P for Positivity

Positivity is important. No one can feel positive all the time, and in recovery it can be rare, so when the moment comes we need to try our best to remember what that felt like.

On Thursday I had my birthday party (I turned 17 on Monday), and it was after my party I had a rare moment of absolute satisfaction and positivity.

So I recorded it , I jotted it down like I was speaking excitedly to a friend. And that’s what I thought I’d share with you today. Sheer, genuine, in the moment positivity and appreciation for life and recovery.

“I had such a fab time at my party! Felt a bit ill towards the end of it but never mind.
And do you know what? I ate loads, like loads to a normal person not just to me. I had crepes, a milkshake, pizza, a slice of birthday cake.. And do you know what? I’m still alive, I’m still ok, I haven’t exploded! My stomach is round and content with food. It’s full. And full is good, full means my body can get to work on any repairs it has to do! Full means my body can learn that I’m not going to starve it any longer. More importantly, today taught me that there is more to life than an eating disorder, there really is. Laughing and chatting with friends, being loud and eating in front of people and actually, you know what?, not caring. Because I couldn’t have had such a good time without food, if I hadn’t eaten it would have been awkward for them and for me. And what’s better than watching a film with a bunch of friends and a pizza on a paper plate? What’s better than laughing at charades with your friends? Yes it was quite loud and challenging for anxiety etc, and I received some absolutely amazing presents and I love them so so much, but it’s hard for me to get presents so that was a challenge to. But I did it, and I’m ok with that.
I don’t know, I just feel so positive right now. Like maybe I do have a place, maybe I can recover and live a full life. I want every day to be like today, challenging but full of purpose and fun.
Only recovery can get you here, only recovery can allow you these opportunities. I couldn’t be gladder that I’ve stuck with recovery, even through darker times where I’ve nearly lost hope. Please remember that, there is always hope. And where there is hope, there is determination, and with determination you will get there.”

I really recommend jotting down moments of inspiration like this, because reading back on it can be so helpful and inspiring and can help pull you up from dark and difficult moments.

Today I am not feeling particularly great, so I’m reading that and trying to remember how it felt. I’ve learnt to live for these moments. They may be few for now, but you never know, one day my life could be full of them. I just have to get there.

Thanks for reading.

Id, ego and superego

We all have 3 parts of our subconscious: the id, ego and superego.

We are all on a scale, a see-saw if you like, between these values.

First I’ll explain what they are:

  • The id is the part of our subconscious making us want to do all things ‘bad’ and selfish, to get our own way and hurt others if needed.
  • The ego is the part of the mind that evaluates and responds to the id and superego. It is at the centre of our being and weighs-up the strength of the id and superego before any decisions are made.
  • The superego is the part of our subconscious that makes us want to do all things ‘good’ and to please others, to be selfless and self-sacrificing and to always put others first.

Now some of you may be thinking ‘why am I telling you all this’? Well there are actually many psychological evaluations of this that can be quite useful in trying to understand yourself.

The subconscious governs your thoughts which you are not aware of, and sets base ‘morals’ that you rely on and shapes you as a person. Ideally you want to have a fairly even balance of id and superego, that way your needs are met but without being rude or unkind to others.

However, when one or the other is too strong, this is where we get a problem.

When the superego is too strong, the individual starts to feel worthless and lack self esteem. Forever worrying about keeping others happy, they lack the id quality telling them it’s ok to be selfish sometimes. Because they are always doing things for other people, they start to lose who they are themselves. They have low self esteem because of this imbalance which often leads to depression.

Having too strong an id can have equal but opposite undesirable consequences.

This area of psychology is called psychoanalysis and was created by Freud. I hope to add to this post in the future or perhaps add a ‘part 2’ if people are interested, do leave any feedback or comments below it would be much appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

G for Gaining (weight) happiness

Today has been a really challenging day for me. I had weigh in at 2pm this afternoon. For the first time I weeks I gained weight, 0.6kg to be exact.

I haven’t been able to focus on revision for the whole rest of the day because of this. Instead I’ve been busy trying to distract myself while simultaneously trying not to have a breakdown in front of my friend.

Quite honestly, I feel awful. I feel anxious and panicky, I feel low and hopeless, I feel depressed. This isn’t just beacuse about gaining weight today, but it sure as hell didn’t help.

So I thought it was about time I reminded myself of the positives instead of letting my eating disorder and deoression nit-pick all the worst parts.


The truth behind gaining weight: anorexia vs. me

  • Gaining weight will make you fat healthy
  • Eating means you are greedy determined and want your life back
  • Eating is a sign of weakness strength and willpower, eating through pain is hard but you can do it


You get the gist.. Now. What gaining weight will really give you:

  • A healthy body so you have healthy ovaries and can have babies!
  • A smile and laughter that is real.
  • A new chance
  • You’ll worry less people and show them they were right not to give up on you. And if they did give up on you? Well even better do it to prove them wrong. 
  • You can motivate and inspire others, prove that recovery is possible
  • Be that person who defies the odds
  • You’ll have to gain it eventually, so you might as well get it over with!
  • Strength
  • Energy
  • Willpower
  • Proof that you can and will beat your illness

  
A drawing I did on my iPad to remind myself what my real goal is.

An important thing to do in recovery is to set goals.

I don’t mean massive ones, just little things that you can achieve. There is no point setting goals like ‘recover by April next year’, because recovery is not a linear thing. It’s different for everyone and that’s ok. Unfortunately it is likely you will be battling it for a while, but that does not mean you have failed.

Some little goals/ waypoints I’ve set myself are below. I am only just above the weight I am allowed to exercise, so by gaining I am simply making sure I can do the things I love! That’s not so bad huh?


What gaining weight means to me:

  • I can go horse riding and climbing
  • I am a step closer to my goal/ target weight
  • I can go to the amazon in the summer on my expedition!
  • My body can get used to having a regular amount of food and will hopefully be a bit more logical
  • I can go on random walks when I want without my parents worrying about me overdoing the exercise
  • Spend more time outdoors (my favourite place)
  • Become a Beat Media Volenteer after I’ve been out of inpatient for a year (July)
  • Do much more in the future that I don’t even know about yet, I just have to keep fighting so I can take opportunities as the come!


And lastly I ask you this; what would you rather be doing:
Riding a horse with the wind in your face as you canter round the school, better this time than last and with your horse listening to you and enjoying a minty polo afterwards while you laugh and stroke it’s nose?
Or pacing laps round your room where you have been all night to burn calories, freezing cold even though you’ve got lots of layers on.
I know for sure which I’d chose. And that’s recovery.


Thanks for reading.

E for Easy…

Recovery. Is it easy?
No. In fact, it is the hardest thing I have experienced in my life so far.
I may only be 16 but I often feel much older than my age, I’ve had to mature quickly and realise that if I don’t fight my very hardest and harder then I will not beat anorexia. And eventualy that will lead to death. Now that is a harsh and horrible thing to learn and have to accept at age 14/15.

When I’m struggling, people often say to me “No one said this would be easy”But no one said it would be this hard either.
In my mind I think I had hoped it would be quick. I first imagined it would be a few months maybe, then everything would be back to normal. I hadn’t considered that 2 years on I could still be fighting the very same battle.

When I’m feeling lost, hopeless and in doubt (which unfortunatley is often), I tell myself this: the most worthwhile things in life are often the most challenging.

So with that in mind off I set on my journey.

And here I am today. Still on that very same journey. Still battling various mental health issues. Still fighting.

No, it isn’t easy. But it doesn’t have to be impossible either.

Determination,  motivation and support will become your best friends in recovery. You just have to learn how to use them to conquer the evils.

Thanks for reading.

D for Don’t Even Think About It [book review #1]

Today I thought I’d try something a bit different. As it is an A-Z challenge, I thought why not go for something adventurous and see if I can learn some new skills while I’m at it. So today I’m going to be writing the first of (possibly a series?) of ‘books and mental health‘.

I am currently reading Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski.

This book isn’t about mental health, but the bits I am going to focus on in this post are. I hope that this way people can see what mental health issues are like in normalised day-to-day life, in this case, a teen fiction book.

IMG_4680

If I’m honest this isn’t usually the sort of book I read, it’s a bit too much of a ‘teen fic’ where they talk about who has a crush on who and what girl is wearing what etc etc.

BUT I found myself pleasantly surprised. 

 
One girl in this novel, Olivia, has anxiety. I see a lot of myself in her. She, like me, worries excessively about what people think of her, and tends to catastrophise and think the worst of every situation.

Here are some examples of her anixety:

“She wished she had gone home after all. The idea of everyone in the room knowing her every single thought filled her with dread.
She had dumb thoughts.
She knew she had dumb thoughts.”

“Olivia sank even further. They can hear me worrying about my dumbness! And now they can hear me worrying about worrying about my dumbness. It’s a friggin’ house of mirrors.
(I’m sure most people with mental health issues can relate to the house of mirrors analogy, I certainly feel like that at times.)

Olivia is also a hypercondriac. People are so quick to dismiss this and say ‘oh they just need to get a grip’, but it isn’t that easy. It’s a mental issue, my Grandad suffers from this and he is always petrified he’s ill and it’s some awful illness. It’s horrible, you can see the fear in his eyes over the tiniest of colds. Olivia is like this too, always scared that she’s got some awful illness. Again, I think it is an important thing for people to be aware of, and at points in the book it seems quite ridiculous, but I’ve learnt from personal experience that often mental disorders are competently illogical; that doesn’t make them any less valid. 

 
Overall I think it does a good job of conveying a different mindset than most teenagers are used to, and could potentially be an important eye-opener to those who are unaware of anxiety and mental health issues

 
I hope you enjoyed reading this slightly different post, please do leave comments and tell me what you think, would you like to read more book reviews like this? I have also read some non-fiction books about anorexia and other mental health issues that I could potentially write about and review if anyone is interested, so please do just give me a shout.

Thanks for reading.

C for cravings

As someone recovering from anorexia I have real issues with cravings. Food is scary, it has been for years now. Yet I crave it.

I eat what an average person eats or more, yet still I’m always hungry. I go through phases of having no appetite at all to wanting to eat everything all at once. It’s horrible.

I want control, I want to feel like I am choosing what I eat. I don’t even know why, surely it doesn’t matter? My brain is so illogical at times yet I can’t seem to help it. Obviously I am trying to change things and break habits, but it’s hard.

Sometimes I will have extras, I’ll be craving something so I’ll have it. And this is so, so terrifying to me. The guilt that comes afterwards is unbearable, I don’t know how to manage it and it comes with a whole other host of emotions I won’t go into.

But I keep fighting. I tell myself there is hope.

“It will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end”

What is a craving?
Oxford dictionary definition:
A powerful desire for something

Some personal advice for anyone suffering from eating disorders:
Before jumping to the conclusion that you are out of control and awful, consider whether it is harmful or not. If you’re craving chocolate and you haven’t eaten maybe as much as you should have that day then it’s important to realise the craving isn’t your enemy, in fact that is simply your body telling you it needs more fuel. Like a warning light of a car. You wouldn’t ignore that so why ignore your body?

Ways to conquer cravings:
• Distract yourself
• Listen to your body
• Record a diary
• Talk about it in therapy if you have any

I wish I could give more helpful advice but I struggle with cravings myself and don’t know how best to conquer them, I’m open to any suggestions and can always add to my list. It’s only small but it’s a start eh?

I hope you enjoyed the post, it’s a bit more personal than usual and I don’t know whether that’s good or bad; please do leave comments and let me know what you think, whether you want more of my personal experiences or less!

Thanks for reading.

B for Balance

Balance. Such an easy word to say, yet such a hard thing to achieve.

Balance is so important in life. Without it we cannot ever truly be satisfied. Let’s take work and leisure for example.
Too much work? Not enough enjoyment, can lead to depression.
Too much leisure? Not enough work and you don’t get where you want to be, can lead to depression.
Sometimes it seems like you just can’t win! The answer is of course a mixture of both of them; to work hard but also allow yourself important relaxation and leisure time.

According to the Oxford dictionary, balance is:
1) To offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another.
2) To put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall

I believe that balance in terms of physical and mental wellbeing is both of these things.

If we achieve balance in terms of (1), where we weigh up importance of events and do both of them but according to importance, we will be putting ourselves in a steady position for the future, also definition (2).

So how do we do this?
We need to find what’s known as ‘the middle ground’.
(If my old psychologist is reading this she would be laughing at the irony of it, I was always awful at finding the middle ground. But don’t you worry, I am trying and I haven’t forgotten!)

  

 My top tips on finding the middle ground and keeping yourself well:

• Always find time for yourself, even something small like having a bubble bath or sitting down with a cup of tea and a book for half an hour. Those small things really can make a difference.

• Work is important, but your mental and physical health is and always will be the most important. It’s okay to take time out to look after yourself.

• Get enough sleep; no one can function efficiently if they’re tired, it’s much better to sleep as long as you need and have less time working than to hardly sleep and work for ages; you’ll find the quality of your work will be so much better when you’ve actually had a decent amount of sleep!

• When stressing about something always make sure to take a step back, a deep breath, and to consider how important it really is. Are you being balanced? It may sound stupid but sometimes it can help to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
  

 
FOOD: balanced eating

Food is also a place where the word balance is key. As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder, I know how your brain can warp your perceptions. I know what it feels like for every mouthful to be ‘too much’. But learning about food has been really helpful, true it hasn’t exactly changed anything, but it has helped me realise that I also need to see food in a bigger picture and have a more balanced view.

There has been a huge craze about ‘clean eating recently’. But is purely eating foods that are considered ‘healthy’ balanced? In my opinion, no.

To start with, I don’t believe there is such thing as a ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ food. In my eyes, everything is healthy in moderation. One chocolate bar will not make you fat. Nor equally will one carrot make you healthy. It’s all about getting a balance of all 5 of the food groups and also having freedom in what you eat. Yes you must nourish your body, but as long as you don’t eat chips every single day then chips will not hurt you! Everything in moderation. You need to eat what you enjoy and what you like, as well as making sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet.

When I see these people who only eat superfood salads and wouldn’t dream of touching a chocolate bar, to me that isn’t balanced. It’s disordered eating, not necessarily an eating disorder (depending on the mentality behind it) but it definitely is a disordered habit. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that we are all different and some people love clean eating, I am simply saying be careful of these things and consider why it is you want to go down that route if you chose to do so.

 

 I hope you have enjoyed this post, I know I only skimmed over a whole variety of topics, but if you want to know more or have any questions please do feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading.

A for A-Z challenge

Today is the first day of the blogging for A-Z challenge, and I have signed myself up!

A bit of a crazy thing to do seeing as I have hardly posted these last few weeks, but I wanted to do it because I want to raise awareness and what better way to do it than this? 

For the next month I will be posting every day except Sunday, each with a theme of a letter (e.g. Tomorrow will be B). If you have any suggestions for things I should write or things you want to know about please do comment below, I have 24 posts to write so I’m sure I can fit it in somewhere!

I’ve created my own badge but you can find out more and grab the official blog badge at www.a-to-zchallenge.com.

 

My goals for this month are to keep up with this challenge, allow myself to relax and enjoy myself as well as revising, and to prioritise my mental health more. 

I hope you enjoy this month’s posts, and please join me in my A-Z journey!

Thanks for reading.

Why evolution/ human nature is no reason not to accept transgenders

I read an article earlier today about how we should not be accepting transgender, but instead ‘help’ them as it is a ‘mental disorder’.
I, however, do not agree.

The article stated that transgender was a mutation and made no sense/ was not naturally human in other words. However they accepted gay/ lesbian relationships.

Let’s get things straight, none of transgender, gay, lesbian, bio sexual, asexual etc. is problem or thing that needs fixing.

Humans have been around for thousands of years, of course we are going to be different. It is likely almost all of us have mutations of one form or another; in fact mutations that are beneficial or not a problem often become part of who we are as humans. We are a species, and like any other we are developing.

Now I understand that originally the key purpose of human (and most animal) life is to reproduce, and therefore being attracted to the same sex is illogical fitting that theory.
BUT as humans have evolved to be a highly intelligent and thriving race, we no longer have this instinctive need to reproduce, or at least not as strong as perhaps it once was. Therefore it cannot possibly be a problem or issue that needs revolving, as relationships are no longer purely based on the idea of having children. Many couples, opposite sex or same, have no wishes for children at all. And if a same sex couple wants to have children, there are ways they can such as adoption.

Transgender is no different. It may not have made sense when humans first evolved, but in today’s modern society there are many factors that could effect this, and at the end of the day it is their life and their choice, the least we can do is accept it.
Their choices in life are none of our business and as long as they are happy and feel that they belong in their bodies, then that should never be an issue to us or anyone else.

Whether you agree with transgender or other sexual preferences or not, the least you can do is accept other people for who they are; not everyone is the same as you and we are all entitled to our own views.

I hope this made sense and I’d really appreciate any feedback.

The link to the referenced post is here, but please be respectful because although I disagree, they are entitled to their own views and should not get penalised for that.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to click read more to read the original article at the end of this post.

Thanks for reading.

Continue reading

The fear of intimacy

This post might be one useful to few people or many, I simply do not know. My feelings towards intimacy (kissing, sexual interactions etc.) are ones I feel completely alone with. More alone than with anxiety. More than depression.

You see, people are quick to say “you’ll grow out of it”; or not even as kind as that, more of a “haha you’re so pathetic! How can you call him your boyfriend when you don’t kiss him?!” sort of affair.

But, for me at least, relationships aren’t about the physical aspects. Who cares if someone is the most beautiful person ever if they are, in fact, just a turd? (See post post from a while back; ‘There are turds on this earth)’ I for one certainly don’t.

I often don’t even tell people I have a boyfriend, even if it comes up in conversation, because I just constantly feel judged. I’m sick of being abnormal, sick of never fitting in, sick of finding things most people find natural the hardest things in the world.

In my case it just happens I had a bad experience to do with relationships which probably didn’t help my fear, although it existed before that so I cannot solely put it down to that. I am worried that I won’t grow out of it, that I will just never have sexual attraction. That, God forbid!, I should die a virgin. (Yet another thing how it angers me how people make out that life without sex is not a decent life?!)

Anyway, that is beside the point. I am going to break down what it is that I am scared of, reason with myself, and try and cure my fear through understanding. I have no idea if this will work, so I’ll have to keep you posted on my progress.

I’m scared of kissing. Why?

(1) It’s unhygienic.
Our bodies are largely made up of bacteria. Bacteria keeps our immune systems healthy. Mouths in general are a pretty clean, hygienic area of the body, as acidic saliva breaks down food and bacteria in your mouth.

(2) It feels unnatural/wrong.
I’ve hardly done it before and last time it was wrong, so no wonder the idea feels wrong! It is strange and it might feel weird at first, but that’s ok.

(4) I don’t feel the attraction.
I’ve been ill with an eating disorder, so, as my doctor/therapist has pointed out, it is likely that my hormones are not in balance, so that very well could be causing my lack of sexual drive. But I also need to consider the fact that I am 16, and maybe it is a case of just a couple more years until I start feeling sexually attracted to people. If that doesn’t happen then there are other options for me, such as seeking further help if it’s worrying me, or just accepting and leaving it! Relationships are far more than just sticking your tongue down each other’s throats.

(5) I don’t know how.
I’ve watched some YouTube videos (I know that sounds weird, but I thought that was the most practical way of going about things), so I do know how.
(Also, I’ve only watched one video, How to kiss, but I’m kind of I’m love with lush already.. They’re such an adorable couple)

(6) It reminds me of unpleasant past experiences.
Maybe that’s all the more reason to do it. The longer I avoid it, the more it will build up as a negative thing in my mind and the more scared I’ll be. If I create new, pleasant memories around this area it will allow me to start afresh and see intimacy in a new and positive light.

(7) I’m scared past experiences will repeat or I’ll be pressured further.
My boyfriend is lovely and a certain element of trust is necessary for this one. He is desperate to make me see that all boys aren’t out to get me, so I just gave to give him a chance. I know him well enough to know he means well and won’t hurt me.

* My OCD is going haywire because I only have 7 points and it isn’t an even number, but I’ve got to challenge it so I apologise for having 7 points inserted of 6 or 8!

Even just after writing this post I’m already feeling braver and more willing to give it a go. I know my boyfriend wants to kiss and the least I can do is try. If I’m not ready yet I’m sure he’ll understand.

Last of all, please do share through the comments if you can relate to this or if at the very least I sound sane. I’m so scared of posting this, but in my opinion the more scared you are, the more worthwhile it most likely is.

Thanks for reading.