From free, to held tight. Closed off. Separate. In search of perfection. (Perfection doesn’t exist.) Perfection, the chase of it–the fall, the hurdle, the jump, it all leads back to that: a world growing smaller. And smaller. And smaller. Until you snap or there’s nothing left. And still, still it’ll take. Take. Take. No matter how much you give it back. It just takes.
From present, to absent.
From well, to unwell, to well again.
The world rightens itself. The job takes time. But it does straighten. It does fix itself. There’s work that goes into it, of course, yes, and still, this life, these circumstances, they are imperfect. They are temporary. They do not last forever.
Mortality. An uncomfortable subject among most. Feared of, given power to. Comes with an expiration date. Life is terminal. Got that from a quote I saw the other day. Mortality… this existential awareness, that life will be and life will cease. We just don’t know when or why or how. It’s scary. Justifiably so. And yet, it shall come. One way or another. It shall come. So maybe being aware of our fear, of being aware of our circumstances and for taking this day, this moment, in the sea of trillions of moments we will experience, maybe that is all that matters. Maybe that is all that cares at the end of the day. At the start of the day. Maybe it’s that. Always, always that.
From unintentional, to intentional.
From loss, to growth.
From wondering, to wandering.
From writing less, to writing.
There exist gaps here. Gaps in life, gaps in wonder, gaps in the street, in the pitfalls from one foot to the next. In the way the breeze carries through the air. In the way that a seed forms a true plant. In the way a dog barks, half a bark, before fully committing to another breath of air. Hackles raised, shackles upon their wrists. In the way the train tracks are uneasy. The way thunder claps following lightning. The way the rain patters upon spiderwebs, just trying to make it, trying to exist, trying to live.
Aren’t we all just trying to live?
There are gaps here. From writing much and writing long and writing enough, to silence.
Quiet, quiet silence.
…The Void, if you will.
But maybe where there was once space, then emptiness, maybe there can be space again.
It begins with this moment. One moment. One choice. One change. To pick up the pen, to scatter words onto a keyboard, fingers steady, music blaring, the mood set in, fitting even.
To update. To share. To encourage. To love. To bring hope. To provide light. To explore. To connect. To be not alone. To be whole.
Maybe… maybe not always in all the right places.
But I think I’m finding it… This gap. This bridge.
How do I get from here to there? I’ve often wondered. How do I change the story that I’m writing? Because I enjoyed it once. I loved it once. I was it once. And now… over the years, when I got stable, it vanished.
And I’d like it back. I want it back. I want that for myself, and I want that for my Readers. My friends. My chosen ones.
So I write. I plug in the headphones, I play the song, I count the words as they scrawl past. And I begin.
I choose to begin.
Because only with experience, with action, with consideration, with doing does the gap grow smaller. Or, if not fully smaller, than the perception of it grows smaller. And that, that I can tolerate.
That I can live with.
So I begin.
I move forwards.
From ex, to being enough just for me. For growing into who I can become. For planting my seeds and nurturing my own recovery.
From enemy, to just not in contact with right now. Yet hopeful that in the future, this, too, can change. If I want it, if they want it, it can change.
From loving my job, to excelling at my job. Growing, putting in time and dedication and making a steady and uplifting paycheck.
From inactive, to I’m here again. I’m back. It’s me. Welcome aboard.
From tightly held, to loosening the grip. Because maybe not everything has to be held onto so tightly. Maybe freedom is also in the letting go.
From absent, to welcome back. To showing up. To rebuilding. To regrowth. To reshaping the path ahead.
From well, to well, to well. And some sprinkles of unwell here and there. Because only with the darkest of nights can be truly appreciate and be grateful for the brightest of days.
So I write.
And I write.
And I commit to writing. Because I commit to life and the dreams I have yet to make happen and the accomplishments I have yet (and presently can celebrate) to swim in. I commit. Because it’s my life. And I have that choice. I have that responsibility for what I do with it.
And I want to make something big.
I hope, I do, that maybe one day you can too.
Until then, my Readers.
Welcome back to RecoverytoWellness.
And truly: Where survivors radiate badassery.
— 💚💚💚 Raquel
Music: “Dynasty” by MIIA
Estimated time length to write, edit and publish: <45 mins.
Information regarding my socials:
I’m most active now on Instagram (recoverytowellness), Youtube (I go live on there 2-3 times a month now; RecoverytoWellness), Discord (still super new to this but email me or comment if you’d like to join me there or eventually hop on the RecoverytoWellness server I’ll make there!! A hub for in between Youtube videos, lives, fun stuff and books related things (like book clubs and book content on my socials)), WordPress here of course, if you’d like to see some of my designs on Canva annnnnd I think that’s it. OH! My fan fiction stories can be found on FFN (Unmasked Potential) and AO3 (UnmaskedPotential) in case you’re looking for some creative writing Loki centered Avengers fanfic stories!!!
I’m getting closer and closer to deciding to just delete my Twitter account. More on that in the future and the reasoning and settling upon that, I think.
But yes, check me out wherever you feel the most comfortable!! Much more to come on here soon. Wishing you all a blessed week and good rest of your day. Sending light and love. xxx Thank youuuu
So, I STILL wanted to do that post I was originally going to do yesterday but as it’s turning out we’re not going to be doing that again either today. D: What we WILL do here is talk about my thoughts pre-release of my video scheduled for noon EST tomorrow and my thoughts and ideas and challenges and worries all about that and regarding that. And, assuming that work goes well and I’m in a good, upbeat mood, I will do the post originally destined for Thursday on Sat instead. AND if, for some reason work does NOT go well or it’s a tough day or I’m just too tired, I will try and do something like an award tag like Liebster and such from way back in the day and just do something light and fun or talk about shopping hauls or whatever it happens to be exactly. So, let’s jump in…
Trigger Warning: Allegations of grooming, mentions of suicidality/homicidality
With the situation:
A man by the name of Eric B. Zink back in 2019 (at the time Dr1ven Industries) became very popular on TikTok for his mental health awareness videos where he shared tips and tricks and ways to control anxiety and talking about his lived experiences with mental health conditions and his story with addiction. He had lost two individuals close to him from suicide himself and he made a YouTube channel where he continued to produce similar types of videos like from his TikTok.
I do remember him claiming, at the time, that he was saying he was a mental health advocate and he was giving out his personal phone number onto TikTok for people to reach out to HIM instead of the long wait line of the national suicide prevention lifelines as he was beginning to do research into creating his OWN nonprofit organization in regards to suicide prevention efforts.
He reached 1 million followers on TikTok and had a decent amount, I want to say like 100,000 subs on YouTube as well.
Personally, I didn’t ever see his TikToks on the app because I don’t have that on my devices but I followed his Youtube channel and I followed him on Twitter and I actually did reach out to him and we shared phone numbers and texted a little bit over the Mar. 2019 time period. He started to make more videos specifically about substance use addiction and certain types of substances and his experiences with them which I found to personally be off-putting so I stopped interacting with his content as much. I had even done a collaboration with him, that I believe is still up on both of our channels (my channel has some out-takes and bloopers of it, his has the full on collab, ironically because I didn’t like him right away which aged gracefully) and I had promoted him on my own socials and things too and offered him as a resource while also making it clear to him that I didn’t think it was the wisest of decisions to release such personal information (like a phone number etc.)
Well, he faded into the background by the end of 2019 for me and everything was fine until about Sep. 2020.
I checked on him a couple times here and there when I thought of him but again we just drifted in different directions and I’d lost some interest. He began to become a face for the mental health community as his popularity grew and he became more prevalent as issues from people like the Rewired Soul were taking place.
And Eric was definitely not without criticism being met his way–there were other people within the mental health community that were offering their ideas, their thoughts and their criticisms to some of the things he was saying or doing (and still are). I’d also like to point out that some of the things he did, said or shared about his journey or the suicide prevention type stuff weren’t always what the guidelines suggested to do (so like, don’t share suicide notes from those who’ve passed on which he has violated in a few videos, even just putting triggering images in his thumbnails like depicting substance use/substances and cutting marks).
I obviously have no idea whether he was engaging with the people who were reaching out to him by getting other law enforcement and the proper authorities involved. And I don’t know what content or the depth of their messaging between each other was. Regardless of not knowing this, in Sep. 2020 I decided to see what he was up to, which he had rebranded himself to his name and I found his original videos of him admitting to being inappropriate with minors who were reaching out to him in suicidal crises. He showed text messages between himself and a child and how he had asked them if they had showered and if they smelled and if their butt smelled and other similarly odd statements and remarks. He admitted in his video that that was wrong of him and that he shouldn’t have been talking to a minor like that. (He’s deleted this video since.) I suggest, if you happen to want to learn more about the situation than what I’ve summarized here, there are plenty of videos about it on Youtube.
Where do I come into play?
Honestly, I had seen some of the videos from reproachful content creators who had, like myself, believed him to be a good guy and a good thing for the mental health community until it became glaringly obvious that his ego had gotten the best of him and he’d engaged in some inappropriate and just distasteful behaviors, words and actions. At the time, I watched and engaged with these videos, and felt that I didn’t have much else I could add to the conversation so I let it go.
And I was letting it go until about this past… yeah, yesterday. When I came across a video, someone, Person A, who had called out Eric before on their channel and they had engaged with each other back and forth, I think he deleted this video too, I’m not sure, but it was just kinda sticky, gooey and messy. Well, in that video Person A in question rehashed the situation and admitted that Eric had doxxed them with their full name online in his response video and he had recently said, and admitted, that while he didn’t say he would beat the shit out of them, he said that “I did make a mention of a truck and running somebody over if I saw them” That’s a direct quote from his TikTok video that was included within the video that this main person, Person A, was talking about and updating their followers on the situation.
I was so frustrated, offended, triggered, anxious and fearful when I watched Person A’s video. I could NOT believe that this man, who had claimed to be and genuinely became the face towards some part of the mental health community, had abused that power and abused his place and fucked around with something so, so serious that isn’t often taken seriously (homicidal/suicidal remarks) and made it into this belittled, indirect jab. He made a threat, a physical threat, to someone else who was just calling him out on his bullshit and the fact that he had committed acts heinous and inappropriate. The hypocrisy, the ‘Rules for Thee and Not Me’ and just the fact that he so single-handedly dismantled the mental health advocates out there who are TRUE advocates that don’t say this type of shit, it’s just… and not only that, but it’s providing fuel for people to think of those with conditions as “dangerous” or “crazy” or any other stigmatizing crap that’s out there.
It’s just so anxiety provoking and triggering and offensive, for me. If Eric isn’t the person I thought he was, then who is he? That’s horrifying.
But my point is, in this whole sticky situation, and maybe I talked too much about him and what was going on before I spoke enough about my side of things–and maybe I’m just taking a break from having already said all my pieces in my video, but the video I am releasing tomorrow will go up at noon EST.
I’m quite terrified. My catastrophizing is in full force, I’m thinking I’ll either get ten views or I’ll get a hundred. And I’m afraid people are going to belittle the boundaries I have set or purposefully tell me to kill myself, mention specific ways in which to do so, throw hate at me, have valid criticisms, say nothing, say everything, defend Eric or be Eric himself or who knows what. I’m freaked out but I’m trying to remain calm.
I spoke my truth (sorry, I’ve gotten that new phrase from Demi Lovato I swear lol) and where I feel about the situation. I talked about my own lived experiences dealing with suicidality and gave reasons and examples (and there are trigger warnings in the video itself, too) as to why it is not okay to joke or make light of things like homicide and suicide. From how Person A took the comment, they were upset and they are valid in feeling that way. They should not have to get doxxed and threatened of their life. There’s only a select few that are the drudges of humanity that that should be reserved to. But Person A? Not at all. Not for speaking out publicly about something that happened online.
But, that’s where I’m at with things. I am not going to be reading any emails to any potential comments, if I even get them to be honest, about the video until Mon. 5/17/2021. I am also, if I do happen to get a lot of comments about it, if it doesn’t just fall into The Void and disappear, then I will call a hotline and look through the comments while I’m on the phone with them. Because again, I’m afraid and I don’t know what people will or won’t say and I can just seriously picture people trolling with things and such, and it might be too hard hitting to go through alone.
Also, I want to thank so many of you for showing love and support on my last post, yesterday!! I’m so grateful for you guys and if you happen to have any words of wisdom or grounding techniques, feel free to leave it down below in a comment!
My video is definitely only conveying my viewpoint on things and I do welcome other inputs and other ideas too. Maybe there are ways I’m looking at this that are problematic and so if you see that and you’re so kind enough to leave me your thoughts, I’d appreciate it! I will still be on my blog Sat and Sun so that should be fine here. I also will probably work on some fan fiction stuff, read a book, watch a movie and do some adult coloring. I am going to try and see if there are some people online who can support me with this transition from not knowing how things, if anything, will react to my video so, that’s … that’s okay.
I know that I’ll be okay.
And I am safe!! I am. So that is also good. I think any support you guys can lend would be amazing. Again, even just coping strategies or techniques to grounding.
Well, I have to go to sleep now but I’ll see you guys tomorrow once more. I apologize if I spent too much time talking about him rather than myself and such. I’ll try and work on this in the future, not that I intend to do this type of thing again, but yeah, I’ll have to work on this, it’s probably the OCD coming out to be honest haha. But yessss, thank you so much for reading and I will see you all soon.
Stay safe, my friends. 🖤🖤🖤🤍
This piece was written and begun around 7:30p on May 14th 2021, and then completed between 8:45p to 9:45p. EST
It’s the third day of this year’s, 2021’s, May march for mental health awareness month. Technically not a march, but if you count the NAMI Walk this year (still virtual) then yes, yes we can call it a march. Let’s me honest, I just ran with the idea right now so we’ve got that going for us, haha.
Regardless, it’s a new post. I am actually probably going to have to either schedule tomorrow’s post or maybe I’ll just skip tomorrow. I have an early work day so I may not get around to sleeping early enough tonight (it’s nearly 9:30p EST) to fully create a post for tomorrow… UNLESS I challenge myself to a short blurb or old poem or something. Hmm, maybe I will do that…
Anyways, hi, I’m a little sleepy and emotionally exhausted.
I’m also a little distracted, not gonna lie.
But I’m gonna try and get through this post. Maybe tomorrow might be a small break or maybe you’ll see something from me. As early as noon and as late as six pm. (Especially if I schedule it).
Sorry, there’s some tension in the household right now.
Right, where was I?
I mean, on one hand I can say that I’ve gotten very tired of living inside my ever constricting fear bubble. There’s been so much in life that I’ve been afraid to do or avoid doing (let’s be honest for a minute) and it’s just irritated me more and more over the years and I got pretty fed up with it. So now I’ve been trying to drive to different towns and places and just get used to the road and actually I’ve definitely associated being in a car to listening to music which could be good or bad, depending (like if you were my Mom today).
I’m also still reeling I think from being so disrespected by a teen at work on Saturday. I only really noticed this today when I continued to get fed up with my anxiety and avoidance and was back to watching videos to waste my time (something I’m really struggling with, back on Day #1 all over again (I started the original day 1 at about Apr. 5th) probably unhelped by the fact that I haven’t properly written out my thought challenges lists) and sleeping during the day (to be fair, I woke up at 8a today, which, besides weekend work days, is super early for me). I’ve also been pulling and picking really badly, I definitely have another right ear infection at the moment and my left isn’t faring much better. Then my left thumb has a scab and my knuckle really, really hurts so I have some limited, stiff movement in that. My other thumb has a mark from some skin picking I did Saturday too. Grrr. Today was a frequent pull day.
Even when I finally got myself to just get up and DO something by 5:15p and I got myself to listen to music and shower (which was such a lovely reset!) I was pulling then too.
That’s why I was really pulling (wait…no pun intended!) for going to get crochet supplies today.
If you’ve forgotten, or you’re new, I wound up on some crochet blogs about Friday or so, or at least late last week, and I’ve finally decided to try it out for myself and see if I like it. But I definitely kept pushing off going and my Mom was gonna come with me and I was just getting super frustrated that we were both not doing what we should be doing (I can say, happily, I ate lunch today and began some blogging notes and goal’s for the month between 2:25p – 3:00p so that was really good and a big highlight!) and it was just irritating.
Then my Mom kinda crossed some boundaries with me verbally, she was joking but I was already kinda off, something else was going on which was worrying me in the back of my mind and it was the one time I didn’t bring my headphones with us going out because I haven’t been needing or using them each time I’ve brought them and it was just too much of a collection of little things plus having been so disrespected on Sat. that when my Mom suggested we just go back home I was like, “Yeah, I’d like that.” You know, she was saying how I could go by myself and I agreed and wanted to.
I just hate being in a car and feeling trapped like that because where can you go when you’re having a disagreement?
Kinda like at work that day. Kinda like when you have to trust your GPS when it’s raining, your windshield wipers are busted a little (true story, I have to remember to tell someone about that), it’s dark so you can’t see well, you’re in unfamiliar areas so you go your stickler slow speed (mine is 35 mph. If it’s a highway: 55 mph), and you have to just trust in the process and that it’ll get you there one way or another and if you take the wrong turn or think you did it’ll just recalculate so the pain of it is a little better than being stuck in a car with someone you’re mad at.
Or kinda like how my phone is dying after 7 years and its functionality is so compromised. I got a bad cut on my phone where the screen at the very mid point of the screen above the physical keyboard got busted so there’s an ever increasing crack and glass falling out; if I send a text message at the same time someone sends me one my phone refuses to load and takes at least 40 mins to actually do so (which drains the battery exponentially); sometimes I can send a message and it eats it and never sends it (like if I get a reply at the same time), and 3/4 of the sites I try and go on when online don’t load because they’re not compatible with my phone. So, at this point, it’s just a mess. And sometimes when I really need to reach out to someone it just fucks me over. Radically so.
Besides that, I don’t know what terminology would fit this next thing but I had a friend for like 3 years that goes by they/them pronouns and we’ve recently revealed that we both had a crush on one another years ago and are now starting to date and see how that goes. I feel like it’s in that weird like, we’re not partners yet but we’re more than friends and conventional he/him, she/her pronouns wouldn’t fit the gender specific friend name so I’m confused. But my dating friend turned out to be really struggling today, they also have mental health conditions like myself (I’m also gay by the way, let’s just air that out. I’ve been meaning to say that since June 2020, not gonna lie) and were thinking they would have to go inpatient and I was super supportive and kind about it (we’ve been hanging out biweekly since maybe end of Feb this year?) and all the good things though I definitely noticed the worry in the back of my mind.
Like, my friend was doing everything preventative in their power and I think while some of it is their stuff more of it is MY fears:
My worry for them: will they be okay? What will happen? How long will the stay be? How soon will they be out?
My pain for my friend because very recently I was experiencing similar (or an inkling of similar)
My questioning my own self: A couple weeks ago, that could have been me.
My questioning what if I need that level of support again? What’s the game plan then?
The biggest thing of course with the fourth thing is the distinction: how would I be receiving that help? Had I volunteered myself to the hospital or did I act on my thoughts before getting there?
And even BIGGER than that: If I was hospitalized again, which I know and have accepted may happen at some point in my life, and depending on how I got there, would my current 3 years hospital free start over from zero? Would I lose all my progress? Would I lose my milestone? Would I have to start all over? Would it be like 2016 where I went 9 months hospital free and then 2018 being 3 years and then this next time another arbitrary amount? (Depending on how I sought help, would it be a lapse or a relapse?)
And lastly: Career. Current but more so future. I want to go into certified peer specialist but you have to be a year hospital free (inpatient) and one year out of outpatient services (I think this means day programs but I’m still not sure) which to me is a big factor in being more hesitant to ask for the help that I may need if I need it.
Additionally, since 2018 things have been different. I’ve noticed this in support groups as of the last year: I gauge the crowd before I say the things that are bothering me. Like, I don’t trust as easily as I used to or something or if I do reveal something I don’t reveal everything, I offer a small morsel, see how it lands and if it doesn’t go well I shelf the idea of actually opening up further.
Part of this is because of a few things:
I’m afraid if I struggle, or more so admit when I’m struggling, I won’t be as much of an inspiration anymore or a “success story”
I “should” learn how to self-soothe and self-manage because not everyone is going to be there for me all the time
I need to relearn what are psychiatric emergencies (I still go zero to one hundred and all or nothing thinking and avoidance behaviors and catastrophizing so that hasn’t changed and so I go fast into intrusive thoughts than maybe the average person might without mental health conditions) like I first did in my recovery 6 years ago and what plans does that all involve now or that need to be implemented
Another fear I’ve been having which I lightly touched on is that fear of romantic or platonic relationships. Fear of living, in a lot of ways. Fear of love because what happens when I lose it? Fear of health because … because two people with health problems is a lot to handle. Fear of crossing state lines driving wise. Fear of my emotions and thoughts (and so over-distracting all of the time to avoid thinking or feeling them; which is only a temporary fix). Fear of reigniting old pathways and self-destructive behavior (and co dependencies; why in some ways I avoid asking for help at work sometimes or am careful about reassurance seeking). Fear of avoiding avoiding. Fear of change. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of less than perfect. Fear of reading comprehension skills because they’re severely lacking than they once were. Fear of attack (although honestly I think I can handle online shit far better than in real life scenarios). And just on and on and on.
Speaking of exhausting… I’m exhausted.
This post doesn’t really have a bright pink bow with a pleasant, smiley happy ending. I don’t really know where it is exactly. I can say that when I did return home I went back out again and figured out a lot of what I wrote here tonight during that car ride aloud. I also wound up in Staples where I bought a NEW video editing software, not something I’ve ever tried before and have already begun to research now hooray. It was even on sale so that was great. Then at Michael’s I bought varnish for painting, finally, and crochet hooks and three piles of yarn. I’ll probs try it out tomorrow a little before work but then I’ll be gone pretty much all day. Actually, shit, yeah, like 12 hours. Damn. So that means I should be going to bed NOW.
I’ll let you know how things go. I’d LOVE to do some reading tomorrow. God, wouldn’t that be nice.
But I have to sleep. I’m honestly falling over right now and I still have tags to work with haha. Overall, I’ve been fed, I’ve rubbed my doggo and I have new hobbies arriving soon. These adventures, these things I’ve never done before, are in fact terrifying. And very likely worth it. And I deserve the good things. So that’s where I’ll go from here. Baby steps, tomorrow is a fresh day and everything will work out in the end. Cool, yeah.
What did you think of this blog post? Is there something you’ve been avoiding in your life? Or something new that you’re about to launch yourself into?
Thank you so much for reading and interacting with this post!!!
Can’t wait to see you again soon. Whether that’s tomorrow or Wed.
Sending all the best hugs, light and love.
PS I’m gonna challenge myself to not reread this post and just publish it without all consuming editing… Maybe just one walk through actually. 😉 Added a couple of things. This post was written 5/3/2021 from 9:30p – 10:30p EST
this isn’t easy, I don’t know how and what to feel. Keeping busy: it does the job but it doesn’t heal.
It’s getting harder to feel. And they all say: “You need to take care of yourself, my darling.” but they don’t know how it feels to be broken. I can’t help it, I feel numb. I’ll wait for the waves to leave and come. I think I’m breaking… I’m a mess in the making.
I’m getting tired of the same old feeling in my chest. I’m not a liar, but I’ve got secrets I can’t confess.
Don’t say you love me: ’cause I don’t understand those words.
And they all say: “You need to take care of your health, my darling.”
I’m holding on a tightrope and know I’m not coming home. Hurting, searching–you know I’m not coming home.”
….but also dear any other eating disorder or mental health condition survivor Reader out there:
Hi. You don’t know me. You maybe never would. We interacted a couple of times online but I was a fan for a while. I started following your story and your YouNow’s and your Youtube videos back in 2017 when there was one of the first large pickups of your story and the speculation that you were living with an eating disorder. I even made a blog post here about you and what you might have been going through.
Over time I watched more and more of your videos. Just as every other person in the world was, I was slowly watching you kill yourself. Anorexia, eating disorders in general, are those slow, gradual killers–sometimes. I saw you waste away video by video. I cared about you deeply. …I still do.
And then there was that all time low in the beginning of 2019, where Jaclyn Glenn and her friends forced you into treatment for your disorder(s) because you were, you are, a danger to yourself. Your own hand, or maybe even multiple hands behind all the screens, smoke and mirrors, are your ultimate demise.
So you went away for a while. A month in treatment and 4-5 months off the Internet.
You returned with an improvement in your physical health in about May or so 2019, helped along by Shane Dawson’s documentary on you and your story. You didn’t get into specifics, you did admit to an eating disorder, but you didn’t want to label it yet. You said you were better. You said things were getting to be okay.
And we believed you. We always saw the best in you, we saw you for your amazing kindness, compassion, positivity and endless amounts of potential.
It seemed to help for a while. It seemed like things were looking up for you, finally.
And then, then time passed. And you started to have similar behaviors visible to the human eye: placing your fingers around your wrists in a body-checking maneuver, standing up for long periods of time, watching yourself in the image of your camera rather than in the lens, wearing more revealing clothing, streaming on Twitch for 6-8 hours at a time with no breaks, no bathroom runs, no eating and no drinking.
And as it went on like this most people were still saying praise and supportive (enabling) comments. On videos, in streams, everywhere. Except the place you sometimes lurk on, sometimes read about yourself on and definitely a place of honesty and reality that I’ve found myself on many, many times now: Reddit.
People there were more honest, more bold, more informative, more witnessing and putting out their thoughts, their feelings and their fears about the winding road you, Athena, were traveling down towards.
And as the days rolled on, the less and less life shone in your smiles, in your green eyes, in the way you carried yourself. The less Recovery Athena existed the more the hope faded from us passerby’s witnessing you slowly fade away.
And I’m so…annoyed. I wanted you to do better. I wanted you to be more. I wanted you to live.
but you didn’t.
And I have to accept the hard reality that if you stay in the environment that made you sick, if you continue with these eating disorder behaviors, if you continue to restrict or purge or all of the above, if you continue like this, Athena:
you are going to die.
you ARE already dying.
Your skin is so pale but not just from lack of light but because it’s tinged with grey. Your hands and your legs are red, sometimes at the knuckles, sometimes just the back of your hands. You’ve had rings of red around your mouth. Your chest has been red before, too. You stutter more, and maybe that’s nerves, maybe that’s from the weight of the world that you’re holding trying to present yourself as “so much better now” and “fully recovered” and “I really am okay and everything; that was a long time ago and stuff”. But you’re not. You’re not, Athena. You are struggling. You are dying. And you’re doing it in front of the entire planet. You’re doing it for reasons we’ll probably never know, not, not unless some health scare happens and you’re able to get out of your household and away from the people who are so likely hurting you–because it’s NOT normal for a mother or a father or a family to watch you waste away hour by hour and not do a THING to stop it. That’s not love. At worst it’s abuse, at least it’s neglect.
And if anything does happen to you, if you lose your fight in this that I so very much wish would never have to happen, then I hope proper justice is brought to your case. I hope that the millions of people you’ve influenced will see that you were NOT immune to the disastrous and tragic consequences of an eating disorder so severe, so crippling, that you were lying about your recovery and your journey and wanting to be better, that you were struggling and in pain and unhealthy and DYING–I hope they see that this is a real and serious disorder and issue, and I hope that if nothing else, it destroys the illusion you’ve been painting for years that “everything is fine” and you’re “really okay and everything” and that eating disorders, mental health conditions, kill. And they will kill. Anorexia is the number one leading condition that kills its participants. And you will be one too if you don’t change your behaviors, your thoughts, your emotions, your actions.
And maybe as unfortunate and not worthy of a trade it is, maybe the laws and legislation in the United States will decide another life lost–one so public, so out there in the world, so resonating and so deliberate–was enough to finally change how eating disorders are treated; how wellness checks are necessary, how to not have the law and the people in power see someone so ill and believe whatever bullshit falls from themselves because of the fact that eating disorders just aren’t seen as the real and dangerous disorders they are–they’re not seen as IMMINENT danger to the self or others and so they’re allowed, time and time again, to slip through the cracks and failed over and over again by a system that refuses to change its citizens and make their lives whole again. Something has to change in these cases, these lives, something has to be DONE on the matter, like in other countries, in other places, in other situations. There HAS to be something. There has to be.
I don’t know how many people we have to lose in life before the world takes it seriously. Before the state does. The family. The country. The psychiatric system. The educational system. The healthcare system.
I hope that when you go on to the next life, Athena, that you will find peace. And that we’ll remember you. God, I’m crying. I hope that people will remember you for how kind you were. How much life you had in you. How compassionate you were. I hope they remember you for everything that you could have been. That you had so much potential to make a positive impact in the world, and in some ways you did, and in many others you didn’t. People see you as an inspiration–whether that’s from when you started a recovery process (for healthy reasons) or because of how frail and damaged your body allowed you to become (unhealthy). You impacted so many people, whether you realize it or not. And you had a responsibility to teach others, a platform you could have used to teach others, about the dangers of these disorders, about the REALITY of these disorders, but most of all you had a responsibility for YOURSELF.
To get better. To become well. To be happy. To be YOU.
You had this responsibility and it never clicked in your head. You kept up all the old body-checks you’d done in videos and photos, you kept up controversial videos, you apologized for everything that didn’t matter and nothing at all for everything that did, you let yourself go when the world just wanted to hold you close. You denied your influence on others and turned a blind eye to predators and lurkers who meant you harm and who meant others harm.
But at the end of the day, you never took on that accountability. At the end of the day, you went on, down the shadowy path. You didn’t want help. You got comfortable in your disorder and you didn’t want to change. We can’t save everyone. And sometimes, sometimes people don’t want to be saved. And you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves.
So all of this is to say, all of these tears and words and ideas, all of it is to say that I have to say goodbye now.
I know how this story ends. That if you don’t get help, that if you don’t enter into recovery, that you die. And I… I can’t be waiting for that to happen anymore. I have to walk away. I have to get out all my thoughts and just never look back. And it won’t mean that I’ll never think of you again. Far from it, hun. But I can’t do this. I can’t consume your content when it fills the void of my hunger pains. I can’t keep seeing you shrink and shrink away and for my mind to play its own tricks on me. I can’t go on Reddit for hours to see how you’ve gotten worse, to see the comparisons, to read the truths there, to see what new way you’re using to distract yourself (usually makeup) from the reality of your situation, the way the mods in your streams try to protect you in the name of “care” but is really just veiled attempts at getting your attention and winning over your praise in the same breath that you struggle to take. I can’t do it anymore.
I’m walking away. So even when it kills me inside that I won’t know what you’re doing, HOW you’re really doing (did anyone ever anyways?), if you’re getting better, if you’re getting worse, that I won’t see you until I hear the news of your death and wonder why and how and everything… I still will stay away. Because I have to. I have to protect myself because I can’t protect you, only you can.
I won’t be checking in on you anymore. I’m not going to click on any Youtube videos about you (maybe save for Jaclynn here and there), certainly not any you make and minimize any about you, I’m not going to go to Reddit until I hear that awful, awful news one day, I’m not going to look at comments or tweets from you (I’ve muted, blocked and everything). And I’m not going to write another blog post, not, not until we hear the news. Because I’ll probably have to process then and this has helped already to process it.
If I want to read about anorexia and the dangers of it, I’ll do so by finding some blogs, some other advocates, hell even Jessie Paege or books on the matter. I’ll finish my own story about it (by that I mean a fictional fanfic) and I’ll move forwards.
With or without you, Athena, I will move forwards. Because that’s all we can ever really do.
So, I’m gonna wipe away my tears and set this into motion.
You’ll never see this, Athena but I really do wish you the best. I wish you could be whole again. I wish your life mattered as much to you as it does to so, so, so many people out there. I’m not sure if it would be a curse or a blessing for you to one day realize how severe your condition is and the legacy that you’ve tarnished and left behind because of some bullshit in your brain that you weren’t able to overcome for some reason that we’ll never ever truly know.
I wish you were stronger. I wish you had more time. I wish we could have seen you grow and evolve and become more than everything else. I wish you didn’t have to suffer. I don’t know why some people do more than others, but I’ll have to believe in the Universe and know that it works in mysterious and often unfair ways.
Most of all, I’m going to remember you like this:
I’ll remember you smiling. I’ll remember your killer makeup looks. I’ll remember those green eyes and long hair. That hopefulness and life there within you. The idea, the promise, that things were really getting better. I’ll remember you like this. Because I can’t remember you like how you are now. I’m so sorry, Athena. I wish this wasn’t how you left.
This post got a lot more emotional than I could have ever imagined. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or some other mental heath condition: know that you are NEVER alone, that you CAN get through this, that there is HOPE and HELP available and that you’re so strong, you’re so amazing and you DESERVE to be here and take up space. I wish you all the best. xxx
“There’s strength and a certain amount of courage to write so publicly about your life, to share the journey is a blessing and a beacon for others who may be struggling, because it says, ‘hey, I’ve been where you are and you can get to this stable place, too.’ And that, above all, is what really matters.” — “My Hopes for My Legacy” by Me back in 2018 (article)
Resources: NEDA , National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA) , Healthy Place . thank you for reading and if you have any thoughts on this matter or about Athena or want to encourage her or share your story, please feel free to do so down below. if not, that's okay too. i believe in you and i always will. i want the best for her, i do, it's just hard. it's just hard. thank you for stopping by. sending you light, love and hugs. xxx <3 <3 <3
Living life with a chronic illness is definitely not easy. But I do my best to push through all the barriers this illness puts in front of me! In my heart and mind, I believe maintaining a positive outlook on all situations in life will carry us through to much better times! I hope you find the information that I provide both helpful and inspirational!