Coping

The Final Entry

For a decade, time consisted of psychologists, psychiatrists, and hospital admissions; one after another. I was slowly losing the battle, but not fully.  A decade of illness finally took its toll on me. I was slowly sinking into a deeper and deeper depression, and feeling real emotions for the first time; especially hurt and anger. 

Trapped Inside Myself

 

I feel like I am trapped inside myself. I am smart, logical and capable. I am a grown woman with a beautiful house, loving husband, and a steady career that is both rewarding and challenging. On top of it all, I have an energetic and adorable puppy. Yet, when it comes to this disorder, I feel out of control, illogical, irrational and...stupid. I know the damage that my actions cause to my body. I know that to someone on the outside it is seemingly simple to just stop.

Cleaning Up and Creating Space

I decided last week to clean out my bedroom and give it a bit of a Spring makeover. I believe it is great to switch things up every once in a while; especially after you mark a new season, as it generally is a time for new beginnings!

I did not imagine that cleaning my room would take as long as it did, but once I started, I began digging up quite a lot of things. Who knew that my moderate-sized bedroom could hold so much stuff? An abundance of papers, photos, schoolwork from elementary school, clothing, old toys...oh yes, you name it! My bedroom essentially was a time capsule of everything that had happened in my life up until now.

What If Body Acceptance Doesn't Work? How About Body Neutrality?

I see a life coach.

The funny thing is, I call her my life coach when I’m doing well. I call her my therapist when I’m doing not-so-well. Because really, she’s one in the same.

According to her — and the firm for which she works — the difference between a therapist and a life coach is just that: where you are in life. If we were looking at a scale that goes from -10 to 10, a therapist would be there for you if you were on the negative side of zero, helping you to reach a healthier, more neutral place. If you’re already there, though, a life coach helps you improve that position, moving you up the scale into more happiness and life satisfaction.

A Worthwhile Journey

 

It didn’t start out as an eating disorder. If you had asked me back then, I would have never admitted to having one. I was a collegiate athlete, studying health…there was no way I would allow something so terrible to ravage my body. I needed my body, and so did my teammates.

Beauty Found in Broken Pieces

You learn to live a life half alive. Merely existing amongst the living. Entrenched within your own mind, spinning a weave of angst and uncertainty. Making more problems for yourself than there really are. Wandering, unaware of the beauty that surrounds you, kind words being spoken to you and how your body is shouting within to notice the damage you are causing. It’s breaking, and you don’t care. This place is dark and blurry and the only thing that comes to mind daily is “When is all this pain going to end?”

Why it is Hard to Be an Eating Disorder Recovery Advocate

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It is impossible to articulate just how challenging the days with my eating disorder were, and to remember all the various roadblocks to overcome. It is equally as challenging when preparing for a speaking event to know what type of information would be the most helpful, and what people need to hear. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me because of my experience; I want them to learn, and act, and change.

Ever Present: The Potential to Relapse

Last June, I hit a milestone in my life with the celebration of my 40th birthday. Since then, it has been an interesting 7 months or so of reflection, soul searching, tears, and pondering how I am going to spend the next half plus years of my life. American actress Jane Fonda describes aging as having 3 acts, just like a theatre play (for more details check out her TEDTalk). I like that way of labeling these transitions of aging. I suppose that being 40 puts me in Act II of my life, where I have developed a keen desire to understand myself better, to find my life’s purpose (yes, I’m still searching), and to ultimately live up to my potential (whatever that may be). But in the corner of my mind, while I reflect on the meaning and next steps in my life, lurking in the shadows are some familiar voices – those damn eating disorder thoughts.

EDAW Reflections: Thinking Beyond the Stereotypes

So often we discuss body image, weight preoccupation, and eating disorders as issues that affect girls and women. However, when you take a closer look, through research, clinical cases, or through discussion with boys and men, it’s very clear that these issues are not exclusive to one particular gender. Throughout my pregnancy, I often thought about how I would promote a positive body image and healthy eating attitudes in my son. I never thought of difficulties in these areas as “girl problems.” As a new mom, I continue to reflect on the topics of body image, self-esteem, and eating related issues, and I’m already trying to put some positive practices into place. Thus, as this EDAW has come to an end, I’d like to share a letter I wrote for my son, with the hope that others will be inspired to share similar messages with the boys and men in their lives.

The Importance of Taking Risks in Recovery

 

Even for individuals who have not been affected by eating disorders, there is an impulse to stay with what is comfortable and familiar. A comfort zone is a safe place to be; but no major growth ever happens there. In order to truly grow and strengthen your recovery, it is critical to continue to challenge yourself on a regular basis, whether it’s trying new restaurants, facing “fear or trigger foods”, being more flexible with exercise, taking rest-days, or resisting the urge to engage in food rituals.

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