You know when you read a book, and once you’ve put it down, you’re still thinking about it, yeah? Well, that was with me with this book. Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. A heartwarming but equally heartbreaking tale of one girl’s struggle through child abuse, addiction, a chaotic family life, rape, grief and complex mental health problems.
A good book has to trigger emotions, whether that be happiness, sadness, anger or something else. I cried while reading this book, so I think it’s safe to say what emotion it provoked. I was deeply touched by Nikki’s struggles. I couldn’t fathom how someone could go through so much yet still be fighting on. And for that, I only have admiration for Nikki. The courage it must have taken to keep going is unthinkable.
Five years ago, my mother Sandy passed away in a car accident. Although the initial investigation from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office stated that the cause of her accident was due to “some sort of a tire issue, causing the vehicle to veer off the road,” what my family and I know many years and one book later, is that her death was due to alcoholism, and potentially being attacked while driving.
****Old video and took a LONG time for me to upload – sorry guys!! I was away from YouTube for a while because of the #ChildVictimsAct.
This is the second video in my #IdentityCrisis series. Most of us have an identity crisis at some point. It’s easy to, when we put our faith in our careers, relationships, success, money, on and on. Western society teaches us to believe that our worth and value is in what we can achieve, which is false. Our worth and value is in the fact that we are God’s children.
One of the main themes in my memoir, Washed Away: From Darkness to Light, is identity. I developed all sorts of addictions and problems in my modeling career as a result of a childhood filled with trauma and mental illness because I had no sense of worth or identity.
Learn how I was able to successfully deal with my mental illness, walked away from #addictions and a career that was giving me a false #identity in my memoir, #washedaway on Amazon
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.
It is a widely-known, yet little-talked-about fact that trauma in childhood can lead to the development of unhealthy and potentially-fatal coping behaviors such as eating disorders. Until a few years ago, I never spoke a word about the abuse that I had endured in my household, as well as the disordered behaviors I lived with for most of my life as a result.
That all changed when I left my high-profile modeling career, got a mentor, went through recovery, and began writing. Once I started writing, it was as if I had blown the cap off a lid of a tightly-sealed bottle of explosives; all of my memories shattered onto the keyboard, and I couldn’t stop writing about them.
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.