This is a tricky one to write, because whenever I try to, I always find myself feeling a little bit over-dramatic. I don't have a hard time talking about it; I actually am pretty open about it at this point. It's just that I sometimes feel weird talking about it because I know that my experience doesn't even come close to touching what others have been through, and then I feel selfish. So I write this with humility and under no illusion that I have been through the worst of what's out there.
Basically, back about 4 1/2 years ago, I starting going through some pretty intense stuff surrounding my body image and eating habits. Today, I kind of joke that I liked food too much to stop eating, but I had a therapist a couple years ago that pointed out that there's a difference between an eating disorder and "disordered eating." That said, neither of those things are healthy.
Back then, I also had serious guilt issues. Guilt was a deeply potent, highly destructive emotion for me. To be honest, it still is, but I am much less out of control now than I was then. I didn't hyper-analyze the catalysts behind it or what effects it had on me, but it was bad. And it felt bad. All of it felt bad: hating the way my body looked, dealing with it poorly, being on a hair trigger with guilt and anger (the two went hand in hand). I was never suicidal, although looking back, I see that there was, at the time, a definite risk of more self-destructive behavior.
I was seeing a therapist back then who helped me realize that these things weren't actually the problem; they were symptoms of a bigger problem that was a lot deeper seated. Ultimately, because there is no other word for it, I realized that I was dealing with a certain amount of depression. It was never actually diagnosed, and I never took medication for it, but it was real. This realization was the main reason I decided to take time off from school; I wanted to leave Emerson before I didn't want to come back (that, of course, was moot, since I decided to transfer schools and programs anyway, but that's another post). I needed to clear my head, and so there I went.
It worked remarkably well, actually. I worked on a boat for 7 months (again, for another post), took some classes, made some money, logged a few life experiences, etc. I came back from it feeling much more self-assured, self-aware and no longer quite such a flight risk to myself.
Since then, particularly in the last year or so, I've been through some very real shit that has brought me pretty deep down into the dumps. As with many things in this post, this is also for another post. I'm going to write more about it in October, but I decided that it would be good to give a little precursor post for context.