Eating disorders are MORE than just a NUMBER.

mental health, Uncategorized

*There may be some sensitive content for some viewers. Information/details on eating disorders.*

I dealt with an eating disorder for 10 years. Most of the time I had disordered eating patterns, but all of the time I had body image issues. I know people who haven’t experienced an eating disorder or recovery may think that it all just revolves around the number. The more weight you lose the worse your disorder actually is. In fact, this is why I didn’t think I had an eating disorder until my 10th year of dealing with it. I’m glad there is more talk on mental health so I would like to just touch up on some things that may come along with an eating disorder.

  • It is a mental health issue: This isn’t just a physical problem. There is a chemical imbalance in ones brain which causes them to think and feel different. Of course this then can lead to physical problems. Some of which include an unhealthy weight, poor dental hygiene, bone issues, heart issues, and etc.
    • Body dysmorphia is part of an eating disorder: The way one thinks about themselves is very important to identifying an eating disorder. I personally pictured myself very different in my head compared to how I really looked in person. It can also be an obsession with physical experience that can take up most of a persons time.
    • There are many different types of an eating disorder: Speaking from my own experience, I had binge eating disorder. What this meant is that I would spend days not eating full meals and then decided to eating everything in site in one day. Along with this I had obsessive thoughts about my appearance.
    • You don’t have to be at a certain weight to have an eating disorder: Everybody’s body is different. This means everyone will have a healthy body weight that may not be the same as the person next to them. My weight fluctuated a lot, but I was never really thin or really overweight. I looked healthy so I thought I was. This is what I meant by it being a mental illness. Just because someone doesn’t look sick doesn’t mean they aren’t.

    I hope this gives a little insight on eating disorders. Please feel free to share your own thoughts or anything I might’ve left out in the comments below. If you or anyone you know might be suffering with an eating disorder, check out the website below for some more information:

    National Eating Disorders Association

    Thank you for reading,

    Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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    Here are 5 Affirmations to help you get through the day…

    mental health

    5

     

    If you’ve seen previous blog posts of mine, you know I’ve had my fair share of mental and physical illnesses. One thing that helps me are affirmations to remind me to accept myself and encourage me to keep fighting. If you don’t know what an affirmation is, it is a saying that offers emotional support. I used to use affirmations as my phone wallpaper so I could see it anytime I grabbed my phone. Another way to support yourself with affirmations is to tape them on your mirror or wall, so you will see them often. If you need some positive affirmations to lift you up; I have provided 5 that I personally find useful.

     

    I let go of all the lies I tell myself.Be patient with yourselfI am enough.I am doing the best that I can and that is enough.I forgive myself.

     

    If you have any affirmations you’d like to share, please comment them below!

     

     

    Thanks for reading,

    Suzy

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    Things I say to help me get through the day.

    mental health, Uncategorized

    Wow life is catching up and it’s been hard getting these blog posts up. Hopefully once a week isn’t too bad for now. I’ll have a lot of traveling pictures up here pretty soon since I’m moving THIS WEEK! Anyways, I wanted to share some things that help me get through the rough moments of life that I’ve learned these past couple of years. Hope this helps you out if you need a little extra boost.

    “Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.”

    This is something my dietician told me in treatment for my eating disorder. It may seem like common sense to most, but for someone with a bad relationship with food it can make the world of difference.

    “I let go of all the lies I tell myself.”

    I like this saying so much that I got it tattooed on me. It’s nice reminder when I’m busy looking at myself in the mirror trying to find as many “imperfections” as I can.

    “This is just temporary.”

    I think one of the hardest parts of the 20s is that we like to compare ourselves to everyone else. We think where we are now in life is forever, but it isn’t. If you need to work those 3 jobs to make your way to a career you will one day have, do it!

    “A picture can lie.”

    Sticking with the comparison issue that seems to be rising, we are all aware of the impact of social media. A picture is just a highlight of someone’s day, it isn’t their everyday.

    I hope this gives you a little mid week boost. Best of luck with your day or night. I’ll be doing my best to update regularly on here as I’m in the midst of moving. Follow if you’d like to keep up with the move!

    Thanks for stopping by,

    Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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    This is what therapy is like: What to watch out for!

    lifestyle, mental health

    Therapy comes in different shapes and sizes. This is why it’s important to “shop around” and not lose hope. I’ve heard good experiences of therapy and bad experiences. I myself have had a bit of both. Here are a few questions I think someone who hasn’t tried therapy (or who has) would like answered.

    [I am no expert and have no background in psychology. These are my opinions from a patients point of view.]

    How do you find a therapist? 

    If you are planning to go through insurance, most insurance plans have a search engine for professionals on there websites. I just searched online for my first therapist and got super lucky. Reviews will tell you a lot also…do your research!

    How do you CHOOSE a therapist?

    If able, the best time to make a decision on a therpist is when you have seen more than a one. You don’t want to settle for the first therapist you see unless you get a great vibe off of them and feel comfortable. I went back to my first therapist after I had seen a couple of other ones due to insurance. I knew she was my pick because I felt totally comfortable sharing things with her and I could tell she wasn’t after my money. If you’ve seen a couple then you can ultimately tell who would work best for you. I’ve been with casual/cool, more reserved, and bored therapists. Yes, bored…this brings me to the next question.

    When is a therapist NOT a good fit?

    If your therapist is constantly yawning during your session, please find a new one. If it’s one or two fine, but multiple and during every session is NOT a good sign.  You don’t want to seem like a chore for your therapist. They should be engaged and present during the conversations you share.

    Is therapy expensive?

    If you find someone who is in network with your provider than insurance should cover some if not all of your visit. If a therapist is out of network, you may still have a chance to get reimbursed per visit. My therapist isn’t covered with my insurance, but I decided to pay regardless because I think she is great and I wouldn’t want to see someone else. Also, most therapists provide a sliding scale. This means if money is tight, they may be willing to charge you less hourly than normal. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

    I hope this is helpful to anyone who is seeking therapy or is in an uncertain situation with a therapist. I personally LOVE therapy and don’t view it as a chore. Being able to talk to someone who doesn’t judge and isn’t around you all the time makes me feel really confident with everything I say. To let it all out in a safe environment has many perks. Don’t be afraid to give it a try if you are hesitant.

    Happy Weekend,

    Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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    Life After An Eating Disorder.

    mental health, Uncategorized

    *Sensitive post about eating disorders*

    Of course by “life after an eating disorder,” I mean working everyday to not act on my thoughts. I was thinking the other day how my eating disorder recovery isn’t perfect. There are times where I realize I’m not utilizing everything I learned in treatment. The coping skills can be used more and I’m not going to lie, I’ve skipped a meal here and there. The truth is when I say “skipped” I honestly mean just didn’t have time to eat or simply forgot. This brings me to the next conclusion I came to. When I was thinking about recovery I found out that I don’t purposely act on behaviors like I used to. Like before if I skipped a meal it was because the voice in my head told me to. This is when I realized the moment I knew I was slowly healing was when my eating disorder stopped taking over my life. I no longer let ED thoughts take over my mind and control my every move. I find happiness in other things now besides through the way I look. I believe in life after an eating disorder. I believe that one can fully recover. Am I fully recovered? No, and I think it will be a while until I am. However, now I’m willing to put in the work to get there.

     

    Love yourself first,

    Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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    An Invisible Illness.

    health, lifestyle, Uncategorized

    Dysautonomia: An umbrella term used to describe several different medical conditions that cause a malfunction of the Autonomic Nervous System.

    Almost two years ago I noticed a big change in my health. The smallest everyday things became the hardest. Going up the stairs in my house was exhausting and standing up made everything around me go blank. There were a lot of times I thought I was going to faint. Along with that came many more strange symptoms. My hands were feeling nub and felt like pins and needles. A few months later my heart was racing so fast to the point that I was feeling nauseous. I made two trip to the ER in a couple of weeks and they put an IV in me in. Not knowing what was wrong I went to a cardiologist who had me wear a heart monitor. He noticed my heart was racing throughout the whole day and put me on medication for it to slow down. Although nobody could tell me what was wrong I knew something wasn’t right. I went to several different doctors this past year to try to get to the bottom of it. My blood work kept coming back normal which made it even harder to get a diagnosis. All i did was look up my symptoms online to see if I can try to get to the bottom of it since nothing was helping. It was a little scary to think of all the thing it might be.

    A few months ago I went to a rheumatologist who then referred me to a neurologist. At last there was a name to go with all the symptoms had been feeling…. dysautonomia. I had never heard of this and it never came up during my internet searches. I have the form of dysautonomia called POTS. This means I have a fast heart rate and my blood pressure drops when I stand up. So pretty much I have a lot of adrenaline in me and my body is just trying to catch up. See, the autonomic nervous system controls all the things your body does naturally. Like adjusting to temperature change, your heart pumping faster when you’re exercising, and so on. You know, the things you don’t have to think about. My body however, no longer knows how to control all of that. As much as I hate that I have this, finally having a name for all of this has given me a sense of relief.

    Trying to figure all of this out was really stressful. I saw so many doctors and nobody knew what was going on. This doesn’t mean they were bad, but they just couldn’t put it all together. Plus, insurance is a whole other story. Trying to get approval to have some tests done can be a nightmare. I’m just glad that I relied on my gut feeling to keep me searching for the answer to this. I guess the reason I’m writing this blog post isn’t to just inform people on dysautonomia, but it is to let me know that following your instinct as oppose to listening to other doesn’t make your symptoms less valid. You know your body better than anyone else. There are going to be people telling you it’s all in your head, but don’t listen and keep moving forward.

    To anyone who has an “invisible illness” or any sort of illness… You are already so strong for putting up with it, and your story is VALID.

    Wishing you a GREAT week,
    Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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    Reality of Eating Disorders.

    mental health, Uncategorized

    In case you haven’t heard, this week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Having dealt with an eating disorder for 10 years I really would like to write about this topic. Lately, eating disorders are being talked about a lot more which is great, but there are still some things people might not understand. I don’t resent people who don’t get what having one is like and might say things they don’t know much about. It is easy to get upset, but I guess you don’t really know what it’s like until you have one or maybe know someone who has one. This doesn’t mean saying hurtful things is ok. I myself have gotten into arguments with people who are rude and arrogant about the situation. This brings me to some of the parts of an ED I would like to discuss.

    • An ED is a lonely disease. Nobody who has an eating disorder is asking for attention by having one. In fact, most of the time they don’t want attention. I don’t want someone to tell me I look good or bad or need to take care of myself. The only acceptance we are trying to gain most of the time is our own.
    • Just because someone doesn’t look sick doesn’t mean they aren’t. This one I really can relate to. I went a whole 10 years with an ED and it was only within my 9th year did I think I had a problem. I was always healthy looking minus a few months when I was a gymnast and dieting. I knew I had a strange relationship with food, but never did I think I had an actual ED. Simply because I thought I had to be relatively thin and unhealthy. However, my blood work was always great and my body looked healthy. Point being… just because someone might look a certain way on the outside, it doesn’t mean everything is fine on the inside.
    • An ED takes time. Forcing one to get better usually doesn’t work. Someone with an ED will benefit from treatment when they WANT to get better. Also, just because someone goes into treatment doesn’t mean they are instantly better. Even after treatment, there is still work to be done.

    If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, NEDA has a few resources to help you out:

    https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support

    Don’t give up on healing,

    Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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    The Truth About Treatment.

    lifestyle, mental health, Uncategorized

    In a couple of weeks it is going to be eating disorder awareness week. There are a couple of stories I want to share about my experience with an ED and this seems like a good time. A big component of an eating disorder is not only being diagnosed with one, but being treated for one. I guess some would think someone with an ED will sit here and tell you how terrible treatment is and nobody understands, but now being in recovery, I couldn’t be more grateful for an amazing experience.

    After 10 years with an ED it got to the point where my life was being controlled by it. My mood was all over the place and it was very clear I needed help. My therapist confronted me about the ED and told me to put myself in treatment. Due to certain circumstances, it was up to me to look after myself. I knew I couldn’t continue living this lifestyle and admitted into treatment a short month later. I started off in outpatient treatment. This meant I spent 4 hours a day there. If I had it my way I would’ve liked to have been there longer. There were bills I had to pay so I wasn’t able to take time off work. You see, my father didn’t know I was in treatment so I wasn’t able to just ask him for money and leave my job. After a couple of weeks I hadn’t seen much improvement. Actually, the first two weeks were quite stressful for me and I spent most of my days having ED behaviors once I got home. I was told that I would need to be put into PHP (partial hospitalization program) in order to progress in my recovery. I knew this was what I needed, but I also knew taking time off work would back me into a corner. Let’s just say insurance has a funny way of working and one night I got a call that I would need to start PHP the following morning or I had a chance of not getting this opportunity back in the future. My insurance company was giving me this one chance.

    Although this time was difficult I was lucky enough to have a work environment that was really supportive and allowed me to get the next day off and start treatment. PHP meant I would have to be there from 11-6 and eat multiple meals. My first day was stressful to say the least as it was just sprung on me. I pre-planned my finances because I knew this next month and a half was going to be focused on mainly my recovery. By the time the days were over at treatment it felt like I had worked a full day shift. Treatment is a lot of work and this means that some days you will be using a lot of energy. Going into PHP was the best decision I made for my recovery. All day I was surrounded by people who understood what I was going through. There was no judgment. It was nice to be in an environment I knew people in my daily life would not get. Honestly, it just felt good to be separated by reality in some ways.

    My final two weeks in treatment were a bit all over the place emotionally. I was scared to leave when I found out that day was approaching. I didn’t want to go back to typical life stresses. I certainly was scared to spend more time around people without an eating disorder. Then something strange happened. A week prior to my discharge I realized how much things had changed. The conversations we had in treatment were getting more difficult because I healed in some aspects of it that I no longer could relate to. I wanted to get better and slowly I did. The time I realized I was healing was when I told myself “I want to leave.” That was unexpected, but I knew it was time. My final day was calming and almost felt like the last day of school. I was in high spirits and thankful. Although everyone in treatment has a final day, that doesn’t necessarily mean recovery is over.

    Maybe recovery is for the rest of our lives. Maybe there will be a time where the ED is no longer present. Regardless of the outcome, I do not regret one bit for taking the time I needed for this illness. There is no day in recovery I would take away if it meant feeling the way I did when my ED was active. If there is one thing I learned in treatment…. You need to WANT this for yourself. If you don’t want it maybe it isn’t your time. I do believe that everyone’s time WILL come though. Never give up hope. It took me 10 years to find it.

    Thank you for stopping by,

    -Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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    What Those With Mental Illnesses Want You to Know.

    health, Uncategorized

    It’s crazy to even have to say this. In a world where some mental and physical illnesses are being ignored, it is so important to get the word out there about serious conditions. It just doesn’t seem fair to stay quiet because of what other people will think or because a subject is taboo. The only way to start accepting things and taking them seriously is by talking about them. By listening and showing compassion. No stranger to mental disorders, I’ve decided to write this post. I’m not ONLY writing this for others struggling, but for people who know someone with an illness and aren’t sure how to react. Here are a few things we’d like you to know.

    1. I don’t want you to relate, I want you to listen.

    2. I’m not expecting sympathy, I’m just tired of being looked at like I’m making it up.

    3. It’s not all in my head. It feels like I’ve lost control of everything.

    4. What I have is a health condition. There is a lot of science that backs it up. I cannot help the chemical imbalances in my brain.

    5. I DO NOT WANT THIS FOR MYSELF. Please, don’t tell me I’m making it up because I WANT something to be wrong with me

    I guess everyone deals with mental disorders a bit different. It’s really hard to express yourself when nobody believes you. We understand that you don’t really know how someone feels unless you are in their shoes. This doesn’t mean you can’t just listen and accept the situation for what it is. It was hard for me to accept this at first too, but when I realized there’s nothing I can do to go back and change it… that’s when I knew it was real. Despite the frustration and confusion, I do not and will not ever wish a mental disorder on even my worst enemy.

    Thank you for reading,

    Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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    What a LIE!

    lifestyle

    brunch

    Alright everyone if there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I cannot bite my tongue. I personally think there are times to lie, but if someone crosses me there’s also a time to let it all out! Growing up we are told some things matter and some things don’t. We are expected to act a certain way and made to believe our world is going to end if one thing doesn’t go our way. Well, here I am to call out all the bullshit we are told when we were younger.

    Parties: If you party hard or not chances are you won’t even remember most of it. There will be plenty of parties when you’re older so if you think you’re missing out, there’s nothing to miss.

    Boyfriends/Girlfriends: Raise your hand if you keep in touch with two or more people you went to high school with? Yeah I didn’t there would be many. The people you’re trying to impress by being in a relationship aren’t going to be even a tiny part of your life a couple years down the line. Also, if you’re super against being in a relationship, be against one because you really are and not because you’re trying to avoid your feelings.

    Career Choices: YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IN HIGH SCHOOL. You probably won’t even know half way through college or maybe even after college. There are going to be so many times where you question your decisions, interests, hair color, makeup, clothes…. hopefully you catch my drift here. The pressure people give you to figure it all out is absolute BULLSHIT. Take as much time or as little time as YOU need.

    Education: I’m going to do a whole separate post on all the crap we are told in school, but for now here’s this. Getting a great GPA or taking the most honors classes doesn’t give or take a degree. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “C’s get degree”. Simply because that is the truth. Your health isn’t worth the extra credit points. Your self esteem isn’t worth the A. Hey if you want to get those straight A’s, go for it! I’m just trying to say that it doesn’t change who you are at the end of the day.

    Be kind and be yourself!

    -Suzy [fragile, yet fearless]

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