Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: @bebravewithme
Being brave is exactly what this young woman, Emily, does here by what she shares in her story. Wow! This is as raw as it gets: talking about having to act around certain ppl she wasn’t close with, the painful divorce of her parents, emotional sexual abuse, moving to another country & away from her family, lack of connections w her therapist. And all the while she walks us through the details of the feelings she had at each step of the way – & how she now works, daily on herself & wanting to help others. Very relatable on so many levels. Please help us welcome her to the Heroes.
“I never got good grades in drama class. My teacher told me I was never going to succeed at acting. I wish she could have seen me through the years & the great actress I’ve became. For years I’ve hidden my true emotions, maybe not from those really close to me, but
to the majority of people around me. It’s not just a smile, but I appear very much the extrovert in social situations. It’s not that that’s not me; it’s that that’s not the whole of me & I keep another side very hidden.
I was 13 when my parents told me they were splitting up. I remember the conversation as if it were yesterday & imagining the scene still recreates the raw emotions. Divorce is never going to be easy but my parents had a messy breakup. I felt very isolated & didn’t know who I could talk to as my parents were going through their own grief. I had to be this big strong person & hold things together. But I was 13. That is a lot for a 13 year old to take on. I wanted attention from my world that was falling apart.
I had a large social crowd & many friends growing up. I fell ‘in love’ at a very young age. Why is it in quotations? Because it is a very different love to what I now know to be true. But at the time this boy was my life. And he treated me badly. He cheated on me over & over & I would always take him back. Instead of realizing his immaturity, it just made me question myself. Was I not good enough / pretty enough / funny enough? This spiraled into a world of wanting male attention. To feel good enough. To feel desired.
Men took advantage, & it created a negative thought pattern around sex. It was something you did to show the man you cared right?! Through recent work with my therapist, I discovered that I went through a lot of emotional sexual abuse.
It’s crazy that I had never made the connection before between my low sexual desire & my past, but when my therapist mentioned it, I burst into tears because it made so much sense. This shocked me – I never considered myself as someone who has suffered from abuse – but gave me relief also to find ways to work through some of those emotions I had buried.
When I went to university, I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, & during medical investigations it transpired that I had a brain tumor. This was totally unexpected but threw me in to a whirlwind of medical investigations. Lucky, the tumor was benign, but the effects of feeling so out of control had already taken hold. I started to control my life through food, but in reality I was so out of control.
I have suffered from an eating disorder, depression & anxiety for many years. Most recently I have been diagnosed with OCD, something that has gone un-diagnosed for probably too long. There are so many symptoms of OCD other than the obvious that I was not aware of until now. I have been on & off antidepressant & have seen numerous therapists. Therapy never worked for me. I said what I wanted to feel, not what I actually felt. The therapist had no experience with my issues & so stuck to a structured clinical process.
Ultimately what worked? Time. Recovery takes patience & it is an ongoing struggle. My anxiety/depression can be exhausting. It’s something I work on every day.
I met a man while traveling & made a big decision to move to Canada to be with him. I left my family, friends & teaching career in the UK. While my head is in Canada as it is a better way of life, my heart is in the UK. I struggle with that fight between my head & heart every day.
Before I got married, I made a decision that things had to change. I wasn’t the person I wanted to be & I was bringing too many issues from my past into my current relationship. I began seeing a therapist & working through my issues with PTSD from the abuse, with the divorce, with my eating & body image issues, my grievance for leaving the UK, & unhelpful OCD behaviours.
I have been journaling. It brings clarity & helps to get it all out of my head. I have started to focus on breathing to relax & reduce anxiety at times of stress.
I am taking a course to become a Mind, Body, Eating Coach. While it is helping with my own personal growth, I want to move in to a career where I can help others experiencing similar difficulties with food & their body. I want to do what my previous therapists could not provide for me.
People have reacted so positively to my #SameHere Story & that has helped me so much. There are so many people who are afraid to talk. There is nothing to be ashamed about & I feel it is my calling to help this movement & help break the stigma.”