The goal of Humain Avant Tout (Human Above All) is to reduce the taboos surrounding mental health; to break the isolation; to give back hope; and to incite people to ask for help. The organization broadcasts first-person accounts from people who have lived through psychological difficulties, both diagnosed and undiagnosed.
Here is Marianne’s story.
I started suffering from anorexia at age 16. I wanted to get to a certain weight, but once I got there I didn’t want to stop… I needed to feel good and capable of something.
I think I was looking for control, and an escape from my negative emotions. It had enormous impact on my mood, and I started having a lot of suicidal ideas.
In secondary 5, I was hospitalized at Sainte-Justine three times.
It was very comforting to be with 15 people who were going through the same thing I was. My hospitalizations were necessary, but I think I wasn’t ready to get better yet. That’s why I didn’t benefit from it as much as I could have.
Today I don’t consider myself anorexic anymore, but I still have problems with my diet and body image. It’s not as prominent in my thoughts as it used to be, but it’s more insidious, sneaky. It’s always banging around in my head somewhere. It’s a heavy burden to carry around. But I don’t want my identity to be centred on that anymore… I’ve had an awakening over the last several months: I’ve realized that I always wanted to get better for others, but never for myself. The illness always came back, in one form or another.
Today, I’m trying to make peace with myself and give myself the love I deserve, that chance to heal. I’m learning to be nice and generous towards myself. Sometimes, I ask myself: if those thoughts concerning my image and my weight were no longer there, how would I be? What would be left? There’s a little depression, a sort of mourning, that accompanies healing an eating disorder… I’m trying to do more things for myself, like painting and playing the piano.
I’m not just that disorder, I’m not just my illness. I see that I can define myself otherwise. There’s a part of me that hits myself on the head for still being a bit caught in that loop. But there’s another part of me that’s proud of where I’ve got to. I think that now the proud part is stronger than the other part, and I’m in contact with hope.
Suicide Prevention Resources:
· Québec: 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553). CLSCs can also help you.
· Canada: Canadian Suicide Prevention Service 1-833-456-4566
· France Infosuicide 01 45 39 40 00 SOS Suicide: 0 825 120 364 SOS Amitié: 0 820 066 056
· Belgium: Centre de prévention du suicide 0800 32 123.
· Portugal: (+351) 225 50 60 70