You might already know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Regardless of your knowledge of or experience with the subject, news reports have been telling us for months that the pandemic has done a number on us. In the last year and a half, my family has been shaken down in ways I can’t describe by mental illness. We represent several different diagnosis on different branches of our tree that range in severity and scope. Because my story is the only one that belongs to me, I want to share that one here.
I have, at times, struggled with depression and am currently plagued by anxiety. The main struggle that has consumed me since childhood? Subclinical eating disorders. I battle compulsive overeating, and at one time, used exercise anorexia to cope. These issues stem from the need I feel to avoid pain or negative feelings. On the advise of a doctor, medication and professional counseling have been a valuable part of my journey.
I recently came across a writing challenge from fellow blogger Ang called, A Thank You Letter to My Body. Her instructions: “Write a thank you note to your body. Be as open and honest as you want to be. Include at least 3 things your body does that you appreciate.” I knew right away that I needed to write this letter at this time. I write for my mental health in hopes that it inspires you to examine any issues you may be experiencing. .
To My Body,
I know you think I’m mad at you. I mistreat you and say horrible things to you. For that, and so many other things, I’m sorry. I admit that the insults and criticism I hurl at you, I really mean. But that’s wrong. It’s time for a change of heart. It’s time I show you the respect you deserve.
Your build – strong and athletic – allows me to continue teaching yoga. I love that job. I sometimes overworked and expected too much of you. My injuries prove that. But you keep on going. You fought cancer for me. Over four years ago, you kicked it to the curb. How can I thank you for allowing me to continue raising my children? You care for my family well. These strong legs stand for long periods of time while I iron clothes, shop for groceries and cook dinner. Your strong arms lift grandkids, push the lawn mower and care for my Shelby. For these things and so many others, I thank you.
You do so much for me that I’m not even aware of. I wish I had been kinder to you. I’ve fed you junk and ignored your needs too often. And the yo-yo dieting tortured and confused you. Please forgive me for treating you like an enemy instead of the friend that you are. My displaced anger is unwarranted and unfair.
God says you are wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). A gift from Him. It’s time I started acting like it.
I love you,
Thank you for allowing me to share this cathartic exercise with you. I accepted this challenge, and now I want to offer one. Examine your heart and mind. If you are struggling to cope, talk to your doctor or another trusted individual who can point you to the appropriate resources. And if you’ve already taken these steps, share your journey when you feel it is safe and appropriate. You could destigmatize mental illness and help someone else. But if you fear that you or someone you know might hurt themselves or someone else, call 911 immediately.
And now for this week’s featured link up post.
I loved Maryleigh Bucher’s Muddy Chess Bars, Not Giving Up. But don’t just read this post. Spend a little time on her site. She mixes faith-building prose, beautiful poetry and scrumptious looking recipes to speak to all kinds of appetites. Thank you, Maryleigh!
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