From a young age, I remember experiencing insecurities that no six year old should ever be worried about. I was hyper aware of the size of my body compared to the size of my friends. It began as a simple thought that would pass through my mind, but didn’t affect my daily life too much. However, as I got older the insecurity surrounding my body got worse. By the age of 11 I had began restricting my food intake to one small meal a day (dinner) so that I would not be too suspicious to my family. I wish I could say it ended there, but unfortunately my struggles only grew from then on. As I got deeper into my disordered eating, my feelings of depression and anxiety rose to the surface. The focus of my day no longer centered around my body alone, it had turned into slowly losing my will to live. By age 13, I had fallen so deep in to my depression that when I was alone at night, I began causing physical harm to my body. So began my seven year long battle with self harm, that I still face to this day. I am happy to say that I have been clean for over a year now, but not without fighting the daily urges that taunt me at night.

I wish I could say that mental illness is curable and that once you get out of the daze you will be immune forever, but that’s not the case. I have been struggling with my mental health for nine years, and yes most days I am happy and thriving, but I still find myself in the dark of my room under the covers numb to the world because I can’t bring myself to even speak through the constant tears streaming down my face. What I can say is through the support of one amazing mother, an amazing therapist (who trust me, I went through many before I found her), an awesome nurse practitioner, the right medication, and time, I have found a way to balance the good and the bad.

Take it from a person who never thought they would live to see their 17th birthday, let alone life beyond high-school, it does get better you just need the strength from an amazing support system and the willingness to just push through until tomorrow. You are on this earth for a reason and even when you feel alone you never are! The world needs you, I need you! -LA

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with a mental health disorder do not be afraid to reach out and get the support you need.

Telehealth Ontario

Durham Mental Health Services/Mobile Services
Short term crisis beds, visits and 24 hour free and confidential support line for individuals 16+ with a history of mental illness.
905.666.0483 or 1.800.742.1890

Distress Centre Durham
24 hour telephone counselling, crisis and suicide intervention and referral.
905.430.2522 or 1.800.452.0688

Durham Region Domestic Violence / Sexual Assault Care Centre (Lakeridge Health)
24 hour crisis line. Counselling and referrals for male/female sexual assault victims, all ages.

Durham Children’s Aid Society
For youth age 0 to 16 being abused or in fear for their safety.
905.433.1551 or 1.800.461.8140

Durham Rape Crisis Centre
24 hour counselling and support groups for recent or past abuse.

Family Services Durham

Community Access to Care – Durham

Herizon House – Ajax-Pickering
Women’s Centre 24 hour crisis line.

The Denise House (Shelter) – Oshawa
24 hour crisis line for abused women, counselling, children’s programs.
905.728.7311 or 1.800.263.3725

Bethesda House (Shelter) – Bowmanville
24 hour crisis line
905.623.6050 or 1.800.338.3397