Hi, my name is Betsy Robinson, and I live and work on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina. Some of you may know me as “Nurse Betsy”, and some of you may know me as a vocalist who has performed locally in several bands throughout the years, but today I would like for you to know that I am proud to be a “Mental Health Champion”!
As a member of the “Breaking Through Task Force”, our team members have been focusing on working to remove the stigma that mental health issues can cause. So today, I’m here to talk to all of you openly about my own mental health struggles.
I grew up in an environment of secrecy, where having any type of mental illness was a sign of weakness, or the inability to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps”. I dealt with a lot of things growing up: emotional and sexual abuse by family members as a young child, and being in a physically abusive relationship when I was older. I felt that I wasn’t allowed to talk about what was happening to me, so I internalized it and became addicted to food, eventually gaining so much weight that I tipped the scales at 342 pounds.
After finally deciding that “enough was enough” I sought help for my eating disorder and the depression that came along with it. I got healthy by seeking professional counseling for my mental health challenges, and decided to have surgery to help me with my food addiction.
Today, I am healthy and happy. I will struggle with my depression and my eating disorder for the rest of my life, but I know that help is available, and that people do care.