Binge Eating Disorder

To Those With Invisible Illnesses

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about invisibility. I’m not talking about the super power, I’m talking about things that can’t be seen. Like invisible illnesses. If you have followed me for some time or know me you are aware of my invisible illnesses: eating disorders, anxiety, un-diagnosed GI issues. But there are also more invisible illnesses: depression, other mental disorders, addiction, autoimmune diseases (fibro, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc…)With 1 in 5 adults experiencing or diagnosed with mental illness, and approx 50 million people living with an autoimmune disorder , chances are you have known someone who is suffering without you being aware of it it.

 

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Those of us who live with these various illnesses become masters of masking our pain with smile and concealing it better than the best make up concealer in the world. Sometimes we are too good at covering it up that people don’t believe us.  Invisible illnesses are also hard to explain when on the outside you look happy and healthy but internally your body is waging war. It seems that unless we bear our souls, post a billion IG videos documenting our lives, send up prayer requests in small groups, act sick all the time, become hermits; then do people only sorta begin to understand or have a bit of sympathy.

I can’t tell you how many times people don’t believe me when I say I have an illness. When I first began to seek help for my eating disorder I constantly heard, “you don’t look like you have one”, “you aren’t emaciated, just thin, only emaciated people have eating disorders”, “but you eat. how can you have anorexia when you I see you eat all the time?”,  “you can’t be addicted to exercise, exercise is healthy!”. Now with my mysterious GI issues I hear, “you are too young to have this problem”, “are you sure you have a problem?”, “it’s just IBS”. Do this sound familiar? “You’re just tired, “all you need is a nap”, “you’re being over dramatic”, “do more yoga”, “try this essential oil”…the list goes on and on.

 

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I have blogged about this before and keep discussing it in therapy, how difficult it is for me to work on cultivating a positive body image when my body hates me. Who else has been there? Between people not believing us, the doctors appointments, the episodes, bland diets, and tears we forget that we aren’t our illness.  It is so easy to get caught up in the physical that we wear ourselves down even more. The disconnect continues to grow and fester till it’s unbearable. But is it truly unbearable?

How can it be bearable? By coming together and lifting each other up. Reminding one another that we are beautiful beings who are capable of so much more; that there is more to life and even on our worst day it’s a miracle that we are even here. We can also see each other–and I don’t mean physically look. I mean really see. Recognize others who are like us and show support. Educate others on these invisible illnesses and teaching them how to show support for people like us. For my yogis out there, really practice Namaste.   Lastly, take time to remind yourself that you aren’t your body by reading this meditation. Then reach out to someone who needs to be seen, fully loved, and fully heard.

 

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So next time you are all alone in our bedroom wrapped up in our favorite blanket cuddling with our doggy waiting for our episode to be over, that we aren’t alone. There is someone else out there wrapped up in their favorite blanket, cuddling with their animal, waiting for their episode to be over.

 

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Battle of the Food Allergies & Eating Disorder

A few weeks ago I wrote one of my favorite entries, Can I be Allergic to my Eating Disorder?. I had always wanted to share with my readers how food allergies changed my eating disorder recovery in a myriad of ways.  Even though food allergies make recovery more difficult, they have helped me overcome and stay on top of my eating disorder (for the most part). I stay on top of my ED with a few simple tools: learning a new way to eat, inventive ways to prepare/cook food, meal planning-my ultra super secret weapon.

I grew up eating, enjoying, and cooking good ole Southern food. You name it I can make it. Chicken and Dumplin’s, beef stew, biscuits and white gravy, pound cake, layer cakes of all kinds, buttercream frosting, casseroles, apple butter, canned green beans, etc. If it was a cheese dish, you added extra cheese. If it was a cake, more frosting!  And like all Southern kids, I spent quite some time stirring the jelly in the copper pot while complaining my arms are getting tired. It took many years to master the subtle art of Southern-Appalachian cooking however, when I was diagnosed with food allergies I had to adapt to this new world of food. Gluten free cooking/baking a horse of a different color. I had to learn about flours and how they interact, how to make blends, how to decrease contamination. When it came to dairy free cooking/baking I learned how to make my own buttermilk, how to create dairy free cheeses out of tofu and nuts. I even learned to make my own nut butter since I was allergic to peanuts. It was, and still is an ongoing and fun process! I enjoy learning new ways of approaching food and the challenge of making gluten-dairy-nut-free food taste good.

Lets take that a step further and add eating a mostly vegetarian, sometimes vegan diet. It definitely makes things more difficult, maybe I am a glutton for punishment or I just like my tummy to feel good, possibly both. When you cook vegetarian or vegan fare it takes finesse, skill, and an understanding of spices/herbs, how you can make non-meat (tofu, mushrooms, beans, lentils, I don’t eat “fake meat”) taste like meat and manipulate the textures to make it tasty. When you have a meat loving husband you try even hard to make your allergen free, meat free, food taste better than their gluten and meat filled counterparts. It is fun to read cookbooks, find pins on Pinterest, and go on your whim-take what you already know and play with what you are learning or what you think would work. In other words: YOU COOK! I have had epic fails and amazing successes. All in all when I rely on good food I know I am nourishing myself which is exactly what Melvin (my ED) doesn’t want. Cooking is a way to shut him up and feed him yummy, tasty, delicious allergen free, meat free fare.

I have also started to incorporate mindful eating and a more yogic perspective on eating. The book Yoga of Eating inspired me so much.  When I eat more mindfully, as in I eat slowly and listen for hunger cues, I can stop myself from binging. I can also stop myself from getting sick and irritating my GI issues. I also try to eat smaller portions slowly so I can fully fill my stomach get full and go back for more if I  need it. I also try not to pigeon hold myself into traditional dinner rules or other eating rules. I may not have any grains in a day and that is ok because my body may not be able to digest it. I may have more grains than fruit. I  may have more vegetables that anything else. Whatever it is, I make sure I get enough nutrients and listen to what my  body wants. When I eat what my body wants and not what I want I again have set myself up for success against Melvin.

Lastly, my biggest tool against my eating disorder that I have learned in my fiveish years of this lifestyle, is to meal plan. I never really understood meal planning till I got married. I had to plan our meals and maximize our budget. Then that changed once I stopped eating meat. I had to plan my own meals, his meals, maximize our budget, and make sure I have enough food for snacks (which I have a hard time doing because I just think of three meals). I sit down each Monday and meal plan for at least two weeks, sometimes I get through one. I peruse Pinterest, cookbooks, and my recipe collection, pick similar recipes or recipes that use similar ingredients. I also look at my pantry staples and see what I can already  make out of them. I write down my recipe ideas, usually three to five dinners/lunches (it’s just me and I LOVE leftovers), three snacks that make multiple portions (raw bites or smoothies), and then I pick up some go to prepared but whole food snacks that I can supplement as well (bean chips, whole grain corn chips from Aldi’s, with their peach mango salsa is a must!).  I have noticed that when I don’t plan I go to the grocery store more I rely more on packaged, processed foods like Amy’s Meals, while great on occasion, aren’t the best all the time. Or drive thru Bo-rounds and their Cajun Pintos.  I also notice that Melvin is more rampant. I tend to refuse to eat because “I have no food” or I binge on junk food (vegan ice cream anyone?), I also feel hungry. My body isn’t properly fueled and can’t sustain itself with my busy and active lifestyle. Ages ago I could go on hours of exercise on little to no food. But now as I am older and more aware this yogic dancer needs her food or else I am not pirouetting or down-dogging!

All of these tools I learned or honed because of my food allergies. Without being diagnosed with food allergies I would not have learned how to use these tools to manage my ED. I am continuing to develop these tools and adding new ones to my arsenal. How do you use food to manage your ED or other food plagues? For my fellow allergen followers what have you learned from your food allergies? I would love to hear what you have to say in the comment section!

 

In Response to: Teaching With An Eating Disorder

The other day I read this great article about a dance teacher Hannah Maria Hayes and her experience teaching while being under the influence of her eating disorder. It really touched me and made me think about how eating disorders can influence teaching. I wrote an entry on a similar topic a few years back when I was co-directing The Nutcracker. It was about how I viewed myself as a hypocrite because I tell my dancers one thing and think/do another. I recently came back to this when I noticed one of the girls check out her stomach in the mirror before ballet class.

Bam! It hit me, like how one hits the floor when they slip out of a pirouette. All the words my director said to me, “you know these girls look up to you”, made sense. I have never been a role model or in a position where young girls want to dance like me.  Sometimes these young dancers copy my dance style (clothes or movement quality) but it is so much  more than that! They can copy my attitude, mannerisms, and drive. Some specific dance mannerisms are, checking out their profile in the  mirror or standing in front of the skinny mirror. Ask any dancer and they know all about that one mirror that makes you look good, how to pick out the slimming leotards. Better yet, ask any dancer about how often they check themselves out in the mirror and criticize what they look like. I don’t want that for these girls. I don’t want them to fight each other for the skinny mirror. I don’t want them them to give into the pressure of “the dancer body”, to feel as if they must make themselves smaller to “make up for their lack of ability” or to “make themselves stand out”. I starved myself because I felt inferior to other dancers. I felt as if the skinnier I was, the more fit, the stronger I was, the more people would want to work with me/hire me.

I loved how in the article she wrote, “Thinking about stepping into a dance studio to teach ballet makes me panic, even though I have a dozen years of experience. Being trapped in a mirrored room and seeing how out of shape I am, compared to when I was a dancer myself, makes me feel claustrophobic. I assume my students will judge my figure”. I can relate. There is a panic, especially when you are in a relapse or feeling down about yourself. Lately, my self esteem/ED talk has been on the loose. My body has begun a dreaded change and my GI issues are rearing their ugly head and all I want is to cover up. But I am wearing a leotard (still as covered as I can get without being in modern dance attire) because these girls look up to me. I am trying not to profile check myself. I feel as if the more I do things that are positive for aspiring ballerinas/dancers it will help me separate from my ED.

Maybe dance teachers with eating disorders do need more attention, and more mental work. Hayes quotes a NYCB consultant,

” ‘Though most of us associate eating disorders with students and professionals, unresolved body issues and controlled eating patterns from pre-professional training can follow you into adulthood. “You are still the same person,’ says Hamilton. ‘And under extremely stressful situations, old habits come back…’Dance teachers need more attention than they get,’ says Hamilton. ‘You’re a role model, and if you are not able to approach eating in a healthy way or if you think you’re never thin enough, it’s going to come across to your students. We don’t need to pass this on from one generation to the next.'”

Which is so true! How can we as teachers, be a true role model if we cannot approach body image in a positive way? How can we demonstrate the love one needs for their own body when we hate ours? I try so hard to not pass on my disorder, my disgust, and everything that I did wrong in my heyday to these girls. I don’t want them to go through what I went through or what I am currently going through. How can I effectively do this? Maybe it is to get more help. To continue this things called recovery. Maybe it is to show these girls what an ED fueled life can do.

For my educators out there, dancer or other forms of athletics, how do you handle this? What has worked for you? How do you struggle? Is it even a trigger?

Ch-Ch-Changes Pt.2: Boobs

Short and sweet…..follow up to last weeks entry….until next week, Sat Nam and Namaste.

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Boobs are weird. Well as least I think so. Maybe it is just mine. Anyways we are going to talk about most guys’ favorite topic: boobs. Sometimes called breasticles, tat ta’s, lumps, pillows, or any other name for them. Well the male species likes boobs; most females who have suffered from ED’s hate them. It isn’t because they hurt during exercise; it is because they are a sign of womanhood. A sign of maturity. A sign of change.

Usually boobs are the first things that begin to change as one goes through recovery. As weight is gained or evened out they will start to take shape. Maybe they are round or maybe they are pointed. Regardless, they appear. In recovery we are learning to accept bodily changes but when a body part you have refused to let grow and mature starts to grow it is mentally devastating. Your boyfriend may like the new boobs but you hate them. They are a reminder that you are no longer who you were. It is also a struggle for control. As humans we hate change by nature. Take that and add an ED to it you get insanity. There are fights with your recovery plan. It is a battle on the home front. You are battling for your life while your ED is battling for you to come back to the dark side.

Eventually you get use to your new boobs. You can wear cute bras (if you like regular bras). Certain shirts and dresses actually look better on you. You may even enjoy how your other half looks at you now. But most of all, you enjoy how you are overcoming your disorder one body change at a time.

Ch-Ch-Changes: Pt.1

I am baaaacccckkkk! Since Yoga Teacher Training finished I took some time off from yoga and blogging because I had a lot to process. Not just mentally, but physically too. 9 months of training finally ended and I was tired yet refreshed. So much started to fill my head after I got my certificate that I couldn’t sit down and write a weekly blog entry. I couldn’t practice yoga physically because my body was tired. I had to practice mindfulness, appreciation, gratitude…..all of this lead me to the idea of doing a few series sets for my blog. I had a slight set back with my ED not too long ago and I became fixated on a body part—my usual. Then the lightbulb went off! Here was my first series set for imageoftheheart. I wanted to write about how a survivor feels when their body begins to change during recovery. How horrifying, how liberating, how it can lead to relapse.

With all of that said, here ya go!

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The thing about those of us with eating disorders is that we are very vain. We are also very controlling. We are controlling about a wide variety of aspects in our lives but we are mostly control our looks. Each and every one of us has a different fixation on a specific body part and we do certain rituals to ensure that it stays to our specific (mainly our ED) look. Some of us like the thigh gap, some like rib protrusion or scapular protrusion, some are about the belly, some are about the clavicle, or even the chest. Sometimes it is more than one. I had multiple body parts I would obsess with: the belly, clavicle, and my top quad, how muscular I was. Like most things about an eating disorder it is ritualistic and tiring.

Every day I had my routine of body checking. Upon waking I would check my belly in the mirror from all sides to make sure I had not gained a belly (still do occasionally unfortunately) and put my hands around my waist to make sure I could still have a curvature and it “feel right”. I would then step on the scale (which I had to sneak around to get to because it was in my parents closest) and check my weight to see if it was within the appropriate range. Throughout the day I would check my clavicle-I was proud to have “clavicular cleavage”. And then I would check out my legs to see my definition and to make sure that above all else, I had no cellulite. Let me just say short season would be ultra tiring.

Anytime I passed a mirror or a reflective surface I had to take a look. I would check out my legs, my butt, and my side profile. I also had to check my hair and makeup. Melvin’s #1 rule: always look presentable. And if one thing would have changed (and usually it would because I had eaten something and Melvin made me see a dimple on my thigh, or my clavicle instantly went away) it was time to restrict, lift, or run many miles. Better yet all three! All of this to make sure I looked presentable, I was skinny, I was fit, to be well liked, and please those around me. The list could go on and on.

The moment recovery happens, your body begins to change and sometimes the body parts you constantly check are the ones that change. When the change happens a part of you feels great but mostly it feels horrible…..and this is what I am going to write about.

Yoga and Eating?—why yes and it is not what you think!

When I first got my yoga teacher training book list I saw a book I was scared to read/thought it would be triggering….Yoga of Eating by Charles Eisenstein. What I thought would be another book on how to eat like a yogi, or another “diet” book, I wanted to avoid it. I have a hard time reading anything that has to do with eating or “dieting” because of my own issues and how I am navigating my own recovery. I heard from my peers how great the book was, even from one who was in ED recovery too. So I decided to give it a whirl. Boy, was I surprised! This book is great for ED’s. It isn’t about what to eat, but how to eat better with where you are in your “diet” or lifestyle.Eisenstein breaks up the book into a variety of chapters addressing willpower, breath, personality and food, karma, fat, sugar, different kinds of diet, food preperation/cooking, and so much more. He dives deep into each subject and relates it all to his idea of Yoga of Eating. Take mindfulness and love of food and you got Yoga of Eating!

Yoga of Eating has definitely helped me navigate this world of ED recovery and how to approach my lifestyle with happiness and food appreciation. I believe that those of us in recovery and professionals who work with ED patients need to read this book. It can definitely help with perspective and break down some barriers ED sufferers have with food.

Here are some nuggets of food wisdom I found worth sharing:

*”Self-improveent is an appealing but malignant idea, a poignant rejection of our innate goodness. It means that we have accepted and internalized those messages of deficiency, laziness, and sin. Sometimes people take up a strict diet in hopes of therefore being good, deserving, or pure, thus establishing a tendency to withhold from themselves what they really want or need. Even without this tendency, because our conventional dietary recommendations are a confusing mish-mash of shoulds and shouldn’ts that seemingly have little to do with our desires as expressed in the body, a diet of self-improvement inevitably becomes a diet of self-denial. ” (12)

*”You are a symphony of vibrations that encompasses every thought you think, everything you do, everything you eat, everything you are.” (20)

*”The idea of deep breathing is not to impose upon the breath, not to direct it or control it in any way; rather it is the opposite–to liberate the breath, to free it of the constraints already upon it. That is why the foundation of deep breathing is what I call natural breathing…The same joy of liberation applies to diet as well, and equally it requires a release of physical habits and mental habits such as belief systems.” (32-33)

*”The central practice of the Yoga of Eating could not be simpler: to fully experience and enjoy each bite of food.” (41)

*”The benefits of the Yoga of Eating come not from self-denial, but from uninhibited enjoyment of and delight of food. nonetheless, the practice I have described may seem demanding and extreme. Meals, after all, are our main theater of social interaction. Who wants to spend every meal in silence? It would seem that the Yoga of Eating take all the fun out of eating…Why do we use meals for social interactions; for dates, for instance? One reason is that without distractions–such as a meal, a view, an activity, at least a cup of tea–interaction with other people gets uncomfortably intense. True intimacy develops under conditions of silence or joint creativity–and true intimacy is scary and uncomfortable. So, we use various means to keep intimacy at arm’s length, interposing small talk, glances away, facial masks, insincere remarks, little jokes changes of subject, sips of tea…or bites of food. Eating helps us maintain a comfortable distance from one another. Any time things get uncomfortable, you can escape into your food. Moreover, the acts and sensations of eating themselves dull one’s awareness of other presences.” (49)

*”The good news is that when you practice attentive eating, even once a day or less, you progressively {instill} a habit of complete chewing and assimilation of nutritive energies. Eating becomes so enjoyable that it calls to you through the conversations and through the distractions. It is not willpower that draws you back to the eating sensations, but rather the sheer pleasure of the sensations themselves, which begins to overwhelm the allure of distractions. Just as meditation brings serenity and mindfulness to all of life, so also does a daily  practice of attentive eating.” (52)

*”Do not be afraid to let go of a diet when it no longer serves you.” (61)

*”Let your {food choice} be okay, no matter how {shocking} it violates your knowledge of nutrition and good diet and, with full attention, enjoy what there is to enjoy.” (67) (very important for us with ED’s!!!!!)

*Neither does “health worship” reflect a sincere love of the body. there are people, most notably extreme adherents of various dietary philosophies or exercise regimens, who worship bodily health, seeing it as an indication of virtue, and disease as a sign of, or punishment for, some impurity of diet practice.  According to this calculus, the healthy zealot of our scenario is superior to the sick people of the world. He is better than they are. He has found the True Gospel, and will not hesitate to prozelytize. Very often (as with anyone who clings to pride) the result is humiliation–and what could be more humiliating to the health zealot than a serious illness? But even if the health-worshipper never gets sick, what good does his health do? The body is our vehicle for living and acting in the world; it is meant to be used. There is more to health, to wholeness, than mere physical integrity. You have been incarnated as this body for a purpose, and to achieve it your body possesses tremendous strength, resilience, and resources.” (72)

*”Like a young child, your body loves you totally and instinctively. Like a faithful dog, it stays loyal even when you kick and abuse it.” (74)

*In regards to fasting…”It does no good to clean the body without doing any deeper spiritual work.” (80)

*”A healthy diet thus becomes a constant battle between or natural appetites and the received belief that fat is bad.” (89)

*”In Chinese the most common world for fat in describing a person, pang, is never used to describe fat, fei, piece of meat, and I’ve been told this is true in other languages as well.” (90)

* In regards to meat eating/veganism/vegetarianism…”In general, though, to sustain a state of being that is energetically involved in the world, and that is hale, hearty, and humorous, meat is necessary for most people…You may choose to ignore your body’s needs. That’s okay! If you have a physical need for meat but nobly chose a vegan diet out of compassion, that is fine–as long as you can accept with equanimity and without resentment the physical degeneration that may follow. I have known quite a few vegans who have developed some kind of chronic disease or degenerative physical condition…Physical degeneration is virtually assure if the motive for the diet is not entirely compassionate, but tainted with the kind of vanity–a factitious self-image of purity, superiority, or exculpation from the sins of industrial society. Self-righteousness and judgmentality indicate that vanity-love of an image, in this case the image of compassion–has supplanted compassion itself as the motive for eating a vegan diet…Of course there are people who thrive on a vegan diet–most often people who are well-nourished in the spirit, secure and generous, autonomous and nurturing of others. They do not take pride in their diet or derive self-esteem from it. They do not advertise it or urge it indiscriminately on on others; they seldom mention it. They are radiant people. But even these people usually do better with some amount of eggs, butter, milk, and cheese, unless they practice a very monastic lifestyle.” (99)

*”The Yoga of Eating is quite the opposite: that each is the ultimate authority on his or her bodily requirements, and that the body will reveal its requirements given sufficient attention and trust.” (100)

*”Closed off from the experience of sweetness in life, yet hungering for it to the depths of our souls, we turn to the imitation of this sweetness in sugary foods. Sugar does nothing to allay the essential longing, though; at most it temporarily distracts our attention from the soul’s craving for sweetness.” (104)

*”Perhaps sweet foods are here to remind us and reaffirm that yes, life is sweet.” (106)

*”For yoga means union, and the Yoga of Eating extends beyond bodily integrity to encompass every aspect of our individual and collective lives.” (130)

*”Thus the fundamental method and practice of the Yoga of Eating is to listen to your body-soul, trusting the tools of taste, smell, and intuition, not imposing any specific expectations, not expecting any specific results. The results will come themselves. Meanwhile, enjoy the delights so freely available from food, a gift that never ends.” (145)

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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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