MIA and staying on the better path

Hi there! It’s been quite some time since I’ve been active on here. Over the past month I kept considering posting but choose not to do so ultimately because I wasn’t mentally there. It’s been a rough few months and admittedly I fell into the trap with my recovery of thinking I had been solid for over a year, and therefore I was “fine” and completely solid. Nope, cracks still exist.

Over the last bit I’ve been trying to accept that those cracks still exist and that I am not perfect in my recovery and that by trying to be so I will end up falling back rather than keeping going on the better path. Maybe I’ll always have those things that get me, and honestly after 10 years I probably will. Many times people think someone with a mental illness is good after treatment. That could not be further from the truth in most cases. Sure, they are better. Sure, they are functioning with society. But it’s still there. It’s called an illness for a reason. It doesn’t just magically go away.

I am a hell of a lot more aware of myself and my actions now than I ever have been in my life. I’m motivated. I’m hitting goals. I’m stronger mentally. I’m stronger physically. I’m stronger emotionally. BUT I still have cracks.

I’m grateful that I’ve been able to re-focus myself and see that what I was doing was just spiraling me backwards. Maladaptive behaviors are my high. They are numbing. They make me not feel my feelings. They make every problem go away because I get so wrapped up and consumed inside myself. One thing that has taken me forever to take away from my experience is that living in that high isn’t living. It’s self-limiting. It’s dangerous. It’s not worth it. It’s the opposite of what I actually truly want to be doing.

That’s why it’s referred to as an addiction. It is.

But breaking that? breaking those habits. breaking the cycle… that is living. That is pursing life and goals and hope and healing. It’s better. It’s life.

Right now I’m extremely focused on filling those cracks. I’m not trying to make them go away, I know they will always be with me, but I’m trying to bury them deeper. At this point in my life I am actively letting go of my past because it no longer serves me anything but instead I now see it’s hurting me more than I ever was aware of.

Right now, I’m focusing on just living. After all, it’s life.

Being committed to recovery means that

If there was one single tidbit of advice (ok, two) that I could give out to those struggling with an eating disorder pursing their recovery it would be… that recovery is being committed to yourself, to the pursuit of your health (mental, emotional, physical), to overcoming those demons and striving to thrive in life rather than destroy yourself. Second, you’re not a failure if you go backwards and you’re not a failure if you don’t go backwards.

When I was in treatment a few years ago the hardest part for me at first was committing to myself. Sure I was the one who made the phone call, I drove down by myself for my intake, I went to all the meetings and necessary steps to get into the program. But at that point I wasn’t fully there. I knew it was what I needed, but not fully what I wanted. It was what was going to hopefully save my life, but I needed to commit myself to doing so. While I was going to have the support, that support would mean nothing more than guidance and short term love if I weren’t able to continue on with the process afterwards and always. I think recovery is a life long process. Treatment, therapy, groups, support networks, ect. – they teach the necessary tools for self-care, respect, and healing. But they don’t do the work. Only when the person who is struggling is ready at the level where they can commit themselves to the pursuit of healing and self-care can the fullest recovery process begin to unfold.

It’s tricky. I’m not going to short-hand that and say that this process is easy by any means. It’s the hardest thing I ever did and continue to do. I cannot even begin to express the variations of recovery I have seen and I think that is an extremely important point as well – everyone’s version of full recovery is different. By the books I’m recovered. However, I don’t really tend to associate with that, I say I’m in remission. For me that’s what works. I think finding that way, whatever it is, to keep yourself on the good road is what ultimately counts rather than throwing a label on it.

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Another really big hurdle for me was one I hit once I was full heartedly sure that I wanted recovery for myself… keeping that mindset. Keeping that focus, that drive; the relentless desire to heal. Writing down a list of what being committed to my recovery meant for me helped a lot in staying on a positive road. Here’s what worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you or someone you know who is struggling, maybe it won’t. That’s ok.

  • Tuning in and listening to what my body tells me.
  • Accepting where I am, and accepting where I want to go.
  • Knowing that having temptations, urges, and triggers is normal. Realizing that I don’t have to give in to them. Accepting that if I do, it’s not an end all be all. It’s a stepping stone.
  • Remembering to always ask for help when needed, it isn’t a sign of weakness rather a sign of strength. To know that you need help shows strength and courage. It’s hard, but it’s something everyone needs at some point or another in life.
  • I will place my health and my wellbeing first. After all, I’m my number one. In the end, it’s me for me. This is the only body and the only life I will be given, it’s my duty to honor both of those.
  • That I will get enough sleep. Trust me, it helps.
  • That while I may want to [inert negative behavior here], I will try my hardest to not. Whether this means reaching out, journaling, taking a walk, ect.
  • Being completely honest with my support system. It’s for the best, no matter what. This was hard for me in the beginning. I didn’t want to be completely vulnerable. I held stuff back. I wanted things to seem better than they were. What really helped me though was when I just “gave in” and made myself an open book so to speak.
  • Doing everything in my power to take care of my body in terms of both physical and mental health. This may include:
    • seeking a treatment program, therapist, nutritionist, group-therapy, ect.
    • yoga
    • meditation
    • journaling
    • practicing mindfulness
    • spending quality time with friends and/or family

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There are so many more things I could list, endless really. Those are the main points which helped me on my journey to reach a place where I am thriving, living my life, and loving all that I’m doing. I want any of you who are going through this process to know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you. You will achieve recovery if that is what you want. You don’t need to want it at first, I don’t think that’s essential. I think knowing you need it is. Wanting comes after. It’s that whole pre-contemplation –> contemplation –> action concept.

“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” – Nathan W. Morris

XO, S

Define healing

Hi buttercups 🙂 Happy Tuesday! If you’re like me and live in an area which was yet again being whammed by snow yesterday, stay warm, drive safe, and best of luck in the pursuit of finding space to actually put the new inches of white stuff. I’m not sure where to shovel the snow out of my driveway, I already am far from being able to see pulling out… the whole putting my windows down, listening, and then proceeding to floor it is working quite well so far.

I came across some new tunes over the weekend and one song in particular has been on major repeat, give it a listen while you read the rest of this post! Note: a great addition to a yoga and/or meditation playlist!

Onto healing. This is a complex topic and one that I personally view to be an extremely important part of life. I am talking about all forms of healing, whether it be from an autoimmune disease (crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, hashimoto’s, lupus, ect.), hormone imbalanace, functional disorder (ibs, fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, ect.), mental illness, and so on. Diagnosis or no diagnosis, if you don’t feel like your body is functioning to the best of its ability – change something. As Sarah often will say on her blog, “nothing changes if nothing changes”. This in my opinion, is a crucial point to understand. Without change our bodies will remain in whatever distress they might be stuck in. While the human body has many self-regulatory and self-healing mechanisms it does need support. In the most basic sense I view the primary components linked with optimal wellness to be: nutrition, stress management, restful sleep, and movement. Not so coincidentally these are all also components to healing… case dependent, some more than others.

Now I know this isn’t how everybody views things but I prefer to support my body in all possible ways rather than risking it. Am I saying I’m perfect? That I never catch the common cold? That my digestion is flawless? NO. I am saying I make conscious and informed decisions about what I’m putting into my body, supplementing with, and my day to day life.

Take responsibility for your health and overall wellbeing. You are born into this world with one body and you leave with the same one. Treat it the best you possibly can.

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For me I take a look at my symptoms and then break them down. For example, I have psoriasis. I break that down by asking myself, when do I notice it gets worse? better? It is worse when I am stressed, not sleeping enough, not hydrating properly. It shows improvement when I am hydrated, eating plenty of vegetables, strictly adhering to a schedule of helping the affected area (i.e topical treatment, I use hemp oil and coconut oil – yep both have been lifesavers). Nobody besides you can know these factors, they are things which you notice on your own whether that be by making a symptom journal or just mental notes.

A factor which I already kind-of mentioned is nutrition and supplementation. Now these are going to vary a lot in some ways from person to person as we are all built differently and our bodies are at different stages, disease states, being stressed from varying angles, ect. One common theme among almost everyone though is that nutrition truly is the foundation to healing and optimal wellness. Eat to nourish the body, and support all functions within. Food is fuel. Food is life, energy, the key to thriving, healing, performance, nutrients and much more. Nutrients are like little building blocks for our bodies. There are macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein) and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants) which all serve specific functions for our body to maintain health and homeostasis. I could get into so much detail here that this post would go on for DAYYYYS, which nobody wants to read a mile long post so I’m not going there here.

Of equal important is sleep/rest and also daily movement. Sleep and rest allow your body to “rest and digest”. When at rest the parasympathetic nervous system, part of the autonomic nervous system, takes control. Just stop and think about that for a minute, your body has the ability programmed within to digest, grow, build, and heal. It’s pretty remarkable if you ask me. When I was in treatment back in 2012/2013, did I want to take almost a year off from the gym? I loved it, it was and still is my second home. It’s a playground for me. No, I didn’t want to give that up because it felt like I was letting go. However what I found was when I gave my body the rest it needed to heal, I felt better. I began healing. For me rest is just as much psychological as it is physiological. Like all else it is a skill because sometimes we are so caught up that we can’t even feel our own breath. Daily movement is also critical because it keeps you limber/mobile, overall healthier, and personally I feel better when I walk more throughout the day… My mood is elevated, I’m more awake and alert, and overall I think I’m a more lively person.

I believe the body is one. It’s all connected. I believe gut health is essential, as is mental/emotional wellbeing. Stress management is either a powerful tool within your arsenal or a driving factor in chronic inflammation which can lead to a plethora of physiological and/or psychological issues. Day to day habits can create strength or create weakness. I believe that we are all different and with all the information being thrown left and right at us we need to hold the capability to filter it through our own lenses, apply the helpful tidbits and ditch the rest… extra information isn’t always useful, sometimes it’s stressful.

I define healing as doing everything within your power to create change within your body that results in feeling better. Ultimately, feeling like you can take on your world. That’s my goal.

Remember that treating your body with respect and healing are both extreme challenges. They usually require effort and focus beyond what we are comfortable with. It’s easy to turn a blind eye and pretend all is ok, but eventually your body can’t make up anymore and there you are confronted with a decision, keep going or change and learn.

Questions:

What is one thing you do daily to make sure you feel your best?

How do you define healing?

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xo, S

Strengths & weaknesses

Hi there! This week is already moving fast, I think holiday weeks make everything seem so much faster. Everything is a blur. Can you even believe Thanksgiving is on Thursday?! because I can’t. Not one bit. Time really does fly, I never believed my parents and teachers who told me that growing up. When I was younger it felt like time was just crawling, because all I wanted was to be grown up. Now all I want is for it to slow down but that can’t happen unless someone invents a time machine (can someone please do that?). In the meantime it’s called enjoy each day and be grateful for all that I am, all that I have, and all that I’m able to do.

I received an email from UNH yesterday detailing the process of class registration for transfer students. Don’t worry I’ve already been looking at the course schedule and am excited to see where I end up!

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What do both strengths and weaknesses have in common? they both help us become better versions of ourselves if approached with the right perspective

One tool that I keep in my back-pocket at all times is the SWOT chart. What’s a SWOT chart you ask? Well, it’s an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

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Strengths: strengths are internal factors. These are what we are naturally drawn too. They are what we excel at. Perhaps they are what people know you for, perhaps a hobby or even your career. Strengths can even be a characteristic of your personality. It’s something that you are able to effortlessly excel at, and you’re aware of this.

Weaknesses: weaknesses are also internal factors. However unlike strengths, weaknesses are things which we are not naturally drawn too in most cases. They feel uncomfortable, and are usually outside of our comfort zone. They don’t feel right. I know I hate my weaknesses because they aren’t easy and they make me feel out of my groove. That said, I also love them because they challenge me to ultimately grow as a person and develop new skills. With enough time, effort, drive, and determination, weaknesses can develop into strengths. Easier said than done and will definitely challenge whether or not you truly deep down want to master a specific weakness.

Opportunities: opportunities are an external factor. These are things that are within your reach of grasping which will allow you to enhance your strengths and/or develop your weaknesses. Opportunities can be people, events, educational options, career options, conferences, ect. Opportunist are so many different things and just like the internal factors of strength and weaknesses they will be different for each person. What is a good move for one person could potentially be a bad move for another.

Threats: threats are also an external factor. These are things which could prevent us from pursing our goals. They are things which get in the way and create stress. Threats can be variables such as a risk of injury for an athlete, or the risk of being fired when going out on a limb. Threats can also be something mental, such as anxiety or lack of self-confidence that is required to reach your goals.

I’ve typed up my SWOT chart for you guys to see, while not complete, it does give a good idea of where I am currently at.

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Ultimately, it is necessary to create a view of all of these components in order to know what your goals are, where you stand, and the plan of attack in reaching them. For me many of my weaknesses also carry over as possible threats. However I don’t let this drift me away from my dreams, rather inspire me to overcome my weaknesses and develop them into strengths. I feel that the more I can overcome my weaknesses the stronger I will grow, the more skills I will have, and the more determined I will be to keep continuing to reach new goals.

Questions for you: ever seen a SWOT chart before? Thoughts/will you fill one out for yourself? What is a weakness you are currently determined to make a strength?

 

“Having a low opinion of yourself is not modesty. It’s self-destruction. “ — Bobby Sommer”

xo, S