I went to Ottawa a couple of weeks ago and in the middle of my visit had a pretty sizable emotional breakdown. It wasn't depression based, instead it was about my body. I try to be open about my struggles with mental illness, but I am less open about my relationship with my body - its appearance, fitness level, weight, etc. Part of my reason for this is that I just don't think about it very much and the other part is that I have a different relationship than is usually depicted, or that I see from friends and family.
I am fine with how my body is/looks as long as...
- I am still fun, aka I am not holding others back from having a good time
I am often the slowest person on a hike or the last to finish a run. But I can still participate, I join in and enjoy various activities with my friends and family. This is very important to me and every time that Jason and I don't make it to the top of a mountain because we run out of time - my heart breaks and I hate myself and my body. This might seem like a very specific item but it has happened a number of times and it always makes me feel pretty awful about myself.
In Ottawa I felt the same way but at a magnitude never experienced before. Jason and I went to go skating on the canal and after doing up my skates I was unable to actually skate. I am not a good skater but I have never had issues doing it before. Even holding my body in position to skate was painful and the actual motion was exhausting - I was panting and sweating.
It was humiliating. I was devastated. After returning to the bench and taking off my skates, we went right to the car - I couldn't stop crying. To have my fitness level that low made me so angry at myself. I have never experienced these types of feelings about myself and body in this way. Instead of staying for the rest of the weekend in Ottawa, I decided to go home early. It was truly a shattering experience.
I couldn't imagine continuing to stay in Ottawa that weekend while feeling that awful - and I didn't feel comfortable disclosing to all the people I planned to visit that I was so upset because I felt like a useless disgusting fat worthless pile of crap. It isn't nice to hang out with people when upset, but I have done it during depressive episodes before. This was different and I am less comfortable with the realities of the situation. My friends were understanding and, while I still don't like talking about this, I decided to start writing about it to explain a bit to those who were there. This also allows me to share a bit of what is going on with me right now with others.