Tuesday, 29 January 2013

'Why ME?!'

I have a bad habit of thinking that terrible things always happen to me. I KNOW that I am so blessed in many ways, but for some reason, when trouble comes about, I often become hopeless. And I complain that 'this always happens to me' or 'I am such a problematic person!'.

Well, to be truthful, my life has not exactly been the easiest. I was bullied most of my years in elementary school because of my weight. People were jealous of my marks and teased me frequently. Then, in high school, the eating disorder started. Last summer, I was hospitalized for anorexia. I nearly lost my life, and in the process, scared the life out of my family. The year before, I was involved in a terrible car accident that nearly took my life (which was not my fault, but the person who hit me was not caught - it was a 'hit and run').

So, as you can see, my life has had it's share of troubles. But at the same, I have to look at the other side of things - in all these times, God has helped me through it all. I have managed to get through the accident without any major injuries, I survived the challenge of ED, and I dismissed all the bullies in elementary school. If I got through all these major problems, I should feel strong, right? I should realize that problems are always solved - they just take time.

But sadly, this does not always happen. When a new problem comes up, I still complain. I complain that my life is full of troubles and challenges. I scream because I am so frustrated of life being so cruel to me. I become stressed because I am just sick of dealing with life's obstacles. And so, I forget about all the other times when I have had problems...and with time, these problems were resolved. Not because of me alone - but because of myself, God, and my family and loving friends.

Are you like this? Do you ever get so frustrated with troubles that you stop and think back to all the other times when life was crueil to you? It becomes frustrating, doesn't it? To think of all the times when life just did not go your way. And soon enough, we start saying 'why is life so hard? Why do these things always happen to me? People have it so much easier than me...'

And it might be true. Perhaps you ARE going through something harder than others. Maybe you DO go through many obstacles. But what I have learned is (yes, a cliche): what does not break yoy, makes you stronger. My dad always says, 'the stick that does not hurt you makes you stronger' and 'tough times never last'.

I used to HATE when he said these things. I would respond, 'MY TOUGH TIMES ALWAYS LAST!' or 'I DO NOT FEEL STRONGER!'. But now, as I grow and mature, I realize how blessed I am. I see that God always gets me through my challemges. I see that with the help of loving and supportive people, I can overcome any challenges that I face. Yes, my life may not be the easiest. Who's life is always happy and problem-free? But I am trying to get myself used to the fact that no matter how hard things may be, they get better. It may take longer than I want it to, but it DOES reolve itself.

Throughout my life, I have experienced SO many problems and challenges. Sometimes, it felt that things would NEVER get better. But they did. With faith, hope, support, strength, and perseverance, I was able to overcome these obstacles. Now it is just a matter of remembering this each time I face a new problem. I am strong and able to get over these challenges.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Resolutions at NEDIC!

I am blessed to say that NEDIC has published yet another one of my pieces. Please take a look at it - I find it to be very approrpriate for the time we are in.

I hope all is well with all of you! I read all of the comments and am so blessed to have all of you! God bless you all.

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

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

'Gendered ED'?

Most people, when thinking or hearing about ED, think of a thin, pale-looking girl who starves herself.

But research is showing that more and more males are presenting with ED. This caught my attention for so many reasons.
http://www.cmaj.ca/site/earlyreleases/14jan13_gender-perceptions-on-eating-disorders-slow-to-change.xhtml

First, it shows that ED is on the rise. EDs are common all over the world - not just in places like Canada, USA, or Europe. They are present in Africa, Australia, etc. So, it is not an illness of the 'westernized' areas. It happens to anyone, of any culture. This is a problem that we need to address - if ED is becoming more prevalent, we need to find ways to educate people about ED 'prevention' or what to watch out for. We need to educate people about what to do if you suspect someone has an eating disorder, the types of treatment available, and the urgency that must be given to this problem.

Second - and what is really the issue - is that ED happens in boys, too. We do not really think of this, but it is sadly the truth. We may not think that boys are affected because we do not often think of males trying to lose weight to please others or what not. But, males are the target of body image commericials as well. They are constantly showed as having big muscles, no fat, and being built. This clearly affects males of all ages because they feel that they need to live up to this ideal.

And males are also shown as not showing any of their feelings. Males, in today's society, are not encouarged to share what they are going through. So, a boy who does not call himself 'fat' in front of his friends is not doing anything weird - he is being a 'guy'. But inside, this guy might hate his body. He may be starving himself to become thin. He may wish that he was like all the other guys with muscles. This may very well be ED in progress.

What is more, we often stereotype that ED targets females ONLY. While it is more COMMON in females, it does not mean that it cannot affect males. And studies are showing us that this is actually the case - 1 in 3 cases of EDs will now be in males. This is scary. It means that males are shwoing more signs and symptoms of ED. And the problem is, they are not finding the help and support they need to overcome this. People may not label a male as having ED because they think he is just 'being a guy' or because ED is a 'girl thing'. This poor man or boy might struggle with ED for so long before anyone finds out. Or it might be too late.

We need to start looking at ED as an illness. That is all. It is an disease, like any other, that affects ALL people - male and female. As a result, we need to get past the fact that males cannot present with ED. It is this idea that stops males from getting the help they need. We need to realize that these ideas can prohibit males from getting the help they need and recovering.

And to those males who have ED, we need to stop the stigma. A male who has ED is no less of a 'man' because he has ED. He is a victim, like everyone else. so he deserves to be treated with care, to get help, and to defeat ED.

It is time that we break down the stigma against people with ED. Whether male or female, ED is a life-threatening illness. It needs to be addressed, and the patient needs to get help. I hope as time goes on, we will all start to realize that society influences our ideas about many things, ED being one of them. 'Men don't get ED' is a false, false statement. They may get it LESS often than females, but the rates are climbing. This is a cause of concern. I pray that we can get our acts together and start helping ALL victims with ED. Because no matter who has ED, it is an illness.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Life is a Gift

Life is a gift. I know we hear that all the time, but the more I think about it, the more I realize how true it is.

Part of my work as a nurse means that I get to see moms before or after they have their babies. I also get to hear some the fetus' heartbeats. The first time I heard the baby's heart inside the mom, I was amazed!

The problem is that life is also hectic. We are constantly faced with problems and challenges that make us stressed. And so, life passes by so quickly and we hardly have time to enjoy it all!

I'm the type of person who is always doing something or the other. If I'm not studying, I'm writing on my blog, reading, preparing for church service, helping around the house, etc. Each day is so busy and full of events. By nighttime, I'm exhausted! It seems as though they aren't enough hours in the day to do everything. Have you ever felt like this?

The challenge is trying to find a balance between the rush of life and taking the time to appreciate what you have. In fact, often it is the little things that help us realize how great life is. Like hearing a baby's heart. Or watching the news and realizing how lucky we are. Or experiencing a difficult event and then getting it through it. Sometimes we need to slow down.

I have trouble 'slowing down' because life is always too fast! I guess I need to find out what I can do to accomplish this. Something I'm trying to work on this year is to not stress over everything - and that's really hard for me. My perfectionism kicks in and demands that I work super hard, get good marks, achieve all my goals, etc. Don't get me wrong - it's a good thing.  But sometimes, too much of a good thing is not so great.

My goal for this week is to take a few minutes each day to reflect and identify one reason why I am thankful for my life. Sounds easy, but I really struggle with this. I often question God on why He put me here - and why He saved my life. There MUST be a reason. And everyday, I will take the time to think of one reason. Maybe it's to make a patient smile. Maybe it's to help others with my blog. Or maybe it's to keep my family company. Whatever it is, I know that life is precious. So I'm going to find out why.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Back to routine...

There's something I hate about getting back from the holidays. It's the fact that I know that now the real work begins - no more relaxing or doing nothing.

Now that the break is over, school begins. The work starts accumulating. The tests and assignments are listed. The stress comes along. The sleepless nights ensue. The rushing and lack of time is upon us. It's crazy!

The fact is, school is fun. I enjoy it, but it's when it gets stressful that I hate it. It makes me feel trapped and worried. I get caught up in all my work, so I feel stressed. I wish there was a balance between all this.

Part of me accepts that this is my job. I have to study and work to get my degree. But the other part of me feels that the break went by too quickly. And I don't quite feel ready to get into 'work' mode again! Sometimes, I feel hopeless. Like today.

I had a long day today. I had to wake up super early to get to my clinical placement, and I spent the whole day there. It was a tiresome experience. I enjoyed it, and I got really excited to see all the awesome things that the hospital had to offer....but I was nevertheless tired. And this made me miserable. I came home, broke down, and cried. I felt hopeless. I felt tired, frustrated, and sad. I don't know what happened - I just burst. Thankfully, my mom and sister calmed me down (thanks guys! I love you!).

This got me thinking: what on earth happened to make me feel this way? Sure, I had a hard day. But I have been through worse experiences...so why did this make me feel so angry and sad? I think it was just the stres starting to acculumate. I felt as though this year would be so ovcrwhelming. The workload (from my schedule) just looked too much. I doubted my ability to do it. And as I am writing this, I still do not feel great. I am worried about the stress that I will go through. I am scared that I will not be able to do it all. I am already dreading the stress and frustration that will occur.

It'll take time to get used to it. This is my job. It's what I do, and I love it. Maybe I just need to find a way to make it less stressful - perhaps not to freak out over every assignment or test. But this too will take time to get used to. Practice makes perfect! And maybe I am thinking too far ahead. Perhaps I need to take it a bit slower, one day at a time. But I am not the type of person who is good at this particular task. Sometimes I can cope, others I cannot. And today, I feel 'down'. I am probably just ovwerhelmed. I need to find ways to bring my mood up, to de-stress.

I'll likely end up getting through this. I will just sit with my family, read a good book, play on my phone, and watch a good movie. That will help....I hope.

So...does anyone have any 'stress relieving tips'? Please share!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Pampering me...?

When I was in grade eight, I discovered make-up. I was so amused by the fact that girls could use this stuff to make themselves look 'pretty'. It amazed me. I wanted to learn how to use it, and I wanted to use it everyday. So I did.

For me, putting on make-up as a teen was for 'fun'. It was not because I wanted to look good for anyone - I simply wanted to do what others did, and it seemed wonderful that I could actually be creative with it!

As ED moved in, however, this joy of applying make-up disappeared. I did not want to look good. I did not care how I looked. I hardly wanted to wake up and do anything, let alone take time to put on make-up. So I didn't. I hardly cared what I looked like: what clothes I wore, what I put on my face, what I did with my hair, etc.

Why even BOTHER to look good? No one even recgonizes you. You are fat and ugly. There is no point in even trying to make yourself appear 'pretty'. Make-up? Why?! You look terrible! Buy new clothes? For what - you will still look ugly and fat.

Recovering from ED has been a challenge. But I think one thing that is still difficult for me is that I feel as though perhaps I SHOULD use my make-up, like all the other girls my age. I should care about how I look. Not for anyone else - but simply for myself. I deserve to look pretty. I have all the means to do so. So why shouldn't I?

I think it is partially because I am lazy. I do not want to use extra time in my day to put on make-up, take it off at night, etc. It is simply too much work. But the other part of me really wants to use all this 'girly' stuff' because - well, I AM a girl. I deserve to pamper myself.

It will take some time to get used to. I have actually put on sticky notes in my room, reminding me that I deserve to use make-up and look good. It is not because I want to stand out to others. It is more because I want to start caring more about myself. I want to feel like a girly girl again - ask anyone about my years as a teen, and they will tell you that I was the most 'girly girl' you would ever know!

It is really hard. I do not necessarily like doing it, but I know that this is ED. He is trying to make me ignore myself again, to make me feel as though I do not deserve anything good. So my way of fighting him is to do just the opposite. It takes time to get used to doing this. But I can now recognize that it is something I need to do.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year!

The time is coming near - when everyone makes their resolutions for the new year. By far, the most common one I've heard of is weight loss. People promise themselves to eat less, exercise more, etc. This is especially common because its after the holiday season - the time when people 'over-eat'.
 
There's so many issues with this. First, lets start with the resolution idea: why should you decide to be healthy for only one part if the year? Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong decision, not one you make temporarily. Second, the idea that you need to lose weight after Christmas is silly - even if you do eat a little more during the celebrations and parties, you'll return to your normal eating habits afterwards, so your body will adjust itself. There's no need to try to change your body when it already knows what to do!
 
I think the problem is that we all hear people saying that this is their resolution, so we somehow become convinced that we need to do the same. We hear commercials advertising for free gym memberships, discounted weight-loss programs - and so we think that we need to get on board with everyone else.
 
But reality is, living a healthy lifestyle needs to be top priority, regardless of what time if the year it is. We need to see that we deserve to eat healthy and exercise all the time - it's a LIFESTYLE. We need to stop thinking that the after the Hidatsa is a time when we need to lose weight. This only makes the holidays seem like a temporary fun time, before the 'real work' of losing weight begins. But this isn't true! We need to learn to love our bodies at all times, to nurture them, and to keep them healthy.
 
How about making a resolution to have a break every once in a while, to go out and
 have a massage, watch a movie, spend time with friends and family, etc? Or make a resolution to start each day with positivity, to make others smile, or to laugh. These are the true joys in life. These are the things that really matter.
 
So as the time for making resolutions nears, I'm choosing to dedicate time in every day to smile because I'm blessed. I will find one thing I love about my life and be thankful for that. That's my resolution. What's yours?