Living with an eating disorder

Eating disorders are real and there are many different kinds – anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating to name a few. Below is a little glimpse into what it’s like to live with an eating disorder:

“Living with an eating disorder is living in a body that wants to nourish itself with a mind that wants to destroy itself. It is looking in the mirror and feeling utter disgust with the person staring back at you. It means dreading holidays, birthdays, and special events because they all involve some sort of mealtime. It is scarred knuckles, swollen glands, shaky hands, an empty stomach and a vomit-scented right hand. It is self-hatred at its finest.

Imagine yourself at 6:00 on a Sunday evening. You’re sitting down with your mother to enjoy a home-cooked meal she spent the last three hours making just for the two of you. She has put together your favorite dish and is trying to hide her concern as she waits for you to take a bite. She is silently begging you to nourish yourself; she spent her whole life taking care of you and now she only wants one thing: for you to take care of yourself. You owe her that, don’t you? You owe yourself that, right? You smile across the table at her and slowly pick up your fork.

“Don’t take a bite of that, you fat pig. You promised. You promised you wouldn’t f*ck up again. You’re going to hate yourself for this later. All night you will suffer, just like you deserve. You’re disgusting. You’re a failure. You’re ugly, pathetic, and your entire existence is an insult to humanity. Self-control, my ass. Go ahead, you f*cking whale. Stuff your face like you always do.” Your mother smiles at you again, gently and kindly, while the dark thoughts bounce around inside your brain like a bird waiting to be let out of a cage. They won’t stop. They never stop.

You take a bite, and the last bit of sanity you had left shatters.

Later, you will hate yourself, just as promised. Your disorder will take over, despite how desperately you fight tooth and nail to see reality. You will step on the scale, fingers crossed, heart pounding, and no matter what the reading is, you won’t be satisfied. You’ll turn around to the mirror to face your worst enemy: yourself. You’ll kneel down in front of the toilet, making yourself sick until you nearly collapse, and then you’ll continue a little longer, just to be positive your stomach is as empty as your soul feels. You’ll stand up, trying to see straight, and look in the mirror once more. And only in this moment do you feel proud of the reflection you see. Only in this moment are you worthy.”

Many people all of the world struggle with eating disorders every single day, but recovery is possible and has proven to be very successful. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please visit NationalEatingDisorders.org for more information and resources. One big step to recovery is self-care. Below is a link for a couple ideas of how to help yourself get better and to remember your self- worth.

You matter and you deserve to be happy and content with your life.

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/20-ways-love-your-body

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What’s Anxiety?

As someone who struggles with anxiety, living well can be very elusive. However, living well is something I strive for on a daily basis.

Those of us that experience anxiety do not set out to feel anxious but in fact feel anxious about our anxiety.

It takes work and conscious effort to get through a panic episode. That’s why living well in all areas of my life is so important.

I believe our lives consist of the following areas: spiritual, physical, relational, intellectual, financial, mental, and emotional. I see each area as a spoke to a wheel. When one is lacking or missing, the wheel cannot move forward properly or may come to a complete stop.

That’s when anxiety can set in because if we are stuck in an area, it causes strain to our daily lives. This strain can cause overwhelming feelings which in turn creates anxiety.

I’m not saying that you have to be perfect in all areas of your life. But, being self-aware of the areas that are lacking and working on bettering them is paramount to minimizing distress.

That being said, there are other reasons why individuals experience anxiety and may result from a combination of personal experiences and genetic factors.

The different types of anxiety are as follows:
• Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Individuals that have this form of anxiety worry to the point that activities of daily living are affected and is persistent.
• Panic disorder: People with this disorder have reoccurring panic attacks.
• Phobias: This is excessive and persistent fears of a particular thing or activity and much effort is made to avoid it.
• Social anxiety disorder (social phobia): Distress that comes from social interactions leading to wanting to avoid them.
• Separation anxiety disorder: An extreme fear of being separated from another person.
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A persistent anxiety or fear following a traumatic or life-threatening event.

Some of the physical symptoms that may indicate you are experiencing anxiety are:
• Sleep problems
• Difficulty concentrating
• Irritability
• Chest pressure
• Nervousness
• Trouble breathing

Anxiety is a prevalent disorder and according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15% of people will experience anxiety in their lifetime.

Treatment for anxiety can include:
• Talk therapy
• Medication
• Other natural remedies that may include proper exercise and nutrition

If you are struggling with anxiety and would like help, please reach out. Part of getting help is gaining greater knowledge of the disorder.

The following are some resources you can utilize to get further information regarding anxiety:
• National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264), https://www.nami.org
• Anxiety and Depression Association of America: 1-240-485-1001, http://www.adaa.org
• National Institute of Mental Health: 1-866-615-6464,http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Mental Health: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636),http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/
• American Psychological Association: 1-800-374-2721, http://www.apa.org/index.aspx
• American Psychiatric Association: 1-703-907-7300, http://www.psychiatry.org

Written by: Dalma Vazquez-Wackt, MA, CRC, LPC

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Understanding Post Traumatic Stress

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is sometimes referred to as Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). The reasoning behind eliminating the “disorder” label is symptoms of PTS are seen by some as a human being’s natural reaction to experiencing, witnessing or being repeatedly exposed to a traumatic event. A traumatic event could be defined as witnessing death and dying, witnessing or experiencing life-threatening injuries and witnessing or experiencing sexual violence. Individual reactions to trauma vary as do individual human beings. However, PTS reactions can typically be placed into one of four groups. The first group is intrusive memories of the event such as nightmares or flashbacks. The second group is avoidance wherein an individual avoids places or topics which remind them of the traumatic event. The third group is a change in memory or mood as in not being able to remember part of the traumatic event and/or perpetually being in a bad mood or having a negative self-image. The fourth category of reactions surround being hyper-vigilant, also known as a constant state of being “on-guard.” Examples of hyper-vigilance include being easily startled, poor concentration and an irritable mood.
Fortunately, there is help. There are evidenced based therapies which aid in the recovery of PTS. Two examples of effective therapies for PTS are cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy. Medications can also be effective in relieving the symptoms of PTS. A mental health provider can educate you regarding effective medications for PTS.
Additional Resources
The National Center for PTSD ran by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has information for Veterans, families, friends, the general public and professionals. www.ptsd.va.gov
American Psychiatric Association. (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

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seeking help

Many people at some time in their lives think about suicide.

Most people struggling decide to live because they come to realize the crisis is temporary and death is permanent. On the other hand, people having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. These are some of the feelings and thoughts they may experience. Take into consideration anyone at anytime can show these signs, but when you notice a friend or loved displaying these actions (one or more) and they are out of character there is cause for concern:

Can’t stop the pain
Can’t think clearly
Can’t make decisions
Can’t see any way out
Can’t sleep, eat, or work
Can’t get out of depression
Can’t make the sadness go away
Can’t see a future without pain
Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
Can’t get someone’s attention
Can’t seem to get control

 

If you experience these feelings, seek help immediately. Call 911 if you are in immediate danger. If someone you know is showing signs of suicide or depression, stay with them, call 911, listen, and offer help.  The Suicide lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 or text GO to 741741.

‪#‎savealife‬ ‪#‎youmatter‬ ‪#‎dontgiveup‬ ‪#‎AlwaysHope‬

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let go of the fear

Seeing the BIG picture can make something small be truly terrifying.

You have so much potential; potential to change the world, to make someone smile, and to do so much good.

You have the power to let go of your fears and do something amazing.

Sometimes you just have to break it down:

                                                                take it piece by piece

                                                                               take a small bite

                                                                                                 take baby steps

Whatever your fear try to take the chance, step out, and maybe even “drop in” on whatever half pipe is in your life right now.

 

No fear
No fear

 

#‎BeBrave‬ ‪#‎ChangeTheWorld‬ ‪#‎Hope‬ ‪#‎MentalHealthAwareness‬

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