An Open Letter Regarding Mental Health Awareness
*TRIGGER WARNING: Talking about mental illness and eating disorders*
by Aspen Lofgren, Unspoken Voices
Hey friends, Aspen here! May is Mental Health Awareness Month! According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (46.6 million) experiences mental illness in a given year.
Personally, I have experienced mental illnesses since I was 15 years old. In high school I struggled deeply with my body image, it’s easy to write it off and say everyone deals with body image issues, but I took it to the next level by putting my body through extremes. This continued through my high school and college career- starving my body, purging after every meal, experimenting with laxatives and other dangerous means to lose weight.
I have been fairly vocal about my struggle with my eating disorder, whether it be sharing it during personal conversations with my peers, with younger folks, and on social media. I have accepted the fact that I will most likely forever deal with my eating disorder because it is my brain that has the issue. I am a Certified Personal Trainer, I know a person’s weight means absolutely nothing, I know my healthy weight, I know it’s okay to look a certain way. My eating disorder has always been about control- when things get too chaotic in my life, I revert to my past eating habits, to gain control and maintain some “balance” in my life.
This has recently happened, literally this week, I quit my job because I was miserable working sales and had nothing lined up. I began focusing all my time on applying to new jobs, working with clients from my personal training business, and just being stressed. I also began powerlifting a few weeks ago, increased my calories to over 2,000, and training this week has been hard. I know I am not eating enough to sustain my powerlifting and powerlifting has helped me deal with my other mental illnesses. I haven’t struggled this much with my eating disorder since college and that is really scary. I’d like to say this next week I will get back on the right path, but I haven’t made any plans.
I am just winging it and hoping for the best.
Thank you for reading my story, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to talk about some of your issues. Please be kind to others as we don’t know what they are going through.