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.
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.
I reflect on my past, asking myself what I missed out on in life with an eating disorder (E.D.). This is what I reflected on. I missed out on reality. Life with love.
To an individual with an eating disorder, fear foods are foods that Ed prohibits you to eat. Fear foods vary from individual to individual, day to day and sometimes don’t even make sense. No matter what the fear food is, Ed is right there to be sure the rules are followed and it is not eaten. Should a fear food really be feared? Will something bad happen if it is eaten? The answer is NO.
What I learned from fracturing a bone in my foot, it takes time to mend. However, healing emotional scars and wounds can take time to mend 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.
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.
What if you are a student who is struggling with an eating disorder, but you don't want to admit it? To those students who are not struggling, it might seem obvious that they would reach out for help. There may however, be a plethora of reasons holding this person back from seeking help. If you are college student struggling with an eating disorder, hopefully after reading the common anxieties that often deter college students from seeking treatment, you will feel more encouraged to find yourself the help you deserve.
What is recovery and what does it look like? A big question with a multitude of answers. Back when I was with Ed, someone asked me that question and I responded by saying “I have no idea what recovery looks like, I’m not even sure it exists.”
As the temperature rises in summer, so can the anxiety around body image. Summer is usually the time for shorts, bathing suits, dresses, and capris. For those in recovery, it can feel overwhelming and scary to think about putting on a bathing suit or a pair of shorts. Despite the fear of it, the negative body image that may arise and Ed yelling at you, you can take steps to enjoy the summer fun!
The world was first introduced to Caitlyn Jenner (formally Bruce Jenner) several days ago, when a sneak peek from the Vanity Fair article chronicling her journey from Bruce to Caitlyn was published.
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.
When an individual is in a relationship with Ed, it’s not a healthy one in many ways; however, when you are in it, you don’t see it as unhealthy. It takes time, patience, trust and commitment to realize the abuse Ed has delivered and the need to break free from him.
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.
If I were to ask you to tell me something that interests you or a talent you possess, what would your answer be? Would you say, “Talents, whatever Cheryl, the only thing I’m good at is listening to Ed” or “I don’t have any talents or interests” or “My interest and talent is my ability to do behaviors and listen to my eating disorder.” Those are the answers I told people when they asked me what I was good at.
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."
When I was with Ed free time was non-existent. I spent all of my days listening to him and doing as he said. Ed didn't allow me to have free time. It was all about him and doing what he said in order to get and achieve what he promised. It wasn't until I went into Walden that the concept of free time was introduced to me. We had free time in between groups, on the weekends and on passes.
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.
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.
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!