Orthorexia article: The Guardian

Today The Guardian published an article about orthorexia, entitled ‘Ortherxia:when healthy eating turns against you‘. This is a really interesting article that is well worth the read; including an individual’s story, a fitness blogger and a psychiatrist’s opinion and the debate about whether it is its own individual criteria or whether it is part of anorexia.

I believe that it is time othorexia was taken seriously and made a medical criteria along with anorexia and bulimia. It’s time people understood that all food is healthy in moderation, and eating only ‘healthy’ foods is in fact not healthy at all.

You can visit the article here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/sep/26/orthorexia-eating-disorder-clean-eating-dsm-miracle-foods

Thanks for reading.

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An Explanation

As some of you might have noticed, I completely failed the A-Z Blogging Challenge this year.
Part of me wishes I hadn’t signed up because hate failing, giving up or quitting. But maybe that exact reason is why it’s so important that I did it.

I am currently sitting my AS Level examinations, the first year/ part of the two-year A level course in the UK. It’s hardly surprising that I found writing a blog post each day and revising 4 subjects, going to school, practicing the flute for my grade 7 exam, climbing and horse riding too much.

My mother often says I stretch myself too thin. And maybe she’s right, but at the same time I don’t know how else to be. This is me, I am that person who is always doing ten things at once; who’s life is a precarious juggling act that only she can control.

I love writing blog posts, I enjoy it and it gives me a sense of purpose. It makes me sad that I have to prioritise exams, which I need to do in order to get to the university I want and to get to where I want to be in life. I think it’s crazy how much pressure is put on 16-18 years olds. These exams essentially decide the rest of our lives. That’s ridiculous! No one needs that sort of pressure. No wonder so many young people and teenagers get mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
At our school we’re taught from a young age that in order to succeed in life you must get a degree and go to a good university. That’s just not true.


https://vine.co/v/e77MHBgDIbe

I’m on half term now and have done 5 out of 8 exams. 3 more the week after half term then I’m done! I shall be writing more blog posts and posting at least a few times a week, and you never know I might have time to socialise and enjoy myself too!

Thank you for reading and I’ll be posting again soon.

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.