Michelle | OCD, Anxiety, Depression, Body Dysmorphia, ADHD, PTSD

When Michelle was 9 years old, her mother died and triggered the beginning of her anxiety and depression. From a very early age, she experienced sexual assault and abuse in several forms that caused Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) in which she experiences flashbacks and a strong fight-or-flight response to external stimuli to this day—to the point that her partners must announce when they enter a room lest she becomes filled with panic. As a child, her ADHD should have been obvious with symptoms such as test anxiety due to focusing problems and hyperactivity, but nobody was able to recognize that she needed help. When she was a teenager, she attempted suicide, taking a bottle of pills from the medicine cabinet and falling asleep, only to be woken when it was time for dinner. Her family suspected her of being on something due to her responses at dinner, but didn’t realize that she had attempted suicide until years later when she explained what had happened and what had lead to it. Often feeling like the “Cinderella of the house,” she was treated as the problem child, spending hours alone outside crying with nobody checking on her.

Throughout life, Michelle has experienced many forms of body shaming and insecurities in relation to her cystic acne, her hair, and her concerns about weight. She did some modeling during her late teens and early twenties, but was on occasion turned down for being "too heavy" at 120lbs, which combined with her existing self-doubt worsened her Body Dysmorphia. She also struggles with Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD), part of which revolves around compulsively weighing herself and recording the weight down to the ounce. Her OCD also rears its head in obsessive organization, with her finding herself fast friends with the label maker.

However, her anxiety and depression frequently overrides her obsessive tendencies, making her feel overwhelmed and sends her spiraling into a depression. When she gets depressed, she often goes into modes where she can’t talk to anyone at all; then all the missed messages and calls make her feel even more overwhelmed. Unfortunately, she has had negative experiences with medications in the past and has decided that she prefers to function without them.

Despite her struggles, Michelle runs a successful boudoir studio, is on one of her town's commissions, helps run the community garden, and also started a seed exchange. She finds relief in tending to her homestead, apothecary, and raising her son. She sometimes sees him struggling in similar ways that she did as a child and is striving to raise him with the tools to cope.

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