Mental Health Moment #8- Inspiration Board

Hello lovelies and happy hump day! Hope you all are having a fabulous week so far and if you’re not, keep your head up, it’ll get better I promise. For today’s post, I thought I would share some of the quotes that I turn to on days where I’m feeling blah or even just a little less than happy. I’m always adding to my photo album on my phone and find myself flipping through these photos when I need a little pick me up and I hope they can do the same for you!

Sending lots of love and positive vibes your way xx

Mental Health Moment #7- Recovery Sucks, But I Love It

*TW: Eating Disorder*

It has been a week, let me just start by saying that. ED awareness week has made me feel empowered and strong in so many ways, but weak and inadequate at the same time. Ever since coming forward with my story, I’ve vowed to be as open and honest as possible while still putting myself and my needs first, knowing that’s the only way I’ll ever recover. This week I’ve seen and read so many brave stories of courageous people who have also decided to share their journeys with others. But the light of recovery is not the only side to the horrors of an eating disorder. And to be completely honest, recovery is a f*****g nightmare, mentally harder and more exhausting than restricting or purging will ever be. Today I wanted to open up about how incredibly intense recovery is. I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face, I’m not sharing this to look for pity, I’m sharing this because I want to be as real as possible, and to show others struggling that they are not alone.

184 days ago, I decided to finally seek treatment for bulimia nervosa. I really didn’t think I had a problem, or at least a big problem. I had landed back in LA for my sophomore year of college and was consumed by the number of comments my friends and peers had made about my body and weight. Everyone was telling me how great I looked, everyone was saying how skinny I was, and I loved every word. Tuesday was our first unofficial pre-season practice, I was so excited, but nervous knowing that I had spent almost four months that summer doing no physical activity. I dove into the water next to my teammates and immediately felt intensely exhausted, like I couldn’t move my body through the water any longer. I wasn’t just out of shape, I knew out of shape and this wasn’t it. Something was wrong, something was off, I knew it was getting dangerous. That was the first time I saw how much damage I had done to my body. Maybe purging my body of any bit of food that went into it wasn’t so great after all. Maybe the compliments and comments weren’t worth it. And so my road to recovery began.

I first spoke with a trainer, someone I knew fairly well and trusted. I was then referred to a therapist, someone who was trained to deal with eating disorders. Next I was instructed to meet with a physician once a week, which ended up leading to excessive weekly blood tests. And finally, the last piece of my formal recovery structure was a weekly meeting with a dietician, again who specialized in eating disorders. All this was daunting, terrifying, exhausting. I had convinced myself that my eating disorder wasn’t bad, that it wasn’t real. I thought it was simply something I had made up in my head. I soon realized that this was the voice of the eating disorder.

The days I went to therapy or met with the dietician or doctors were nearly debilitating. There was nothing more draining than having to face the monster of my eating disorder head on. I would leave therapy feeling like a zombie and wanting to do nothing more than lie in bed for the rest of the day. Yet another urge I had to fight. Days, weeks and months blurred together, I began to question whether recovery was worth it. Everyone had told me to remember that recovery isn’t a straight line, but there will be ups and downs. I knew this and I tried to remind myself of this often, but it’s hard. It’s hard to step back and see how much progress you’ve made when all you can think about is your purge the night before. It’s hard to remember that one purge a day is incredibly amazing compared to the time when two slices of an apple with peanut butter was enough to make myself sick. Learning to acknowledge the small accomplishments has been one of the hardest parts of recovery.

To be completely honest, I feel like I blacked during the first couple months of recovery, it’s hard to remember the days. All I know is that I wanted to quit recovery everyday. Suppressing one urge would only make the next one stronger. Going a day without purging would make me feel like it’s okay to purge the next day. And I’ll say this again, it was exhausting, physically, mentally and emotionally. While I would love to say it gets easier, I don’t think that’s true. But as time goes on, you learn to find new ways to cope. You find the ways to help you feel happy and normal, you find the people who will support you unconditionally, and you’ll learn to be proud of the small accomplishments you make along the way.

I’m not recovered yet, and I don’t think I’m even close. I have slips and relapses all the time, it’s part of the process. It would be amazing if I could snap my fingers and stop all behaviors and abusive thoughts forever, but unfortunately I’m not living in a fairy tale. Learning to embrace the slips and see them as learning opportunities is part of recovery. There are still days and nights where I find myself bent over the toilet again, purging my body of food. And as weird as it sounds, I’m okay with that. Like I said before, recovery isn’t a straight line, but as long as the trend is looking up I know everything will be okay. I know that’s something I can be proud of.

I have an indent on my forearm from leaning on the toilet bowl. Cuts line my knuckles from where my teeth have dug into my skin. The back of my throat is covered in scars from scratches from my nails. What was once a full, thick bunch of hair on my head has thinned out and become brittle. My cheeks get swollen during bouts of purging as my salivary glands got irritated. Some of these things will go away, and some will stick with me forever. Because no matter how long I go without purging, my eating disorder will always be a part of my life. Recovery is learning to silence the abuse and embrace the power.

I don’t want this to discourage you from seeking treatment or beginning recovery, I want this to inspire you. It’s hard as hell, and it won’t be easy. But living in agony and pain isn’t easy either. Living a life full of secrets and lies isn’t easy. Living a life hating yourself and your body isn’t easy. Making that decision, 184 days ago, to seek treatment was the hardest decision of my life, but also the best. It’s wreaked beautiful havoc in my life, and while I still find myself wanting to quit so often, I know that what will come out of this will be so beautiful. Will I ever fully recover, I don’t know. Will I ever be completely happy with myself, I don’t know. But will choosing to prioritize recovery every single day, no matter how exhausting and hard, help me become happy and healthy, yes.

Make that decision today. Choose you, choose strength, choose recovery.

NEDA

NEDAawareness Week

ED Screening Tool

#nedawarenessweek #comeasyouare

Mental Health Moment #6- NEDA Awareness Week

Today is the first day of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. Over 30 million people in the US and 70 million people worldwide suffer from an eating disorder. Every 62 minutes, someone dies as a direct result of an eating disorder, giving it the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Up to 3.5% of all American women will suffer from Anorexia at some point in their life, and up to 4% of all American women will suffer from Bulimia at some point in their life. These numbers are too high, but they don’t have to be. Eating disorders are real, they are a mental illness and they deserve the same care, treatment and support as any other physical or mental illness.

For those of you also struggling, know you are not alone, you will never be alone. Never forget that. If you are struggling in silence, try to break the silence. Reach out to people around you, begin to get treatment, start your road to recovery. Choosing to get help was the hardest decision I ever made. I was scared, anxious, ashamed, I thought I had failed. I was wrong. So while going into treatment was terrifying, it ended up being the best decision I ever made. Recovery is not easy, I’m not going to lie, it’s the most physically, mentally and emotionally draining thing I’ve ever done, but what comes out of it is so beautiful. Happiness, health, undeniable self-love. It’s all worth it. Don’t wait a second longer, make that decision today.

To all those who are supporting someone struggling, you are incredible. I know it’s not always easy to stay by someone’s side when they’re going through s**t, but know that you are appreciated. Most of the time, it’s the smallest and most simplest of things that make the biggest difference. Asking how their day is going, sending a quick text of support or even just a smile goes further than you think. And for all you supporters out there, know you are appreciated. If you see someone who you suspect may be struggling or who you know is struggling, don’t look away, don’t push them away. Sometimes all we need is someone who shows they care, someone who will take three minutes of their day to show love and support. You can be that person.

Finally, I wanted to end this post by saying thank you to the incredible people in my life who have never left my side, the people who have shown me time and again that they love and support me. You are my angels, you are the reason I am where I am today. Whether you realize it or not, your actions and words keep me going every single day. On the days where I feel like I can’t keep going, the days where recovery seems impossible, your love makes me want to fight.I want to be there for all of you, I will be there for all of you. This platform has become my biggest blessing, giving me the opportunity to share my story in an attempt to help some understand and to help others feel less alone. The stigma may still be there, but it won’t be for long.

Get ready for a week full of posts!

xx Aime

NEDA 

NEDA Awareness Week

Mental Health Moment #5- Quotes To Live By

As we enter into the new year, I’m ready to continue my mission to use my platform to be an advocate for others who out there who are also battling. I vow to be open when it’s necessary, but also stay private when I need to. My hope, today and always, is to open myself up so that others know that they are not alone, and to help me understand that I am not alone.

With that, for my first MHM of 2019, I wanted to share some quotes about mental health, recovery and genuine self love that constantly cycle through my mind and have come in extremely useful in times of need. I hope these quotes can remind you of the beauty that lies within your soul. You are not defined by a mental illness, you are not defined by your weaknesses; so don’t let them define you. You are who you choose to be, today and everyday.

1. “You wake up every morning to fight the demons that left you so tired the night before, and that, my love, is bravery.”

2. “I’m proud of the woman I am because I went through one hell of a time becoming her.”

3. “From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand. From the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain.”

4. “Mental Health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”

5. “Keep going and don’t worry about your speed. You’re making progress, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Forward is forward, no matter how slow.”

6. “You are not a victim. Just a fighter with scars that few can understand.”

7. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world, but those who fight and win battles that other do not know anything about.”

8. “It’s okay to be a glow stick. Sometimes we have to break before we shine.”

9. “The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths.”

10. “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”

11. “Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.”

12. “Healing isn’t about changing where you are; it’s about changing your relationship to who you are. A fundamental part of that is honoring how you feel.”

13. “Accept everything about yourself- I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end- no apologies, no regrets.”

14. “Sometimes I forget putting myself isn’t selfish but necessary.”

Mental Health Moment #4- Feelings in words

Today I want to quickly interrupt 12 Days of Christmas (don’t forget to check those out if you haven’t already!!) for another MHM, my last one for this year. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten during my battle has been to try and write out my feelings every time I have an urge or begin to feel anxious. To be honest, when I first heard this I was really hesitant about it. As much as I love to write and express my feelings through words, I thought that words wouldn’t be able to explain all my thoughts and feelings. But once I gave it a try, I found myself able to express some things beautifully, brutally but honestly. I wanted to share some of the writings that have come out of some of the hardest times. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I’m not doing any of this for pity or attention. I’m here to break the stigma around mental health. That’s why I’m choosing to be open and vulnerable. I want to be the person who talks about their battle, the good, the bad and the ugly, so that others struggling know they’re not alone.

– “Times like this make me want to give in, throwing up is so much easier than dealing with the mental war I have going on right now.”

– “It’s okay that I’m not okay.”

– “The harm of one cookie pales in comparison to the harm of forcing a purge.”

– “I’m going to keep looking forward, towards the light that shines brightly at what seems like a never ending tunnel. But the tunnel will end.”

– “I don’t want to ruin my nail polish, but I also don’t know how to stop myself.”

– “Prioritizing my recovery is sometimes the hardest part of my day.”

– “I realized I was allowed to feel anxious. It was the way I was feeling in my core, and there was nothing I could have done to change that.”

– “Pizza makes me feel guilty, but being bent over the toilet with my fingers down my throat and my mascara running makes me feel even more guilty. In a battle of the guilts, I choose the pizza.”

– “It’s not scary that people call me crazy, it’s scary that I believe them.”

– “What I want people to realize the most are things that I don’t know how to verbalize.”

– “Sometimes the biggest lie I tell people is that I’m okay.”

To anyone reading this who is also suffering, remember you are not alone. Please reach out to me if you need someone to talk to.

National Alliance on Mental Health: https://www.nami.org/

National Eating Disorder Association: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Mental Health Moment #2- Coping Techniques

Happy Tuesday!! Hope you all have had a lovely weekend and are ready for Thanksgiving. I’m back today with my second MHM which is going to be full of coping techniques and mechanisms. I know everything is very circumstantial and can vary from person to person, but these are some things that I’ve found to be useful for me in a difficult moment. So whether it’s fighting an urge, feeling an anxiety attack coming on or anything else I hope you can find some of these things useful. And if there’s anything else you do that I haven’t mentioned, please share them below xx

  1. Remove yourself from the situation- This has been the hardest thing for me to learn to do, but it’s also been what’s helped me the most. If you’re in a situation that’s feeding your anxiety or around people who are making you feel anxious, leave. It may seem weird or like it’s the wrong thing to do, but you have to learn to be selfish sometimes. It’s okay to do what you need to do if it’s going to help you feel better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your friends you need to excuse yourself or to even just say no to a plan if it’s going to make you feel worse. Don’t be conceded, but be selfish when you need to be. It’s okay.
  2. Focus on taking deep breaths- This may sound really obvious, but when your in a moment of panic or anxiety it quickly becomes something you forget to do. When I start to feel anxious I get really jittery and my hands and feet start to go numb because of the lack of oxygen. Taking 10 really deep breaths can often be the first and most helpful step to begin to calm me down. Remember this next time you begin to feel anxious, just breathe.
  3. Write out your feelings- If you’re someone who can communicate really well with words, try writing out your feelings. I’ve started doing this recently and it’s helped me so much. The moment I begin to feel an urge or begin to feel anxious I’ll whip out my phone and begin to write everything I’m feeling down. Every negative and positive feeling and emotion I’m feeling at that moment. I write for as long as I can and write as much as possible. I usually find that I’m able to articulate feelings that wasn’t able to recognize before writing. This helps me to logically comprehend all of my emotions and begin to understand why I am feeling that way, which is exactly what I need when I’m in an extremely emotional state.
  4. Practice mindfulness or meditation- For the longest time I was so hesitant to try meditating because it always just seemed to hokey to me, but I have seriously been proven wrong. If I’m starting to feel anxious, I’ll grab my phone and put on a guided meditation using either Headspace, Calm or InSight Timer and it works so well. The apps have tons of different guided sessions to choose from, so you can really just do whatever you need in the moment. If I’m short on time, I’ll just put on a quick five minute re-focus or awareness meditation and just let myself be in the moment and re focus my energy on something positive. I’m not saying that mindfulness and meditation works for everyone, but I would really recommend at least giving it a try.
  5. Change your environment and get outside- This is especially true for me when I’m feeling really anxious, but getting outside can make such a big difference. If I’m held up in my room I can start to feel trapped and claustrophobic, so getting outside and being aware of the environment around me can make me feel so much better. I love just walking outside, especially if it’s a bit cooler outside, and taking deep breaths of the fresh air and just sitting on a bench somewhere. Just a few minutes of this can calm me down and re-focus me so much.
  6. Essential oils are your best friend- I know I’ve brought this up a lot in previous posts, but I’ll share this story again until I’m blue in the face. My mom has always been a believer in essential oils for EVERYTHING, and I really just ignored it as much as possible until a couple of years ago. Now I’m ADDICTED. Honestly, essential oils can do so much for you physically, but also mentally. If I feel myself starting to get a bad urge or becoming really anxious, Ill put some eucalyptus and citrus essential oils in my diffuser and rub some lavender on the inside of my wrists and it honestly calms me down so fast. I don’t know the science or research behind oils, but I just tell myself if it works it works.
  7. Practice self-care… but mindfully- I’m a huge believer in self-care, but I also believe it has to be done mindfully. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good night full of face masks and Netflix, but when I’m looking for a way to cope with negative feelings, self-care has to be done mindfully. Whether it’s doing a face mask, painting your nails, taking a bubble bath or anything else, do it with a goal in mind. Tell yourself that what you’re doing is a way to reward yourself for all the positive and good things you’ve done. Constantly remind yourself that you deserve to be taking the time to care for yourself. By doing this, you’re not only caring for your outside, but you’re caring for your brain as well.
  8. Talk it out- This can really depend on the person, but if you’re the kind of person who can communicate effectively by talking, do it. While I’m someone who needs to talk out how I’m feeling, I also find myself hesitant to bring it up to friends out of a fear that it will be too much of a “burden” on them. But I’ve learned that true friends who support you will be willing to talk to you, actually they will want to talk to you. Talking to someone else and verbalizing all of your thoughts and emotions can help you to logically comprehend what’s happening. It also gives you the opportunity to hear someone else’s opinion which can be so helpful too.

Mental Health Moment #1- Turn It Around

For my first Mental Health Minute, I want to talk about how to make a bad day just a little less bad. Whether you’re struggling with something small or big, everyone has those days where the shit (excuse my French) just hits the fan and you feel like there’s nothing you can do but just lay there. But today’s post is going to be all my little tips and tricks to making your day just a tiny bit better, because on most days that’s all you really need. A lot of these are going to seem really obvious, but when I’m in a mood these basic things are often what I forget about the most. I hope you enjoy this post and are excited for more Mental Health Minutes to come!

  1. Surround yourself with positivity- If there are people in your life who are feeding your negativity, get away from them. Choose to be around and spend time with people who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. During times like these you have to be a little bit selfish and acknowledge who YOU need to be around at that time.
  2. Make a countdown calendar- One thing that I’ve done this year is to keep a countdown, I’ve been using the app Event Ticker, to all the exciting things coming up. When I’m having a day, I’ll go into my calendar and remind myself of the fun things I have planned for the future. It’s an easy way to remind myself of all the good things I have going on.
  3. Treat yourself- Open your computer, go to your favorite store and buy yourself something you’ve been wanting, big or small. Buying something online is such a small thing that always makes me even just a little happier. It doesn’t have to be a big purchase or investment, just something small will always do the trick. But knowing that I have something on the way to my mailbox always makes me excited.
  4. Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while- If I’m having a bad day or feeling weird, reaching out to someone who I haven’t talked to in a while makes me feel so much better. It’s a way for me to disconnect from the “now” and to remember something positive about the past. Whether it’s just a Snapchat or a longer facetime call, it’s always something that can create positivity in m day.
  5. Pamper yourself- I’m a huge believer in self-care and me time, and that’s especially true on a bad day. If you’re short on time, even just throwing on a face mask for 15 minutes and chilling for a second can make a huge difference. But if there’s a little more time, go through a full pamper routine. Relax, make yourself feel better and just disconnect from everything for a bit. Taking time to just breathe and not think about anything else can change your mindset tremendously.
  6. Take a work/school break- I know this may sound impossible, but remember that your mental health should come before anything else. If you have the ability to leave work or school a little early to take some time for yourself, take it. If you don’t, give yourself some space from your work or homework at the end of the day. When you get home, give yourself 30 minutes to do something you like to disconnect yourself from work. Watch an episode of your favorite show, take a bath or hang out with friends. Giving yourself space from the stressful things in your life, even if it’s just a little bit, can refresh your mind.
  7. Do something nice- I’m a true believe that what goes around comes around. If you’re looking for some good in your life, start with yourself. Reach out to someone in need, send someone an appreciation card, buy a meal for someone on the streets, any small gesture that can help lift someone else’s day is almost guaranteed to make you feel better too. And besides, the world is always in need of some good.

Sending out love and good vibes xx