Thursday, 29 November 2012

Expectations

What kind of expectations do you have fit yourself? Do you want to become a successful business person, a famous star, a determined scientist, a stern teacher, or a devoted professional? Do you want to make a lot of money and live luxuriously?

We all have expectations for our futures. Some of which we set, others are made by others. Perhaps your parents have set out your life for you. Or maybe you want to be successful so that you'll live comfortably. Either way, there are certain things that you hope to achieve in the future, and these criteria are based on notions of success, money, jobs, etc.

But have you taken the time to think - really think - about these expectations? Are they realistic? Have you set high expectations that are too difficult to achieve? I think sometimes we need to keep in mind what's really important - mainly, that we live to enjoy a happy and successful life.

I used to have many high expectations for myself - and I still do. I want to get As on everything. I want to learn everything there is to learn about nursing. I want to succeed. But now that I've been through so much, I realize that maybe this is asking too much. I've been to death's door and back in the summer...and during then, all I wanted was to get out of the hospital and live. At that time, nothing else mattered. My family tells me that they prayed only for me to live - they wanted nothing else. No school, no money, nothing. They just prayed for my life.

So I see that I'm expecting too much. Maybe I need to learn to lower what I ask if myself. No one is perfect. And pushing myself to achieve so much is tough. But it's something I'm used to it - I've always been an over-achiever. But I think it's time to try to lower what I expect of myself. ED made me expect thinness - and anything less was not acceptable. I was a failure if I didn't lose weight. I was a loser if I wasn't thin. So now in recovery, I feel like a BIG loser - well, that's what ED tells me.

I suppose it's a matter of reframing my life. I'm just blessed to be alive! So today I'm thanking God to be alive, in recovery, and at school. I'm thankful for living at home with my wonderful family. I'm thankful to be doing well in school.

So perhaps I'm NOT the thinnest anymore. Perhaps I'm not still losing weight. But that doesn't mean that I haven't been successful. I'm changing my expectations and making them more realistic. For now, I'm hoping to pass this year, continue in recovery, and cherish every single moment. It'll take time to adjust to these nice ideas, but it has to happen. Because sometimes, we put too much pressure on ourselves and expect too much. It's time to appreciate our lives and realize that we are blessed to be where we are today.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Publsihed again: Attitudes

I am pleased and blessed to say that once again, I have been published at NEDIC. This is a piece about how we need to learn to chnage our attitudes, as we all know that it is highly unlikely that we will be able to change the entire world. Great change begins when we realize that we can make a big differnece by simply changing ourselves. Sometimes, the best place is to start with yourself. And once you do, you will see that you are stronger and more aware of all the incorrect messages in society.

So, take a look!

http://www.nedic.ca/blog/

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Money

I have a real money problem.

No, it's not that I need money. It's that I don't feel worthy of spending money on myself.

My parents are great - they want to buy everything I could possibly need and want. And they do. But for some reason, I feel like I don't deserve buying things.

I feel as though I have done nothing worth of me buying things - anything. Clothes, jewelry, food, make-up, books, etc. It is as if I am rewarding myself for no reason.

ED has a part to play here. He makes me feel so useless and terrible, as if I am not like anyone else who occasionally has the right to buy something special. Deep into ED, I did not wamt to be happy. Well, I NEVER felt happy - because ED made me so miserable. So, I never felt as though I wanted to buy anything for myself. Life was plain and boring and tiresome. I did not want to purchase anything because I was disgusted of myself. It was as though there was no point in buying anything for me becauase I was too ugly, fat, and horrible.

Foolish girl! Why would you spend money on yourself? You do not deserve anything. You should not buy things for yourself because you are unworthy of happiness, luxury, and satisfaction. 

But I'm trying to train myself to start seeing ME as a human who has needs - and that's okay. Actually, that's normal. I wouldn't be able to do this on my own, so for now, I'm depending on my loved one to remind me that I deserve to buy things. That's it is totally fine to want to buy a new shirt, a good book, a cup of tea, or whatever. Because that's what money is for - to buy things. And why should I be the only one who doesn't deserve this luxury? I do! It's just a matter of ignoring the thoughts that tell me otherwise.

Everyone deserves a little luxury. We all have needs and wants, and we all enjoy buying something new or special. It's human. It's normal. It's one thing that I need to learn as I continue on recovery.

Monday, 19 November 2012

What is RECOVERY?

I was thinking today - what would it be like to be fully recovered? To feel as though nothing is wrong...to feel care-free. I wrote a list - but when I read it over now, I realize that these are some goals or hopes that we can all possibly share! Let me know if you agree with any of them - or add your own! Really, this is more of a 'what a good and relaxed' life would look like...so it works for all of us!

-Freedom from ED
-feeling good about who I am
-looking in the mirror and feeling that I like what I see
-walking out the door and feeling confident
-being proud of who I am
-not caring about what people say about how I look
-getting hunger cues back...maybe even feeling hungry sometimes!
-seeing the good in me
-smiling and laughing because life is good
-not worrying over the little things
-spoiling myself by making time for me and taking breaks
-break the cycle of perfectionism
-sleeping properly
-not being worried about spending money on myself
-realizing that I've come so far in life
-looking forward to the future
-learning from m mistakes and knowing that I was a victim
-stop blaming myself for ED
-learn to love myself because I am God's child
-understanding that everything happens for a reason because God is in control
-forgiving myself for not being perfect
-accepting challenges and knowing that 'this too shall pass'
-enjoying the little things in life that I might take for granted (family, friends, my community, etc)
-waking up in the morning and feeling that it is going to be a good day
-going to bed at night and not having anything to think about
-cherishing the quiet moments in life that help me appreciate my blessings
-feeling peaceful inside; as though I am care-free
-knowing that its okay to cry because I am allowed to have those days or moments
-letting myself feel sad or mad because I am human and I have the right to express my emotions
-understanding that I deserve to be loved, regardless of how I look or what size my body is
-having the capacity to love freely and my worry about being hurt
-seeing life as a lifelong adventure and not a journey that ends
-standing firm in my values and beliefs and defending them when necessary
-shrugging over a 'reasonable' mark because I know that I don't have to get 90s all the time
-telling others when I am hurt because they should know that I feel that way
-smiling in the face of adversity because God is with me
-knowing that you can't have a rainbow without getting through the rain
-deciding to live my life to the fullest and enjoying every second of it
-feeling that the burden on my heat had been lifted
-understanding that I'm not a burden on my family
-feeling my importance as a member in my family and among my friends
-accepting compliments from others without wondering if they really mean it or not
-stop trying to read people's minds and thinking that others will only see the worst in me
-living each day as though it were my last: enjoying every second of the day, realizing that I'm blessed and that life is meant to be enjoyable. Feeling free from all my struggles and worries.

'Casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you' (1 Peter 5:7).

Friday, 16 November 2012

Watching what you say/do

Is there a way to prevent eating disorders? I wish there was a simple answer to this. The truth is, we can't say we can prevent eating disorders because we are not exactly sure of what causes them. But, we CAN take small steps to make them much less likely to occur.

Let's start with the media. I've written about this before, so I won't go onto detail again. We all know this - the media depicts unrealistic images and tries to convince us that we have to look the same way. What can we do? We need to speak up! You don't have to go far to see or hear someone trying to achieve these demands. Let them know how the media fools us!

But what's most important, on my opinion, is to change the way WE think and see ourselves. Are you happy with your body? Do you honor it because of all the wonderful things it does for you? Do you appreciate all the lovely things about yourself? Do you stand on front of the mirror and criticize your appearance, or are you thankful for simply being you? Do you complain about your size and shape, and pick out all the little things you hate about yourself?

When you talk with others, are you talking about how much you weigh or how often you work out? Do you compare what you eat and who is healthier? Do you discuss calories and laugh because you've 'eaten too much'?

These things might seem irrelevant to you, but these are just a few ways in which you can help to stop the negative associations that society has made with food, weight, appearances, bodies, calories. You might not know it, but someone around you may be struggling with an eating disorder, and these conversations will trigger them. Or someone might be struggling with body image issues and this will make them more insecure. So whatcha what you say, how you act, and think about your attitudes about food, weight, and your body.

Because you never know who is hearing what you are saying, what they are going through, and how this will affect them. You may be saving someone's life by simply watching what you say and do.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Little Things

Have you ever stopped to take the time to think about those little things in life that we take for granted? I was walking to class today and realized that I don't take enough time in the day to be thankful for everything that I have.
 
The sun's light is magnificent. How lucky are we to have this wonderful source of light?! It wakes us up in the morning and shines on us. It gives the plants the energy that they need to make their food (which serve as our food!). Or what about the moon that gives light at night?
Then there's all these beautiful plants. Some provide us with our own food, and others are simply beautiful to look at. Some flowers are so beautiful that we give then as gifts o others on special occasions or if someone is ill.
Have you thought about the home that you live in? We don't have to look for somewhere to keep us warn or sheltered at night because we have our houses. We have a roof on our heads every night. We have beds to sleep on, and covers to keep us warm. We have food to eat so that we don't become weak. We have water to drink to supply our body with sustenance.
Even if sometimes seems that money is tight, think about how fortunate you are to have what you do. You may not have money to buy everything that you want, but do you have money to feed yourself properly? Can you afford clothes to keep you warm and dressed? Do you have money to buy yourself a coffee when you need that caffeine boost? Do you have a way of getting to work or school - whether it is by bus or car? Can you afford a cell phone or computer - even if it not latest model?
 
Do you go to school or work? Are you healthy and well to study or work? It may not always be fun or easy, but have you thought about those who are too ill to do these things, or cannot find a job? Do you have someone - anyone at all - to talk to if you need a listening ear? Your family, friends, religious community, coworkers, etc?
 
I don't know about you, but I've never thought of half these things to be thankful for. We are so caught up with our daily hassles that we forget how blessed we are to have all we do. It's very humbling to stop and make a list of things of things you have that make you thankful - you start to realize that despite all your struggles, there are many good things in your life.
"Thanks be to God!" (1 Corinthians 15:57).
 
PS: I'm also thankful for this blog and having this place to let out my thoughts, plus all you wonderful readers!

Monday, 12 November 2012

My A-Z Life Tips

I thought it might be a good idea to bring some cheer in my life - as well as yours! So here are a few tips or 'pick-me-up' lines...from A-Z! Enjoy!

A. Always remember that you are not alone
B. Believe in yourself
C. Confidence is vital to success
D. Don't give up
E. Esteem yourself and your abilities
F. Faith will get you through tough times
G. Get help from others when you need it
H. Hope will give you peace
I. Inner beauty is what counts
J. Join others is praising your achievements
K. Knowledge comes from experience
L. Love yourself for who you are!
M. Make time for yourself and what you like to do
N. Never, never, EVER let someone tell you are not worth it
O. Omit the stressors in your life
P. Productivity means you are making the most of your life
Q. Quiet times are perfect moments of reflection
R. Realize how much potential you have
S. Strength is not always physical, but often mental and emotional as well
T. Tough times never last
U. Understand that you can achieve anything you put your mind to
V. Victory over difficult situations will come if you stay strong
W. Wonderful things happen when you pray
X. Xtra blessings come if you believe
Y. Yearn to achieve only your best; the rest if up to God
Z. Zeal will help you accomplish your goals

Friday, 9 November 2012

Self-esteem

I've been in a tough place lately. Recovery-wise, I'm doing great. I'm eating well and am healthy. School is busy, but I'm also doing well. The problem, though, is my mood.

I don't know what's going on. I just find that I have really low self-esteem. I don't know why - I'm healthy, smart, talented, and blessed to have loving family and friends. I have everything I could want and need.  So why do I not feel confident?

I just feel that there's not much to be proud of. Even though I know there is. I'm not sure exactly what's making me feel this way. Maybe it ED, desperately trying to come back...?

You foolish girl! What is there to be proud of? You've gained weight, you are eating - you have failed. You have in, you weak girl. You are eating, you are like everyone else now. There's nothing special about you, you are worthless.

And it really hurts. I feel so down because it is as if I am 'stuck in a rut'. Here I am - doing what I need to do to keep myself happy and healthy. So why am I not feeling confident? It is a mix of things - mainly, feeling that I look ugly, feeling useless, and wondering why I am feeling this way!

I have to talk to someone - usually my mom/dad and sister (love you guys!) to feel better about myself. And sometimes even that doesn't help. But what really helps is knowing that there are people out there who love me. People who will take time to listen to me, even if they don't have a solution. Because sometimes I don't need a solution - all I need is a listening ear and a caring heart. I need someone to hear me out, to let me feel that I have support. To make me feel loved - because I'm human, and when I can't quite find the ability to love myself, it's nice to be able to count on others to pick me back up.

So right now, perhaps I don't have the highest self-esteem. But I'm working on it. Slowly, I'm sure that I'll see the good in me. I'll see how much I have to be proud of. And I'll love ME. Because I know that I deserve to be loved - by others, but more importantly, by myself. Life is tough - that is something that will never change. And ED wants me to return to him, to be his victim again - that is something that will probably never change too.

But what CAN change is my response - I am determined to get stronger, to learn to love myself. Maybe it will not happen today - and it likely will not happen tomorrow. But I can teach myself, step at a time, to accept myself. To see how far I have come and to be pleased with what I see in the mirror, with what I hear when I speak, and with how I feel about ME.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

I crave sleep!

This has been frustrating me for a while now. I just can't seem to get a goo sleep. I'll fall asleep fine, but then I'll wake up three hours later and it becomes so hard to sleep again. I have terrible nightmares.

I'm annoyed because I wake up the next morning and feel so tired. I don't get proper, relaxing nights. Most of the time, my dreams are related to my struggles back when I was sick. Sometimes they are concerned with my family. Other times, I can't even remember what they are about.

It really makes me angry because then I feel so tired in the morning. I've come to dread my bed and nighttime because I have a feeling that I won't sleep well. And I need my sleep! Sleep is important for everyone - it's when our bodies relax and get to regulate our hormones, chemicals, etc. But for anyone recovering from an illness (ED, physical injury, surgery, etc) sleep is especially important because it is when the body has a chance to rest from all the recovery work that it does all day.

So you can understand why this bothers me. All day, I struggle to push myself to eat, ignore ED, do my homework, deal with people, stay calm, etc. That's hard work! So I feel awful when I realize that I've had a terrible sleep...it just adds to the tiredness!

I presently have no solution - but I'm trying everything I can. Relaxing before I sleep. Praying. No lights. Massages. Aroma therapy. Medicine. Deep breathing. Cold drinks. Warm covers. Teddy bears. I'm desperate for a solution!

It could be that ED is angry so he is trying to sneak up in my dreams. The trouble is that the dreams are really scary - and they feel real. I wish they'd just stop - when will I get over all the pain ED has caused? It will take time. I know that. I guess like everything else in recovery, this too shall pass. But I wish it would be easier.

But there's hope. I always have hope. Look how far I've come! I know it'll get better. One day, I won't have dreams or terrible memories how what ED did to me. I'll look back on this and see that I came out a stronger, brighter girl. Soon. Really soon. Because I've got a great family, a powerful God, a faithful heart, and a determined will.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

What is 'junk food'?

Take a look at this article http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-physicians-call-for-junk-food-tax-1.1006929.

Basically, some health-care providers in Canada believe that we need to start putting an extra 'tax' on 'junk food'. They think that this will discourage people from buying thes foods, so they think that it will stop or decrease obeisity. But I have some problems with this idea.

Obesity is a problem - I am not denying that. But is making a tax specially for 'junk foods' the way to treat obesity? First, what IS a junk food? The workers say that this includes 'desserts' like cakes, pies, cookies, chips, chocolate, candy, muffins, etc.

But is that JUNK? I don't think so. Sure, they are not your typical and natural fruits and vegetables. And yes, they might just contain more calories, sugar, or fat than other foods. But does that make them JUNK? Junk, defined by any dictionary, is simply another word for 'garbage' or 'trash'. So is that saying that these foods are trash?

I have a big problem with this. Desserts, sweets, pastries, etc are GOOD. They taste good. And research has shown that these sweet foods can actually increase the absorption of an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps your body make serotonin. Serotonin is a 'feel good' chemical in our bodies that regulates our mood. So in one way, eating desserts is food because it satisfies our cravings. In another way, it can actually inrease our serotinin levels.

Another problem with what these doctors want is that they have no proof that this will actually reduce obesity. So what if this extra tax makes desserts/sweets more expensive? People just might be willing to spend that extra money on them, considering how much enjoyment we get out of them. So, this idea might not actually reduce obesity - it will just take the money out of our pockets. If you want to eat a chocolate bar, you will pay for it - no matter how pricey it seems. Think of vending machines: their products are more expensive than what you would pay in a store, but if you want something NOW, will you not get it because of the price in the vending machine? Of course you will.

But my biggest problem with this is that it is fueling into the idea that some foods are bad. Think about people with ED: what is this telling them? That they should be restricting because desserts aer JUNK? Or even people without ED - what does this extra 'tax' on these foods tell people? That they are somehow being punished for buying these foods - so they should not because these foods are BAD? Is this not conflicting with the idea that all things are food in moderation, and that you can enjoy everything if you are living a balanced lifestyle? This can have so many bad impacts, especially on children who are confused by the messages around food. One minute we are saying to have everything in moderation and love your body, the next second we are making people pay more to eat desserts/chips, etc and telling them that this is JUNK?!

Maybe I am taking it too far. Maybe this really can help obesity. But I think that there are many other safer and more PRODUCTIVE ways of helping to stop obesity. Like excercising. Eating in moderation. Watching how much you eat. Being mindful of alocohol. The list goes on and on. These ways can be effective, and they encourage people to live healthy LIFESTYLES, not to stop eating one certain type of food because it is 'junk'.

Phew! I just realized I was so mad, I have been smacking my fingers on my keyboard as I was typing!