Mother, wife, sister, daughter, high school counselor.
“I feel most alive when I’m outside in nature with the sun hitting my face and when my son and daughter are laughing. The best and worst day of my life was when I was hospitalized with organ failure in an inpatient psychiatric unit when I was 14 years old. It kick started my long battle against anorexia and later on in college, bulimia. I’ve been in two eating disorder treatment centers and it took me over ten years to finally consider myself fully recovered. Exercise is a big part of my life now, but for all the right reasons and because I love feeling strong. I grew up knowing my grandfather had died by suicide and five years ago on Christmas Eve my brother died by suicide. Three years ago right after my son was born, my dad, who was always my best friend but is an alcoholic, disappeared overnight and has been “missing” since. He ended up in a hospital in Florida recently, and we were contacted and told he has max 6 months to live as he is now in end stage heart failure. One of my biggest emotional insecurities is admitting just how much I miss him. I don’t want anyone to think I’m weak, ever. I would tell a 12 year old me that what I’m about to deal with in life is not my fault, and that it will prepare me so much for tough things in the future and help me to build resiliency. To me, beauty is kindness. I’m self conscious about sometimes being socially awkward and an introvert. It’s been challenging figuring out who I am outside of the years of trauma and I’m still working to write my new story. I am most afraid of relapsing or having my family’s mental health genetics passed down to my son or daughter. I am most proud of the life I have built. In 10 years, I hope to still be as happy and healthy as I am today. I am Jamie. I am powerful, I am strong, I am resilient.”Jamie
Kristie Dean, Jamie, 2022. Digital Photograph. ©Kristie Dean. All rights reserved.