Starting in February, I will be hosting a two-month (February and March) recovery challenge. Before it begins, please check out the sign-up to let me know if you’re interested and tell me what you’d most like to see out of the challenge.
This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while now, but now seems to be the right time for me.
Also, this is for all people looking to recover! EDs, self-harm, substance abuse, etc. You’re all welcome to join!
Forty-seven people are currently signed up, and I’d like to make a few more announcements about this:
- It will be done through a combination of Tumblr, Fitocracy, and e-mail, so please include your e-mail when you sign up (and feel free to write your Tumblr URL and/or Fitocracy name as well!).
- E-mails will be sent out every couple of days with reviews of recovery apps/websites, motivation quotes, links to challenges for the types of Challengers (like, a challenge for someone recovering from anorexia is going to be different than one for someone recovering from alcohol abuse).
- The groups will be broken down as such, with possible sub-categories: ED (eating disorders), SA (substance abuse), and SH (self harm). You may be in more than one group, but these are how the challenges and information will be arranged and labelled.
- A private Fitocracy group will be available for anyone who wants to be invited to talk to other Challengers during the two months.
- If you participate, you will likely feel uncomfortable. That’s how recovery works. Be prepared to confront your feelings and fight back against negative ones.
- Please include an e-mail address when you sign up! I forgot to change it to be mandatory, but that is how the main communications will be taking place!
I’ve been struggling to write an update about my time in residential ever since I got home on Sunday. I was there for almost two months – longer than anyone expected me to be there – and in those two months, my body and my mindset and my entire life changed so much so that it will be difficult for me to adequately explain it all, ever. It’s overwhelming even to think about.
I can sum it up, essentially, in one sentence: res was hell. Refeeding sucks, high meal plans suck, weight gain sucks, fear foods suck, anxiety and depression and loneliness and fear and intense anger and guilt and resentment suck.
But of the many, many things that res gave me, the most important thus far has probably been the ability to challenge my disordered thoughts with a newfound healthy voice. So, to reframe the sentence: res saved my life.
I’ll probably make a series of more specific posts when the things I accomplished and the things I learned resurface in my current life, but here are a few:
I’m in a much better place physically, thanks to innumerable Ensures and a few Carnations (never again), daily monitoring of my weights and vitals and whatnot, and the program’s goal of opening us up to the freedom of moving up dining levels – I went from having my meals plated to being able to pick my own choices in the moment, support to Trays to IE – and exposing us to a variety of foods, even those we considered “unhealthy.” As in, I ate more than my fair share of pizza, pasta, muffins, scones, big scary sandwiches, and desserts. A hell of a lot of desserts. The food was definitely the hardest part, and obviously something I still struggle with at home – I may or may not have cried over my bagel in day treatment yesterday – but res definitely broadened my horizons, nutritionally, and made me more able to see food as food and not as Satan incarnate.
I made a lot of progress in therapy. I had a really nice therapist who helped me challenge my disordered thoughts – I wasn’t sick enough, I don’t deserve to eat, I’m fat (of course), my ED was all I had and all I ever would be – and helped me cope with a lot of my social anxiety and self-esteem issues. I also started work on my general anxiety and depression, both of which I still struggle with and continue to fight daily, but I made a lot of progress on those ends as well.
Some parts just straight up sucked: the cattiness of the community (it only got good at the end of my stay, and I didn’t really end up making good friends until then), my persistent daily struggle to do what I was supposed to do (that resulted in me making mistakes and getting privileges taken away and many arguments and a whole hell of a mess), having to celebrate my 18th birthday with an extension of my stay and a meal plan increase and family therapy over lunch and a contract that resulted in me getting passes taken away (long story). But I think I learned a lot more from my struggles than I did from my successes, and I certainly wouldn’t have traded them for a stay as smooth as the first time I was there – in the long run, I came out stronger.
This has been a mess of a post, but I think that in itself captures my time at res – also a mess, but one I am incredibly grateful for. Here’s hoping my third time in day treatment is a charm.
If you’ve made it all the way through, congrats. Treat yourself to a yummy double snack as I am about to!
I was looking through old pictures again on my laptop (I know, I know, why torture myself?) when I came across this picture. I realized that this picture shows more of my eating disorder than any of the pictures of ribs or hipbones or shrinking breasts and thighs. I hope this image isn’t too triggering for anyone, I just have some things that I need to say.
This is a girl with the saddest eyes.
This is a girl who is shivering alone in bed on a Friday night, unable to warm herself up even under an electric blanket.
This is a girl whose body will not allow her to sleep more than three hours a night as it frantically tries to keep her alive.
This is a girl who is actually a 21 year old woman, now back in the body of an 11 year old child.
This is a girl whose boyfriend cries when he sees her naked and has nightmares about finding her dead.
This is a girl who went un-missed and unnoticed when she disappeared for three weeks because, to her friends, she had disappeared long before that.
This is a girl whose heart is beating too slowly.
This is a ghost of a girl.
Anorexia will not make you skinny for summer, it will not make you popular, it will not make you beautiful, it will not make boys fall for you, it will not make people notice you, it will not make your life glamorous, it will not solve any of your problems.
Well said babe <333
This handout tells you ways to deal with an eating disorder. These ideas have been written by nurses who work with people who have eating disorders. Using the ideas in this guide can help you control eating disorder symptoms.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel welcome to call the number listed at the end of the handout.
To Improve Body Image
•Put away your scale.
•Laugh it off.
•Dress to feel comfortable.
•Draw attention to parts of your body you are proud of.
•Put away your skinny clothes.
•Start the morning with good grooming.
•Recognize that your thinking about your body may be distorted.
•Realize you are not being singled out because you think you have gained weight.
•Be comfortable and familiar with your body.
To Cope with Eating
•Change the subject when other people talk about food, weight, or body size and shape.
•Set a routine – eat three well-balanced meals that are satisfying.
•Make menus for a day ahead of time and post them.
•Eat with people who do not bug you about eating.
•Make lunch your main meal.
•Have a back-up plan for eating if you can’t eat a meal.
•Develop a support system for times when eating has been a problem.
•Plan things to do at times when other people are snacking.
•Avoid alcohol. It is a set-up for a binge.
•Occupy yourself after a meal.
•Walk away from the table after meals.
•Plan healthy snacks.
•Eat healthy foods instead of junk foods.
•Make meals ahead of time.
•Plan meals a day ahead of time.
•Make a date to eat with someone.
•Set your meal times 4 to 5 hours apart.
•Don’t buy binge foods.
•Make a shopping list and stick to it.
•Eat before you go to a party (Do not go hungry).
•Set a time limit for eating.
•Make sure to enjoy more about your meal than just the food.
•Stay away from bathrooms after meals.
•Start the day with breakfast.
•Make decisions about eating and stick to them.
•If you have trouble knowing when you are hungry, plan to eat regularly.
To Control Urges to Binge
•Work on hobbies and handcrafts.
•Go for a walk.
•Watch a movie.
•Take a risk. Do something different.
•Talk to and pet animals.
•Don’t take extra money when you go out.
•Take a nap.
•Clean (for yourself, not for others).
•Give up childhood by looking at the past; pictures, scrap books, etc.).
•Talk with someone supportive.
•Avoid the kitchen when you walk in the door.
•Take a walk before coming into the house in the evening.
•Listen to music.
•Take a warm shower or bath.
To Deal with Feelings after a Binge
•Allow yourself to feel forgiven.
•Find something else to do.
•Get away from your eating place.
•Talk with someone else. You may or may not talk about your eating behaviors.
•Nurture yourself even if you don’t feel like it.
•Try self-talk. Say you do not look any different than you did a few minutes ago.
•Get yourself back on track with routine eating.
To Improve Your Self-Esteem
•Start the morning with self-care, grooming to feel your best.
•Acknowledge your feelings.
•Be creative (crafts, music, clothing, etc.).
•Look back on awards and achievements.
•Display a “brag wall.”
•Keep a scrapbook or photo album handy to review proud moments.
•Make a checklist of accomplishments.
•Learn something new.
•Become an expert at something and talk about it.
•Assert your opinion when you feel confident.
•Take a self-defense class.
•Allow yourself to feel angry.
•Ask for help and support.
•Allow yourself to be good enough, not perfect.
•Accept compliments without reservations.
•Take a self-awareness or assertiveness class.
To Tell Yourself You’re Okay
•Set short term goals one day at a time.
•Look at the positives of being away from your symptoms.
•Anticipate good times and how you might handle bad times.
•Keep a diary and write your good and bad feelings.
•Encourage yourself with self-pep talks.
•Tell yourself that you are normal.
•Tell yourself you need to eat to keep your energy level up.
•Review your strengths.
•Mark a calendar every day you keep symptoms in control and look back at your own improvement.
•Allow yourself quiet time.
•Get satisfaction from relationships rather than from food.
•Tell yourself your number one priority is your health.
•Remember the positives of not getting involved with symptoms.
•Make a transition from work to home with a quiet time.
To Nuture/Reward Yourself
•Shop for yourself.
•Take a bath.
•Set money aside for a goal.
•Wear clothes that have special meaning for you.
•Ask someone else to give you a foot or back massage.
•Get your hair or nails done.
•Listen to music you like.
•Have lunch with a friend-make the food secondary.
•Buy yourself flowers.
•Call a friend.
•Read a novel.
•Pretend to be a child, then consciously return to being an adult.
•Go to a movie.
•Pat yourself on the back.
•Tell yourself you have done well.
•Allow yourself to vegetate.
•Buy new makeup.
•Steal time for yourself even if you are busy.
To Deal with Feeling Isolated
•Be a volunteer.
•Go someplace where you can be with people even if you do not want to talk.
•Call a supportive person.
•Join in a group game.
•Join an exercise class.
•Make eye contact with people around you; smile and be open to others approaching you.
•Plan activities with friends or family.
•Read to someone else.
•Develop a hobby and go to specialty meetings.
•Join a choir or a band.
To Deal with Tension
•Accept your feelings as they are.
•Cry, scream, let it all out.
•Make yourself a “scream room” where you can be loud.
•Shout into a pillow.
•Designate a pillow as someone you are mad at and talk to it.
•Punch a pillow, your mattress.
•Be assertive about your rights.
•Avoid small upsets that accumulate to a big blow up.
•Exercise but remember that exercise can’t replace saying what is bothering you.
•Learn to relax.
•Practice saying your feelings to a mirror or tape recorder.
•Keep a journal.
•Change the subject.
To Hold Your Own Assertively
•Expect and extend courtesy to and from everyone-even your family.
•Acknowledge the other person’s rights.
•Say what you want, but be willing to negotiate.
•Say what you need and insist on your rights.
•Assume you are on equal standing with everyone.
•Allow yourself time outs to feel mentally stronger.
•Keep good eye contact but do not stare.
•Keep yourself open to other people by looking around.
•Use your support system and ask for positive feedback.
•When things are not going well, do not assume it is all your fault.
•Clarify what is going on; ask other people.
•Accept your own feelings, choose if you want to act on them.
•Understand that you may not have a choice. You may have to disagree but go along. Let people know you disagree and then get on with it.
University of Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinic can be reached by calling: (608) 263-6100