Healing from my trauma required me to tell my trauma story — but not to over-identify with it. When I first began my healing journey, I would talk about my trauma to anyone who would listen: new friends, strangers on the Internet, distant family members, etc. In a way, telling my trauma story — and owning what I'd been through and how I got myself through it — empowered me. It gave me a sense of purpose and a feeling of pride; it also gifted me with much-needed validation.
My name is Kris McElroy, and I am the new author of "Dissociative Living." I received a diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder (DID) in 2013 when I was 28 years old. Since then, I have been navigating the complexities of living with DID, especially in relation to parenting, coexisting with alters, professional pursuits, and interpersonal relationships. I aspire to foster a shared understanding through the exchange of our experiences as we navigate the journey of dissociative living together.
Verbal abuse can affect many areas of life, including your view of body image and diet. Because this abusive tactic targets your self-esteem, experiencing negative comments about your weight can directly impact how you manage food consumption. In short, verbal abuse can affect your diet choices.
Schizoaffective anxiety and recovering from surgery are a particularly bad combination. Yesterday, I was picking up some packages from the mail room. The mailroom is down a flight of stairs from our apartment. Only one package of four free COVID tests would fit in my tote bag, so I had to carry the other one by hand. I have a system for getting the mail on such occasions since I just had double knee surgery, and it’s hard for me to get up and down stairs. Schizoaffective anxiety in recovery makes it harder because I'm scared.
One of the most significant symptoms of anxiety that I have struggled with has been hypervigilance. Hypervigilance pertains to being on guard and alert for threats in the environment and may result in engaging in behavior with the purpose of preventing danger.1
For the longest time, I felt something was wrong with me for being an introvert. While most kids my age loved noisy parties and socializing, I preferred quiet one-on-one conversations and the company of books. In tenth grade, when an unimaginative bully called me "boring," I took her jibe to heart. It took me a couple of years to realize she was dead wrong. I am not boring; I am an introvert. And there is nothing wrong with being an introvert.
I fell into habit tracking because in a world that is constantly changing, having clearly defined action steps is comforting. I’m able to trick my mind into creating a productive routine that feels more like a game than a chore. Sticking to healthy routines has a tremendously positive impact on my mental health, and it’s never been easier to do because I found a way that I enjoy. (Who doesn’t like the feeling of being able to check off boxes?)
In my life, embracing setbacks has been a recurring theme. Setbacks are the unexpected twists in my mental health journey. Embracing setbacks has been a transformative experience, prompting me to reconsider their nature and my response to them.
A few weeks ago, a friend asked me to edit an article that caused great stress and anxiety. I agreed to do this, not knowing how complex the text would be. After a few minutes, I stressed out about why I couldn't comprehend the content. My stress soon morphed into anxiety, pounding my head with thoughts like, "I'm so stupid, and If I can't edit this piece, my friend will be disappointed." I was tempted to give up and apologize to my friend. But before I did, I remembered that my stress and anxiety didn't have to consume me. To learn more about my experience with stress and anxiety and how I have learned to deal with them, continue reading this post.
I know it can be hard to believe sometimes, but needing help with eating disorder (ED) recovery is not a sign of weakness. It's one of the bravest actions you can take. Internalized fears or anxieties might whisper in your ear that asking for help means you are a failure, a burden, or a lost cause. But I hope you can trust me on this: Those inner voices aren't telling you the truth. It's okay to need help with ED recovery. In my own experience, healing is intensive, painful, and humbling work. No one I've met (including myself) has been able to successfully pursue it alone. So, if you could use an extra boost of care, support, advice, or encouragement, don't allow fear to intimidate you from reaching out. I promise needing help with ED recovery is not a sign of weakness.