Recovery is such a unique process, and universally I think everyone just wants to be at peace with themselves, but this shows up differently for everyone and how this is achieved can vary so greatly depending on culture, background, and identity.
"As a poem transfers from just a few lines or a concept into a full collection of letters and spaces, something happens. I wrote 'Days Below Zero', because I have a hard time understanding how to support someone who has a problem with themselves at the level someone struggling with an eating disorder would. I was trying to show how a peer support volunteer could engage someone, and hopefully challenge the perspective that is causing pain."
As I have discovered, learning about eating disorders does not stop simply because one is getting better or recovered. In order to truly be well from eating disorders we need to continue to educate and challenge ourselves, to learn and try new things, and to sometimes risk what feels comforting and familiar as a necessary step to break free from those deeply inscribed patterns of behaviour that just don’t serve us anymore.
"I started practicing meditation and yoga, and through these contemplative practices, I developed a greater capacity to sit with discomfort. With mindfulness training, we learn to sit quietly with every sensation, feeling, thought, and emotion as they arise. We learn through experience that all sensations, feelings, thoughts, and emotions inevitably pass away, no matter how intense they seem at first."
It's very important that you take some time and space to reflect on the things that trigger you around Hallowe’en. Is it the overtly sexy costumes, candy and treat marketing, gore/violence, crowds, past negative experiences, fireworks, or maybe something else? Once you can identify your own personal Hallowe’en triggers, it will become much easier to come up with healthy self-care practices that will alleviate their effects when you encounter them.
"The word “radical” comes from the Latin “radic”, meaning root, and thus radical acceptance refers to a complete, fundamental acceptance of a situation from its root. However, to me it also reflects the other meaning of the word “radical”, the independence of or departure from tradition; innovative or unorthodox. In many ways deciding to stop fighting felt less like “giving up” and more like leaping off a precipice into the unknown and frightening. The freedom it offers is thrilling."
As the summer passes into a fresh school year, we often see some anxiety associated with changes in schedule beginning to manifest among students – especially those who experience eating disorders or body image issues. If you are a parent or caregiver of a student who faces these challenges, this blog entry may be a helpful resource as you find your footing in the first few weeks of school.
"These small, gradual steps brought forward my inner Healthy Self and gave it a taste of being in control in a way that didn’t cause too much resistance or a desire to give up. These repeated small steps gave me the desire to set bigger goals, until my goal finally became, “I want to be fully recovered.”"
"That space between my obsession with thinness and my confusion regarding others’ obsession with thinness allowed me to understand that there is another way to perceive the world. There is another way to live inside your body. Much like learning to eat intuitively and to destroy all the food moralizations I’ve built over the years, I’ve been learning to come back inside an intuitive relationship with my body and to destroy the body moralizations I’ve built over the years."
Too often I think about eating disorders in the negative: how many people are still suffering, how much work still needs to be done. But I was thinking, the other day, about how much has changed since I had my eating disorder, years ago. How much progress has been made.