role play.

i used to pride myself on being able to make people think whatever i wanted them to of me. i could create a character, play a role, and mould strangers – sadly even friends – into believing i was exactly that.

i was the girl who smiled when everyone else was stressed.

i was the extra girly captain of the cheerleading team.

i was the punk-lover with homemade necklaces and weird hair.

i was the i-don’t-give-a-fuck girl.

i was the party animal.

i was the studious nerd.

why does it matter? why am i telling you any of this?

it got to the point where i forgot who i wanted to be, and most importantly who i actually was. i spent so much time hiding feelings of inadequacy, sadness, anxiety, and self-hate behind an outward persona that i had no understanding of how to deal with the inner voice. she wasn’t me if i didn’t acknowledge her. if i faked it enough, i would believe it. i wouldn’t have to be defined by what i was dealing with.

it worked for a while. i was briefly very successful. until i wasn’t. until i couldn’t find a way to fake it anymore. in public i could still be whoever i wanted to be, but my home life consisted of crying and binging. it was my secret escape that solved no problems.

i decided to address this behaviour a year and a half ago, seeking help from counsellors, therapists, nutritionists, trainers, and coaches. i work privately and in groups. having to sit in front of strangers and reveal my problems was the hardest thing i ever did (until i pressed publish on this post, of course). the people who would have once viewed me as the happy, successful girl with her shit together – because that’s whom i played – now knew all my dark and dirty secrets.

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i still consider myself a work in progress, with great days and horrible days. but i am making the effort to be my true self and not some made up girl. some days i even think my true self is pretty darn fantastic. i also learned my true self has genuine interests: fashion, fitness, writing, great conversation with fabulous friends, being in nature, lacrosse, and dogs, to name a few.

my diagnosis is for me, but the story is for you. today, on World Mental Health Day, i encourage you to learn more about all forms of health – mental, emotional, spiritual, physical – in order to breakdown the stigmas that still exist. you never know who is dealing with what. that has-it-all-together girl, may be cracking at all seams.