Proud2Bme | Finding the Rainbow in the Rain: My Mental Health Journey

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Finding the Rainbow in the Rain: My Mental Health Journey

By Ashley Michelle Williams--“You can overcome anything, if you believe you can.” That has been the mantra that I have carried with me throughout various chapters of my life. It has gotten me through even the most difficult moments.

Trigger warning: Descriptions of eating disordered behavior.

There was a time in my life that was very hard for me. It was my first case of battling depression and it started when I was 12 years old. It was especially hard for me to navigate because I was just beginning to embark on my life and I was figuring out who I was. It was also during this time that my first eating disorder was triggered.

I was trying to find my purpose, navigate difficult friendships, overcome bullying and become comfortable with who I was. It was one of the hardest periods of my life. I didn’t know why exactly I was depressed. I knew there were a variety of things that I was trying to overcome. I kept trying to push myself through them, trying to see the rainbow amid the harsh realities of growing up. But I think it may have stemmed from trying to find my sense of purpose and being, understanding who it was that I was created to be and figuring out how to become that person.

The struggle of depression mixed with having an eating disorder is a pain that no one should have to face. Having an eating disorder is already hard enough, but also battling with depression and sadness at the same time can make the situation even more overwhelming.

Read more: My Eating Disorder Wasn’t the Only Mental Illness I Conquered

It was during this time of my life that I realized the importance of having faith. For me, my inner strength came from trusting God, relying on family and also seeing counselors in and outside of school. They helped me to navigate through this dark period of my life and to understand that this was just a moment of my life that I could choose to overcome if I really wanted to do so. All of these things were my rock, the coming glimpse of my rainbow in the rain.

They helped me see that I had the power, I had the strength, and I was beautiful and perfect just the way that I was. They helped me to understand that we all go through hard times in life and that is part of life. But we don’t need to allow them to overtake us or make us feel defeated. We can always choose to rise above, no matter how painful the situation or how cloudy everything may seem to be in front of us.

I think this is the reality that I still take with me today. The idea that there is nothing too powerful or too hard for us to bear is something that we can all carry with us. I wholeheartedly believe that we can make it through anything we face, if we have the willingness and the belief in ourselves to rise above the struggles we face.

We must reach out to people around us or to those who could help us. We cannot hold ourselves in silence, hoping for change. We have to let those around us know; that is what gives us our rainbow.

For recovery resources and treatment options, call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 800-931-2237.

About the blogger: Ashley is the founder and CEO of RIZZARR, a social publishing platform that aims to collect the voices of young people around the world to empower them and to positively transform their lives. She has a background in journalism. Ashley has worked for NBC News, WBAL Radio, and USA TODAY. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern California, earning a B.A. in broadcast and digital journalism as well as minors in international relations and Spanish.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

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