Tag Archives: eating disorders

IM GOING TO POLAND! 

I’m so excited for the next month. I’m going to Warsaw, Poland to study abroad for a few months… Oh and the cool thing? I’m going for free! 

I applied for a grant that was given to my schools psychology department by the university I’ll be studying at. I didn’t have anything to lose so I filled out the application, submitted it, and a few days after it was due I found out I was the student who was selected for it. I may or may not have jumped up and down & screamed when I received the email from the department chair saying I won it. 

So come October I will be living in Warsaw, studying psychology and having opportunities to travel Europe! 

I do have to admit I’m terrified. I have never been out of the country, and the fact I will be over there all by myself is giving me anxiety. That, and the food part.

I’m scared that I won’t find any foods over there that I can eat comfortably. It’s going to be a huge test of my recovery and I’m absolutely terrified. But I can’t let that get in the way. Life is too good to fuck up. 

I haven’t updated this in a bit so I just wanted to give my followers an update on my life! 

3 Years

Today is kind of a weird anniversary for me. I was scrolling through TimeHop this morning (people still use this app right?) when I came across a post from 3 years ago today. I left for treatment for an eating disorder/self-injury that day. I remember (vaguely, however) being terrified to go out there and have all my vices of coping and not feeling stripped away from me. I was incapable of feeling anything besides numb. There were no plans for a future in my mind, no hope of things ever not feeling as if though they weren’t going to get better. All I remember is being exhausted 24/7; emotionally and physically.

I was vulnerable to the voices in my head telling me that if I only lost a little more weight I’d be happy, I’d achieve that goal of wanting to disappear, to live a life unnoticed. Only the thing is, the more I tried to disappear the more I stood out. That’s where the lies came in. I lived a life of lying, skirting around the truth that I was slowly killing myself. My closest friends would ask what I was doing to lose the weight I had, or if I was eating. I didn’t exactly lie to them, but I wasn’t telling the whole story. I was simply working out daily and watching what I did eat (although a piece of toast with a very miniscule amount of peanut butter isn’t exactly eating). I hid my eating disorder so well and didn’t disclose information about it that my therapist I was seeing at the time didn’t even catch on to what was going on with me (which led to a lot of misdiagnoses, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder) until a month or so before I was sent to treatment.

All these memories came back when I saw those posts from TimeHop this morning. It’s still kind of mind blowing to me that it was 3 years ago, because it honestly feels like it was yesterday. I have come such a long way in my life since going to treatment.

I feel content with my life and where it’s going. I’m now a senior in undergrad with a pretty killer GPA. I’m graduating with research honors next May and hopefully will be going off to grad school after that. Yes I still struggle with my weight, appearance and eating disorder thoughts sometimes but I don’t let them consume me anymore. I have so much to offer the world (that didn’t sound conceded did it?) and after years of struggling, have a pretty good sense as to who I am. The areas of my life which I lost to my eating disorder and mental health struggles, I have either gained back or am working on gaining back. There’s relationships I’m hoping to still amend and the friends I still do have I appreciate them and no longer take them for granted.

There is so much that I have gained over the past 3 years, that it’s incredible to think about how my life has changed for the better. The road here absolutely sucked and was painful. One psychiatric hospital stay, a month in inpatient treatment and a year in outpatient treatment (which sucked more than the hospital or treatment center) are now on my track record. I hated the things that beginning recovery entailed, but if I got my life back in a better way than I could have imagined, I guess I’ll take it.

So today is the anniversary of the day I began the long journey of getting my life back. It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve last self-injured which is huge after engaging in it for 10 years. Being in recovery from an eating disorder is something I feel like I’ll always have to deal with. Every day I have to make choices and check in with myself some days to make sure I’m going down the right path because it is so easy for my emotions to take over and run the course of my life. But I genuinely love my life right now, and I’m so glad I am still alive to have these experiences.

Vacation

In a couple of weeks I’ll be going on my 1st vacation in about 4 or 5 years. The last time I was planning on going on vacation was in 2013, and I was going by myself to spend a week or so at my Uncles place in Florida. Nobody knew that the vacation was my last “hoorah”. I was really sick in my eating disorder (although I didn’t want to admit it), hated myself more than any other time in my life and with more intensity & this time I wasn’t about to pussy out of my plan. The plan was to party it up while I was down there and do whatever it was that came to mind (be carelessly compulsive), get home that Saturday and not wake up Sunday. I had it all narrowed down. I did the stereotypical move of giving my shit away and other things I’m sure but don’t remember.

Obviously none of that happened.

The day I was meant to be on a plane to Florida, I instead found myself on a plane heading to Chicago where I’d transfer on a plane out to Arizona for treatment. I remember a week passed and I was out in the smoking area talking to one of my housemates when I told her that I should have been dead in my room that day instead of sitting in a treatment center for anorexia. In that moment it felt like everything I spent the past few months working up to was stripped from me.

So now I’ll be going to Florida in a couple weeks, this time in recovery from my anorexia and for the first time in my whole life am living with knowing I have a future. But I’ll admit I’m scared shitless.

Normal people don’t panic over the food they’ll have on vacation; in fact it’s usually the time of their year where they can guiltlessly indulge without feeling like shit about themselves. I am so fucking terrified that because I’ll be staying at a hotel (which means I have no real option of cooking food every night) that I’ll get home and when I’m weighed at my individual therapy session the scale will show a much higher number.

My mom told me I don’t have to eat a lot of stuff on vacation. I know she meant well, but does that mean I can restrict a little bit? I’ll be at the hotels fitness center every morning before the day starts because if I have to eat out a lot I need some sort of “compensatory” thing so I don’t blow up. It’s only an 8 day vacation but I am so terrified about it.

I’m sure it won’t be as bad as the voice in my head is telling me it will be, but it doesn’t lower my anxiety any less.

The Barry Manilow Moments

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Is this title misleading? It’s probably misleading. Oh well, that’s just how I roll.

(be prepared for lots of psychology nerdiness in this post folks!)

Ok so there’s this study I learned about when I was in IOP last year. It’s called: The Spotlight Effect in Social Judgment: An Egocentric Bias in Estimates of the Salience of One’s Own Actions and Appearance. Pretty damn wordy right? It’s actually one of the most relevant research studies for those of us who struggle with social comparisons, poor body image & that ever so lovely feeling like whenever we go out in public that everyone is ultimately staring at us. Sounds like a blast right? No, no tis not!

So here’s the jist of the procedure. Researchers had participants put on a lovely t-shirt with a big ass picture of Barry Manilows face on it and walk into a room filled with people. Now before learning of this, I rocked my BM shirt like nobody’s business because listening to pop music from the 80’s coming from a middle aged man who sings the hits like Mandy & Copacabana really adds a big ray of sunshine into my life. But any ways. The whole goal was to see if people actually noticed this ridiculously absurd article of clothing, and guess what? Barely anyone noticed the picture of Barry Manilow gracing the front of said shirt.

When I first learned of this study I thought it was ridiculous. Honestly, I believed that clothing and body image were two completely different things, but guess what folks? It’s pretty relevant to body image! Shocking I know!

For a lot of us we tend to feel constantly judged. Example: I can’t leave my house without having my make up and hair looking as flawless as I can get it. Also the conflict of wanting to wear sweatpants out is something I just cannot get myself to do. What if someone looks at me? They’d obviously be judging my choice in looking comfortable as a bad thing.

But the truth is, nobody really gives a shit about what you look like! I’ve spent years terrified of being judged, and being judged by strangers none the less! I mean these people have no influence in my life yet there has always been something inside of me that needed them to like me and find me physically attractive which meant extra effort before leaving my house to make sure my outfit is on point (I struggled right there to not say “on fleek”, but I’m not that cool to use that phrase and I really don’t even know what it means). As I learn on a daily basis to love myself and accept the way I look I constantly struggle with having Barry Manilow t-shirt moments.

The truth is nobody is staring at me when I go out. Nobody is judging me when I walk into a room, even though it’s still something I think is happening sometimes. Sure some might look in my general direction, but really nobody is that interesting for others in a room to find fascinating to stare at. Even if they are looking at you, 9 times out of 10 it’s nothing negative. I mean it’s not like you’re Beyonce or Princess Kate. How many times do you glance at someone? Probably a lot is my guess. If you’re schema is focused on body image and how YOU look, there’s a really high chance that it comes into play when you’re out and about. Maybe you’re hair is on point or someone really loves that shirt you wore that day. Yet if you’re so self-aware of what you look like or how you feel about yourself (in a negative way) then those looks turn into something negative. The voices in you’re head tell you they’re judging you, yet like the Barry Manilow t-shirt study, I can bet no one is even noticing you.

What I’m trying to get at is this: people are so busy thinking about themselves that they don’t exactly take the time out of their lives to notice you and how you look. You’re body isn’t on the forefront of their mind when you’re sitting at a table in a restaurant or trying on clothes at the mall. They’re probably admiring how adorbs you look in that new skirt or thinking that they should have ordered what you did as the waiter brings out your dinner (their choice of that salad is looking pretty poor as you get handed that scrumptious sizzling fajita… ok now I’m hungry just thinking about this). So try and relax when you go out and you’re not feeling confident about yourself! You rock that confidence like you’re Kanye, just don’t be a douchebag (but feel free to interrupt T.Swift because that’d be more entertaining than having to look/listen to her).

The Media Is Not The Bad Guy

Internet-news The media has always received a bad reputation when it comes to mental health issues, where people see it as the root of all evil to those struggling with things such as eating disorders, depression, self-injury and so on. But you know what guys? I don’t really believe that the media is as bad as everyone would like to think it is.

Honestly, I believe we use the media as a scapegoat to not face the underlying problems. Sure seeing extremely thin individuals all over the place could cause some discomfort amongst those either in the midst of an eating disorder, in recovery from one or even healthy minded individuals who have some sort of body dissatisfaction (because let’s admit it here, we all do to some degree). But to say “hey I saw this on____ and it caused me to develop____” is a cop out.

Eating disorders aren’t media fueled developed disorders, but for a lot of people they like to point the finger towards mass media. The truth is, these disorders are much deeply rooted within the individuals mind than simply a mere exposure to what everyone unfortunately sees everyday. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the world we live in today is all about the latest health/diet fad, exercise and having an “attractive” body which all boils down to being thin, but when someone develops an eating disorder it is not the advertisement company’s or production teams of movies and television shows that caused it.

The individual struggling with an eating disorder have probably always had a deeper issue,probably stemming from self-worth, self-image and self-esteem issues throughout their life. Nobody wakes up one day, sees an ad or commercial and decides that that day they will be anorexic, bulimic or any other eating disorder. These disorders never start out as full blown disorders, for many they simply start as a way to lose weight or have a healthier life style. But there’s something inside of their brains that becomes addicted to the weight loss, the exercise, the lack of food consumed or vise versa. The media only fuels that desire to fit in or “be perfect”, which I believe was never their intention.

I think it’s time we stop using the media as a scapegoat and really look at the bigger issue at hand here; that issue is inside of us.

Comparisons & Competition

**TRIGGER WARNING**

Whoa two posts in one day?! Someone must have course work to do or something that she’s putting off!

So here’s what’s up for tonight: my “schema” as the professionals where I used to go to treatment n therapy call it, is fucking up a lot of shit in my life.

Example #1: Comparisons

I was up at the mall getting an upgrade on my phone, when this woman and her mother walked in. It took one look at the both of them to trigger me, to want so desperately to look like they looked. They were tall, skinny as fuck and I was jealous. I was with my parents when I saw these 2 and in the most sick way I was fascinated by them. I wanted to know how they can get away walking around like that, how they got to look like that. The poor guy at the store probably thought I had A.D.D or some shit because for the life of me I couldn’t stop looking at these people. It’s totally fucked up right? I was talking to my mother today about it, how I was jealous they looked like that and I was forced to “restore” weight. But here’s the most fucked up thing: I didn’t see them as looking sick, I saw them as something I wanted so badly to look like. My mother said they looked like they belonged in a hospital or treatment center, that they didn’t look healthy but they looked really sick.

Example #2: Competition

My dad is on this mindset lately to lose weight. Please don’t get me wrong it’s not a distorted eating disorder thought or something, he needs to shed a few pounds because he is overweight. So for the past week or so he’s been asking me for help and tips on how he could lose a few pounds (triggering as fuck? Yes. Completely moronic on his part? You betcha!!). So I’ve been genuinely trying to help him in the last triggering ways I know how (disclaimer, it’s still triggering to me). Yet I find myself, again like with those two in the phone store, completely jealous of my father and the fact he is allowed to lose weight.

It’s totally fucked up, but even when he’s trying to eat right, I find myself having this sick sense of accomplishment whenever I see he is eating/has eaten more than me. Even when my mom eats normally, it’s so sick that my eating disorder thoughts get all jazzed up that it’s “winning” the eating competition in my house. Like, there’s no fucking competition even going on here! The voices always have to win, and winning in my head is being less. Less weight, less food, less calories consumed.

I really fucking hate having this mentality come wedging its way in my life again.

Fuck. You. Eating Disorder. Thoughts.

Body Dissatisfaction Amongst College Males

shutterstock140181568Featured Image -- 342Hey guys so as the title hints, I want to talk about something I have been noticing on my colleges campus lately. Maybe it’s because the nice weather has finally arrived (it’s about damn time too!), but over the past couple of weeks I’ve been noticing a lot more males on campus have been making comments about their appearance and it strikes me as interesting.

As you know I talk a lot about eating disorders on my blog, and I must admit I am guilty of aiming it towards young adult females probably because I am one (if you didn’t know that, now you know.. See you learn something new everyday!). But as some of you may know, when it comes to body image, body dissatisfaction and characteristics socially associated with eating disordered behavior, males tend to be placed on the back burner so to speak.

I was in class the other day and this guy was talking to his friend sitting next to me about how he was working out in the campus fitness center. He said something that struck me as odd, yet sounded all too familiar as I often say something extremely similar. He mentioned something to the effect of how he hates working out on treadmills because of the bars on both sides meant for balance if you were to lose it mid-work out. He went on to say how he feels confined in them because his “fat ass” is too large for the space provided on the machine. Now, sitting two seats away from him I heard the whole conversation between him and his friend, and I must say I was in awe. Looking at him he was the furthest things from fat. In fact, from appearance alone he looked pretty damn normal to me. But I knew how he felt, as I struggle with my body image on a daily basis (it’s the biggest mind fuck when it comes to maintaining recovery from anorexia, at least in my opinion).

Yet his comments really made me start thinking, and I realized that males too struggle with this more than we as a society like to realize.

Research has shown that variables such as family pressures and self-esteem levels contribute to a poor body image in males (Palladino Green & Pritchard, 2003). I also found on the National Eating Disorder Association’s website that in recent years, when a survey has been given to men the findings researchers come across is that body image concerns across the male population has dramatically increased over the past 3 decades from 15% of males being dissatisfied with their bodies, to 43% (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/statistics-males-and-eating-disorders, 2015). This means that almost half of the male population in the United States dislikes something about their physical appearance.

Heart breaking isn’t it?

It’s true that disordered eating habits and distorted thoughts about ones physical appearance doesn’t discriminate against gender, age or race. I wish more people would start speaking out for males, as the stigma of being dissatisfied with your appearance is strictly taboo for the male population. Hell, it’s hard enough for the female population to talk about eating disorders, and males have an added societal pressure on their shoulders of being “manly” or “macho”. So I can only imagine what it’s like for a male to feel like his body looks wrong, yet can’t openly talk about it. Things need to change people!

References

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/statistics-males-and-eating-disorders

Palladino Green, S. & Pritchard, M.E., (2003). Predictors of body image dissatisfaction in adult men and women. Social Behavior and Personality, 

The Talk

Hey guys I hope you’re having a good week so far!

So I’ve been struggling with something lately and I’m honestly not sure what to do about it. I know I haven’t posted on here about it, but I’ve been dating this guy for a little over a month now. I gotta say, it’s incredible having a boyfriend who treats you like gold and always tells you you’re beautiful but I somehow feel like I’m lying to him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really into him but there’s a huge part of my life he knows nothing of and that’s my eating disorder. He was there when my Grandma passed away and I loved that about him, but now that we’ve been dating for a bit and the feelings between the two of us are getting stronger I feel as if though I should tell him that I have an eating disorder; I’m just not sure how to go about it.

I don’t know how to tell him that lately every meal has once again been a struggle, that I spent years obsessing over things such as weight, calories and working out. Yes I’m trying to stay in recovery right now, but I can’t shake the feeling that if I want this to work with him, he needs to know about it. We haven’t gone out to dinner yet, it’s something I’ve been avoiding but sooner or later it’s going to happen and I really don’t want that to expose my secret.

So I guess what I’m asking of you all who read this, and have had a similar conversation with a boyfriend or girl friend, is how do I do this? I’m terrified he won’t see me as he sees me now. I don’t even know how to start the conversation out or even what words to use. I’m scared he’ll see me as weak or broken and that he’ll get scared and break up with me.

Please comment on this post with any tips or words of wisdom.

Thanks guys!

Why Numbers Matter

Numbers give value to a lot of areas in our life. We first learn this correlation of a number and our self-worth in school where we’re graded. All throughout our academic career we’re taught that the higher the grade you receive, the “better” you are. Even when you graduate high school the student with the highest grades get a special recognition as top of your class.

Then there’s the issue of weight. Now that it’s the new year we’re bombarded with weight loss commercials of people showing off their new “healthier” bodies and proudly proclaiming the number of pounds or pant sizes they lost on whatever program the commercial is promoting. Their loss of weight gives them bragging rights and pride; their new weight or pant size is such a badge of honor and we as a society hold them in high esteem. Even though all of our bodies are different there seems to be an acceptable range of weight that everyone seems to be expected to be, but it’s not fair or even accurate.

When I was really sick and rapidly losing weight I experienced that pride of weight loss. I felt accomplished and in a sick way I felt entitled to compliments for my hard work and determination. But now, I’m working on maintaining this higher weight that my meal plan gave me. I know I’m more healthy at the weight I’m at now, but numbers still hold a great weight (no pun intended) in my life. Weekly I get weighed by my therapist and I’m told what I weigh; some weeks I’m ok with it as I seemed to not change, but it’s in those weeks where I go up that I struggle. To me, there’s nothing to brag about when I gain weight, it’s almost shameful in a way. Watching all of those commercials about weight loss pills and programs I find myself getting jealous.

Why do those people get to lose weight? Why can’t I do that anymore? Of course I know the answer to that without having to ask, but it’s still that mindset I struggle with. If I lost weight again I couldn’t do it in a healthy way, I’d end up in the hospital, dropping out of college, possibly be sent back to residential or even die. Although I know all of this, the knowledge of my weight is still a huge obstacle. Normal people shouldn’t have to gain weight, I mean you never see commercials for people saying “hey, I’m too thin and I needed to gain weight. So I took _______ or did _______ program, and now I love my body more than ever!”.

I know numbers are something I’m just going to have to deal with and get used to hearing, but as of right now it’s still a huge trigger and struggle. I wish numbers, especially in regards to weight, didn’t “reflect” our own self-worth.

Sparks of Hope

Hey guys happy Thursday!

So last night I decided I wanted to try something a little different with some of my writing time. I’ve found it so easy again to let my negative thoughts come out on paper as of late and writing has become more of a “need to do” leisure activity than a “want to do”. I’ve always loved starting my days off with a positive quote and so I decided to try and come up with my own so-called daily inspiration book. I’m thinking that at the start of everyday I will jump on here and post what I have for the day, and maybe even impact others day by sharing what is on my mind in a positive way.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the bad and forget all about the good things in life. Below is the first entry I’ll be posting and I hope you all sincerely enjoy it. Comment below if you wish, I’d love the feedback from you guys!

canstockphoto-spark


“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.”

                        – Rachel Naomi Remen

When you have close friendships or relationships in your life that hold meaning to you those people tend to come to you when they’re facing difficult situations. Often times while our friends or family are talking to us, explaining their situation, we are in our own heads trying to come up with a possible solution. I know for me, I have always been the kind of person who had to fix everything. But some situations I’ve learned don’t need that silver lining or words of wisdom; all that needs to be heard by those who come to you is that you heard them.

 

Goal: This week if a close friend or family member confides in you, make a conscious effort to simply listen. Try your best to hear what they are saying, pause before speaking and remove the pressure from yourself of having to fix it.