Mental Health: Body Positivity and Eating Disorder Recovery via Food Photography

JC Phelps is a Kentucky-based food writer, blogger, instagrammer, and social media influencer. Originally raised on the family farm in Russell County, which was homesteaded in 1798, he now calls Louisville home. He holds a BS in Economics and Finance from Centre College, a MBA from the Gordon Ford College of Business at Western Kentucky University, and is a 2021 candidate for a JD at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Find his work online at @jcpeats and at www.jcpeats.com.

Mental health is often framed as solely consisting of the mind; however, I incessantly contend that it’s so much more than that. To me, it’s mind, body, and soul – three separate, yet highly correlated, facets of one’s being.

From anxiety, depression via the death of my father, suffering from three eating disorders at different points in my life (bulimia, anorexia, binge eating), enduring eating disorder recovery, obsessively losing weight – I’ve had my fair share of struggles in maintaining my mental health. My journey has been centered around my body, or, rather, body positivity. This is that story.

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My Friend Anxiety

Viki Roman is a Puerto Rican, Atlanta-born, Louisville-based artist who creates with multiple medias. Equally as important as the aforementioned, she’s an amazing friend. I’m so happy that she is a part of this series and gracing my blog with a sampling of her digital art. 
These three images are part of a series called “My Friend Anxiety”.   I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember and over time, not understanding my mind and path in life often caused periods of depression.  I still suffer from both, but having an outlet like this allows me to convey how it feels to those who don’t understand. And it’s not their fault: they can’t understand.  But when words aren’t enough, a visual cue can help.  These images give people a glimpse into what it may feel like for some, specifically for me. Sometimes it feels like a friend.  Other times it feels like a stranger exists in your reflection. And every now and then it feels as though it has consumed you, and you are what you suffer from.

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Mental Health Awareness Series: Intro

Hey Y’all!

I’ve been busy orchestrating and planning this blog series for the past few weeks and I’m so excited to see it come to fruition. I just wanted to hop on here and give an overview of what’s to come and the idea behind the series.

When I learned that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I started thinking of a topic for one blog post. I quickly realized that that wouldn’t cut it. Mental health is consistently put on the back burner and deemed less legitimate than diagnoses related to physical health. I would be contributing to the issue if I thought that mental health awareness could be summed up in one post.

I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, even before I could give it a name. I was diagnosed with OCD when I was in 8th grade and began going to therapy. This was when I realized that I, and a lot of people around me, knew next to nothing about mental health. I was constantly being told by other kids,  and even some adults, that there’s no way I was truly OCD because of how messy I kept my locker, binder, desk, etc. It took me a long time to realize that how mental health is portrayed in pop culture isn’t how it laments in everyone it effects.

Remembering these feelings of thinking that each mental health diagnoses had to fit neatly into a box also made me think that one single blog post would be a disservice. Because of this, I reached out to other bloggers, influencers, artists, and friends to share their own personal stories, struggles, triumphs and advice related to mental health. What I have gone through with anxiety, OCD, mood instability, and countless prescriptions is such a small sampling of what mental health can mean. I am so happy with the roster of amazing people who will be sharing over the next month. Hitting mental health from as many angles as possible will hopefully make it clear that every single case will be different, and that’s ok. No matter what you’re going through, you’re never alone and your feelings are valid.

I can’t wait for this series to progress and for everyone to gain something from this. Whether you’ve struggled with mental health your entire life, known someone who has struggled, feel completely removed, or this is all new to you, I think we can all benefit from trying to better understand how other the humans around us see the world. Learning more about others never hurt anyone.

The next post in the series will be by artist Victoria Roman with a focus on her artistic series “My Friend Anxiety”. Stay tuned!

Kya Cheese