Addiction

Choosing Life

In a year long quest to be more open, honest, authentic, real, and other words of the like; I’m sharing something that I haven’t really discussed or care to talk about. Quite often I get asked why I’m not dancing professionally or why did I not follow up on those goals I set for myself after I graduated college. It’s a difficult question. One I loathe because it has taken me years to come to grip with the reasons and the direction my life took instead. For years I dealt with jealousy when I saw friends live out my dreams and do what I always wanted. I had thoughts of “I am more talented, yet here I am not dancing and they are getting all the attention” or “everyone thought I’d be the one dancing in a company not them”. There were also some other darker thoughts but I don’t feel like going down that road…

 

There are a few answers to this question of why I am not dancing professionally. It’s definitely not for a lack of trying. Honestly, I tried too hard. I gave my heart and soul to dance. It was all I wanted (that and to be skinnier and the most fit dancer in my college company). These are my most used answers-all valid and true:

 

*I suffered performance anxiety in every audition. Every time I auditioned I crumbled. I could not handle the pressure.
*I met my soon to be husband. I fell in love and sometimes when you love someone you change your own path. I wanted him to be successful and followed him encouraging him along the way.
*God’s plan for me changed.

 

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Pic by Katie Norrell

 

Then there is the answer that I don’t answer with very often. I don’t use this answer unless I am completely comfortable with someone or like now. I do feel embarrassed and ashamed of this answer. I feel that people won’t really understand or grasp it. Do you want to know the true answer to why I’m not dancing in a company?

 

I’d be dead.

 

That is not an over exaggeration. If I would have been one of the few to make it in a company I know I couldn’t handle the stress of the grueling schedule, accompanying lifestyle, and standing up to my own perfectionistic tendencies let alone the standards of a company. My dream, along with my addictions and eating disorders, would have killed me.

 

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Performing with the Moonlight Minx Parade Jan 2018. Photo by RAW Tulsa

 

I took me years to come to grips with that final reason and to be OK with choosing recovery. I know that sounds cliche, but to those who don’t know what it’s like, sometimes you think your pre-recovered life is better. It’s screwed up thinking but addicts are not known for their logic. I would try and hide this. Then I’d be dancing or performing in other endeavors and people would constantly ask my why I’m not doing more. I wasn’t comfortable telling people I chose life over my dream. I still live in the past knowing that I could’ve been more. I still sometimes see myself as that young dancer who was on top of the world–who had people loving her when she danced, who wanted to create pieces on her. That young dancer who would’ve been happily dancing in the corps because dance is life and my dream would have come true.

 

However in the deepest parts of me I know that to be dancing and performing to that high caliber you need more than talent. You need to be mentally healthy and physically en pointe. At the time I didn’t have healthy coping mechanisms. I had the passion, the drive, the ambition, the talent–but abusing laxatives, compulsive exercising, and restricting caloric intake negates any of the former. I was coping with the fact that I felt inadequate about my technique/talent. In a world where there is always someone better than you, it can be difficult to stay confident. I was coping with loneliness and the isolation. I was suppressing my anger and emotions from an abusive relationship.  Pretty much I was a hot freakin’ mess.

 

While I may not have danced in a company I did dance professionally for a few years. I became a dance teacher. I was a cabaret dancer/burlesque performer. I performed in local companies on occasion. Now I just take class when I can while pursuing my passion of teaching yoga, wellness, and trying to bring dance conditioning to OKC (my way of contributing to the dance world). I am also happily married with the best furbaby on the planet. I’m living in a big(ger) city. I have some fantastic friends. Things I would have missed out on if my life was what my college self wanted. So am I sad that one part of my life is “over”? Yes. But I am happy that I chose life.

 

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Photo by Matias Cortez

Yamas, Niyamas, and the 12 Steps

For yoga teacher training we had to write a research paper. I really wanted my paper to be a reflection of what myself and where I want to take yoga. I want to take yoga in the theraupetic route, helping those with ED’s, mental illness, and other addictions overcome their mountain. As we studied two of the eight limbs of yoga: yamas and niyamas, I realized how similar they are to the 12 Steps. I use the 12 Steps as much as I can and I was starting to incorporate the yamas and niyamas in my life, I realized that they can be a great tool for those in recovery. This is how I got the idea for my research paper. My paper is a brief overview of a bigger topic and hopefully one day I can dive deeper and expand on this topic.

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“To the pure of heart comes also a quiet spirit, one-pointed thought, the victory over sensuality, and fitness to behold the soul.” Yoga Sutras II.41

 

Patanjali encompassed the essence of self-realization, self discovery, and the journey of a recovered life in this sutra. That particular sutra can be about embarking on the yoga journey or a journey of a recovered life from codependency, eating disorders, addictions, or unhealthy behaviors. Yoga can be used in combination with the 12 Steps to help a person who is recovery to become the best version of themselves. Though some people may think that the 12 Steps are unrelated to yoga, they would think otherwise after reviewing the two limbs of yoga outlined by Patanjali: the Yamas (moral disciplines) and Niyamas (moral guidelines). Even after review, the similarities between the yamas and niyamas and the 12 steps are apparent. The two limbs and the 12 Steps can help complement each other and together help an individual on their recovery journey.

The 12 Steps were written by Bill Wilson, a prominent businessman and alcoholic, who also founded Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s. In 1938, his teachings and the 12 Steps were published in what is known as the Big Book (www.12step.com). The steps are faith based, meaning that they use spiritual concepts and the surrender of the participant to a power. Each step is a continuation of the next, they must be completed in order to be effective. When one begins they start with the first step, admitting they are powerless over their addiction or affliction. From there they go on through the following:

2)a power great than us can restore us, 3)we made a decision to turn our will and lives over to God as we understand him, 4) we made a fearless moral inventory, 5)we admitted to God and another our wrongdoings, 6)we’re entirely ready to have God remove these defects, 7)we asked God to remove them, 8)we made a list of all persons harmed, 9)we made direct amends with those we hurt, unless it would cause direct harm, 10) we continue to take personal inventory, and when we are wrong we admit it, 11)through prayer and meditation we come closer to God, 12)having been enlightened by these steps we are to carry this out to others. (Anonymous)

The yamas and niyamas are two parts of the eight limbs of yoga outlined by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. When one is on the yogic path these are observances and guidelines that yogi’s or yogini’s abide by. The yamas are known as moral disciplines. They are: ahimsa-non harming, satya-truth, asteya-non-stealing, brahmacharya-purity, and aparigraha-non covetedness/non hoarding/detachment. After that there are the niyamas, moral guidelines. They are: saucha-cleanliness, santosa-contentment, tapas-zeal/passion, svadhyaya-self study, and Isvara Pranidhana-dedication to the Lord through actions (Gates, 2002) (Iyengar, 1976).

As a person delves deeper into the meanings of both the 12 Steps and the first two limbs of yoga begin to notice the similarities. According to Kyczy Hwk, the 12 Steps, yamas, and niyamas provide ways to help with recovery from a variety of addictions with the 12 Steps being a more spiritual practice while the yamas and niyamas and yoga are more of a physical practice (Hawk).When a person on a recovery journey practice the yamas and niyamas they can better understand the Steps because they all have “a spiritual union with ones higher power” (Hawk). Some of the 12 Steps have more than one yama or niyama to go with it while some only have one. There are also some aspects of the first two limbs of yoga that are overarching concepts in the 12 Steps.

The first step has multiple niyamas that are related. Rolf Gates in his book, Meditations from the Mat, says it best, “We can count on the new and the unfamiliar to be awkward. But the awkwardness of that first step is no reason for us to deny ourselves the opportunity to have balance in a given area of our lives. We will have the degree of grace in our lives that we permit ourselves to have”   (Gates, 59). With that grace and the help of their higher power, the participant can then work on certain aspects of aparigraha and saucha. Aparigraha is “about the end of all attachment: letting go of our fears, letting go of our desires, becoming free” (Gates,67), which is an essence of Step 1. Saucha has similarities to Step 1 because of the crazy talk, insanity that is in his or her lives before that first step. Step 2 and 3 could also have some similarities with aparigraha and saucha as well because he or she is letting go of what doesn’t serve them, their addiction of dysfunction, to become free.

Step Four, making a fearless moral inventory, has similarities to asteya and the whole aspect of yoga. When the person on the recovery journey sits down to take their inventory they cover all wrongdoings and “defects of character” (Anonymous). This is something that is constantly done time and time again in the recovered life. Without taking regular inventory the recovered cannot stay recovered and progress in their life and spiritual walk with their higher power. When a yogi or yogini practices asteya they are paying “closer attention to what [they] do, and to put [their] faith in [their] ability to heal” (Gates,46) which is their version of making their own personal inventory.

Step 5 is all about admitting. He or she admits to God, themselves, and someone else (usually in AA it is a sponsor) all their wrongdoings and insight collected from their Step 4 inventory. Satya is the yama that has similarities to Step 5. As Rolf Gates puts clearly in Meditations from the Mat satya is “letting go of pretense and telling the truth about ourselves to another human being” (pg 31); Step 5 and satya is all about speaking truthfully and living that truth.

The next steps that are similar with one or two of the first limbs of yoga are Step 8 and 9. They are about making contact with people the individual has harmed and make direct amends with them. Here is another aspect of aparigraha at work because the individual is making a list of resentments and letting them go. Satya also makes another appearance here because satya is all about truth and the individual is speaking truth to those they have hurt.

After that comes Step 11 where the individual seeks conscious contact with God/higher power to help with their daily life and to better understand God through prayer and meditation. This has similarities to brahmacharya and self study. On the yogic path one practices brahmacharya or purity as a way to keep themselves close to God. In the 12 Steps the individual practices the same and keeps themselves pure by repentance, praying, and working to get their disease under control. As it is stated in Meditations from the Mat, “prayer enables us to tap into the healing power of the universe” (Gates, pg 52).

Lastly is Step 12, where he or she takes what she learns and shares it. In some 12 Step groups they will use the term spiritual awakening to showcase the life changing they undergo. Tapas and santosha are the two niyamas that work with Step 12. Tapas, or burning passion, relates to Step 12 because it is an “enthusiasm for health” (Gates) and it is all about inquiry. Being passionate to inquire about themselves which is the overarching idea of the 12 Steps; to be constantly evaluating your life, what the individual is doing in order to be the best person they can be in keeping the addiction or disease under control. As Gates states,

“Tapas is the spirit of inquiry; it is about having the heart of an explorer. It is the willingness to work hard in practice, the desire to know oneself, the will to be honest. But all of these virtues are predicted on a genuine desire for spiritual health. This desire will give us consistency. We will have good days and bad days, days when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and days when the opposite is the case. Years of consistent practice are not built on rigid self-discipline; they are built on the desire to know more.” (Gates, 103)

Santosa is similar to Step 12 because santosa is an alternate way of approaching life, it is a different way to view life. The 12 Steps, just like the yamas and niyamas are about ways to approach different aspects of life, be it a recovered life or not.

In conclusion, there are many similarities between the 12 Steps and the yamas and niyamas of yoga. All three help individuals live a better life and give each individual a moral guidebook and road map to navigate life. With an understanding of the 12 Steps, yamas, and niyamas can help the individual on the road to recovery to better stay on that road and have a greater success rate and a lower chance of relapse.

 

Sources:

Light on Yoga, Iyengar

Meditations from the Mat, Rolf Gates

EDA 12 Steps

12steps.com

Yoga and the 12 Step Path, Hawk

when it hurts…not you…but your loved ones

Happy New Year! Here is to a happy new you, and a year filled with blessing, love, and happiness. Namaste.

So that is all I am going to say about the new year. Right now I could write an entry about how I am going to make this year better than last, how I am going to continue to work through recovery, finally figure out what I am going to do with my life, or go in the direction towards my dream. But no, I am not going to write on that. Why? Because recovery is a full time job, I will never know what I am going to do with my life (only God knows and directs), and he points me in the direction of my dreams. So I want to write on how mental health/depression/addictions/ED’s etc…can hurt not just you but those who you love most.

When you are in the depths of your disease (insert your addiction, mental illness, or combo) you are not aware of the damage you are doing. Not only are you doing damage to your own body, but you are damaging others. But you cannot see the damage because you are in delusion that your disease can hurt you because it is your friend; and you definitely cannot see the damage it does to your loved ones because you are selfish. Yes, I said it. Selfish. Your disease is all about you. Your disease is about surviving, hiding, and internally dying;while it is telling you that you are living, thriving, and being beautiful.  Your disease does not see outside of your own mind it cannot see that with every lie, every drink, every purge, every opportunity to numb yourself, that it hurts your parents/boyfriend/girlfriend/best friends. This awareness of outside damage does not occur until one begins to do the work of recovery and their mind starts to think clearly. Even then there are chances that you will still hurt those you love.

One of the first people we hurt are our parents. Our parental relationship is probably most difficult relationship to grow and nurture in our lives even if we don’t have a disease. I remember when I was really deep in the pits of my ED that they constantly hurt me. I found out they were talking about me behind my back, talking about my extreme weight loss, and mood  swings. So I got upset. I got mad at them which drove me into a deeper pit of purging and resenting them because instead of helping me seek treatment they talked to others and tried to force me to eat or make me gain weight. I thought they didn’t love me. But after many sessions in therapy I realized they did love me, it is just that they didn’t know how to deal with the situation. How could they? No one they knew had an ED. They didn’t know how to help, they felt just as helpless as I did. When they would see me hurt myself, they would hurt because they didn’t know what to do. Now, many years later I have made amends and can put myself in their place. I know if I was to have a daughter or son who had a disease  it would hurt me too. So, for those of you out there who haven’t made amends with your parents, meditate and pray about it. They do care about you but most of the time they don’t know how to help themselves let alone help you. Just like it hurts God when we hurt ourselves, it hurts them when we hurt ourselves. They love regardless and parents will always be there.

The next relationship that we can hurt the most is the one we share our life with. For me it is my husband. I still hurt him even though I have been in recovery for some time and he was the one who helped me get help and has sat through many therapy sessions with me. Marriage is difficult. It is filled with compromise, unconditional love, loving another more than yourself, and giving. I think that when I am in a relapse or having a depressive episode there is nothing I hate more than when I see my husband being helpless because he can’t help me. Lately I have been experiencing this more than anything else. My depression and the lovely *not* Melvin has been really prevalent in my life as of late and it has seeped into my marriage life. I have been laying in bed to depressed to move, eating nothing but cereal, and shutting down in my communication, withdrawing (unfortunately, it is a skill I have mastered whether well). I didn’t even enjoy my favorite holiday season, Christmas. While I am in the midst of this, I can see the pain I bring my husband. The helplessness in his eyes because he loves me unconditionally and there is nothing he can do. When I see that in his eyes, it actually makes me wanna get better and climb out of my little abyss of depression and bowls of cereal. Because I love him more than I love myself and definitely love him more than Melvin.

Deep down I am a lover. A let us all sing peace, love, and kumbaya individual. The last thing I would ever want to do is hurt someone. Here is where recovery comes in. Once we have tasted recovery and cleared our mind to find our inner selves all we want to do is be better. Be the best versions of our selves we can be because we know what it is like to be the worst version of our self. So to be the best version of our self we need to be aware of the potential hurt and pain we can cause those we love.

When you find yourself to blue to get out of the bed or found yourself on your fifth bowl of cereal and you see the pain in your loved ones eyes;remember how far  you have come. That you have tasted love and know that there is someone else who loves you more than you can imagine. Give into that supporting relationship’s hugs and kisses. They can be the one who sends you down that ladder to climb out of that abyss.

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#’s (pounds not hashtags)

Do you love the scale? Do you hate the scale? Do you just not care? Whatever your opinion on scales are, you have an opinion. Hopefully it is a healthy one. Those of us with ED’s or are in process of recovery have a definite opinion of the scale. It is our frenemy (friend and enemy).  We love it because it brings us happiness when we need it. We love it
because it keeps our otherwise hectic life in control. Yet, we hate it because it brings us unhappiness. We hate it because it controls us. We hate it because it tells us our self-worth, self-value, and when people will love us. All because of one number we have in our heads. We cannot go above that number. We have a safety number (well I did). Once we go above the high number we starve and purge. If we fall below our safety number we binge because we feel sad and out of control than follow it up with purging.

When I was controlled by a scale I use to hide my insanity. The scale was in my parents bathroom. So I had to go in there to use it. I had to time myself and step on the white plastic scale when they weren’t around. If they caught me using it they would either check the number (which would result in gain weight comments), or tell me to get off it. I did it daily. Multiple times a day, knowing that your weight fluctuates during the day, I had to do it. Ask any one who struggles with this, it is only you and that scale. I had numbers on it where I felt my best and that I liked. I had numbers that were my heavy numbers which were signs that I need to lose weight. And I had a number that I couldn’t go under, mainly in part of a truce I made with my mom and gynecologist when I was severely underweight.

One of my first challenges was to step off that plastic white scale. To decrease my time on it. Instead of five times a day, cut back to three or four, etc…Eventually I weened myself off the scale and only stepped on them when I had a dr’s appointment. When I moved to my current therapist he came up with the idea to step on the scale sideways or backwards so I wouldn’t see the number. If I didn’t see the number I had no attachment to the number (I am not a math major but I had number attachments). It wouldn’t ruin my day with thoughts of “I am gaining” or “I am losing” etc…I felt like I looked stupid and I always made a joke of it but I soon came to realize that the nurses didn’t care. Most of them thought I was smart by doing that given my challenges.

The other day I had a major breakthrough. Probably one of my biggest ones in the almost three years of recovery. I saw a number on a white sheet of paper (my check out sheet at the doctor). On that white sheet of paper, I saw my weight. Here is the crazy part: it was heavier than usual, but I didn’t care. I knew that it may not be accurate because of the time of day, the time of month, and just took it with a grain of salt. I knew that I gained a few but that was ok because people still think I weigh less than that. I have muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat. There are lots of reasons for that number. My current weight as of that day was how much I weighed in high school. I honestly think I look smaller now then I did around ten years ago. But my body has also changed shape (yay for late blooming).  I took that number and just let it be. I didn’t purge, starve, or over exercise. I just became mindful of it and went on my merry way.

A year ago that would not have happened! 2 years ago that definitely would not have happened.6 months ago there would be a chance that that would not have happened. But there I was completely ok with it. Melvin did creep in and try to talk me into starving. I disobeyed. I was in a good place. Especially since they are figuring out what is really wrong with my GI distress, and that is enough t over rule any weight arguments with Melvin.

So for those of you out there struggling with the scale, don’t give up. Try getting on the scale backwards or sideways. Don’t have the health practitioner tell you anything. Work on getting rid of attachments to numbers (they do not serve you). Keep trekking on. Eventually that white plastic scale (or whatever color of scale you have)  won’t have a death grip on you.

Till that day comes, practice Metta (lovingkindness in Sanskrit).

 

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Exercise

There once was a time that I was addicted to exercise. Even though I was dancing five days a week, teaching group fitness classes five days a week, I ran plenty, and did Olympic lifting, I couldn’t get enough. I was working out, or moving my body, seven days a week. There was no such thing as a rest day. To me a rest day was for the weak. Resting meant that I would get fat, lazy, and lose all my gains. Even though-and here is the BIG part-I knew I was wrong.

In college I spent my time battling an ED, exercise addiction, all while studying Exercise and Sport Science. I knew everything about training and exercise. I knew that I had to take a day off because it makes you stronger…but try and tell my disordered self that. Also, spending time in a major that puts emphasis on exercise, weight lifting (Olympic style) it is hard to not to want to do more. Part of our major was to get in the gym and work out, all while building our own periodized training program.

I remember every time I was forced to take days off, be it due to injury or I had other things to do. I literally remember twitching, having anxiety, and all withdrawal symptoms. When I was injured and couldn’t work out I thought I was gonna die, or get fat. Then my anorexic mind would take over and I would eat nothing but fruit and soup. After all this I never thought that I was addicted. Until I took a sport psychology class and we studied exercise addiction. BAM! It was as if they were writing about me. I had all those symptoms. I scheduled life around my workout. I had the withdrawal symptoms. I exercised for more than just health reasons. I would do extra sets of squats or other exercises before I would put on certain clothes.

While I had all this, I never thought about changing it till I went into recovery. In recovery I had to use my knowledge of exercise and learn to use it properly. I had to make a program and stick with it. I had to do a program with set exercises on certain days. I scheduled in rest days, or active recovery days. People had to hold me accountable. It was tough. It has taken me quite some time to get use to it. It probably wasn’t till a year ago that I become fully ok with taking days off. And taking off more than one day in a row (but I never go more than two, I will at least walk). And now I workout for health sake not just to look good and burn calories (though sometimes that is great motivation to get through a tough workout).  But I don’t beat myself up for missing a day or quitting a workout early because my body tells me too. I don’t crave exercise anymore. I crave being injury free. I LOVE not being over trained. I can actually sleep at night! 

All of this is was inspired by a post I saw on the NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) Facebook page. It was about exercise addiction. It is great to see exercise addiction being written about and taking seriously as an addiction. The link below is a really honest and true statement. Now, there were things we did differently, but like any recovery, we are all different. I do suggest that if this is you  or someone you know PLEASE get help.

 

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14650/12-signs-youre-exercising-too-much.html

Peace and Namaste.

this is your brain on mental illness

I have been on WordPress for a year! Wow how time flies. I hope the people who have stumbled across my blog, and those who have not yet stumbled upon me, have been/will be blessed and enjoy themselves. I do this blog for those out there who needs someone to relate to on the ED front, for those who need inspiration, and just plain encouragement. Thank you to my followers, the commentators, and the readers.

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There has been a lot of talk this past week about mental illness, depression, and how one thinks with a mental illness. This has inspired me to share with the world what ones brain goes through. With a mental illness of any kind (addiction, depression, Bi-Polar, ED’s, anxiety, etc…) you cannot think clearly. Your mind is clouded with misinformation that your illness feeds you. The clouds suck the life out of you. The clouds are the bucket that carry you deeper and deeper into your dark well of life. The clouds are free radicals tearing your insides out. Due to this, that is why people: contemplate suicide, turn to drugs, turn to the bottle, eat themselves to death, starve themselves to death etc…We do not have the capability to think clearly. This is why some people turn to suicide. Those who think about it think it is the only way to go. The way that they can cause less harm and damage to their families. Even themselves. Yes, it does not make sense, but that is what a mental illness does. It takes things that do not make sense and twists them around to make sense. That is what people do not understand.

To show you what I mean, I am going to share with you my thoughts. My own personal thoughts that I have every day…Some of these I use to have more regularly, but I am proud to say that over time and hard recovery work I can manage them a bit more…My thoughts do not make sense, but the part of my brain that helps make rational decisions is over-ridden…

Here we go:

*The moment I eat something sweet, a treat, or a dessert, my thighs automatically get dimples or become “cottage cheese thighs”.

*”I’m Fat” becomes my saying, almost mantra, for when I am distressed. Even though fat is not a feeling.

*When I am constipated due to my IBS, I swear that I look fat/or my belly sticks out/that you can tell I am bloated

*When I am anxious I begin to fly off the handle and the only thing that comforts me is to play the scenario over and over and over and over again. DWELL! Dwelling makes everything better.

*The All or Nothing Principal, is not just about exercise: I either eat the whole tray of sweets or pizza OR eat nothing at all.

*I always think people are judging me, and talking about me. Whether it be how fat I am or how skinny I am.

*I always wonder if people are judging my actions, whether it be in the business world or everyday life.

*I can wake up feeling great about myself then something will go wrong and BAM! I hate myself, have an anxiety attack, or feel fat.

*If I fail at something or lose and the person is bigger than me I think, “At least I am skinnier and prettier than her” if the person if smaller than me I think, “I need to lose weight”.

*Food goes like this…..Good Food=Good Leslie, Bad Food=Good Leslie if I am conquering a food fear, Bad Food=Bad Leslie, All Food=Bad Leslie

*I hate math and suck at it, but numbers can make me happy

*One does not simply eat one brownie a day when making a pan of brownies…One must eat it all in one sitting and then judge themselves and do body weight squats for the rest of the night

*I constantly ask my husband if I look fat. Probably around 10 times a day on a “bad” day. Less than that on a “good” day.

*I don’t do this as often, but every morning I would wake up and check my ab definition and use that to monitor my fattness

*If I do everything my ED Melvin says I will be happy, perfect, and the longing for attention and love I want will be fulfilled

*On the anxiety front….if my body feels the weirdest bit off I ask my husband if I am ok. Or am I going to be ok. He hears that just as much as “Am I fat?”

*I am completely irrational when I am having a panic attack. Everything goes to shit and everything flies out the window. You never know what I am going say or do.

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Now this is not a complete list of my thoughts but the most common. It doesn’t represent other forms of mental illness, but it shows that we all have cloudy thoughts. This is how people can make poor decisions. For some more information and education check out the following…

NAMI, the best place to learn more about mental health/illness

Stress, the brain, and mental illness

Robin Williams’ death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish

 

 

Always remember, a smile and kind word can go a long way.

 

And just because I love Bob Ross…

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NEDA Awareness Week Recap

This past week the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) had their yearly awareness week. For those of us suffering from ED’s or better yet, know people who have suffered or died, it is a great way to bring awareness to this disease.  All over America people join together to bring light to this subject through a variety of mediums. Some participate in NEDA Walks, college campus’ (much like my Alma Mater,  ETSU) hold a week worth of activities, buildings get lit up, people watch movies, there is always the NEDA Jeans Giveaway, and more. For the past two years I have participated with my Facebook page. Where I live now currently doesn’t do anything, I might need to change that, so I post daily information/graphics/pictures/stats/positive messages on my page.

I would like to share with you what I posted each day this week. Below you see pictures, articles, and a link to a blog I follow of a fellow dancer in recovery.

Day 1: The theme of this years week was I Had No Idea. I found this graphic and this article that truly backs up their theme. Also, being an individual who has been told, “you don’t look like you have an eating disorder”, that statement hurts more than people will know and it prevented me (and I am sure others too) the treatment they needed….

all sizes

Amazing article to go with this:

Weight Stigma Viewed Through the Eating Disorders Lens: Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, M.A., LPC Intern

Day 2: We all need a little encouragement and reminder of how beautiful we are. The below picture also reminds me of how I had a friend who offered to take me out shopping and rip the tags out of them so I wouldn’t know the size, and she even offered to help me with my clothes already in my closet.

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“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”  Simon de Beauvoir

Day 3:  Who doesn’t love a good infographic?

wtfzz national eating disorders awareness week wm

Day 4: “A good addiction is a contradiction in terms. Anything people cannot give up or must have is not healthy, no matter the activity.” Jody Dean

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Day 5: An awesome read by a blog I follow. It really captures “ED Logic”.Those of us with ED’s all have our own “ED Logic”. I love that I have found a fellow dancer who is sharing her story…

http://thefatballerinablogs.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/eating-disorder-logic/

Day 6:  I love yoga. I love how it helps to manage my anxiety as get me more in harmony with my body. Yoga has been shown in a few research studies to be a good supplement for an ED treatment program. I hope when I go through with my teacher training, I can help those with ED’s through yoga too.

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A good read: http://www.yogapsychology.org/art_yogatherapyfored.html

Day 7:  “Beauty shouldn’t be about changing yourself to achieve an ideal or be more socially acceptable. Real beauty, the interesting, truly pleasing kind, is about honoring the beauty within you and without you. It’s about knowing that someone else’s definition of pretty has no hold over you.” ― Golda Poretsky

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Peace and Namaste.