Blog

May21
2015

Breaking Through the Darkness

By Kathleen Parrish

When I look back on my life over the past decade, things begin to blur. What felt so painful all those years has slowly begun to heal, though it has been a process years in the making. My scars, both on the outside and inside, have faded for the most part, but they serve as a reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. My voice is now powerful and resilient where I once almost let my eating disorder destroy it. When moments of darkness creep in, I can’t lie and say it’s not difficult to stand my ground. But the amount of hope I have within myself and for my future is enough to get me through to the next day.

Being vocal about my personal battles has been frightening at times because I was preoccupied with what others would think. However, I realized that by speaking out I was allowing myself to connect with incredible people who have dealt with or are dealing with difficult circumstances. By sharing my story, I have been able to provide others a reminder of hope.

Prior to developing bulimia, I began self-harming; I used it briefly as a control method. In addition to my eating disorder, I have also experienced serious depression. I even attempted to end my life twice. While I’ve written about my bulimia before, I have not publicly discussed my depression, self-harm, and suicide attempts. This is partly because I’ve tried to block it out and partly because I’m at a better place in my life.

While it came and went in levels of severity over the years, around five years in I began throwing up less. When I think about what shifted in myself, I honestly feel like it’s because I was so tired. I was weak, and the thought of even eating wore me out because I knew it meant I “had” to throw up. Some days were good; some days I truly felt like dying. I was seeking happiness and stability by controlling certain aspects of my mind, only to continue the cycle of instability.

About a year ago, I made the decision to truly recover. I’d made multiple attempts over almost a decade, but up until this past year I hadn’t felt a true desire to let go of my eating disorder. Perhaps I was scared I was letting go of myself since this was what I had felt defined me for so long. By this point it had been seven years of having my eating disorder, and my family and friends weren’t aware I was still dealing with bulimia. While they have been incredibly supportive over the years, there is often the misconception among many people that these issues don’t have a serious, lasting impact, and many of them aren’t aware of the reality of relapsing. I had always been open about where I was with myself, so I’m sure they would have supported me had I been open about it, but something was different this time around. I knew that if I was ever going to recover, the support I needed was in myself.

Throughout this entire journey, I just wanted to know I mattered. I now realize that I do. I did then and I do now, and so do you. You matter: your health, your emotions, and your future. Your weight, your scars, and your past do not define you. I cannot emphasize enough how if you hold on and push through the tough times – be it an eating disorder, self-harm, depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts – it will get better. My whole life revolves around writing – lyrics, music, stories, articles – and I can’t even begin to put into words the self-hate I have felt over the years. I thought that nothing would change, but I was wrong.

It’s a daily choice and a daily battle, but by breaking the routine you will grow stronger. There is hope, and it’s always been there. Sometimes it’s just hidden, but with the right support, breaking through the boundaries of darkness is absolutely possible.

Leave a Reply

Comments (13)

  1. carrie

    Thank you for this story. Hearing stories gives me faith that I can and will be better.

    Reply  |  
  2. Alyssa

    This is beautiful. ❤️

    Reply  |  
  3. Tiffany Forbes

    This story is powerful, I’m Glad that you are putting it out there depression and self harm happen to so many people I’m still making my way through the darkness reading this gives me hope thanks

    Reply  |  
  4. Angie

    I’m so happy you’ve been able to pull through of your inner struggles and I thank you for sharing your story. Reading posts like this one remind me that I matter and there is hope. I’ve also managed to pull myself out of my hatred for myself by finding comfort in The Lord. After I started reading The Bible more, getting to know Jesus, and giving my life up to Him, I’ve been slowly gaining more confidence in myself. I’ve prayed for bravery and self-esteem and I can feel Him helping me. He has saved my life countless times, and although there are bad days, He continues to convince me not to do things I’d regret the next day. And I am so thankful that He does. If you don’t know Jesus, maybe you might want to try getting to know Him. If you give your life to God, He will do amazing things with it. And He will always be there for you, comforting and helping you along the way of life. 🙂

    Reply  |  
  5. Sheri

    I have recently found this group but in the few weeks I have related so much to people’s stories and can see hope in my future, which was never there before. Partly because I don’t talk about my problems. Thank you so much for sharing and your words of wisdoms!

    Reply  |  
  6. Natalee

    Thank you so, so much for writing this Kathleen. I am trying to recover from bulimia & it seems like a never ending battle. My thoughts on self-hatred echo yours but now I feel some resemblance of hope. . For many years I have used old wounds, sadness, and my weight to define who I am as a person.
    I’m now teaching myself to look inward, to find the courage I need to shine. One step at a time.
    Solidarity hugs and love. x

    Reply  |  
  7. Leonie

    This blog let me thinking about the last two years what I’ve been through. People tell me that they are happy to see that I am getting better and I can’t keep the smile from my face when I hear it.
    I recognize that there were friends & family supporting me the whole time and I didn’t knew. They were caring and I couldn’t see it.
    Now I started to thank people who are making me feel alive again &nd it really feels greaat!

    Reply  |  
  8. Maria

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It gives me hope that maybe one day I will be free from the eating disorder, self-harm, depression and self hatred that consumes me.

    Reply  |  
  9. Kim

    “Your weight, your scars, and your past do not define you.” It has been 8 years since I last self-harmed, and I still struggle with letting that define me. I have so much anxiety when people ask about my scars and I still lie about them. I fixate on them, and believe that that is who I am, so whenever I make a stupid luce decision or something bad happens to me, I feel like I deserve it, because that is the type of person I am, and it hinders me from breaking away and discovering who I really am. I have made great strides, but I still struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I don’t want to continue to let these things define me.

    Reply  |  
    1. Flor

      I’ve been struggling for… almost 18 years, I think. You know… I remember playing “rolling down the stairs” when I was a kid. The pain made me feel… better, like I got what I deserved. I can’t believe I never broke anything. This anxiety… never goes away. It’s just… always waiting around the cornner. I eat loads sweet things everyday. That’s my routine. I guess I wish life was sweeter… My family supports me… they always check on me and respect “my timing”. Still, we never talk about it. It’s a taboo. They always panic whenever I try to talk about it, like talking about that huge elephant at the living room would actually make it real. If I don’t talk, we can play “normal”. I know I made a lot of progress, if I look back. But still… it never goes away…

      Reply  |  
  10. Kim

    “Your weight, your scars, and your past do not define you.” It has been 8 years since I last self-harmed, and I still struggle with letting that define me. I have so much anxiety when people ask about my scars and I still lie about them. I fixate on them, and believe that that is who I am, so whenever I make a stupid life decision or something bad happens to me, I feel like I deserve it, because that is the type of person I am, and it hinders me from breaking away and discovering who I really am. I have made great strides, but I still struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I don’t want to continue to let these things define me.

    Reply  |  
  11. Angel

    I am not even sure to start or what to say but I know that it was meant for me to watch “To write love on her arms” today. I struggle with bulimia, ________ and depression. Some of the people in my life know my story but they do not know that I still very much struggle to live day to day……

    Reply  |  
  12. Leila

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to a lot of what you said and just knowing that someone else has had similar feelings and challenges brings comfort, but also that you made it through and were able to “break through the darkness” gives me even more hope. I admire your strength to overcome your struggles and to also share them. I hope one day I will be able to share my experience and what I have learned from them as well and also one day (and this day starts to feel more likely and closer as time goes on and I am able to deal with my thoughts and feelings)be able to say that I made it through and that I finnaly am free.

    Reply  |  
Get Email Updates

Sign up for our newsletter to hear updates from our team and how you can help share the message of hope and help.

Join our list