Dealing with past trauma

I was looking through my computer yesterday and found this ‘post’ if you like (it’s before I had a blog you see) about dealing with past trauma that I wrote on 5/8/2014.
My ‘trauma’ if you lik was a relationship I was in that made me feel uncomfortable, but I shan’t go into that.
I hope this post is helpful for those dealing with difficult situations in the past, just like I had to, and helps people keep going in their recovery.

Dealing with past trauma
As a person recovering from an eating disorder, I can say hand on heart that I understand what it’s like to have so many feelings and emotions about particular incidents that you feel trapped, vulnerable and alone. The important thing to realise is that whatever it is that happened in your past was most likely NOT your fault, and whatever it was you can work to get through it and carry on your day to day life without the pain you once felt.

For me, the first thing I had to was to sit with the bombardment of feelings and emotions I felt, and try to calm myself down enough to work out what it was that was scaring me so much and causing all these emotions and thoughts.

Some ways of calming yourself:

  • Counting slowly to ten, breathing deeply
  • Focusing on an object and looking in detail at everything, then go back to yourself when you’re feeling calmer
  • Sit with both legs firmly on the ground and with your back straight upright, and feel the chair supporting you from beneath and remind yourself that you are in the present and you are safe

Allow yourself as much time as you need. For me I just lay in bed (it was night) and panicked about it all for a while, until I calmed myself down enough to think clearly.

Still, once I had realised what the situation was that was bothering me, it didn’t change anything. I still had all the same overwhelming thoughts and feelings, and I still felt completely out of control. So the next thing to do is to talk to someone.

I know how hard talking to people is. It has taken me almost a year to trust therapists enough to (almost)fully open up to them and actually start doing therapy work that was going to benefit me.

I see a therapist at CAHMS, but I didn’t want to talk to her about this certain thing for various reasons, so after some panicking and a bit of thinking, I decided to contact Childline, where I could talk anonymously.

However, talking to people you know is probably best depending on the situation; there are some things I understand you just can’t bring yourself to talk to someone you know about. But if you do decide to talk to someone you know, talk to someone you trust. Be it your parents, therapist (if you have one), or friends. Just a word of caution though, talking to your friends is great and you are not burdening them at all if they want to listen and help you, but try not to put them in a difficult situation. For example, if you tell a friend something that puts you or others at risk and beg them not to tell anyone, that is stressful for them and will also probably make you feel worse for putting them in that situation. Or, if you do this, understand the reason why if they tell someone, and be forgiving because they only want what is best for you.

Anyway, after all this, the end result is that it’s no longer trapped and bottled up inside you. Now that it’s out in the open, even if just one person knows, then you can start to gradually let go and move on. It doesn’t instantly feel better, sometimes it’s still scary and horrible after you talk to someone for a bit, but over time the feelings will hopefully get less intense and you can move on with your life and recovery.

I hope this helped anyone who is finding it hard to move onto the past, and please feel free to comment any questions/thoughts or email me at myjourneywithrecovery@gmail.co.uk

Thanks for reading. 

A ‘Severe’ Eating Disorder

I found a letter from last year regarding my eating disorder, and it stirred a few thoughts.

There’s no such thing as a severe eating disorder, ALL eating disorders are living hell and the fact that a proffesional claims me to have had a ‘severe‘ eating disorder makes me mad- so what, you think others aren’t severe? No matter what your weight, what your physical conditions, eating disorders are sheer hell. You can’t go out to enjoy yourself with friends, oh no, you must instead do laps around your local neighbourhood when your parents think you are asleep, you must restrict every waking hour to minimal food, you must constantly be agonising over your body.
Now, who are you to label as ‘severe’ or ‘mild’? Have you been through it yourself? No. Then you couldn’t possibly understand.

I’m sick of the macros, I’m sick of the BMIs, I’m sick of being sick of it all.

Why is it that there’s always a competition? If we were all sicker than each other we’d all be dead, simple as.

Strength is not determined by how low your weight got or how long you went without eating, strength is determined by the courage and determination it takes to recover.

Thanks for reading.

Quest bar review

After seeing people rave about Quest bars I decided it was time to try one for myself!

Using @girlslifee iherb discount I saved $12.68 on two already discounted boxes of Quest bars from iHerb, one chocolate chip cookie dough and one double chocolate chunk with 12 bars per box.





Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Review

I tried the cookie dough flavour first, heated in the microwave for 15s. It tastes exactly like cookie dough I don’t know how it’s got so little sugar and so much protein and healthy goodness in it!

The chocolate chunks melted when I heated it, it tasted like pure chocolate which is always a plus.

It was quite sweet and maybe a bit sickly, but apparently having it with milk works really well and gives you a break from the sweetness.

The cookie dough wasn’t my cup of tea but I loved the chocolate chips in it, so I was looking forward to trying the double chocolate chunk one; I was hoping will be a winner- who doesn’t like chocolate after all.

And sure enough, I tried a double chocolate chunk Quest bar and it was delicious!



Double Chocolate Chunk Review

I don’t usually have snacks cause they’re not actually in my plan, but I was hungry after my psychology exam so I listened to my body and had decided to try the DCC Quest bar.

I tried it raw first which was nice, although the second time I baked it in the oven and it was even better!

Raw quest bars are chewy and have an almost doughy texture unlike other protein bars which I quite liked. They are filling and you can eat them raw, bake them or microwave them which means you won’t get easily bored!

Baked DCC Quest bars taste just like brownie, and the chunks go all oozy and gooey and it is just so delicious.
I cut mine into little squares and baked it for 6 minutes on gas mark 6, and the result was a chewy brownie consistancy which I found perfect.



So, Quest Bars overall?

I find these bars really filling which is kind of hard, but I think they’d be really good if you had binge urges as they fill you up and satisfy you without having to eat lots.

Overall I think Quest bars are a fab creation and there are so many flavours to chose from you cant go wrong really.

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Thanks again to @girlslifee for the discount and for helping me out choosing and ordering my Quest bars. She really is super and you should all go check out her blog.

I have done a review guest blog post on her blog, GirlsLifeeTips, “iHerb order by my follower – Post 7

Her blog: www.girlslifeetips.wordpress.com
Her instagram: @girlslifee
Her iHerb discount: QJJ366

***

Thanks for reading.

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.

F for Faces

Sometimes when I can’t sleep I like to draw. Usually I draw on my ipad because then I don’t need to fuss about with getting my pencil case and notebook out (plus things never rub out properly and I always manage to get pencil marks on my bed!), but recently I got a calligraphy set which is very exciting!

So I drew some faces. I am awful at drawing faces (as you can see), so I usually go for abstract which avoids the need for them to look realistic!

I decided to test my calligraphy pens out in an unconventional way.. With my eyes shut! Half them are with my eyes open and bald with my eyes shut.. Bet you’d have a hard time guessing which was which though! (The iPad ones were drawn with my eyes open)

  

I remember having to do similar exercises in inpatient to try to challenge perfectionism, and as it’s pen you can’t rub it out! It was a bit challenging actually but I embraced the fact it wasn’t perfect and it helped distract me and go to sleep afterwards.

Drawing it a great way to distract yourself, and it can sometimes help you actually relaise how you are feeling. Sometimes I’m just so tired, overwhelmed and hopeless and I don’t know how I feel, and drawing somehow helps me calm down and gather my thoughts.

If you suffer from anxiety or an eating disorder where up need distracting after food, I really would give drawing a go. I don’t do it as often as I like but it’s a really great thing to try.

Thanks for reading.