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In Honour Of World Mental Health Day...

Photography: Kyle Battersby

I remember the first time that I prayed that I would lose weight.

I was eight years old.

I was in my bedroom, kneeled by my bedside, and I just started to cry. I begged, as if my life depended on it. I begged to be different, to lose weight, to finally fit in, to feel loved. Soon, it became a habit. Almost every night, I would pray to be more beautiful, to fit in with my peers, to be thinner, to be happier.

In high school, when the begging and praying didn’t work anymore, I started bruising myself. I would hit my arms until a bruise formed, until I would become so sore that I couldn’t lift my arms anymore. I would wait and watch the blood rush to the surface, and I wouldn't stop until I saw it. A week or so later, I would bruise the other arm. Sometimes I wouldn’t be able to, because the first arm was in so much pain from its own bruise. But, that was my punishment for not being good enough. For not being beautiful enough.

I suffered in silence like this for YEARS. I remember lying in bed wanting to kill myself, but not having the guts to do it. I felt like I would forever be stuck wanting to die, but always being too afraid to make it happen. And I’m so, so thankful that I never made it happen.

Because I wouldn’t be here anymore. Because I wouldn’t be able to tell others that it’s OKAY. That things will get better. That maybe there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel right now, but there will be.

Just hold on a little longer.

I think so many of us do this - whether they harm themselves physically or mentally. We all suffer in silence, thinking that by opening up, it exposes our weakness that we really aren’t good enough. Only now am I realizing that opening up about our mental health is exposing our STRENGTH - showing everybody that we’re human, that we all struggle, that we all deal with hardships and obstacles. By opening up about our mental health, it gives us our power back to say “maybe I can’t do this alone, but maybe, with the help of others, we can do this together.”

So, please, please tell someone if you are struggling. Eventually, things will become easier. But for now, you just have to tell somebody.

Because you are so worth it. You deserve to be here. You are loved. You are whole. You are worthy - just because you are living and breathing on this earth.

Know that I am always here if you ever need to talk. #WorldMentalHealthDay

With love and wellness,

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