Black and White Lens: Coping with Depression in Eating Disorder Recovery
Many of those struggling with eating disorders may also struggle with anxiety or depression. In this post, our blog intern Alyssa Gutierrez shares her own experience in combatting the black and white lens that depression can often create.
by: Alyssa Gutierrez
These past few weeks have been rough. Exhausting. Tiring. I was consumed in the trenches of my depression to the point where I felt hopeless. I was scared to be alone. But yet, I wanted to continue isolating myself and hide away from the real world. I hid under layers and layers of blankets lying on top of my bed while wiping the tears falling from my face with the edges of the blue fleece blanket. I spent days crying, flooding my eyes, because I believed I lost my importance. I was so lost in school, in life. Everything felt like a blur, like everything around me was moving but I was stuck, helpless. Motionless. It was like I was seeing life through a black and white lens where it was impossible to find the color.
I hated feeling this way. I wanted to take a paintbrush and color that lens of black and white so badly. I wanted to stop crying and wrapping myself in blankets. But I just could not bring myself to do it. I had no energy at all. No energy to apply effort to anything, no energy to do the so-called “simple things” such as showering. I went days without showering because I was just lying in bed and showering called for so much effort - an effort I believed I did not have. I believed. My mind distorted my thoughts to the point where I believed I had no purpose anymore. It distorted my thoughts to the extreme. It led me to believe I could not do anything. That everything I did was messed up. Or while I was in school, my mind kept making me believe I was too dumb to take a test. That I might as well fail it then try. My thoughts led me to believe so many lies.
I knew I needed help to climb out of this hole I thought was impossible to see the light in. I needed people to remind me that those lies are lies. I needed to be reminded of the truth. I confessed to my mom, dad, and treatment team how I had been feeling and yes, changes were made to my medication. But what really got me out of the trenches of my depression was reminding myself of my motivators. I had to step aside and tell myself that my mind has distorted my thoughts and that I needed to retrain it. I could not do it alone though. I needed help, I needed people by my side to cheer me on and help guide me to the finish line. I needed those people to continue reminding me of my value, my worth. I had to take a break from school, from work, from the gym to focus on healing myself and finding my intuition. My mind so deeply called for self-care and love. It needed love after all the harmful things my thoughts did to my mind and even to my body.
So, what did get me out of this “hole?” Reminding myself of my motivators. I had to make a list of 10 things that motivate me and that keep me happy. Rather that was my guinea pig or seeing the sun and feeling the grass pass by my skin. I had to remind myself that my life does have value, it does have a worth. Everyone’s life does.
I urge everyone who is struggling with depression to seek help. Finding people who are understanding and willing to listen to your emotions and thoughts helps open up the bottle that has been storing, keeping all your emotions bottled up. I promise you, by opening up, you will feel a sense of relief. Like all the weight has been lifted off your shoulders as if you have been carrying a backpack full of rocks and stones and by finding someone else, they have helped take it off. Your life has value, it always will. Never EVER let your mind disrespect your life, importance, or body.
This post was written by Alyssa Gutierrez.
Alyssa is the founder of www.feeding-happiness.com, a website that was inspired by her own recovery journey. The website provides inspiration and information on eating disorders. Recognizing the lack of awareness in Spanish-Speaking countries, the entire website is translated into Spanish to provide various communities a valuable resource. BALANCE is excited to have Alyssa join our team as a blogging intern!