Recovery From Anorexia is Worth the Fight

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By: Hope Virgo

Sharing my story of anorexia hasn’t always been easy. I never know what someone’s reaction will be when I tell them that I spent a year living in hospital with anorexia. Battling to stay alive whilst my heart went in to a critical state.

But now I am out the other way. Now I can say I am an eating disorder survivor I don’t feel embarrassed about it but I want to take this time to tell you why I battled to stay well and have managed to stay well since!

  1. You think anorexia is your best friend. You think she has your best interests at heart but she doesn’t! She really is a nasty piece of work who doesn’t support you and doesn’t care about you!
  2. Realizing that what you see in the mirror isn’t always accurate! For me I looked in to the mirror every day and saw a body I hated back. I still have days when I struggle with my body image but I now know the reality of my feelings and I know how my mind plays tricks on me so I don’t see what others see.
  3. Knowing your triggers: for me exercise was a huge issue & yes it has helped me stay well but it can also be risky! When I begin to struggle again I am tempted to push myself that bit harder whether on a run or on the gym. But now I know that! When I hit that point I can challenge it and ask for support.
  4. Realizing that anorexia is dangerous: I remember when I was at CAMHs they would tell me I was going to die but I never ever believed them. I thought they were lying to me when they told me my heart was failing. But they weren’t… I was so close to dying from anorexia and it is scary how many people do. I know you won’t believe clinicians when they tell you this but please try and listen to me.
  5. Know your motivations for getting well and fighting: I used to have mine written down so I wouldn’t ever forget them. But remind yourself or the things anorexia will stop you doing – travelling, having a family, missing out on night outs with your friends.
  6. Realize talking does not make you weak: Throughout my recovery I had to learn to express my feelings through talking and I got good at it. However, it is still something that at times I struggle with. If I am having a bad day I feel like I am a failure or that I have let down these rounds me but the reality is I haven’t. It is not a failure to admit you are struggling but I guarantee talking about things makes it so much better.

I don’t want to lecture you on anorexia but I want to assure you that recovery is so much better. It is hard work yes and at times you don’t see the point of carrying on, but I guarantee your life is so much better when she is not your friend!


IMG_0056About the Author: Hope Virgo suffered with anorexia for 4 years before being admitted to hospital in 2007. She lived in the hospital for a year and since being discharged, has fought to stay well. Hope now lives and works in London, runs marathons and has a keen interest in exercise and maintaining good mental health. Her latest book Stand Tall Little Girl is available to order on Amazon.com

The Power of Resistance: Saying No to the Diet Culture

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By: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC

Carefully disguised in the name of health, diet culture has saturated our society, taking many different forms, including “eating clean,” veganism, elimination diets, cleansing diets and more.  When done in the name of wellness and disease prevention, many abnormal eating habits can be justified, the potential dangers overlooked when the objective is to be healthier.

With the damaging effects of dieting trends lurking about, especially for those recovering from an eating disorder, when do things take it one step too far when it comes to health and nutrition?

The Reality of Diet Culture

While diet culture has evolved over the years, often taking different forms, the reality is that our society continues to obsess about dieting, reaching an unattainable body type/weight, and all that this entails.

In the face of an “obesity epidemic,” dieting has in fact become commonplace, a false form of security and control as a means of counteracting our fear of fat and everything associated with this.  It comes as no surprise that some of the top dieting questions asked in Google include, “How to Lose Weight Fast,” followed by “Best Way to Lose Weight.”

In a recent survey about body image and dieting, 91 percent of women responded that they were unhappy with their bodies and resorted to dieting, with approximately 66 percent of Americans currently on a diet [1].  There is something startling and abrupt to be recognized about a dieting industry that rakes in billions of dollars each year.  People are looking for answers in the wrong places, often complicating their health and risking their overall quality in life by engaging in our prominent dieting culture.

Going Against the Flow

Is there anything that is justified about being on a diet? Is health, nutrition, or wellness achieved with anything that condones restrictions in any form?

The reality is that dieting, no matter its form, is counter to what our bodies are intuitively capable of doing.  For individuals who are susceptible to having an eating disorder, dieting can be the trigger that influences the development of these fatal illnesses.

No matter the look or claim of any type of diet, the bottom line is always the same: Diets DON’T WORK!  The things that are often lost with dieting include self-esteem, confidence, energy, health, quality of life, and an overall peaceful relationship with food and body.

So what can you do in the face of our dieting culture? Resist.

Resist the urge to jump on the bandwagon of a new “health regime” you see trending on Instagram or the diets that claim to give you energy and optimize your longevity.

Anything that recommends restricting any food groups, demonizing certain foods, or deters you from trusting your body completely should be scrutinized and likely avoided completely.

do-not-give-up-2015253_640Your body contains all the innate wisdom needed to guide you safely through the diet-infested culture we live in, avoiding the heartache and misery that is attached to dieting in any form.  It’s simply a matter of resisting what our culture has deemed as desirable and fighting for normalcy; going against the flow of what everyone else seems to be doing, and making peace with our bodies through gentle nutrition, intuitive eating and exercise.

This may ostracize you from mainstream acceptability, but in the end, you will never regret the choice you made to stand for freedom from dieting.

 

References:
[1]: Mintel Consumer Reports, “Diet Trends – September 2016”, http://reports.mintel.com/display/748044/ Accessed 19 April 2017

Crystal Karges_HeadshotAbout the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her nutrition private practice and work with Eating Disorder Hope.  Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as a Contributing Writer and Social Media Events Manager for Eating Disorder Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

Recovery During Stressful Times

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By Madison Swart

Finals, graduation, starting a new job, moving home, moving to a new city, not having your usual routine of the school year…

It’s no secret that late spring brings a whole vat of stress along with it.

So, during this time of life transitions and stressful events, I really really REALLY need for you to remember something – Ed THRIVES on stress.

He literally sits around and waits for various moments of vulnerability.

What makes us more vulnerable than stress? (Believe me, I know the “I’m so stressed so I will just do nothing and lay in my bed and cry” feeling/action/decision more than anyone – Just ask my mom!)

When we find ourselves in personal crisis, Ed will present himself as an ally…as a friend.

He is standing (or sitting, or lying – whatever he does with his pathetic existence) there, waiting for you to break down just enough that you will find comfort in anything –

Even if that is the one thing you know you should avoid like the plague.

I started struggling with my eating disorder early on in high school, and battled it through my first semester, sophomore year of college. Ed was there for me when I went to college, transferred schools, switched majors, studied for finals, and any time I was stressed in any way.

The issue is that while he helped to relieve some of my anxiety and stress in the immediate moment, he would always bring along with him an aftermath of sadness, depression, guilt, and shame.

I realized that Ed was my default reaction to anxiety, and that there were so many other productive ways that we can deal with anxiety or stress in ways that don’t hurt our mental, physical, social, and academic health.

Psychotherapist and researcher, Angela Favaro, Ph.D., gives three guidelines for improving how to deal with stress in the book by Aimee Liu, ‘Restoring our Bodies, Reclaiming our Lives’.

  1. Understand that stress is normal

Here, it’s important to realize that you are indeed stressed, and that it’s perfectly OK. Stress has the helpful function of acting as a signal for you to recognize your needs. Thinking of stress in this way makes it a lot less overwhelming and approaches it in a ‘problem-solving’ manner rather than letting it overtake you. This is like how you’d use a relapse to figure out what’s wrong and try to come up with the best ways to proceed. For most people, our automatic response to stressful situations is to blame ourselves for feeling that way, but Favaro says ‘Criticizing yourself for feeling stressed or trying to suppress the feeling will only increase your anxiety and make it more difficult to handle the situation.’

  1. Take stoke of your current stress-management resources and abilities

Dealing with stress isn’t some innate gift bestowed upon only a select few. Everyone can deal with stress better once they have some good tools in place to cope with it. Favaro suggests identifying ‘the resources and relationships in your life that currently help you manage stress as well as factors that limit your ability to manage stress (such as fatigue, lack of free time, unsupportive relationships).’

  1. Identify the resources and abilities you still need to develop to succeed in managing stress

What are other things that would help you better manage stressful situations? Favaro lists several strategies that are known for their stress-soothing abilities: meditation, hanging out with friends, hobbies, nature. She suggests writing down, in steps, how you’ll add these tools to your day-to-day while reminding us that ‘effective stress management is not a quick fix, bur a lifelong process.’

meditate-1851165_640So as you enter this stressful time, remember to cut yourself some slack.

Take a study break and go to a yoga class with your friend, or even just try and meet up with friends to study (I’m all for killing a few birds with a single stone!) When you notice yourself getting stressed, or overwhelmed, close your eyes and count to ten. It’s amazing what this quick and easy exercise can do to your perspective. Often it’s when we act in the moment that we regret what we do – and think of how many times Ed has preyed upon you in moments of impulsivity.

Lastly, remember that nothing is permanent. If things are going great – enjoy it, because it won’t last forever. If life really has been throwing you around lately – don’t worry, because ‘this, too, shall pass.”


0e6fca243e254133b5e305ec6d7825c5About the Author: Madison is the Founder and President of the Ohio State University Chapter of Project HEAL! She is a senior majoring in Social Work and Psychology currently working as an addiction counselor for The Ohio State University Student Wellness Center. After graduating in May, Madison plans to stay involved with Project HEAL while pursuing a career in Social Work, hoping to help individuals struggling with mental health struggles. Madison runs a blog, www.theadultinghippie.com, and paints in her free time.

The Four Seasons

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By James McLaughlin

Living in the northeast of the United States has allowed me to live life through the ever-changing four seasons. Over the course of my life I have found there is something intrinsically special about each one of them.

Autumn is a time to let go of things we cannot change, but also a time to accept and let go of things that have changed–just as the branches of a tree let go of their changed leaves.

I consider the winter months to be a time to go inside, not only physically, but metaphorically as well. It’s strange that people say things like “this blanket is so warm!” When the truth is that blankets do nothing but allow us to insulate and feel our own warmth. Winter is a season of hibernation for some animals, but for us, winter provides a period of introspection–a time to become cozy with oneself, a time for us to warm up to who we are.

And then there’s our current season, my favorite–spring. What I love about spring is the new life that begins to sprout its way into the world, primarily in the places that were let go in the fall. They say when one clears a space of the old, it makes room for the new–I agree with whomever they are.

I find that spring presents an opportunity for new perspectives. For me, the simple, yet exquisite smell of spring is a reminder to be present–to experience the world with all of our senses, to rediscover joy and gratitude in the small details of our life’s larger picture.

Perhaps there is no greater clichéd phrase pertinent to this specific time of year than April showers bring May flowers–perhaps there is not a clichéd phrase that holds so much truth.

Spring flowers and grey skies. Photo by: James McLaughlin
Spring flowers and grey skies. Photo by: James McLaughlin

Our lives are not always full of sunshine, and rainbows seldom appear after a storm has settled. And it is no secret that flowers need plenty of sunshine, but flowers also depend upon rainy, grey and gloomy days.

Similarly, our rainy days, our life’s difficult times, not only enable our ability to blossom, but also allow us to appreciate the light and love that shines in our lives. That light at times may be cloaked by grey skies, but it is always shining beyond that vail of mist–in the sky, and inside of ourselves.

When we let go of what no longer serves us, when we learn to love ourselves without our evergreen leaves or bold-colored blossoms, when we sprout new roots and grow into the person we truly are, we find that the joys of summer are not contained to several months of blue skies, but something unchanging, something exquisite, something that will always exist inside of ourselves.


10685458_10152412384291548_4590576595723063741_nAbout the Author: James McLaughlin recently became the blog manager for Project HEAL. He is a senior at Montclair State University majoring in Communication & Media Arts. His hope in managing the Project HEAL blog is to be a link between informative and inspiring content & a readership who can relate, grow and find peace with each written word.

#DontMiss Loving Yourself in Recovery

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It’s so easy to miss the signs and symptoms of an eating disorder. I know, because I had one for over seventeen years, and I was a master at not only hiding it from my family and friends, but deceiving myself into thinking that I didn’t have one.

Thankfully, with the help of God and my support team, I was able to get into a healthy place in my life and learn that it is possible to recover. And just as easy as it is to miss an eating disorder, it’s easy to miss loving yourself in recovery. I am a hard worker, and I love helping others, in fact, it’s one of the things that has helped me to recover. So in this VLOG for the Eating Recovery Roundup, I’ve decided to focus on #DontMiss loving yourself in recovery. Enjoy, and if you have any self love or self care tips you’d like to share, email me at nikkidubosecoaching@gmail.com.

With love and gratitude,

Nikki DuBose

Love the skin you’re in

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By Madison Swart

As we approach summer, we all know the looming stress of attaining a ‘beach bod’. The pressure we put on ourselves, the pressure created from that girl from high school who was always a little posting her ‘transformation Tuesday’ and looking like a flippin VS model. We all know it. We all hate it. And I have news for you – YOU’RE ALLOWED TO IGNORE IT!

shells-792912_640So for today, I have put together a list of my top 6 favorite blogs you can follow/read this Spring and Summer to help remind you that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL – Cellulite and all.

So this Summer, wear that bikini. Lay out on the quad. Own your body, and know that there are those of us out here who will support you and love you no matter what size shorts you wear.

  1. Stop Hating Your Body By talking about self-love, this blog encourages readers to discuss body image issues related to size, gender, and sexual orientation. Followers are allowed to post their own content, given it follows the guidelines that have been set to maintain a safe space. The blog is described as “Healthy, not healthy, working on it, abled, disabled, we are all human, we all deserve to be happy, we all deserve to love ourselves.”
  2. Fat Girl Food Squad 
 This Toronto-based blog focuses on body positivity by talking about the intersection between food, fat, and feminism. Amanda and Yuli started the blog after feeling alienated by their size at PR events. You can also find IRL meetups regularly through their online community they have built!
  3. The Militant Baker Jes’ blog took off in 2013 after she recreated Abercrombie & Fitch’s ads with the tagline ‘Attractive and Fat’ after their CEO made some crude and unwelcome comments saying that A&F didn’t make XL clothes because he “doesn’t want larger people shopping in the store.” The Militant Baker has more than 500,000 views a month, and focuses on topics from body acceptance, and rape culture to feminism and empowerment.
  4. The Love Yourself Challenge 
Scotty and Rae are a brother and sister duo who create original image content (inspired by their own experiences) with the goal of challenging young people to learn to be comfortable in their own skin by offering them positive and encouraging messages. Rae even shares her story.
  5. Weightless PsychCentral‘s body image blog focuses on wellbeing through a personal, relatable lens.
 The blog is written by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., who interviews experts, features recovery stories and provides real and honest feedback for women’s magazines when they host harmful health advice for their readers.
  6. REglam Blog REglam is a fashion magazine aiming to change the conversation around the industry, focusing on real women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Its blog comments on a variety of body image issues.

    0E6FCA243E254133B5E305EC6D7825C5About the Author: Madison is the Founder and President of the Ohio State University Chapter of Project HEAL! She is a senior majoring in Social Work and Psychology currently working as an addiction counselor for The Ohio State University Student Wellness Center. After graduating in May, Madison plans to stay involved with Project HEAL while pursuing a career in Social Work, hoping to help individuals struggling with mental health struggles. Madison runs a blog, www.theadultinghippie.com, and paints in her free time.

A letter written by a caregiver to her partner’s eating disorder

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Dear ED,

How dare you.

How dare you turn my partner into something I no longer recognize. You make her selfish, which she is anything but. You make her hide things from me, yet I am the only person that knows everything about her.

How dare you shame her.

How dare you tell her that she is not enough. That she is not worth it. That she is dirty.

How dare you make her live in a world full of fear when she is so full of nothing but love and empathy for people. How dare you.

leave-1738132_1280
How dare you make her want to crawl out of her skin. How dare you make her want to be just skin and bones in order to be invisible. How dare you take her voice away from her when she is full of knowledge and insight that should be shared with the world.

How dare you break her down into nothing and take her away from me. How dare you make me miss her so much although she is physically standing right in front of me. How dare you be an illness that very few people understand limiting the amount of people that I can confide in. How dare you separate us when we are supposed to be building our lives together. How dare you keep me up at night wondering if she’s okay. How dare you make me pull over to the side of the road and cry alone in my car. How dare you make her so scared and anxious to put anything in her body and take away the joy of food. How dare you make me tell her to take two more bites of food and act like her mom when I am supposed to be her equal. How dare you make me get so mad, frustrated, and disappointed at her just because you embody her.

Shame on you ED. Shame on you for making me scared that she may not wake up the next morning because you made her destroy herself physically and mentally. Shame on you for making me navigate our broken mental health system alone without my partner and best friend. Shame on you for showing me a glimpse of hope, of “normalization” only to completely tear it apart and put our future farther and farther away from us. When will you leave us? Our lives are supposed to be beginning, but instead they’re on hold.

Why won’t you just leave her alone? Her head is full of you. Full of distortions. Full of torturous thoughts.

Please I beg of you just let her be. Your thoughts are a waste of time. She could be spending this time creating and giving back to the world and making it a better place and filling it with joy and happiness, but instead she’s stuck with you. She’s stuck attending to your needs and your desires. Have you ever thought about what she wants? About all that she can give to the world without you present? Please just let her go. I can’t bear to live with you for another day. I’m so tired of fighting you. I just want to be with OJ, just OJ, just as she is without you in her head taking away from our time together. I am ready to continue to grow with her and discover all that we can do together, without you.

In spite,

CJ


Jamie third wheelAbout the Author: Jamie Dannenberg (CJ) is the primary carer of her partner, also named Jamie but referred to as OJ, who is in recovery from an eating disorder. As the partner of someone with an eating disorder and a registered dietitian, CJ has had to learn to navigate various roles in their relationship. With OJ, Jamie has become involved in global advocacy work and together they share their experience as a queer couple in recovery on their blog thirdwheelED. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Road to Recovery: Liza Kulimanova

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By TJ Spencer

Project HEAL provides grant funding for people with eating disorders who cannot afford treatment. For many, this treatment has gone beyond saving their lives – it helps them save others’ lives as well.

Such is the case for Liza Kulimanova, a 2014 Project HEAl grant recipient who currently runs a website, educational YouTube channel and a blog dedicated to helping others overcome their struggles with bulimia.

For Liza, her 13-year struggle with bulimia began in her home country of Russia. She remembers being happy until around age 11, when she began dedicating more and more of her time to her studies and striving for perfection. After trying different weight loss centers and Chinese acupuncture to help cope with her struggles, she was prescribed Fluoxetine to help with depression – but it just wasn’t working.

Her days before treatment were filled with a routine of “dwelling on negative thoughts, zoning out, restricting, binging, purging…being extremely busy and ‘productive,’” Liza explains.

This routine was further perpetuated with she immigrated to the United States in 2010.

“I had no support in the USA and I was extremely isolated,” she says.

She then began searching online for scholarships for eating disorder treatment and discovered Project HEAL. With the grant, she was able to attend treatment at The New Beginning in Scottsdale, AZ.

“Treatment was hard and painful, but at the same time giving me relief and making me feel so much better. I am so grateful for treatment and I see bulimia as a gift now. It really allowed me to become a healthier and better person and grow tremendously from the inside,” she explains.

Today, Liza’s routine is filled with smiling, being more present and aware, checking in on herself, creating time for herself and being open to people, along with blogging and bodybuilding.

“I am very determined and disciplined, and willing to grow consistently,” she says.

This determination and discipline has allowed her to become an ambassador for bulimia treatment through her website, blog and YouTube channel.

“Believe that recovery is possible, because it is. Love yourself enough to get better — just take the first step and see where this journey will lead you. Let your life to unfold and let go of the control,” she advises.


headshotAbout the Author: Second-year journalism and French double major at Seattle University, TJ Spencer is originally from a small town in California, but Seattle stole her heart. In her free time, she enjoys writing, reading and showing off her embarrassing dance moves at cardio dance class. You can find her around Seattle photographing anything and everything, or in her bedroom practicing her French by talking to her roommate’s rabbit.

Stars Can’t Shine Without Darkness

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By: Crystal Campoverde

I have begun to see this truth I recite daily play out in my life. A year since immersing into the sometimes-daunting process of trauma work, this quote helps me visualize the co-existence of joy and pain. From my perspective, recovering from trauma requires one to walk through the five stages of grief and loss while simultaneously staying grounded in the beauty of the present.

Renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross famously illustrates these five stages of grief and loss as

1. Denial

2. Anger

3. Bargaining

4. Depression

5. Acceptance.

Of course these stages are not linear. Much like recovering from an eating disorder, trauma recovery is like a musical piece with all its crescendos, pauses, accidentals, ebbs, and flows. For me, denial looked like holding my arms out trying to keep two worlds separate – the remnants trauma left behind on one side from the beauty of my present life on the other side.

Bargaining looked like acknowledging selective parts of the trauma to justify its occurrence in my life. Specifically, my vocation became the bow I tied neatly on top of the trauma to make sense of its existence. Of course, that was until even my vocation was not enough to keep the eating disorder and pain at bay. When the bargaining wasn’t enough, I went back to anger. Because wait, why do children, the most vulnerable of any population, have to endure any pain and suffering when they are still establishing their internal resources? My eating disorder gave me the false belief that anger over anything was wrong. So experiencing anger was a sign of moving forward towards accepting the trauma instead of denying it and numbing it out by restricting.

Although I am only in the beginning stages of acceptance, I share with you my reflections to provide fellow trauma survivors hope. Acceptance does not mean excusing the trauma that occurred. As Oprah Winfrey says, “It means letting go of the hope that the past could have been different” and not giving power to the trauma to claim your true identity. So what does acceptance begin to look like? For me, moving into acceptance is unclenching my fists and releasing the burdens I was not meant to carry.

Moving into acceptance is lowering my arms and allowing the remnants of trauma I am still working through and the redemptive moments in life collide like an avalanche. As much as the pain can feel unbearable, the heartaches can keep us awake at night, the anger to want a reason for suffering can weigh heavy, I’m discovering that letting go of the hope that the past could have been different gives one momentum to get up each morning to reach out to community, help others, and to simply be even when things are messy. Because things will be messy when one is recovering from trauma and unburdening the pain since healing is giving witness to the grief.

When the grief presents itself, instead of it letting it overwhelm me and going into denial I now ground myself by saying to my grieving part, “I’m okay, you’re okay, I will let you have your say.”

Anorexia has a subtle way to fill one with the cynical, false belief that you need little to survive- little food, little community, little safety, little hope, little acknowledgement. But once you recover from an eating disorder and begin to unburden the trauma it was covering up, your authentic self begins to emerge. Calmness, clarity, curiosity, compassion, confidence, courage, creativity, and connectedness, these 8 C’s from internal family systems model (IFS), are in the stage of acceptance. Sometimes we won’t have answers for experiences we had to endure. Trusting our higher power, we keep our eyes fixed on what’s ahead, unburdening the past, dwelling in hope, and embracing the present. Acceptance to me is what we do with the pain. Yes, the people and things I advocate for are part of my story. I can’t deny that my past has allowed me a unique perspective and intensity to advocate for the very same things traumatic experiences take from others. Today, I am slowly unclenching my hands even with the messiness I am still working through.

Stars-cant-shine-without-darkness.-1In moving forward, you begin to notice the beauty around you to remain grounded. I believe these moments give you momentum to recover what was lost. Allow yourself to feel the stars shining on you even if those around you don’t experience them in the same depth. Bask in them. I am claiming my voice again through these experiences.

When I was in residential treatment, I couldn’t visualize where these life-giving memories would emerge. These moments include running the parking garages with my friend and feeling so alive and free to spend time with such a positive person and feeling my body supporting me.

When I sit with the uncomfortable feelings of a break up, I can now also see that my interaction with him allowed me to dream I could let someone in and feel belonged. When the toddler I nanny spontaneously embraces me, I allow the joyful tears run down my cheeks because I know how it feels to allow love in. Celebrating a friend’s birthday and seeing the wind blow out the candles prematurely and laughing uncontrollably–these are the moments that remind me that I am moving into acceptance and that the trauma cannot have power over my present life.

Yes, acknowledging and recovering from trauma can be painful and can make you feel exposed. This life can be incredibly messy especially when the unexplainable, tragic occurs. There is loss. There is grief. But there are also stars in that same darkness. And if you begin to embrace what you have right now, release the burdens of your past, dwell in hope, you will start to see the stars clearer. These stars include your loving community that sticks with you, Project Heal that is a family to so many in recovery, and your authentic self. YOU are a star shining in the darkness.



15676370_10202766162271418_1024429809987914000_oAbout the Author: 
Crystal Campoverde is a GRATEFUL Project HEAL treatment grant recipient. Having walked through her journey of recovery from anorexia and bulimia, she is incredibly thankful for her loving community and for vicariously experiencing a life-giving childhood at 24 years old. She loves to write, eat cupcakes, practice yoga, and advocate for children’s needs. She is a strong advocate for both eating disorder awareness and post-traumatic stress disorder awareness. She shares her vulnerability through blogging to encourage others in their healing and to lead a fulfilling, redemptive life.

Trash the Trash Talk

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By: Florence Taglight

You know that little devil that sits on your right shoulder? (It may be your left, but I’ve always had mine on my right.) We all have one, some bigger than others. Well I’m learning to toss mine in the trash, where it belongs.

The negative self-talk, the anxiety provoked thoughts and day-ruining words this devil speaks. Telling me that I am not good enough, that I am not worthy of recovery, that I am unloved–sound familiar?

Maybe the literal words are different, but nonetheless they are filled with same toxicity–and come on, in a world filled with competition, pessimism and cynics, the last thing we need is OUR OWN mind beating us up.

What I find so strange is just that, it is my own mind. So surely, I should be able to stop these words. Surely, if I am telling myself all these vile things, I am the only one who can shut it up. Well the hard part, is also empowering–in the end only I can. But like a lot of things that sincerely make a difference it takes conscious synapse re-routing (I just barely scraped by in biology, so let’s just pretend that’s a thing, okay?) persistent emotional awareness and mental redirection.

It’s exhausting just thinking about it and trust me; I’m far from an expert. My pernicious and deceiving pint-sized ’friend’ still speaks far too often and far too loud for my liking, but unquestionably less than it did 6 months ago.

person-976759_1280(If you know me, you know I’m going to bring my dogs into this at some point) I have to remind myself, that I would NEVER EVER say these things to Missy or Nell. Even if  you’re not a dog lover (first of all, WHAT? Secondly, HOW? Thirdly, COME AGAIN?) you wouldn’t say such things to a child, a friend or family member. I would never dream of telling anyone I love (or don’t love) such self-depreciating words­–so why do I say such things  to myself?

I will tell you why: The voice grew louder and more frequent as I shrunk and became weaker. It picked up its megaphone whilst I buried myself beneath my sheets.

I got so used to these words that they became normal, run-of-the-mill and routine. I didn’t realize they were detrimental until I began expressing that they were there.

Expressing those thoughts is something that is really hard to do, I know. But I promise you it’ll help. Admitting that they are there, even if it’s to yourself, your dog, fish, or snake. (If you have none of these things you are more than welcome to email and tell me.) Once they are out there, the formerly omnipotent voice quivers and shakes.

Some people I know use a ‘trash shoot’, ‘garbage can’ or ‘rubbish room’ – some metaphorical and some physical. Whatever it is, get it out, get shredding, grinding and destroying the words that only make you miserable.

Stop telling yourself you don’t matter. Stop telling yourself you’re not good enough. Take the megaphone from the imp and give it to the child inside you, who once believed that when they were older they would be royalty, a dragon or in my case a policewoman – if you know me, you know I would be a TERRIBLE policewoman.

 


screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-5-12-36-pmAbout the Author: Florence Taglight is the International Ambassador UK for Project HEAL. She is 21 years old. Connect with her on Instagram, and read more of Florence’s blog posts at http://findingflo.co.uk/.