“Happiness is a choice.” 200 milligrams of Zoloft. A week in a psych ward. Two stints in treatment for two different eating disorders. But “Happiness is a choice.” Mentally fit people tell themselves this. They will never be like me, choosing to hurt themselves, choosing to be sick. Sometimes I wonder if they are right. But I know better. My therapists and doctors know better.
Sometimes I wonder what it is like to be mentally healthy. Sometimes I wonder if they look down upon me. The thing is, I do not care. I look down upon myself too much to care about that.
I am trying to accept myself in a world that tells me “Happiness is a choice.” It is not that simple. Sure for some people, it might be, but not for the millions of people fighting to get out of bed each morning. Happiness was not a choice for Kate Spade. Happiness is not a choice for me.
The one thing in my power is this: education. I choose to share my story to tell uninformed people that I did not choose depression, bulimia, or atypical anorexia. I am just a human in need of love, understanding, and support. I often wonder if people like me are capable of actually changing the world. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but I sure as hell will try.
For six hours a day, I eat with other eating disordered patients and have group therapy. I have met some of the kindest and most intelligent people in treatment. Some have successful careers or attend elite colleges. Some volunteer or have jobs that save lives. None of this disqualified them from developing an eating disorder. Like me, they are at the mercy of this horrible disease. Being with these people makes me feel less alone. When I talk to them, I understand that being sick is not a moral failing. I understand that happiness is not a choice.
I did not choose to be sick. I never have. I fight everyday to be well. All I know is today I ate my breakfast and chose to write this instead of letting my illness win.