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When Tragedy Makes Me Doubt the Importance of My Mental Health Recovery

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I’m in the car listening to the radio when the news comes on that an explosion has gone off at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester with multiple fatalities and injuries.

Unfortunately, these types of events have become, it makes me a bit nauseous to say, common. As someone who has a history of depression, and as someone who feels very deeply, hearing about these events really stir my insides. When I hear about events like these, it brings up so many depressive thoughts. My head tells me that I am selfish for seeking out recovery when there are much bigger things going on in the world. That there’s no point in putting all this effort into things I love — music, advocacy, writing — when bad things continue to happen around the world. Things I have absolutely no control over.

This feeling of smallness seriously triggers my eating disorder and depression. And I know I’m not alone in this. Feeling a sense of having no control over one’s situation is a symptom of depression. It makes be think it would be easier to shrink myself to as small as I can be, because that’s how the world makes me feel. 

What’s different today than when I was in the thick of my depression and eating disorder is that I am able to tell myself that these feelings will pass and I will be OK. There is no need to take any drastic self-destructive behaviors or use poor coping mechanisms, as I know this will not fix my thoughts or any of the events going on in the world. They won’t help you either.

So what are we to do? Honestly, that’s a tough one. Really, the only answer I have is to continue cultivating a life that is full of spreading love and hope, and to treat everyone I meet with the kindness we all deserve. Including myself. Because we can’t continue to add to the hate — self-inflicted or not.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. 

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Lead image via Ariana Grande’s Facebook page

Originally published: May 23, 2017
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