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Kelly’s Story

“You can do this. I believe in you.”

Share your stigma experience.

It wasn’t necessarily the people around me who were stigmatizing me, but rather it was ME who was stigmatizing and judging myself. In April of 2014 (which happened to be my freshman year of college), I vividly remember my roommates telling me what I was struggling with was real and had names and that there were treatments out there and that I would be okay. I didn’t believe them, despite gathering evidence. I didn’t want to.

Over the next 6 years, I’ve been labeled and diagnosed with many conditions: Major Depressive Disorder, OCD, generalized anxiety, PTSD, anorexia, bulimia, bipolar II, personality disorder with borderline traits, ADHD… So what did I really have? There was a time when I cared about the labels (another part of me stigmatizing myself), but these days, I don’t give it so much weight.

Lots happened. Many hospitalizations, a few therapists, a couple psychiatrists, a dietician. Residential treatment for 2 months (March-May of this year). I worked on trauma and my eating disorder and my obsessive thoughts. My depression. The many pieces of a complicated puzzle. There were suicide attempts these past few years as well.

How did you overcome this experience?

I am still working at it every day. I’d say self reflection and honesty… and a nonjudgemental attitude toward the self and others. I am trying to eat and exercise in a balanced way and take my lithium, among many other medications. Most of all, I write. I’ll be starting graduate school for creative writing in a month.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

Patience and letting go of self-judgment is the key to recovery, along with a lot of other small actions to take every day. You can do this. I believe in you. I personally never thought I’d make it.

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