“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”
This post has been submitted to the Blog for mental health. The link to the blog is above, and I encourage you to check out this blog which is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health.
It has come to my attention that you have been saying some pretty negative things about me lately. I think it is time to stop being so hard on me because I really am doing the best I can. Sure I’m getting older now and fall down sometimes when I run and make a fool of myself. That doesn’t mean you have to remind me of how clumsy I am every day. And yes, I may sometimes make mistakes at work, but can you maybe remember some of the positive things I’ve done in the 18 years I have been on this job instead of just the times I was juggling too much and made a few boo boos?
Oh yeah, and I hope you will realize that although I am no longer the young cutie I used to be and may have a few extra pounds, lines on my face, and a few new ailments, my body and mind are as strong and healthy as ever. Next time you look at the Victoria’s Secret catalog and think I should look like that, please remember that my breasts helped nurture those two amazing young ladies that I brought into the world. Instead of feeling ashamed of that 2-inch scar on my breast that has been there since I was 13, be thankful that the lump that was removed was benign and that I have lived 40 wonderful years since then.
I acknowledge that it is hard for someone like you (slightly obsessive) to reconcile my image with the ones you see on television, in magazines, and at the movies, and I’m not just talking about the young women. Don’t buy into the message that it is somehow my responsibility to look 10 years younger no matter the cost, just to fit in. It simply isn’t true. The only person I can be and look like is myself. Let me embrace who I am the way I embrace who my children are. Be proud of me for overcoming an eating disorder so many years ago and sticking with my recovery even when it seems like everyone else is hyper focusing on their bodies and the latest fad diets.
As hard as it may be, please stop trying to make me feel bad whenever I am experiencing anxiety and find it difficult to concentrate. I’ve made amazing strides despite the anxiety, but it hasn’t been easy. Some days I just need to slow down and rest. Some days I need to just BE without having to prove to myself or the world that I am “normal”. What is normal any way, and why would that be the standard you set for me? Isn’t it better to just let me be me?
Next time you have the impulse to criticize and judge me, please stop for a moment and remember all of the strengths that have brought me this far and find a way to celebrate. Make a commitment to me that no matter how many times you start to believe the lies, you will at least begin to acknowledge the ways in which those lies are untrue and counter them with all of the wonderful things about me that you chose to minimize or ignore.
Your best friend