Invisible Mental Health
Updated: Apr 3, 2019
The thing about mental disorders that makes them so insidious and cruel is the fact that they are invisible. Unlike a physical injury, taking a pill or undergoing surgery cannot immediately cure mental distress. Sure, taking antidepressants or antipsychotic medications can reduce the feelings of hopelessness and tendencies of excessive rumination, but grueling psychological therapy is still required to make any noticeable change.
What I despise most about eating disorders is this invisibility. In the same way that a smiling person could be battling with chronic and debilitating depression, a person who eats may still be struggling. This was, and has been, my problem with my family and friends while I fight for recovery. Though I may be physically fit and healthy, and might weigh x more pounds than I did this time last year, that doesn't mean that the voices in my mind are no longer present. In fact, a part of me feels like they will be present for the duration of my existence. It's not about eliminating the bad voices, it's about suppressing them with other thoughts and appraisals that offer more hope.
So with that, please stop commenting on my appearance. Stop assuming that because I'm smiling I'm happy. Stop equating my physicality with my mental wellbeing. There is no quick fix for what I struggle with on a daily basis because of how deeply rooted its causes are. My sense of inferiority and worthlessness began when I was only a few years old. Thousands upon thousands of experiences only validated this experience for me, and my pain translated into an eating disorder while yours might not have.
We all experience pain. It is an inevitable part of life that is unavoidable.