Recovery is a BIG word with a lot of meaning. Recovery for one person might not mean what recovery represents for me—and I think there’s beauty in that. We are all different. We’ve all walked down different paths, weathered different storms and have our own unique goals and dreams. For me, recovery is a new chapter in my book.
I've learned a lot about eating disorder recovery in the last few years. One of the most important lesson that I've learned is that recovery is not linear. There is no "right" way to recover and certainly no "how-to" guide.
Eating disorders are complex, misunderstood and subject to a lot of “did he/she really just say that?!” types of statements. Trying to dodge these annoying comments can sometimes feel like trying to dodge rain drops without an umbrella.
In gyms across America, the biggest barometer for success are marked by external physical indicators– fat burned, pounds lost and waist sizes dropped – without adequate regard to mental health or internal physical benefits.
If someone battling with or those having survived from cancer are heroes (which they are) – why shouldn’t those battling, or those having recovered from a mental illness be considered heroes too?
In the service of supporting all those who are doing their best to love themselves unconditionally, I offer the wise words of Rosie Molinary, author of The Body Warrior Pledge (taken from her book Beautiful You, Seal Press Berkley CA, 2010)
While Martin Luther King Junior was a brave and profoundly brilliant advocate in the African American civil rights movement, I think it is important today, and everyday, to reflect on his teachings in a way that resonates with each of us individually. Being that this is a mental health blog, I thought it useful to relate MLK's preachings of tolerance and support for the whole person to those who have been touched by a mental illness.
What does it mean to be “guilt-free”? To not feel that nagging sense that you’ve done something wrong, let someone down, or hurt someone? When you run an Internet image search of the term “guilt-free,” surprisingly, there are no images of people free from guilt because they are in content relationships being loyal to their partners.
What has kept me from sharing my road to recovery from everyone I meet? Part of it is the fear of being stigmatized for recovering from an Eating Disorder (E.D.) Ignorance can be bliss at times. I remember it like yesterday. The feeling of being crazy and hopeless, barely escapes me.
I took that leap. The leap of faith that got me through the day. I knew I was not alone, I couldn't be. I knew that this could not be an internal struggle inside myself anymore. Despite, all the thoughts I thought inside my head, I believed I was not alone. I hoped that sharing my story would help me and others too.
As I reflect on my life at the age of thirty-five years old, I wonder how I have learned to love myself along the way. I ask myself, "how can one love themselves' when there is so much more to love in others?" Well, I've learned along the way, through the guidance of my parents, that it is important to love yourself first. It can be a hard concept to grasp for a selfless person, but as I walk in my own shadow, I trust and love myself for all of me.
There is often a misconception that eating disorders are primarily a “young, white woman of privilege” problem and that other races, ethnicities, and cultures do not struggle with the disorder. This can often make it difficult for individuals to enter eating disorder treatment if they do not fit this image. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website, the prevalence of eating disorders in other cultures is unknown as there is limited research into the area of eating disorders and other races/ethnicities/cultures. However, reports of eating disorders in other cultures are on the rise.
Every year around this time memories flood in of back to school and specifically for me back to dance. Dance was (and still is) an integral part of my life and unfortunately so were eating disorders.
When I read the headline, “Magazine puts a Plus Size Model on the Cover and Twitter Freaks out”, my first reaction was one of frustration. Why, I thought, is the world so irritated by larger bodies? What is it about plus size models that people react so strongly to? Why can’t plus size models be shown running on the cover of a runner’s magazine? Would a plus size male model have caused Twitter to “freak out”?
The often portrayed media image of eating disorders as something that effects only young, white, middle- and upper-class women continues to render many with eating disorders invisible. One such population is people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ).
I know for years you've all known I've had an eating disorder. Even if you didn't understand it or know what an eating disorder was, you knew something was wrong. Confronting someone that has a problem is hard, let alone confronting your best friends, so I understand why you never wanted to bring it up. It's a sensitive subject, I get it.
Being on the road to recovery is a path I never thought I'd be on. After ten years of repeating the same habits daily, how in the world was I supposed to change? I was constantly asking myself, "do I even want to change? Can I do this on my own?" I certainly could not.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is important to educate our friends, families as well as our communities around this serious subject. Mental health seems to be more visible in the media in recent months stemming from tragedies of celebrities and students across the country. Deaths like that of comedian and actor Robin Williams sparked the conversation of people everywhere to start talking about mental illness, it’s impact on individuals with mental health problems and the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Here are some statistics that show the prevalence of mental health issues.
Walden Behavioral Care would like to acknowledge the passing of our colleague and friend Lynn Grefe, President and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). Lynn was a visionary in the eating disorder field whose passion, dedication and commitment to individuals and families who struggle with eating disorders was always evident and her top priority. She will be missed.
It took all of my inner strength and courage to come out and admit that...I have an eating disorder. When I say it, my voice lowers, almost to a whisper because it's embarrassing and it's not something I want to share or talk about. When I finally came to understand and realize what was going on I used to say to myself, "It's just a problem I have and I'll have to deal with it for the rest of my life."
Upwards of twenty million women and ten million men suffer from a clinically – significant eating disorder in the United States at some point in their lives, according to the National Eating Disorder Association.
March is National Nutrition Month and to commemorate this event we asked one of our dietitians to answer a few questions regarding her chosen profession and the work she does at Walden.
Each year, Walden Behavioral Care commemorates National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (NEDAW) in order to highlight the seriousness of these devastating illnesses. NEDAW’s goal is “to improve public understanding [of eating disorders]…by increasing awareness and access to resources.”
Throughout history the “ideal” female body has changed quite a bit. While women during the Italian Renaissance (1400-1700) were considered beautiful if they had large breasts, rounded stomachs and full hips, hundreds of years later, flappers in the 1920’s were idealized if they had flat chests, slim waists and boyish figures. Today, society considers the ideal woman to have a flat stomach, be “healthy” skinny, have large breasts and butt and a thigh gap.
There isn’t another job I would rather have. Ever. I wake up every morning feeling blessed to come to a job that I love and do something every day that feels meaningful. Working with patients with eating disorders is something that I consider a privilege.
I love myself, who I am, and what I have to offer myself and others. Did I always believe that? Nope! Can you say that you love yourself? If you are with Ed, then I can imagine that it is difficult to do. I’m sure he is telling you that you aren’t loveable and can’t offer anything; he told me that when I was with him. If he is telling you that, I am here to tell you that HE IS WRONG. You CAN love yourself. You ARE loveable. You DO have something to offer others.
Happy Super Bowl Weekend! Even if you are not a fan of football, you can’t help but be sucked into the vortex that has become Super Bowl marketing. From the commercials to the half-time show to this year’s #deflategate scandal, it is easy to forget the actual reason this event exists – to play a championship football game!