Charlene McElhinney’s Book Review of Washed Away: From Darkness to Light by Nikki Dubose

After reading Nikki’s memoir I was lost for words. What a remarkable woman, I thought, and oh so courageous! To openly speak out about darker times in your past is draining, difficult and so daunting (I know because I’ve also opened up about my mental health issues through the form of poetry in book form). Putting it out there, for the world to see, is absolutely terrifying. And Nikki shares so much with us. You can’t fault a word in Nikki’s memoir: It is her whole life in your hands. You can feel it. You can feel her pain, her thought process, and more importantly – her desire to be loved. Nikki desperately wanted to be loved throughout her whole life and it breaks your heart reading about her life knowing that there is nothing you can do. I wanted to reach out to this young girl and tell her she is deeply loved – if only someone had.

Read the full review at Charlene McElhinney.

Fiona Likes to Blog: 3 mental health books you MUST read today

I’ve spent many an afternoon wandering around the library. To me the library has always been a place of opportunity, and it has helped me find books that ignite new interests and explain unknown worlds to me. I’ve loved collecting books over the years, and looking back at my favourites reminds me if where I was at that point in my life, how I was feeling and what I was doing.

Having depression and anxiety means I often look for answers in the books I read. Recently I reflected on some of the books that helped me make sense of my own mental illness and it’s something that I think you might find helpful, so I’ve listed my top 3 books below.

Read the full article at Fiona Likes to Blog.

She’s Fit to Lead: Book Review – Washed Away by Nikki DuBose

What is the life of a high fashion model. Is it all glam and fame and perfection? Are those celebrity models we idolize like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid really leading the amazing life that we perceive? Or is it a life of “fakes and… lies,” as top Australian Model Ajak Deng announced last year when she left the industry that she said she could no longer take? Or even one that is literally making its participants sick as writer turned model Madison Schill asserted in a Glamour Magazine article, detailing, among other things, how her agent literally asked her if she “drank butter for water.”

In her new, both disturbing and inspiring memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, former model, Nikki Dubose, who has appeared on the covers of and in editorials for all the biggies – Maxim, Glamour, Vogue, Vanity Fair and more lends her voice to this debate.

Read the full book review at She’s Fit to Lead.

The Mental Illness Happy Hour

Glamorously Dying: Ex-Model Nikki DuBose

The 31 year-old ex-model (Vogue, Vanity Fair) discusses surviving incest by her mother (who was also an alcoholic with BiPolar and DID aka Multiple Personality Disorder) and a lifetime of battling eating disorders (binging, bulimia, anorexia), depression, anxiety, psychosis, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, alcoholism and drug and sex addiction. She reflects on the physical and emotional bottom that finally made her walk away from modeling and seek help, ironically as her emaciated body was more desirable than ever in the industry.

Listen to the podcast here.

He Said Books Or Me – Excerpt: Washed Away

Hi Everyone!

Just stopping by today with an excerpt from the book, Washed Away. There is more information about the book and the author below the excerpt.
Happy Reading!
Chapter 5: Sex, Suicide, Addiction, Bullying & Divorce

Life is like a painting; our circumstances are the brushes that define which way the lines will flow and trickle. This endless mural reveals the contents of our souls through its unique colors, textures, and shades.

Read more on He Said Books Or Me.

Reflecting on my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light to College Students

Nikki DuBose reflects on her memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, to college students from nikki dubose on Vimeo.

Get Busy Thriving! Podcast: Interview with Fashion Model with Nikki DuBose

“I’ve been reading the recently released memoir of Nikki Dubose called Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.

I sense so much hope from this woman and her life’s message. To read about what she’s been through and how she is starting to rebuild a happy life for herself is inspiring.

Nikki was a fashion model who landed the cover of coveted magazines such as Maxim and Vogue in the peak of her career. While from the outside her photos portray a woman living the life many people dream of, beneath the surface she was dealing with severe depression, sexual abuse, anorexia, alcohol and drug abuse and much more.”

Read more and listen to the podcast on Getbusythriving.com.

Recovery Warriors Podcast: From Darkness to Light with Nikki DuBose

“Nikki DuBose is an excellent example of the transformational powers of recovery. A former model turned author, speaker, and mental health advocate she had many experiences navigating the dark side of the modeling industry, while battling abuse, addiction, and various mental health issues (sexual victimization, eating disorders, alcoholism, drugs, depression, suicide attempts, body dysmorphic disorder, PTSD, psychosis). In her debut memoir Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, she intimately shares her process of destruction to regeneration. Tune into this week’s show to hear Nikki candidly talk about her path to healing.”

Listen to the Podcast with Nikki and Recovery Warriors!

Today Kicks Off NEDAwareness Week 2016!

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This year NEDA’s theme is 3 Minutes Can Save a Life. Get Screened. Get Helped. Get Healthy.

For over seventeen years I battled with not only an eating disorder, but a plethora of mental health conditions that held me prisoner in my own mind and body. If only I would have trusted someone outside of myself I would have experienced the help much sooner. It really only takes three minutes to get access to critical, life-saving information. Isn’t it the most amazing feeling to know that there are people out there who understand you, who are just waiting to love you?

Visit NEDA’s Awareness site to get screened and find out more information.

In regards to my own recovery, it was thanks to a combination of spirituality, mentorship, the twelve-step program, therapy, medication, family and friends, great organizations like NEDA and leaving my modeling career behind. After falling many times and never giving up I was able to regain my mental, physical and spiritual health, and have been going strong for the past three years. Writing and speaking have been incredible tools of healing for me because they have helped me to find my voice during times when I thought that I had none. But we all have voices and often they can be heard the loudest when our lives feel the darkest. 

Don’t give up, ever. You, more than anyone else in the world, are worthy of self-love, care and recovery.

Here’s my schedule for #NEDAwareness 2016:

Feb. 23 10am PST: Twitter Chat – “Getting Healthy: The Many Faces of Eating Disorders Recovery” with @NEDAstaff @EDHope @GenderSpectrum @MentalHealthAm @EricC_Official @TheNikkiDuBose

Feb. 23 7pm PST/ CSU San Marcos: Screening of The Illusionists and Panel Discussion. I will be speaking on a panel at CSU San Marcos, discussing the documentary The Illusionists and talking about the globalization of beauty. All are welcome to attend.

Feb. 25 7pm PST/ CSU San Marcos: Keynote Speaker. I will be telling my personal story of recovery and then holding a Q & A session afterwards.

 

Speak2Heal Episode 4 College Life & Addiction with Laura Porter

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes!

On this episode I sat down with Laura Porter who is a student at George Washington University majoring in political communication with a minor in psychology. After taking three semesters off of school for her own mental health struggles, Laura became passionate about advocating for increased awareness of mental illness among college students, specifically eating disorder awareness. Laura served as president of Students Promoting Eating Disorder Awareness and Knowledge at GW (SPEAK GW) as well as a communications intern at Active Minds Inc.

You can connect with Laura on Twitter  @LCPeez and on Speak GW.

Look out for my new book, Washed Away, coming out next year! In case you missed it in the last post, I recently wrote a blog about it on the National Eating Disorders Association.

 

God Bless,
Nikki DuBose

In Memory of Ryan

You know, we were kids. He was older, and hiding my Barbies was his thing. Just like most cousins, he liked to tease; it was his way of showing affection. Of course I cried a lot – I loved my dolls more than anything. But as I grew, I wanted to spend more time with him and his brothers, and less time with my dolls.

Then came the times he spent showing me how he could play the guitar, and I was impressed. This kid was good. Like radio good. I spent hours at his feet, cuddling my knees and bobbing my head, as he ripped away tunes, sweating over sheets of music. Of course the teasing always came back. At Halloween he locked me in a dark room and blasted loud tapes of spooky noises. I cried. He laughed.

I didn’t see Ryan for years, but I always thought about him. As life took us in different directions, he and his brothers were constantly in my heart. I struggled with my own issues – depression, eating disorders, addiction, the after-effects of abuse. I was trying to keep my head afloat in a dark ocean of confusion; I wanted to visit my family, but I felt detached from the world. I could no longer identify with the little girl who once played freely and enjoyed life for what it had to offer. I was simply someone else…an identity I had created to cope with life. Often, I contemplated destroying that identity altogether. I wanted to die.

Then came the day – it started out like every other day. Except on this day, I learned that Ryan was gone. He had taken his own life. The memories we shared, were all I had to hold onto. We could never create new ones.

I wish he could have known that, whatever pain he was going through were only temporary. I wish he could have known that he could have reached out…to anyone. I wish that as kids, I could have told him anything, just one thing, that could have made a difference. But I can’t go back and change that. I can, however, help someone else, in honor of him.

I changed my life in honor of my mother, who died in 2012. More importantly, I did it for myself. We can all do it, in memory of someone we love, in honor of ourselves.

If you or someone you love needs to talk, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As well, you can visit their website to find out more about suicide prevention and ways you can help in your area.

God Bless,
Nikki

Now and Always, I Choose Life

Every thirteen minutes another person makes the horrifying decision to end their life in the United States.(1) That’s one too many; imagine how many precious lives could be saved if they could see themselves through the eyes of the people who love and care for them.

Suicide is something I am all too familiar with. In honor of Suicide Prevention Week, I would like to share a bit of my story.

I am now thirty years old; thankfully I am able to see life on the other side of that seemingly endless tunnel of despair. But life wasn’t always like this, no, in fact, for most of it, I struggled with the after-effects of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, a seventeen year eating disorder, alcoholism, depression and stints of heavy drug use. On the outside, I seemed like I had everything together, but on the inside and to a close few who really got to know me, I was desperate to die.

Thoughts of death began to creep in around my early teens, when my mother attempted suicide twice. When other kids my age were just beginning to blossom at school and make friends, I was living in a nightmare, visiting Mom at the mental ward. Visions of her bandaged arms haunted me for most of my adult life, although they were detached somehow; I buried them in a deep place. After all, mothers weren’t supposed to be the ones who needed care.

I internalized the clouded feelings. If Mom wanted to die…I wanted to, too. What was my identity? How was it being formed? My mental state deteriorated at a time when it should have been growing. I was angry and began to dabble in my own forms of self-harm and ultimately, turned towards sharp objects for relief. I needed something to release the intense misery that I felt inside.

At eighteen I was married, although it was brief. I was looking to get away from my family, and move as far away from home as I possibly could. I looked for anyone and anything to cure the loneliness and painful memories that kept resurfacing from my childhood. My eating disorder was worse than ever; I binged and purged multiple times a day. When that couldn’t numb me anymore, I reached for a full bottle of ephedrine and swallowed it whole. The world became dark and I collapsed. Thankfully, my husband at the time came home and found me, my sweaty body convulsing on the floor. I was angry. “How could he do this to me?” I thought. “How could he let me live?”

I continued to struggle with thoughts of suicide, especially when I was recovering from anorexia. Many people are not aware how many deaths are due to suicide from those suffering from eating disorders, but I teetered on the brink for far too long.(2) I was blinded as to my worth; years of trauma had led me to believe that I was not good enough. Throughout years of recovery, however, I am grateful to say that not only am I alive and thriving, but I am able to help others see their value as well. Our darkest times truly can serve as our most valuable lessons.

My mom was not so lucky. Only a couple of months before her death she was in rehab, trying to get her life together. However, she kept talking about how she wanted to die. And she did…she created that life. It was the hardest reality for me to face. My life will turn into the way I want it to. I choose life, today and always. What do you choose?

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, please call 1.800.273.8255  Just talk, to anyone. Whether you know it or not, there are so many people who love you.

Visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to learn more about suicide and ways to get involved in your area

To learn more about eating disorders, check out the National Eating Disorders Association.

The Cure

I searched for myself
inside of bottles, liquids
pills and powders too
I took my pain
and numbed it with food
starved myself
’till I was nearly dead
Then one day
as I lay broken on the floor
a man appeared before me
“Are you ready to be healed
take my hand
All you have to do
is accept me.”

©2015 Nikki DuBose

The Hope Diary: Gaining

The Hope Diary: Gaining

July 9, 2014

You can’t paint over pain.

Gaining weight in recovery from anorexia and bulimia has been hell. There’s no ice cream-caked way to sugar coat the horrendous feelings that have surfaced once I actually started to put down my addiction, and picked up life again. Not numbing myself with food, drugs, or alcohol left me stone-cold naked and faced with thoughts and emotions that I had buried years and years ago; and many that I did not even know existed.

The sexual abuse began in my childhood and resurfaced in the modeling business. I used food, and later drugs and alcohol, to forget the experiences and dull the nightmares that I was having of being used for my body and thrown away like yesterday’s trash. I lost my identity over the course of my life, and between all of the mental problems with my mother, I often considered suicide. I began to see myself like a monster in my teenage years, and I felt like my eating disorder was my best friend, and the only thing I had to live for. Sometimes when life was really low, I found myself debating between only the eating disorder or killing myself. I truly thought that I was so low, so degraded, that I had nothing to live for. I had been so shamed in my body since my childhood, that I had come to view myself as an object, which is what others had treated me as.

Gaining weight in recovery has given me my strength back physically, mentally and emotionally, and it has enabled me to deal with the underlying pain underneath the eating disorder. When I was first sexually abused at the age of eight, I began to overeat to try to bury the shameful feelings that I had. Therefore, as an adult in recovery, at twenty-nine years old, I am working every day to value and love myself at a healthy weight, and not feel ashamed of the person that I am. There is a mental and emotional reflection I guess you could say that stares back at me sometimes, even without a mirror, and that is because of the tremendously damaged little girl and adult girl from the modeling industry that really got hurt from the constant abuse.

Gaining weight is my “sharpened Savior” in a sense, because it is a necessary tool that has been molding me into the true person that I really am, and need to be in order to face all of the monsters from my past, and the ones that will inevitably reoccur. Knowing that God is with me throughout everything is my hope and comfort.

Don’t give up. Wherever you are at in recovery, embrace it. You are strong. You can do this. I know you can. I believe in you.

God Bless,