Eric Dorsa is sitting near a river in the mountains
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Recovery

Why I Stopped Asking Why in my Mental Health Journey

By Eric Dorsa
I am someone who believes I am never done in my mental health and recovery journey. I believe this because I am never done being human.

I am someone who believes I am never done in my mental health and recovery journey. I believe this because I am never done being human. Learning to be alive and fully human has been one of the biggest gifts and the hardest lessons I continue to face in my recovery from an eating disorder, substance use and PTSD. I often hear in my spiritual practices, “You are a soul having a human experience.” But being human sucks.

I would say that right now being human for so many people around the world is incredibly scary and feels impossible. Being human means I am not all powerful and perfect. I didn’t grow up knowing that I could be human. I didn’t know that it was okay to have questions instead of worshiping at the altar of answers.

I find so often in recovery and mental health journey that questions lead to more questions more often than they will ever lead me to an answer. I have also learned that my lifeline in being human is always connecting with the people who have the same questions as me. When I find the courage to whisper my questions out loud to the world, I will often get a quiet “me too.” These two words have saved my life. 

“Me too. I tell myself that my body determines my worth and my value."

"My heart is also broken because my parents refuse to accept that I am gay."

"I wake up sometimes and tell myself that I am going to hell because of who I am…what is even the point in trying?"

"I am also a survivor of trauma and abuse."

"I too feel like I will never get better or learn how to like myself, let alone love myself."

"I am broken. I cry sometimes in the beautiful moments of my life because it is a reminder that they are supposed to be here with me. I just want to know why!"

These were just some of the questions I share with many brave persons I have met in my journey. Thank you to everyone who has  shown me that I am not alone.

I used to believe that healing was about discovering the why. I needed to figure out the why of the eating disorder, the depression, the trauma, the anxiety, the addiction…why do my parents abuse us? If I could figure out the why then I could fix it and make it all go away. Healing was about “fixing it.” If I could fix it then maybe I would be “normal.”

This is the lie of the why. It keeps me believing that I am broken. It tells me that being human is not enough, that I am not enough. My whole life becomes trapped in needing to solve the riddle of why. The beauty of allowing myself and others to be human is that I am no longer on the hook for the why.

I am not broken, and my struggles have not damaged me. They make me who I am. They are the beautiful questions. I have learned in my healing and recovery journey that what I need more than the answer to “why” is to let go of the shame around the “what.”

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Eric Dorsa
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Eric Dorsa

Eric Dorsa is an LGBTQ advocate, actor, comedian, and drag queen currently living in Chicago, Illinois. As an advocate for the LGBTQ community, Eric travels around the country sharing his experiences of Eating Disorder Recovery, coming out as a gay person, and his recovery from substance abuse with college campuses and patients in treatment. Eric has been featured on Texas Public Radio “Worth Repeating”, Mental Note Podcast “Drag Queen Wisdom”, Huffington Post Queer Voices, and has given an award winning 2014 TEDx Talk entitled “ How Dressing in Drag Made Me Uncover My Authentic Self.” Eric is also a member of Eating Recovery Center's Recovery Ambassador Council. He hopes that sharing his story will inspire others to know that they are not alone, to seek connection and treatment, and that full recovery is possible.