Valentine's Day is meant to celebrate love. This love need not be for another person. This year, I encourage you to make yourself the center of Valentine's Day.
Understanding what self-compassion is--and what it isn't--is a critical piece in gaining self-acceptance and boosting self-esteem.
Join Aly Raisman and Walden Behavioral Care as we refocus the narrative of the holidays back to what the season is meant to represent: togetherness and the power of giving.
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.
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.
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.
Think dads have nothing to do with how their daughters see themselves? Think again. According to recent research at Charles Stuart University in Newcastle, Australia psychologist John Toussaint surveyed women diagnosed with eating disorders about their perceptions of their fathers and their relationship to them. He found that 42% of the women between the ages of 37 and 55 had over protective fathers, while 36% had distant fathers. Only one in five women had fathers that would be classified as caring parents.
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.
We try to protect our kids from danger and do our best to keep them shielded from things that could make them feel bad. We teach them not to speak to strangers, make sure that they put on their sunscreen and wear a helmet and we don't talk about "adult matters" while in their presence. We do this to keep them safe, and because we know that infancy and childhood are supposed to be times filled with nurture, exploration, play and discovery that should not be infringed upon by stress, jealousy, self-degradation and dare I say it, body image issues.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The fall season is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the weather and fall clothes, and Thanksgiving is always a great holiday to celebrate with family and friends. Since Walden is like family to me, I’d like to share three things that I am thankful for this November that have nothing to do with my body. I think it is important to have these types of positive influences in your life so that you can always keep your outlook on your life moving forward.
People who struggle with compulsive eating or bingeing often ask why they eat when they’re upset. One woman lamented, “Why can’t I just work out or do crossword puzzles when I’m upset? Why is it always doughnuts that I turn to for comfort?”
Can you imagine absolutely loving your body? Cherishing it for all that it is? If your answer is yes, great! If your answer is no, that is okay! An important step in shifting your body image is to practice body acceptance. Using this approach can feel more attainable, realistic, and empowering when going through eating disorder treatment – or just going through life in general. Pushing the shift from body-hate to body-love can feel like an overwhelming, seemingly impossible goal, and may leave patients feeling helpless or disempowered.