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Share your Mental Health Story!
Our “Free From” project is a way for you to share your story with the Libero community. Our interview-style form means you don’t even have to be a good writer! We want to know what you’re free from and what ‘freedom’ means to you.
Learn more and submit your story by visiting liberomagazine.com/free
What are you free from?
What does ‘freedom’ mean to you?
Freedom means breaking free of my comfort zone and living in the moment, with no fears or anxieties–a life full of love for myself and for others.
Share a bit of your story and the journey that brought you from where you were to where you are today:
In the aftermath of my parent’s deaths during my teenage years, I faced eviction, arrest, and broken family relationships.
For years, I blamed myself for a lot of the hurt, but built a wall to prevent looking weak.
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I stopped being authentic with myself and those around me. This all fueled my anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder and led to my eating disorder.
Also struggling with my masculinity, I longed to look like the popular, muscular, and arrogant guys on my social media feed. The guys who seemed to have it all.
A health scare at age 29 fueled my addiction to healthy, clean eating.
Foods became good or bad, but weight loss was no longer the goal. I just wanted to live. I feared just one “bad” food would result in some terrible disease that would rob me of the life I was building with my husband.
Soon, my eating disorder would control my life.
The entire time I didn’t even realize I was suffering from an eating disorder. I didn’t match the stereotype and others often praised my willpower. As a result, my eating disorder went unchecked for years until last summer when my husband acknowledged the pain he saw in me. He saw the way my thoughts and fears around food consumed my life.
I was no longer living my life; I was living orthorexia’s life.
In recovery, I’ve learned that the strongest man is the one who is in touch with his emotions. He is open, honest, and authentic. I saw the glaring need for guys like me to share our stories and encourage others to do the same, which is why I launched my blog.
As a guy with a lesser-known eating disorder, I am determined to advance the conversation and confront the stigma and stereotypes that prevent so many from getting the help they need.
Now that you are “Free from Guilt,” how would you compare your life before experiencing this sense of freedom to your life after?
I was full of shame and guilt for years gone by. I set unrealistically high expectations for myself and others, which led to a constant feeling of disappointment and self-doubt.
At the height of my eating disorder, I was it’s hostage.
Since entering recovery and discovering freedom, I found my inners strengths and learned to love myself as I am. I forgave myself for decisions that haunted me from my past and realized I was simply doing the best I could in the aftermath of losing my parents.
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What message do you have for others who can relate to your story and may feel trapped or alone right now?
You are never alone!
Our battles are all unique, just like we are. If you ever feel trapped or alone, please speak up.
Your feelings and situation are valid and you are worthy of help.
I was terrified to let others in on my battle with an eating disorder and mental illness. It was scary, but also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It’s given me the ability to reclaim my life and say goodbye to the guilt that haunted me for so long.
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