“I’ve noticed you haven’t blogged in a while. I hope everything is okay.” I have received that text message from so so many people in the past month…. thank you all for the concerns and love!! But here I am… I swear I am alive […]
because your panic attack is not just an overreaction, your depression is much more than just a phase, your anxiety is more than nerves, your PTSD is more than just a minor freak out, or your schizophrenia is much more than just imaginary voices…
Your mental health is IMPORTANT and should not be shamed.
Today is a day to celebrate and embrace speaking up, talking to someone and starting a path of recovery from your own battle of mental illness.
There’s never a day that goes by that I regret that coffee date I had with Cassie and Kevin, when I shared my own battle… ultimately leading to steps towards my recovery.
January has been a really good and healing month. Some parts sucked, don’t get me wrong, but I have been fighting this battle long and hard. I am at this point now, to be blunt, where I am so tired of the shitty downer this ED plays on my life.
This month I got to celebrate many little big deals:
- First dinner out. I get a lot of social anxiety about eating in front of people, so as if eating dinner at home isn’t hard enough, eating out for dinner was not even a thought in my mind over the past two years. But last week, I went out for a causal dinner with two friends. I was anxious beyond belief. And my mind was obsessing over the calories and lack of control I had over the food – but I did it. I drowned out the voices with the conversations and my efforts to focus on the taste of the food.
- More control. I’ve slowly been given more meals to eat on my own. At first it was with the accountability of friends around me but now I am at a place where I feel as though most days I can trust myself with at least one meal. Fear of the disorder controlling my actions are not as strong anymore, distorted thoughts are still there but actions seem to be “under control.” I can only pray it continues this way.
- Pasta. Yesterday afternoon my mom and I had lunch together. In conversation she asked me to have dinner at home again, and if I had any preferences for the meal. At first I was anxious, not wanting my answer to be disorder related; “pasta and sweet potato,” I stated. And in agreement we got to celebrate eating it together. This is a huge deal. Pasta specifically is one food that I went what feels like a lifetime without eating. Being one of my favourite foods pre disorder, it was something I could wait to dive into. I chose to eat it all on my own. All because I wanted to.
- Travelling. I’m travelling this coming spring, hopefully for several weeks. I’m not letting this disorder stop me from the freedom and the learning that the other countries have to offer. SO, this is likely my biggest motivator right now, the one thing that stands out the most when it comes to all the progress that I have made. Conversations with my parents and Ashley have been progressing, planning ways that I can follow my heart and travel, while having accountability to stay within a healthy weight.
Kev’s been gone for just over two weeks now… and at this rate, I don’t know how I can survive another 6 months. Missing him more than anything, but thanking the Lord for technology and the internet. (Also included some pics of his adventures).
Bringing it all back to the initial intent of this blog post, I am trying to share hope and encouragement in seeking help from the mental illness(es) you may face. I’ve been in a place where I thought I could handle it alone, but I only broke more and the longer I kept my ED in the dark the worse things got for me. Since sharing about it, I have no shame in the fact that it is a part of my life. I have accepted that there are really bad days in recovery but that is just the journey to getting your life back together. And honestly, I am beginning to see my life come back together piece by piece.
Greater is He that is in me.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.
Mail. I checked the mail this morning. I got a letter from a really unexpected person. Initially I thought it was a belated birthday card, “Oh that’s sweet,” I thought. But to my surprise, it was an encouragement from a very old friend of mine. Katie and I were inseparable from kindergarden through to grade 9. She was the first person I met in SK. I specifically remember her approaching me with a big smile of excitement asking me to play house with her, as I hid behind my moms leg in fear. With some encouragement and prompting from my mom, in minutes I was over at the dollhouse with her. From then on it was a beautiful story of two young girls that grew to be as close as sisters. Within the years of our friendship we played our fair share of pioneers, put on many plays to raise money and be watched an unholy amount of Pretty Little Liars. That was our thing actually, once we got into grade 9. As we went to different high schools we made an effort to make Tuesday evenings our nights, we would go to the store and buy so much food with hundreds and hundreds of calories, snuggle up in my bed and we would watch the new episode of PLL that week. That is so foreign to me now. I think back to those “fat Tuesday” days (as we would call them) and remember our joy and laughter as we ate all this food, without any hesitations. I can’t even remember consuming food without any sort of distorted thoughts. It has been years since I have even made it through one snack, meal or beverage without my mind reminding me of the fat content, sugar content or calorie content. Those thoughts grew deeper and deeper until they consumed my everyday actions. After grade 9, Katie and I both got jobs and had other commitments and we slowly lost contact. Still following one another of social media to this day, I suppose she has seen my blog posts and testimonial video, so she took time out to write to me. Within the letter, there were such kind words from such a kind soul. She is passionate about mental health awareness like me, and truly has a way with words. My heart is so full.
Bronwyn. My dear friend Bronwyn was been home from Nova Scotia for the Christmas break. Her and I have taken as many moments as we can to spend together before she leaves. I always feel comfortable going to her to talk with, she is one of the least judgemental people I have ever met. She has such a light in her and is such beautiful poet (everyone go check her out!). I spent the night with her yesterday, things didn’t go quite as planned if you would put it that way… but we ended up talking, laughing and catching up for hours and hours.
KOKev. My absolute best friend is leaving to Australia for 6 months in exactly 13 days. I am having a hard time accepting the distance but I am SO beyond excited for the opportunities and growth God will do in his life. YWAM will be a life changing few months. It will be unbelievably hard to say goodbye (I’m bringing a tissue box or two to the airport).
God, work in Kevin’s life, invite him closer and closer to you each and every day. I pray he is transformed and has an (ever stronger) burning desire to live for you when he returns. Keep him safe.
Food. I started another IG account (@healthyhappykathryn), following my food intake and my feelings specifically on that. I’ve come to realize the importance of keeping track of it. I have been following other recovery accounts, reading their posts about their meals and body image thoughts, and reading their progresses as you follow their account. The fact that others progresses is encouraging me to read I thought I would be even more effective to review my intake over the next few months. Here we go! This morning I was driving home from Guelph and had only had a minimal amount of food in my body, I was trying to get home to have a meal with my parents. But as I kept driving I started feeling more and more light headed. The voices in my head told me to keep going, and enjoy the initial addicting numbness taking over, something my disorder wrongfully reminds me of missing in the starvation periods. Instead I decided to pull over, quickly eat something small and drink some water. I started feeling better and then continued home. I LISTENED TO MY BODY WHEN IT WAS TELLING ME TO FEED MYSELF!!!!!!!!
Today my focus is on smiling, even when it’s the last thing I want to do. And to invite God to walk with me to celebrate every joyous gift this day holds.
Oh Holy Spirit
Burn like a fire
All consuming, consume me
Here in Your presence
Lord I surrender to Your glory
For Your glory
Why do I not believe in (or support) dieting????!!!!!????
According to Google, the EXACT definiton for ‘Dieting’ is, “restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.”
Firstly, absolutely NO food is bad and should never EVER be feared! (regardless of whether it has 5 calories or 2000 calories in it). It it not the food itself that is bad but the PROPORTIONS. For example, eating a medium fry from McDonalds is NOT going to make or break anything, but eating 10 large fries in one sitting (filled with thousands of calories) may not be the smartest of food choices.
One thing we need to understand is if someone is seriously overweight it is a result of years of food fat accumulation. One more thing to note, once one stops dieting and food consumption goes back to their “normal” way of eating, you will immediately start gaining the weight back again from prior to the dieting.
Let’s talk about our bodies need for food for a moment or two. Your body needs proteins to build muscles, bones and skin. Carbohydrates are needed to be broken down into glucose for your body to fuel off of to use for every day tasks. Fats are used to assist in absorbing nutrients, providing energy and aid in growth and development. In short, your body needs food – there is really no way around it.
Eating disorders are not contagious, they cannot just be picked up randomly and you for sure can’t just “try” to have one. Eating disorders are either a genetic illness or an environmental factor that wrongly clicks with a gene. Dieting is NOT the cause of an eating disorder (can’t stress that enough), but it can often be a precursor. Statistically, 35% of “normal dieters” progress to compulsive dieting and of that number 25% develop distorted eating. Dieting is often the case of the beginning steps of an eating disorder, maybe it was a way to hide the habits of the disorder, maybe the formation of the unhealthy relationship with food had gone unrecognized but regardless, it is noted as a common beginning sign. Dieting can be used as a form of escape, to have control over something (which control issues are a huge similarity is drives of people with eating disorders). Dieting can be a cover of the bigger issue at hand, emotional or mental issues left unaddressed.
There’s a big difference between eating healthy vs dieting – one I do support and the other I don’t. There should be no fear in eating a few pieces of cake every once in a while when most of the time you’re eating healthy… that piece of cake will not cause you to gain weight.
How sickening is it that 46% of 9-11 year olds are often or occasionally on diets. NINE TO ELEVEN YEAR OLDS! That is horrific. How much dieting has become a cultural norm genuinely makes my heart break. What are we teaching all these 9-11 year olds!?! And yet, our society is so addicted to the dieting industry, we are only supporting it more and more every day. In the 1980’s, the industry was a 10 billion dollar success. Now, in 2016, the dieting industry is a 64 billion dollar one. Excuse me while I’m sick to my stomach.
Once a diet fails to work people go out and search for another. This only supports more dieting companies, with the time, effort and money invested into it by every person seeking this industry out. One thing to note as well, the very small 5% of “successful dieters” are typically only successful because they actually changed their lifestyle and way of eating, not because they stuck to their dieting plan.
While on a diet, while you’re starving your body of food ( and much like an anorexic) your metabolism slows THE HECK DOWN. This means, your body is burning less calories at a slower rate, only to conserve the bare minimal amount of energy that you are providing. Also, scarily similar to someone who suffers from an eating disorder, when on a diet people are often consumed with thoughts of food, hyper sensitive to food smells, cravings and more. In fact 95% of people who have dieted gained the weight back plus more within two years from the time before they began the diet.
I have only come to a realization of how against dieting I am since discovery of this eating disorder, and I think that is purely because the two have a correlation to a sort of unhealthy relationship with food. Dieting is in a way giving permission to “restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.” It is an encouragement to unhealthy relationships with food, to fear certain types of foods and to keep things secrets. It shouldn’t be this way, it should be a lifestyle choice to eat properly.
Intuitive eating teaches people how to listen to their body’s hunger cues. It teaches healthy food relationships. There are no rules around food, no temptations to resist or foods to fear. Intuitive eating teaches to listen to the internal cues and how to teach yourself to focus on that and learn to balance it. Whereas dieting is a completely external way to regulate intake of food. This only disconnects us from listening to our bodies intuition with the cravings, fullness and hunger sensations). Regaining a healthy balance in listening to the intuition of your body is a process for sure, and when you have been practicing external ways to control your eating habits it can be a battle to get back into internal ways, to not overeat and to learn how to trust yourself to listen to what your body is telling you.
INDD (International No Diet Day), May 6th of every year. Mary Evans Young founded INDD, a day to express frustrations with standards set by our society that there is such a high pressure to be thin. It is a day to recognize that the societal norms of dieting and weight loss practicing can lead to more serious behaviours and actions like weight loss obsessions, weight loss surgeries, suicide and deadly eating disorders. This is a day to increase public awareness, celebrate beauty in all shapes and sizes, educate people in the severity dangers of the dieting industry and to honour the victims of eating disorders.
What is considered “normal eating”? Normal eating is the attitude that one holds in their relationship with food. It means that on some days food consumptions is less, while other days it is eating more. It means that treats are accepted and not on a high watch. Normal eating means that foods are not labelled as “good”, “bad”, “clean”, “fatty”, don’t place triggering and judgy words on foods friends! Normal eating means to over-eat at times and sometimes forgetfully/unintentionally undereat. It means that there is no emotional guilt or hesitation around food.
Normal eating is a life I want to live. Normal eating is a dream I want to achieve.
It is a gift from God to be able to eat and drink and experience the good that comes from every kind of hard work.
It’s been a while. I’ve been having trouble with motivation or desire to write recently. Things have been hard… yet steps towards a healthy recovered Kathryn does to 🙂 So life does its thing. TOP TEN RECENTS IN MY LIFE: Christmas shopping. I LOVE THE FESTIVENESS […]