I am currently writing a book about being an atheist with a mental illness. I think I’ve mentioned it a couple of times on here. I am living with schizoaffective disorder and an eating disorder and with this book, I not only want to give an atheist perspective on mental health but also give a very realistic view of recovery.
Let me start with the good. After struggling for years with the mood and psychotic symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, I am able to live a fulfilling and relatively normal life. I work and I have a family. I get to do the things I love to do and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I love being able to write about my success living with such a stigmatized and debilitating illness and I hope I can bring others hope.
But here’s where I get to the realistic view of recovery. While my life might seem pretty good and from the outside, I look pretty stable right now, I’ve actually been struggling with my eating disorder for the past few months. I’m mentally exhausted and physically sick.
Two days ago I hit a breaking point and I’m ready to get help. I’ve been through treatment before with my eating disorder so I know a little bit about what to expect. Yesterday I started meal planning and I will contact my old counselor on Monday. I’m already feeling a little better — or at least see a light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s times like these that remind me to keep my writing honest and raw. Recovery is hard work — and while it is absolutely worth it — the journey is not all butterflies and rainbows. I’m not going to pretend it is and I’m not going to hold back.
Most of the time I feel well so I know that even though I’m in a funk right now, there will be brighter days ahead. I’m nearing the end of my project and I hope my readers will feel the struggle as well as the triumph.