Inspiration Blog Posts
Here are some motivational GIFs that I hope will help you progress in your recovery.
We all need a little piece of peace. Check out some of my favorite pick-me-ups below
In this video blog, our prevention specialist, Stephanie Haines, M.Ed., CHES, will walk you through some of the emotions you can expect to experience, why treatment isn’t as bad as you might think and some of the things you can expect when deciding whether or not to seek treatment for an eating disorder.
For women and men suffering from the infliction of an eating disorder within this cultural back drop, it’s no wonder why it has become increasingly challenging for many to feel comfortable in their own skin.
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)
I’m here to tell you that you are deserving of love. Here are some Valentines that I think we all would all be happy to receive this Sunday.
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.
My disdain for the word “or” came in fourth grade when I took my first True OR False exam in Science. “True or false, the world has people in it,” the test question mused. “Well,” I thought to myself, “it is true that the world has people in it, but it also has animals and trees and insects…that must mean the answer is false…but the answer couldn’t be false because there ARE people in the world…”
There are many different theories as to why Americans are consumed by weight loss and achieving the ideal body. One theory is that the American health care system judges the health of patients based on Body Mass Index (BMI), even though there is no direct correlation between the two. The media also portrays thinner people as happy, and we begin to think all our problems will be solved if we just look like that. If we just lose weight.
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.
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.
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.
Did you know that Oct. 4 -10 is Mental Health Awareness Week? That’s right, this awareness week began in 1990 when the U.S. Congress recognized the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for all of their work to educate and increase awareness around mental illness. This year, to commemorate this event, NAMI created web and social media initiatives to help break down the facts and figures around mental illnesses.
During my recovery, one of my therapists Thom, had me talk about and look at my inner child (aka: little Cheryl, a younger version of myself etc.) and how I relate (or related) to her and what may or may not come up in how I am relating it all to Ed.
At Walden Behavioral Care we strive to individualize eating disorder treatment. To increase the specific services we offer to patients, we have developed “track programs” that are tailored for patients who need support in certain areas. This August, the College Track program for students with eating disorders ran for patients that were heading to college this fall. Whether a new freshman in college, or going back for another year, patients in this program focused not only on learning traditional research-based eating disorder interventions, but also developing skills necessary to managing triggers or scenarios specific to what a college student might encounter on campus.
People are healthiest when their mind, body, and spirit are integrated, creating an internal sense of wholeness. These parts of the self are meant to be connected to each other, and to function in harmony with each other and the whole. Unfortunately, eating disorders often bring about an internal fracturing of mind, body and spirit. It may feel like you have been trapped in your mind by eating disorder thoughts that disconnect you from your body and spirit.
People don’t choose to have an eating disorder. There are many biological, psychological, and sociological factors that play a role in the development of an eating disorder, and recovery from an eating disorder can be difficult, but it is possible to achieve a full and sustained recovery.
Today I went and saw the new Pixar film, Inside Out. If you haven’t heard about it yet, here’s the gist: You are witnessing the emotional life of an 11 year old girl from the inside of her brain. Specifically, you are watching life in her Limbic System and Hippocampus. You are watching personified emotions-Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Sadness. Each emotion takes turns “driving the bus” that is this young girl’s brain reaction to her circumstances, and watching these experiences be solidified and stored.
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.”
Everyone has a best-friend, right? A friend that guides you, listens to you, and lends you a hand? They tells you the truth and lets you know how they feel. They help accentuate your strengths and support your goals in life. They stand by your side through thick or thin. What if I told you my best friend at a certain time in my life was not that at all?
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.
The prevalence of eating disorders is on the rise, and they are not discriminating against any race, ethnicity, social class, or religion, including members of the Jewish community. The culture of the Jewish people heavily revolves around gatherings with family, friends, and large quantities of food. Each Jewish holiday is associated with a meal consisting of multiple courses.
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.
Insecurities can play a powerful role in anyone’s life. Insecurities are why we hide our flaws and cover up anything that is less than perfect. As the above quote states, our insecurities become more apparent when we are constantly comparing ourselves to the images we see on TV, magazines, and social media. Many patients at Walden Behavioral Care say that they struggle the most with comparison on Instagram and Facebook, as opposed to in the pages of their favorite magazine.
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.
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.
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.
Body Shaming. We all do it whether to our self or to those around us. To make matters worse, magazines, TV and social media bombard us with body shaming messages every day.