What’s up North Grenville? It’s been a while, and I’ve missed being a part of the goings-on in the community. I’ve been keeping tabs on what’s been happening over the past few months and it seems like North Grenville and Merrickville have had a busy summer. From Kemptville Live, to the many festivals that lined the streets of Merrickville, and the opening of a youth shelter in North Grenville. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure.
You may remember that, back in May, I published a small article explaining that I was taking a leave of absence from the paper. At that point I was not ready to share the reasons for my taking time off, but over the past few months I have gained the courage and strength to speak.
On May 12 I was admitted to Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, Ontario to be treated for an eating disorder. Anorexia Nervosa has plagued my life since I was 16, and in May it once again became a health issue and something I could not ignore. It is not easy for me to talk about this part of my life. For a long time I did my best to hide it, suffering in silence. I have decided that it is finally time to break that silence and openly admit my struggles.
An eating disorder is extremely difficult to understand and impossible to explain to someone who has not had struggles with food. While it may begin as a desire to lose a few pounds, it quickly turns into a dangerous addiction that can have serious health consequences. For many like myself, it is a way to feel in control when life seems unpredictable and chaotic. It is anything but a shallow teenage girl’s disease. Over the past four months, I have seen men and women from ages 17-60 commit themselves to recovery at Homewood.
I’m telling you my story in the hope that others will have the courage to talk about their own struggles with mental health. Secrets keep you sick and no one should have to face their illness alone. I am so thankful for the support I got at Homewood over the past few months, and also for the support I have received, not only from friends and family, but also from many members of this community who wished me well when I took my leave in May, not knowing why I had gone. For many who suffer from eating disorders the support isn’t there, as treatment is underfunded and wait lists are months long. Many people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia die from their disease waiting for the treatment they desperately need.
My journey is certainly not over, and I feel relieved to have my story out in the open. I am working on not being ashamed of my struggles and hope that I can lead by example by starting the conversation, not only about eating disorders, but about mental health as a whole in this community. I am really excited to be home and I’m looking forward to continuing my recovery journey amongst all of you! I truly value this community and I will be able to appreciate it even more now that I am healthy and on the road to recovery.