Tag Archive | coping

What Are You Afraid Of?

I used to be afraid at night. Afraid of the dark. Afraid that just beyond the point my eyesight allowed me to see that there was something lurking. Afraid that the darkness itself would somehow surround me and swallow me up…as if darkness were anything more than simply the absence of light.

I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Afraid that who I was would continually dictate who I am, and that who I would be might be someone who I didn’t like very much at all…as though there was no such thing as being made new.

I used to be afraid of opinions. Afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams…as though I started doing this for the approval of many, rather than the glory of One.

I used to be afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. Afraid of falling. Afraid of being wrong, creating busts, and looking absolutely stupid, because who am I to think that I could ever actually make a difference? As if those setbacks were anything more than the laying down of stepping stones on the path to success.

I used to be afraid.  Used to.

But then I did a little research.  And by that, I mean I re-searched, and I re-searched, and I re-searched, over and over again, and through all of my re-searching, I kept coming up with the same exact question:

What room does fear have?

What room does fear have when I cling to TRUST? What room does fear have when I lean on HOPE? What room does fear have when I search for something more, when I discover and realize what’s good, and when I stand in AWE? When I run with PERSEVERANCE, when I walk by FAITH, and when I rest in COMFORT. What room does fear have when I sing with PRAISE, when I take hold of INSPIRATION, explore the POSSIBILITIES, and step into FREEDOM? What room does fear have when I discover STRENGTH, EMBRACE COURAGE, REMEMBER PEACE, DECLARE TRUTH, CHOOSE JOY, EXPERIENCE LIFE and CONQUER DEATH? What room does fear have when I find perfection in the one place I never thought to look? In weakness, when I’m saved by the most unlikely of heroes. By grace, when I’m invited into a relationship more loving and intimate than I could ever imagine, as a child of God.

I’ll ask you again: what room does fear have when I step out of the darkness, and I bask in the light? When I let the past be the past and the future has no limit. When they can talk all they want, but their opinion doesn’t matter! And when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.

I’ll ask you one last time: what room does fear have when in His Word, He tells me three hundred and sixty-five times DO. NOT. BE. AFRAID. As if I needed to hear that every single day. And as if that’s how many times I needed to hear it before I finally believed it.

What room does fear have when I make room for LOVE?

What are you afraid of? 

 

-Jon Jorgenson

 

Here is the video if you want to watch him speak it.

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Strong(her)

I have been thinking back on the years of therapy, and looking at how far I’ve come, as I patiently wait to completely finish and I thought about how much shame and embarrassment I felt for even having an eating disorder. I wanted to hide this disease from everyone and if people found out I was terrified they would judge me. I can’t say I’m one who broadcasts it to the world, but I can say that I no longer feel shame for saying an eating disorder was a part of my life. I no longer feel shame or embarrassment attached to the idea.

I think we live in a world where eating disorders are seen as something that is vain, and many people don’t understand them, but we also live in a world where the stigma of mental illness is losing the grip it once had. In this information age, people are realizing more and more that illnesses like depression isn’t just something that people can “get over” and smile through, and eating disorders aren’t about beauty and food.

So, what if you looked at the eating disorder through a different lens –  How would you view yourself?

Think about.

What if you saw it as something that wasn’t so shameful, or embarrassing? What if it was just something that you needed for a time period? What if it was something that you turned to for help for a period of time because you didn’t know what else to do? Would you cut yourself a break? What if it was just a coping mechanism, or a survival mechanism, to get you through a terrible life situation, or to help you deal with something that was so traumatic or difficult? You know, like a survival skill you learned.

How would you view yourself now?

Would you view yourself as having a shameful flaw, or would you view yourself as being strong for figuring out how to survive? Given the situation that you were in, you found a way to manage (Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a healthy way to manage, but you found a coping skill when you had none, even if it was an unhealthy coping skill – and you didn’t end your life). When things were so hard to deal with, you found a way to handle what you were going through… you were able to say, “It’s okay, I’m going to do ______ and I’m going to be okay.” You made an attempt to “be okay.” You wanted to be okay. You fought to be okay when you felt like you had nothing else. Doesn’t that make you strong?

Think about it.

What does it say about you going into recovery? It says that you no longer need the eating disorder because it no longer serves a purpose in your life. You are willing to accept help and change. You’re now even stronger than you were before because you are willing to learn new and healthier ways to cope with life. Maybe it did serve a purpose for some time, but now you realize that it no longer does what it used to do for you. You’re stronger because you can see that these disorders kill.

Sure, it was a maladaptive coping skill, but that maladaptive coping skill saved your life for a period of time. It kept you fighting through a difficult situation – whatever it might have been. Now you’re learning new coping skills; healthy ones. You don’t need the eating disorder because you don’t have to do it on your own anymore. You are stronger because you are willing to save your own life now – you don’t need the disorder to do it for you.You don’t have to figure it out on your own anymore because you have support.

Think about it.

You’re eating disorder doesn’t make you weak… It makes you strong because you thought to hold on and find a way to “be okay” in a dysfunctional situation you might have been in. You did what you had to do to get through, but now you don’t need that survival skill anymore. You were strong by yourself for long enough. Now, in order to stay alive, we have to let go of that maladaptive survival skill we learned because it doesn’t fit in our lives anymore. Each day you are even stronger because you are learning to live without it. Recovery is for the strongest ones.

strong her

Equanimity

There are many times when life moves too fast. It’s unavoidable. Because it’s unavoidable, you have to find a way to deal with it. One of the best ways to judge how successful a person will be in life is how well they deal with adversity. When adversity comes into our lives, we have to find a way to deal with it in the most healthy and productive way.

Unfortunately, some of us aren’t afforded the opportunity to be taught the necessary skills to deal with adversity or emotions in the best way. Don’t get me wrong… I dealt – just not in a healthy manner!

I grew up in a very chaotic household (to say the least) where there was no sense of stability or coping whatsoever. I wasn’t sure what was up or down, nor was I ever aware of what was going to happen any time a parent walked through the door (both alcoholics). At any moment everything could go from peace to complete chaos and pandemonium without warning. I learned to always be on guard and in defensive mode and to stay protected at all times. I carried this defense mechanism with me throughout life.

Through yeeeeeeeears of therapy I have learned that it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, that used to be my normal, but that was only because I didn’t know what a true “normal” was. I knew that my “normal” wasn’t really a  “ healthy normal”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see how to get to a “ healthy normal”.

So, this eating disorder, although very plaguing, has taught me a lot about life and myself. I have been afforded the opportunity to learn about what it really takes to live a healthy and balanced life. One thing that I think I have always tried to look for, but wasn’t sure how to do it, is equanimity.

e·qua·nim·i·ty  /ˌekwəˈnimədē/

noun

1.      mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

(Nerd alert! That’s your fun English word of the day!)

Back story: I was very good at doing this in sports, but for some reason the idea of “clam during chaos” didn’t translate into my personal life. In the middle of any high intense game in college I could search for composure and calmness, and discipline myself to search for clarity, BUT I’ve wondered why I couldn’t do it in personal life situations…. and it hit me… emotions and feelings were holding me back…. oh those feelings!!! 🙂 I think we are often blinded by our feelings and it prevents us from being able to see and think clearly.

Emotions and feelings can sometimes be a full-body experience. They can be an interplay between our thoughts and our sensations. One person once described to me this formula:

Thoughts + Body Sensations = Emotions

For instance, a kind of giddy happiness and anxiety might have the same sensations, such as tight muscles and a pounding heart. What determines whether we feel happy or anxious are our thoughts. So, when we start having thoughts and sensations we might have to navigate and do some searching for what the true feeling is behind it all. I have to admit, the hardest ones to navigate through are the negative ones as they often feel like they are the most powerful.

I’m still trying to figure out this whole “figure out your feelings” stuff…. So here is my short (and probably incomplete) list that I think about when I start figuring out my feelings… and start searching for equanimity.

  1. Acknowledge my feelings without judgment
  2. Accept my feelings as real and okay
  3. Sit with my feelings – they will pass
  4. Release my emotions in a healthy way

(This list is in no way complete so I don’t recommend dropping what your therapist has you doing because I’m no therapy guru!)

So, finding equanimity is a lot harder than it sounds!!! It’s not something that you can just start doing and perfect right away. When things are chaotic it’s hard to create a calm feeling. I’m not saying you necessarily go all yogi-meditative-tree-hugging-hippie to find some calming peace…

Yoga-Meditation tree hugger tree-hugging-hippy

But hey… if you want to do that… whatever floats your boat! 🙂

My goal is to try to look at what is going on in stressful times and search for where I can create some type mental calmness in situations/moments (note how I’m stressing moments because we have to start small, right?). By no means will it be perfect the first time I try it, but I bet it does come with practice. Even if it’s just bringing myself back to the present moment, not allowing myself to let the stress keep me in a bad mood, refusing to allow my thoughts race or change my plans. Really, I think the best way to start is to just be aware of feelings as they surface and then search for places to create moments of understanding equanimity. Once we understand and accept the feelings, we can begin to be at peace with them. [Goodness, if my psychologist could hear me now… I’m like a walking poster child for therapy and feelings!]

For me, I have learned that my center for equanimity is God. I recently felt extremely lost and “fell off the boat” and realized it was because I had not been cultivating my relationship with God. So, if you’re able to find what brings you to that mental peace, grab it and never let it go because that is what will sustain you through the meal plans that make you want to quit, the therapy sessions that are tough, and the moments that seem impossible to overcome.

On Addictions In Our Lives

This is actually an old post that is edited, so if’ you’ve been “around this town” for a while, it might look slightly familiar…. yet different 🙂

Addictions came up this Thanksgiving when I went back home to visit my family. I realized a lot about my family (and myself) and it was a bit of a tough time. I have been struggling as I have been reflecting on the things I saw, learned, and realized about myself/family. I went back to read what I previously wrote and it has actually helped me try put things into perspective.

I was listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast on my way to work and what was said really hit me quite hard. The topic was about emotional healing but the focus was on addiction. It was how addiction changes us and affects us as we are trying to live our life.

When referring to addiction, for me, I’m talking more about the addiction of over exercise and weight loss; anorexia. Addictions come in many forms and manifest in different ways – work, alcohol, sex, drugs, food, exercise etc. just to name a few.

A few small comments about addiction really made so much sense, and it got me thinking. I was well aware about my addiction to exercise/weight loss and what it has done to my life. There really isn’t an addiction that is great or that will do something positive for a person (unless it’s an addiction to your faith). Addictions control a person’s being from the core. When you are addicted to something, it lets go of the person we really are and also lets go of our purpose in life.

When I was obsessed with weight loss at the depths of anorexia, nothing else mattered. My day was focused on when I will work out, how much I will run, what food I will eat and what my estimated weight loss of the day could be. My purpose in everything else was lost. The addiction becomes your only purpose and that purpose is empty. It’s an emptiness in us that is filled quickly by immediate gratification and more emptiness. The different between addictions and things we do (habits) is when we can’t function without thinking about it. When your purpose is based around that addiction, it is something that is no longer positive in your life.

old you

Addiction is obsessing over and worshiping what is comfortable. It’s easy to stay in the same place when we are comfortable (and by “comfortable” I mean we are used to it). It’s difficult to change – anything! But that comfort of “I don’t want to have to do _____ and start over” is dangerous when it is severe enough to stop us from making happy and healthy decisions. It is very easy to fall apart and stay in the addiction, what is hard is working to make the change it and keep it together.

Many of us are ashamed to admit our addictions. The secret of our addiction is what keeps us sick in the moment. We are not able to heal until we are open about it. That’s why AA meetings start with “Hi my name is ______ and I’m an alcoholic.” (I could be totally wrong, but I have had enough therapy that I’m pretty sure that’s the case!) When you can take the power from the secret, you are well on your way to understanding that addiction and not allowing it to be your purpose in life. Exercise, weight loss and anorexia was my “purpose” every day until I was able to look at my psychologist and say that I have a problem, and this is out of control, and this is no longer “an eating thing” that I am controlling. Yes, for QUITE SOME TIME I called my anorexia “an eating thing”…. And I worked so hard to convince her that is just what it was…. I was in control! <insert sarcasm> Truthfully, it was controlling my life. It was controlling my every day. My purpose in life was lost. It was more important than my husband, my poodles, friends, who I was as a teacher and woman of God.

[Admittedly…. I’m addicted to standard poodles and spoiling them as well! 🙂 ]

Sophie, Remmington, Bella

Sophie, Remmington, Bella

 

Often we choose an addiction as a means of survival. It feels like it serves a purpose for quite some time. And, truthfully, I think it does. I think it is a coping skill that is there to keep us trying to work with/deal with/avoid something painful. What is that pain? It’s different for all of us. Trauma, family struggles, emotional struggles etc. That addiction is something that we do in efforts to survive in some way, shape or form. It becomes dangerous when it is a part of us – when it is something that we can’t see ourselves without. When I started running everyone thought it was great and gave encouragement, and understood why I couldn’t meet them because I had to get 10 miles in…. but it quickly moved to something I had to do every night, or there was some sort of despair attached for my failure.

One of the hard things I had to try to figure out is that my addiction to losing weight and exercise was not a reflection of who I was as a person. As I previously stated that my purpose in life was lost (because addiction sucks it out of you), it also makes you believe that you are not worthy of anything. Addiction has an amazing way of making you feel a shame (so deep that you almost feel it physically in your core) for being “bound” to the addiction. Being “bound” or “chained” to an addiction is not a reflection of you as a person. It is a maladaptive coping skill because you don’t know how to deal with things when it gets tough – when you’re scared, anxious, stressed, nervous, depressed etc. It has nothing to do with your worth. Your addiction has absolutely nothing to do with your worth or who you are as a person, it only has to do with how you react to situations in your life. Go back and read that sentence again.

So where do you go when addiction has become such a problem in your life? People love miracles. We want so badly for God to deliver us from whatever struggle we have. Sometimes we want to bypass all of the struggle because it’s so tough. Admittedly, I wanted to bypass everything – I still do at times! This is where patience is key (if you haven’t read my post on patience, it might be purposeful). Each time I try to have patience, but want to move through this process quickly, my psychologist is quick to remind me that the healing is in the learning. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to be delivered from the pain and struggles of the path of recovery. At times, it sucks eating, gaining weight, adding variety and figuring out if I’m over exercising (and by “at times” I really mean ALWAYS). She has taught me that I can’t make recovery stick until I learn and go through the process. Moving through the process is where the learning and change comes. I can’t fast-forward to being recovered because I’ll never understand the core of this issue. I have found this to also be true in faith. The patience, faith, trust and learning comes in the struggle. God doesn’t give you the struggle, but He does give you the learning in the struggle so there is meaning in the end.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we want clear answers, but sometimes we won’t get it. As much as we want to be delivered, there are times when maybe our journey is to just go through (as much as that feels terrible). If we want to move out of the “comfortable” spot, we have to allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable. We have to be willing to disturb the “peace” in our life in order to make the real and true peace happen. Real and true peace is impossible with an addiction. It is impossible when we are bound by something. We can’t live our life by our feelings. If we lived by our feelings we would miss out on so much! If we want find happiness, we have to move from trying to survive….. to working to thrive. I truly believe that is the only way to reach true happiness.

 

35 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Actually Your Child

So many of us love dogs. They are like our children. I was surfing the internet and found reasons why you are obsessed with your dog. As I was reading, I compiled all the good reasons why your dog is actually your child!! 🙂

 

35 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Actually Your Child

1. You wouldn’t even consider a partner who doesn’t share your love of canines. The thought of merely going on a date with someone who doesn’t like dogs is unthinkable.

              dog8

 

 

 

 

         

2. Some people have baby pictures on their phones… you have dog pictures….. and you’re just as excited to show the pictures.

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3. You regularly google picture of your breed of choice, and brainstorm ideas of quirky names for your pet that may not yet exist.

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4.  Homeward Bound brings you to tears every time you watch it.

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5. You can’t watch the Sarah Mclachan “Save the Animals” commercials for fear you will burst into tears immediately.

dog13

 

 

 

 

 

6. Watching a movie in which a dog dies is too much for you to handle (i.e. I Am Legend, Marley and Me) and you curse whoever recommended them to you in the first place. Any other character can die, but the movie is immediately awful if it’s a dog.

7. You’re pretty sure your dog is actually a person.

 dog8

 

 

 

 

 

8. You stare at your dog sleeping because it’s so cute.

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9. You text pictures of your dog to your friends and family.

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10. You feel guilty eating in front of your dog without sharing a bite of your food.

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11. You feel guilty leaving your dog home alone…. So you leave on Animal Planet

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12.  You let them walk all over you.

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13. Everything your dog does is cute… like running in the snow.

 dog13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14.  Your dog can pass gas in your home and you wouldn’t care, but the moment a person does it’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever dealt with.

 

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15.  You are overly excited to give them treats because it will make their day.  

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16.  You’ve sewed together more ripped up toys than you care to admit – and you treat it like it’s a major surgery.

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17.  You celebrate your dog’s birthday.

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18. You worry about them like parents worry about a child.

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19. You talk about them as if they were your kids. In fact, when people ask you, “do you have any children?” you answer with, “No, but I have 3 dogs!”

dog16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. You find a crying baby and a crying dog to be equally heartbreaking.

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21.  In bed, you don’t mind that the dog takes up more room than you do.

dog7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22. You have an obscene amount of dog toys, most of which are scattered in random places throughout your house. And, each dog toy has a name (i.e. Mr. Squeaky Bear).

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23. You don’t even consider NOT letting your dog sleep with you… and you find dog toys in bed.

dog17

 

 

 

 

 

24. You’ve missed more than one happy hour or event because your dogs would be home alone, and you’ve been away too long. Plus, cuddling with them can be more fun.

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25.  You won’t even consider a low-grade kennel when you have to go away. You will splurge on appropriate babysitting.

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26. Your pooch’s wardrobe rivals your own. You get pleasure out of dressing them up and showing them off.

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27. You get annoyed when too many pictures of your friends’ dinners and kids clog your news feed on facebook, but you love the ones who post pictures of their dogs.

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28. You talk to your dog on the phone when you’re away and wonder how they are spending their day.

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29.  You have more than one nickname for them, and they respond to each one.

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30. You talk to them as if they could comprehend more than just a few simple key words and commands… and you respond to them as if they have answered you. 

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31. You’ve considered getting their paw print tattooed somewhere on your body.

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32.  When you pass a person on the street, you spend more time talking to their dog than you do the actual person…. In fact, you are more interested in the dog than the person.

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33.  Your dogs can do anything, and you won’t stay mad for very long.

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34.Your life would never be the same without your dog.

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35.  You’ve come to the conclusion that anyone who hates dogs just can’t possibly have a soul.

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My New Lifestyle

 

The “gluten free” life.

It’s all the fad, right? Everybody’s doing it.

Finally, after so long, my dietitian has helped me figure out that I have gluten intolerance! This has become such a relief to my entire digestive track!!

So, finding out about this intolerance has helped me accept many things. Eating gluten free is a huge adjustment. There are many foods that are naturally gluten free, but also many common foods that aren’t.

I could sit here and explain how I feel better eating gluten free, how it has helped my digestion and pooping (yep, I went there), how I figured out that I needed to change… blah, blah, blah… but that doesn’t help anyone…. Google it if you want to know how it changes/helps people. My experience with being gluten intolerant is very different from the next person (yet still very similar…. Oh, and that was deep).

Truthfully, reading blogs help when you can relate it back to yourself somehow….

So, with that being said, what has being gluten free taught me?

To welcome change.

With a new diet, comes new foods…. and changes. Like a diabetic, change has to happen in my diet. I have found that it’s easy to make changes when you’re forced to do so. It’s easier for people to make changes when it’s forced by a doctor, medically necessary etc. We may not like it, but we do it because we “have” to.

It’s a life lesson to learn to make changes on your own, and that is something I’m learning. I will say, it’s much more pleasant in your life when you choose the change, and make it happen. When you make the adjustment by choice, it becomes easier to accept over time because you can’t be bitter toward yourself for doing something. Change is the only constant in this world, and until we accept it, we will keep fighting the inevitable. If you want to read more about my deep thoughts on change, feel free to do so here.

 

To eat for health.

I’m learning to eat for fun and for health – and have a balance of both. Sometimes people lean to extremes (all healthy or all unhealthy), but a balance is what is really needed for a happy and healthy life. All food groups are important – including lipids! (yep… I drank that kool-aid) I’m also learning, (as I accept balance), to have everything in moderation. Apparently, it’s not acceptable to eat Chocolate Chex for dinner each night as it does not hit the proper food groups 🙂 I believe this is still up for debate, but many others (my treatment team…ahem) will disagree.

 

To add variety.

As humans, we are creatures of habit! I’m not just speaking of recovery, but in life. We have routines and when they are altered it can affect us and throw us off. I’m learning that routines are great/helpful/necessary, but when they are rigid, problems arise. We all need consistency, but it doesn’t have to rule our life.

I’m learning variety in my meal plan, daily schedule and exercise. Truthfully, it spices up life. In all honesty, my body has been responding to variety – in what final way?? not sure…. but I have to trust that it is appropriate.

 

To go out of my safety zone.

This new life has made me completely adjust how I eat. I can’t stick to the regular foods I always ate (turkey sandwiches with cheese). I have to get creative! Going out of my safety zone means trying new things and cooking!!! If you are unaware of my most recent terrible experiences with cooking, you can read about them here.

I’ve had to push myself to get out of my safety zone. I’ve had to explore different types of foods to meet the needs of my meal plan. I’ve had to try different foods and prepare foods, I’ve never attempted before.

magic happens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it scary? Yes.

Is it worth it? YES!

I’ve been lucky enough to find foods and recipes that I enjoy. I won’t lie, when I prepare food it looks like a bomb has gone off in my kitchen, but I’m still taking baby steps 🙂

 

To stand my ground.

Let’s be honest, it’s not easy being gluten free. I have to be creative at restaurants and I have to use my voice as well. I have to ask for what I need and be able to see BS when it hits me in the face when people are trying to act like they know what they are talking about when it comes to food (when they clearly don’t). I have to be sure I don’t eat gluten and see it as a health issue. I have to come to my own defense in all food situations. This type of defense transfers over into other areas of life as well.

 

To accept my body.

We have very complex bodies and that is something that is amazing. It’s amazing because even at my sickest, my body worked its little butt off to make sure I survived the hell I put it through. My body wanted to live and thrive. It slowed my metabolism to save energy, put all nutrition into my vital organs because they had to continue working, and it caused unpleasant issues and red flags to say that what I was doing wasn’t okay. In fact, now…. Because I had restricted for so long…. I couldn’t lose a pound to save my life!!!! It will literally shut down my metabolism because it knows what I did in the past. That is amazing if you actually think about it!

My body is screaming that it can’t handle gluten. I have to listen to that and trust it. I don’t have a choice. For so long, I tried to control what I thought my body needed, and it is taking back control. I can ignore it and spend hours in misery, or I can accept what it needs and do it.

I can either work to love myself, or hate myself….  I choose to work to love myself. It’s a choice I have to make every day. Some days it’s easier than others.

 

 

There are many other ways a gluten free life has helped me, but nobody wants to read posts that are too long. These reasons highlight the majority.

Recovery from anything is a new life style and it comes with many benefits. Think about it…. What are the benefits for you?

What worked for you?

“What worked for you?”

I’m often asked this question by other people going through recovery. The answer is always simple – “I don’t know.”

I answer “I don’t know” because I really just don’t know. If I look back and say what I’ve done with my therapist in the past, I could tell you several things we’ve tried (like the really annoying “responding to ED” with feelings), but I can’t tell you all that we’ve done; all that works. I sometimes write down notes and thoughts after sessions, but I don’t have a detailed record of all of it.

My answer is vague because I’ve come to realize that therapy just becomes a part of you. It becomes a part of your everyday life when you start making the changes that are suggested. Really, we are all in therapy because we have to change something, so to think that we don’t have to work for it, is absurd. When you “work” in therapy, the discussions, strategies etc. merge with who you are and who you will start to become.

I really don’t think there is one specific thing that will work for anyone. There isn’t one “ah-ha” strategy, or one thing that makes the big difference. Eating disorders are complicated illnesses to overcome, so to think that one thing will work is just asking to be frustrated – and it’s sending you on a hunt down a rabbit hole for something that is non-existent.

I remember walking into the treatment program at Hershey talking to my assigned therapist there. I said, “I want to recover. How do I make the best of being here and get the most out of it?” Her answer was so simple that it seemed like it wasn’t enough. She said, “Just be present – in all groups and discussions, be present and try to learn.” Admittedly, I walked out of her office saying she was a quack and that was the crappiest answer I’ve ever received…. but her answer was right on target. Let’s be honest, we hate to admit it, but it’s rare for your therapist to be completely wrong. Her answer sticks with me today, in therapy, and in everyday life. We are such busy people in our world today, and we learn to do so many things at once, we forget how to be present. There is always something else to worry about or something else crowding our mind.

Being present might be somewhat of a good answer to “what worked for you?” I’m constantly working on being present in everything I do. When I sit in church, I work to be there, in that moment listening to the Word and enjoying that experience. When I’m running or doing yoga, I work to use the time for myself; to enjoy that I can still do those activities and to not think about the other worries or obligations I have.

If there is anything that is easy and could work for everyone – it’s being present. Being present in all therapy, group, medical or dietary discussions. Being present, and a participant in discussions. I have noticed that this process goes faster when you are an active participant. Note that when I say “faster” I really mean that it goes at “normal speed” because when we aren’t active, we only slow ourselves down.

Truthfully, any person in any walk of life could work on being present. Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a state of being.

Think about it —- where do you stand when it comes to being present and in the moment?