If you are consumed by food, you may have thought that you have unhealthy eating patterns. Maybe even an unhealthy relationship with food. If you obsess over what, when, and how much you eat, it could be possible that you are suffering from some form of disordered eating.
Hannah Mason knows this battle all too well. She is a 23-year-old Australian recovering from mental illness and disordered eating patterns. After going through recovery, she decided she wanted to use her knowledge and experience to help others and is currently almost finished with her Counselling degree and Certification in Education Support.
Through Hannah’s story, she hopes to reach as many people who are struggling in the same way she has with food and psychological behaviors. She was kind enough to share where she’s been, how she got help, and where she is now in this interview with Hope & Way.
You can learn more about Hannah on her website and follow her journey on Instagram.
My story begins when I was younger and battling mental health issues but really I began to suffer significantly at the age of 15. An eating disorder began in early primary school but didn’t spiral until late high school at the age of 15. Alongside that, I began suffering from severe depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts and feelings.
At the age of 19, I was hospitalized for the first time that has then led to a subsequent 20 admissions up to the age of 24. I have engaged in many methods of therapy to try and begin my healing journey. I have seen multiple psychologists, counselors, and therapists as well as walking through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) Eye-movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), and electro-convulsive therapy (ECT).
When and how she sought help
I first decided to seek professional help around the age of 19. There were a few people that I reached out to when my mental health first began to spiral. They included people that I looked up to at school, a teacher that I was really close to, and one of the pastors from my church. All three were absolutely incredible and really helpful in helping me get through the day with support, encouragement, and practical tools.
The main source of my holistic healing has been building my relationships with others and finding strength and understanding of friends that have walked through similar journeys to mine. My closest friends and I have seen each other at absolute rock bottom and can now share our achievements, successes, victories, and goals and can support each other through it all.
Another thing that I find incredibly helpful and holistic is spending time in nature. That can mean long walks, gentle exercise, or just lying down on the grass with friends and talking.
How she faces challenges
I still face challenges now with my mental and physical health but am more equipped to walk through them now and come out on the other side. I handle them through practicing self-care whether that relates to skincare, taking care of my hair, intentionally planning coffee dates with friends, or getting a walk or a gym session on most days.
The most beneficial thing I have found in my healing has not been a particular therapist or specific therapy but in building relationships and close friends and mentors that I can be honest, real, and completely authentic. Walking the journey alongside other people has been my greatest healing.
Her advice to someone struggling
When it comes to advising others in overcoming challenges the most important recommendation I make is to reach out to other people and not to do the journey alone. There are always going to be people that have walked similar journeys to your own and together you can help one another through and celebrate each other’s victories.
Why holistic healing
I don’t think there is one way to heal. Healing looks different for each individual and your mind can’t completely heal when your body is struggling and vice versa. Healing means taking ownership of the way you take care of yourself as a whole person, body, soul, and spirit.
I love books and podcasts and engage with them each day if I can. I have greatly benefited from books, Ted Talks, and Podcasts by both Brene Brown and Glennon Doyle. For me, I also listen to podcasts and read books that talk about faith, and setting goals.
Her final thoughts
My journey still holds ups and downs, victories, and struggles but I am learning through it all. I have a book in progress that I’ve written myself, am in the process of starting my own podcast, and connecting daily with people that struggle, and people that have overcome. Each journey and experience is different from one individual to another but hope and healing are always real and always possible.
Hannah’s story is incredibly inspiring and also a journey that is still a work in progress. She has come so far and learned so much along the way and her goal to spread her message as well as information for anyone else who is struggling is admirable. We hope that her story and experience is one that you can relate to and find comfort in knowing that you are not alone and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel as long as you continue to search for it.
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