Hi! My name is Lauren Bersaglio and I am the Founder and Editor of Libero Magazine and creator of #StopFitspiration. I am a writer, speaker, and dedicated mental health advocate based in Vancouver, BC.
I founded Libero in 2010 when I first shared my story online. Libero is a nonprofit online magazine and community offering peer support for a variety of mental health issues including eating disorders, depression, and anxiety.
As the Director and Editor of Libero, I am responsible for the day-to-day running of the organization, networking and fundraising, and managing submissions.
I have a degree in Communications and Professional Writing and I am passionate about using my experience to share my story, champion mental health, and let others know they aren’t alone.
WORK WITH ME
It is always an honour to be asked to share my story and I love assisting others in sharing theirs. Below are a few ways we can work together:
Speaking: If you would like to have me speak at your event or in your classroom, you can learn more by visiting my SPEAKING page.
Interviews + Guest Writing: If you would like to book me for an interview, request a guest post for your blog, or have me on your podcast, please fill out my CONTACT FORM.
Consulting: If you would like to hire me as a consultant, please fill out my CONTACT FORM and include information about your project/business.
I was born and grew up in the Greater Vancouver area. When I was 10, my family moved overseas to Zambia and my parents began doing charitable work there. Though we spent time travelling back and forth between Zambia and Canada, I spent the majority of my teens living in Zambia. I eventually moved back to Canada in my early twenties when I started university.
Throughout my teens and early twenties, I struggled with a variety of eating disorders and disordered eating and exercise behaviours. I also dealt with ongoing depression and anxiety.
By the time I hit my early twenties, I’d struggled with an eating disorder combined with depression and self-harming behaviours for nearly half a decade. At this point (in early 2010) I finally hit rock bottom and made the decision to enter into recovery.
The change was inspired by a conversation I had with a mentor, that ended up being a turning point in my life. At the time, my eating disorder was at its most destructive point and I was seriously contemplating suicide. It was then my mentor informed me that if I carried on down the path I was going, there was a good chance I wouldn’t be alive much longer.
In that moment I realized something and I made a decision I had never made before: I WANTED TO BE ALIVE.
I knew the first step in choosing to live was working towards change. That night I staged my own intervention–calling family and friends from all over the city into my apartment. I opened up about my eating disorder and, taking from Anne Lamott, I explained to them that I didn’t necessarily want to stop immediately, but that I wanted to want to stop, and that had to be enough for them.
That first tiny step–as small and insignificant as it may seem–was my first step towards freedom.
Once I came out to my community about what I’d been going through, I felt an overwhelming sense of release. In addition, their acceptance and support made me realize I wasn’t alone and that it really was ‘okay to not be okay.’
It was then I realized that I wanted others to experience the same sense of freedom that I had, so I shared my story online. I titled the post “Libero,” which is the Italian word for “Free.”
My hope was that, through reading my story, others could realize they also weren’t alone and that they didn’t have to be ashamed of whatever they may be going through–whether it was an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, or any other form of mental health struggle.
My story went viral on Facebook and I began receiving messages from both friends and strangers expressing their support and thanking me for my honesty.
More importantly, many of the people who messaged me also opened up about what they were going through. Many told me that reading my story made them realize they weren’t alone and that they didn’t need to be ashamed or live in secrecy.
I sought out treatment for my eating disorder (through therapy, support groups, and other resources) and I decided to start a blog and YouTube channel so I could share my recovery journey with others.
Shortly after my blog launched, I began receiving messages from readers asking if they could share their stories on my blog the way I originally had on Facebook.
It was then I realized that my blog and my story was so much bigger than just me. I decided to launch a Facebook page that shared the same name as my original story had: Libero. I used the page to connect with those who were following my journey, many of whom were also on their own mental health journeys.
As my blog grew, I began connecting with others from the blogging community. Despite all of the brilliant blogs, though, I began to realize a gap in the online recovery sphere: there was no single place one could go to find a variety of peer-support style articles related to mental health and recovery. And thus Libero Magazine was born.
I put together a website, created social media accounts, and asked the bloggers I knew if they’d be interested having their content shared on Libero’s platform so others could connect with them and their writing.
From there, Libero’s site and Community began to grow. I continued writing and filming YouTube videos and began receiving opportunities to speak. I realized quickly that speaking was another way to share my story, and one I thoroughly enjoyed.
In 2015 I registered Libero as a nonprofit organization (Libero Network Society) and continued the work of growing and expanding our projects and community.
Today, I consider myself fully recovered from my eating disorder. And while I still have days where depression or anxiety creep in, I now know how to cope in healthy ways.
I say I am “Free from Lies” because I truly believe it was lies–not my eating disorder or my depression–that held me back for all of those years. I used to be consumed by the lies in my mind that would tell me I wasn’t good, thin, or pretty enough. I also allow the lies others told me about myself–that I was ugly, fat, unworthy–define my sense of identity and self-worth. But not anymore.
I am free from the lies that held me back and, instead, I live in the freedom of knowing the truth: I am enough.
Life is a journey (cliché but true) and on this journey, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, experienced a lot of pain, and hit rock bottom many times. However, for every mistake, I have found grace, and for every tear, there has been healing, and for every fall, I have found hope.
Read my full story, which started the Libero movement, here.