Hi everyone! I apologize in advance if this post is a little heavy, but it’s something important. It’s about you, and getting help whenever you need it.
But let me backtrack a moment. First, I’ve seriously had some of the most amazing few weeks lately. I learned that I’m going to Peru on a service trip in May – to teach workshops on nutrition, no less! I’ve started class on how to be a Rice Health Advisor (RHA). And I’m a coordinator for Rice’s O-Week, on a team with two amazing co-coordinators and a campus-wide team of actually WONDERFUL people!! I can’t even begin to express how blessed I am. Yet, I still feel like part of me is struggling.
Unfortunately, when I start feeling down, some harmful behaviors start to surface that only make me feel worse:
- Eating makes me anxious. I feel this especially in public, where I feel pressure to both eat what I want but also to eat what is considered “healthy” in my mind. In private, the feeling gets worse.
- Exercise is a punishment. Rather than exercising for personal fitness reasons, it becomes a way to justify binges.
- I obsess over food. It dominates my thoughts before, during, and after meals, when I plan what to eat for the next day, when I try to count calories, and even when I consider exercise plans. It’s a constant presence.
- My self-perception turns negative. I think of every bad or negative aspect of my body, personality, or situation, and I start to spiral into a general sadness and discontent..
There are others, but the overall feeling I get is a sense of overwhelming suffocation. It is a feeling that keeps me from enjoying my life to the fullest, and I know I want to take steps to make myself happy.
We are all on a journey, and that means that there will be many ups and downs and twists and turns that we weren’t expecting and aren’t prepared for. But life doesn’t put itself on pause for us, and we need to consciously make choices that help our happiness and our well-being.
One of those choices is asking for help.
I think it is incredibly difficult to admit we need help, much less seek it out. This is applicable to eating disorders, but also to all general well-being obstacles. I’m going to speak to my own difficulties, but know that no matter what hardships you face — you are not alone.
Endless love and hugs.
The absolute best advice I can give is to reach out and talk to someone. Some people include:
- RAs or other college leadership teams
There are a plethora of people that care about you and your health. Please talk to them! Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. I don’t know why such a stigma exists for mental and physical health issues, but trust me when I say that there is nothing embarrassing about getting the support you need.
In the past when I started feeling this sense of sadness and anxiety, I called our university’s counseling center. I know that I cope better with outside opinions, and so individual counseling sessions are what I needed. After different rounds of counseling, I got better at reading my emotional signs and being able to preemptively mitigate my harmful behaviors. Last time I felt this upset and stressed, I reached out to our general wellbeing advisors (essentially a milder form of counseling) and they helped talk me through a plan to work through my struggles. At this point in time, I feel able to turn to my friends and family for support and advice, and I can see more clearly than had I never reached out at all in the past.
Think about your personal needs and what would help you best, and then go for it!
You are beautiful, inside and out. You deserve to feel that way. It’s scary to open up and take that leap of faith, but you can do it. Someone will catch you. Someone will help you. But you have to take that first step.
As always, I am here if you need anything, even if it’s just someone to talk to. Please feel free to leave a comment on my blog, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or track me down on Facebook! I am here to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Much love, my friends!
Some Rice-Specific Resources:
Wellbeing Center: (713) 348-3311 or email@example.com
Rice Counseling Center: (713) 348-4867, 24/7 hotline available for emergencies