TRIGGER WARNING – This article contains discussion of disordered eating which may be triggering to survivors. Please read at your own discretion.

It was six years. Six years of inpatients and outpatients, the first admission and the slippery sliding of a wheelchair down the narrow corridors of hell. The meticulous meal plans and mantra of eat, rest, repeat, the manipulative mayhem, crumb stuffed bras, defiance and devious deceit in the chocolate squares up sneaking sleeves.

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TRIGGER WARNING – This article contains information of the mental state of someone suffering abuse and engaging in self-harming behaviour which may be triggering to survivors.

Hi. My name is Mandy and this is my story of fighting addiction, trauma, and mental health. I am sharing my story for not only my own healing, but because I know the value that a story of vulnerability and hope holds for others who are seeking their own.

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I feel strange being so open. It leaves me vulnerable. Exposed. Embarrassed. Ashamed.

This is the part where I tell you that I live with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

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Dreams do come true, and I’m living proof of this. If I had told myself 10 years ago, even
2 years ago
that I would be where I am doing what I am doing I wouldn’t have believed it. I am the first openly transgender woman to play in the CWHL. As most people know there aren’t many openly transgender athletes at the elite level, so coming out publicly was a decision that took a lot of thought. Although I expected to be on the receiving end of a lot of negativity, I knew with where I am in my life and along with my support systems that I would be okay. It’s incredibly important for transgender people to be visible because without this visibility, others will not learn that it’s okay to be your authentic self. Growing up it’s something I never knew was possible.

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My name is Mitch and this is my story of taking shame and turning it into acceptance. I live with anxiety and finally, I’m good with it.

My intention for writing this is twofold. First, the more I talk about it, the better I feel (more about that later) and second, to inspire and encourage others to do the same. If you are reading this right now, trust me when I say You are not alone. You’re not the only one feeling the feelings you are feeling. The shame you might feel about your suffering is simply a construct of your mind.

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My name is Moe Bsat and I struggle with anxiety.

My struggle began in Law School. It started with weight gain, depressive moods, excessive drinking, and a lack of sleep. In my last year of school, I couldn’t sleep anymore. I was filled with the pressure of doing well in school in order to set myself up for future success. Mental health issues have always been the dirty little secret within law school. Everyone knows the pressures of good grades, securing an articling position, and getting a job out of school; this pressure destroys a lot of young lawyers mentally. I was no different.

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Trigger warning: this article does contain discussion of disordered eating. Please read at your own discretion.

I spent months praying for something bad to happen to me; waiting for the day that I would pass out and end up in the hospital, or behind the wheel and accidentally crash my car, or maybe my heart would just give out on me. I was waiting for my rockbottom “moment” to find the will to recover, the motivation to truly fighting my illness. Little did I know I was already at rockbottom, I had that trip to the hospital, I was struggling to concentrate while driving, I was having blackouts and almost passing out while standing on my feet all day at work. I was there and I couldn’t see it.. I haven’t been able to see it, because of the illness taking over my mind.

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On March 19, 2013, I took my last breath. I had just experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a ski accident in Whistler, Blackcomb. Buried in an avalanche, upside down and four feet under snow, I was found unconscious and not breathing. My body was without oxygen for roughly 4 minutes. From that moment on, my life would no longer be what it once was; I would need to adapt to a new way of living.

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The day my son was born was the happiest day of my life. It also quickly became the most fearful and most difficult time of my life. On the one hand, I had this beautiful baby boy and felt so lucky… on the other hand, he was not well from the beginning and it became an emotionally challenging time.

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Cold tile pressed up against my cheek as I laid there on the floor, puzzled, fixating on the tears streaming down my face. What is happening? I’m not sad, or am I? Curled up, crying on the bathroom floor – that was the moment I realized: I am no longer in control. How did I get here? I’ve sustained nine medically diagnosed concussions over the course of my life, but in reality I’ve probably had closer to eleven or twelve. While I cannot conclusively say this was the cause of my mental health issues, my doctor and I are fairly certain it’s definitely the root of my problems. It was while in my first year of college that I established that connection.

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March 28, 2016

Last night I tried to kill myself. I’ve lived my darkest nightmare. Come to think of it, the entire time I used cocaine was me tiptoeing closer and closer to the edge of the nightmare. How far could I push it? A ‘hair-of-the-dog’ was my key bump when I felt that my nose couldn’t stop running from the night before. This was my way to keep my depression from eating me. This was my way to keep my depression from killing me. I thought I was in control, but really, I wasn’t. As my depression fed my addiction, my addiction fed my depression. Each line of cocaine led me to a place that was darker and darker.

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Trigger warning: this article does contain discussion of disordered eating. Please read at your own discretion.

Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be an actor. The feeling of stepping into the light and becoming another human being, taking over their soul, is thrilling to me.  By the time I was finished high school I truly loved the art of acting. With the encouragement of an amazing teacher and the support of my family, I decided to pursue acting as a career. Upon graduation, I moved to Los Angeles for acting school. I had taken the leap of faith. I was doing it, following my dreams. My new address was Hollywood and to many people back home in Canada, I was living the ‘perfect’ life.

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