a little better.

  • CarissaJaded

    Thanks Stacie! I know, I wish everyone had a support group. And we really should keep doing all we can to get rid of the stigma. Hopefully soon that will change!

  • Melissa The Llama

    Sooo much yes!! I have to be gentle with what I say to him… Little things set him off & saying “that’ll be good for you” would have for sure. He’s going to go. I’m glad

  • SuzLyfe

    Well, I am glad to be one of your new readers! I think that we have so much in common, both the good and the bad. I’ve been through some pretty rough mental and physical times, one feeding the other, and vice versa. It took a long time for me to be at peace with both. I don’t know where I would be without Alex (who keeps me in check and also supports me) and running (which forces me to take care and also can reward me for it). Riding got me through the tough times, running is helping me improve. I am fortunate to never have been a one for punishing myself, thus why it is beneficial. I’ve been on meds for ADHD since I was in second grade, and Prozac and now Effexor since I was 13. Like my Crohn’s–meds + lifestyle and both self and supported therapy have helped me. There is no substitute for getting your feelings out, even if you then realize how crazy they are, just to hear that fact so that you can work on it.
    And chocolate.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Angela Fuller

    I am so grateful for your topic. I too have suffered from depression, eating disorders, and anxiety most of my life. I have been on and off medication for about 15 years now. A few people have chided me for being on antidepressants and using them as a “crutch” and say exercise and God are the only medicine I need. Well, lets just say I completely disagree with these people. I was diagnosed with Lymphoma in late 2013, had to terminate a pregnancy my husband and I tried months for, in order to start chemotherapy because my cancer was very aggressive and spreading fast. Tack on to all that, the frightened looks from my daughter and strangers from losing my hair, and trying to appear strong for my family and friends, naturally sent me into a tailspin of depression and anxiety like I’ve never felt. Luckily there is a wonderful non profit here in Austin that pays 100% of therapy for cancer fighters and their family, called The Flatwater Foundation. If it weren’t for this organization paying for my therapy, and going back on antidepressants, I don’t know how I would have made it through the last 2 years. I am now in remission, but it’s still hard EVERY DAMNED DAY. I still see my therapist and take my medication daily. We ALL need help sometimes, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed for turning to medication and therapy to cope. Thanks for your courage in speaking up Carissa!

  • SharonStar

    I’m finally getting treatment for my depression and a super – belated diagnosis for ADD. I’ve been having crappy luck with the anti-depressants, and am often tempted to think that I may not need them. Luckily, my ADD medication is fantastic, so that helps.

    I once quit Welbutrin (sp?) cold turkey because I was itching and the nurse on the phone told ne to stop taking it immediately. Bad idea! The worst I think I’d ever felt; it was a nightmare. Turns out I was allergic to my fake xmas tree.

    Hyperbole and a Half has a great post about depression that is pretty spot-on as far as how others treat you. I’m often told to, “just think happy thoughts!” What the actual f*ck.

    Anyway, this was a great post! It’s nice to know that there are others out there trying to suss this crap out. Stay strong!

  • chelsea

    yay group hug! i’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life and also hid it for a while. once i’ve opened up with friends and on my blog about how anxiety has been effecting my marriage, it released some of the hold and power it had over me. thanks for bringing this topic to light, carissa and keep taking good care of yourself.

  • Kersten

    Hey Carissa,

    just found your blog and read some of your posts. I love how openly you write and a lot of those things you touch are close to my heart, too. Thanks for sharing!
    Being open about these things is a good thing. I’ve had some anxiety and depression in the past and I sometimes still struggle with these things, but being open has helped me a lot. When I first met my boyfriend (who’s my husband now) and told him about my problems and apologized later for being too open to someone I barely knew, he told me: There’s nothing bad about talking and reaching out; it shows that you are dealing with your problems and that you haven’t given up.
    I believe that it’s so true – you care about yourself, this is why you open up! Caring and loving yourself is the best thing you can do.
    Stay strong!

  • Audrey

    I just found your blog from your comment on the-new-wifestyle and I’m so glad this is one of the first posts I’m reading. I’m so glad that you’re feeling more confident about talking about your health and well-being. I think it’s so crazy how our brain sometimes works with us and sometimes works against us. I think you sound like a very strong person and I can’t wait to read more from you. Take care!

  • CarissaJaded

    I’m glad to have found you too! I’m also glad you have found support and things that help you keep everything in line. My boyfriend is a saint. Honestly, I don’t know how he puts up with me sometimes. But yes, getting this stuff out of my brain is the best. Thanks for reading!

  • CarissaJaded

    I’m so sorry you’ve had such a hard time, but congrats to you for beating all of that and finding things that help you cope. THAT is courageous. I’m so happy that you’re now in remission! Seriously, you’re an inspiration! Thank you so much for your kind words. Let’s all work together in changing the stigma!

  • CarissaJaded

    Better late than never! :) I was on ADD meds for a while in college then went off for nearly ten years. I recently went back on them and it seriously changed my life. I can actually do things now. And finish them. It also helped a lot with my obsessive ocd tendencies and got me focusing on tasks rather than what was in my head. I remember Allie’s post on depression and I remember relating to it when I originally read it, but I’d like to revisit it now.
    Thanks so much for stopping by and feel free to vent any time!

  • CarissaJaded

    Thanks Chelsea! And I’m glad you’ve gotten a little relief! Feel free to unload on me if you ever need to! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • CarissaJaded

    Thanks so much Kersten! It’s so true. You’ve got to ask for help and support, I don’t think anyone can survive completely trying to navigate it all by themselves. Ha, I did the same with my boyfriend. It really helps so much to have someone who supports you and doesn’t judge and tries to lift you up. So glad you have that too!

  • CarissaJaded

    Thanks Audrey! My brain CAN be a major bitch sometimes. I find the nicer I am to myself, the nicer it is to me.
    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Ganeeban

    We’ve never met in person, but I’ve enjoyed your honesty in your blog. I’m glad our blogging paths crossed somewhere along the way. I don’t have many experiences with many mental health issues, but I know enough to be supportive and not judge or throw opinions where they don’t belong. It seems like you’ve made tons of progress and are very self aware, I don’t think you can ask for much more than that! xoxo, ganeeban

  • Tami

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this. I think mental health is definitely something we should all talk about more. Unfortunately not everyone has come to a place where they’re able to or willing to put it out there.

  • Carissa

    Aw thanks Ganeeban! I do think I’ve made a lot of progress, but still a work in progress. I’m glad we crossed paths as well!

  • Carissa

    This is very true. And sharing all isn’t for everyone. But I do think it helps to at least have one person to confide in , even if it’s a therapist!

  • chelsea

    likewise :)

  • Mwa

    You are right. And brave. I always feel like hiding as well when I am at my worst, because I feel shame at not being perfect. That’s why I love blogs, because it feels like a space to open up. I feel more judged in “real life.”