Mental Health Moment #9- EVERYTHING MENTAL HEALTH

Happy Sunday and happy Mental Health Awareness Month! Today I’m so excited to share this mega post that’s covering anything and everything mental health. I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again, it’s all about breaking the stigma. That phrase is seriously overused, but there still doesn’t seem to be much of a change. Mental health issues and struggles are everywhere, seriously… everywhere. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn’t make you weak, in fact I think that being able to recognize when you’re struggling and being able to reach out for help or treatment makes you one f*****g strong person. Take this week as inspiration to be open and honest about your journey, your struggles. Even if your story helps just one person, it’s all worth it.

My mental health update:

I wanted to start of with a little update on my mental health and where I’m at right now. To be honest, I’ve been struggling a bit the last few weeks transitioning from the end of my sophomore year to summer. Transitions are always hard for me because it interrupts my recovery and treatment routine and forces me to adapt quickly. I was able to talk about this with my therapists before leaving for the break, and I think that’s helped a lot, but it’s still hard. The best thing I can do for myself is continue to be open and honest about how everything’s going. A large part of this is being able to acknowledge when I’m not having a great day or when I’m feeling a bit off. If there’s been anything in my life that’s been nearly as hard as recovery, it’s faking being happy. There’s nothing worse than pretending that I’m feeling great and loving life when I just feel so unbelievably blah and empty inside. Being able to say that I am feeling really anxious or depressed that day has been the best thing I can do for myself. I’ve also had to learn that putting my mental health first means that I have to be selfish sometimes. I have to become comfortable with saying no (which is incredibly hard for me) and I have to be okay with asking my friends and support system for help when I need it. And actually, that isn’t selfish as at all as long as I’m also making sure to support those around me just as much as they support me. I have to remind myself, every single day, that I am worthy. Remind yourself that too.

Body Dysmorphia… What is it?

I’ve been really open about my ED and dealing with anxiety and depression, but one thing I haven’t really talked about is body dysmorphia. It usually goes hand in hand with EDs but also adds another level of complexity to the illness. Body dysmorphic disorder, by definition, is a disorder that makes you focus on certain and specific physical flaws in your appearance. They are often so small that no one else would notice it, but it’s often times the only thing you notice about yourself. It can become so severe that you make drastic changes in your behavior and social behavior to avoid flare ups of these feelings. For me personally, my body dysmorphia would be extremely severe right before a purge, but would subside right after (I’ve learned that this is the eating disorder voice telling me what it wants me to hear). I feel comfortable in baggy sweatpants and sweatshirts that cover up my body and feel extremely anxious when wearing anything that exposes parts of my body. A big part of my recovery, and one of the goals I set for myself this summer, is to become comfortable wearing clothes I want to wear, no matter how uncomfortable I feel in it. BD is one of the aspects of mental illnesses and eating disorders that often goes under the radar, maybe because to some it seems like an overreaction, but it’s just as important/severe as anything else.

Tips and tricks: on days where you’re feeling less than, try these tips out and remember that everything will be okay

  • Breathe– Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth to slow down your sympathetic nervous system.
  • Essential oils– Use different blends of essential oils, either on your body or in a diffuser to help reset & revive your mind. Lavender, spearmint and ylang ylang are my favorites to diffuse every day.
  • Get creative– Grab a piece of paper and just start doodling, painting or whatever else your creative juices are feeling. If you’d rather use a device, there are tons of coloring and doodling apps that work just as well.
  • Gratitude– Write down three things you are grateful for, right then and there in the moment. This is something you can do right there on the spot or incorporate it into your morning/daily routine.
  • Fidget– One of my friends got me a bag of marbles to play with every time I’m feeling anxious, and it’s actually been one of the best ways to help calm myself down.
  • Do nothing– Remember that it’s okay to do absolutely nothing sometimes, it’s not lazy, it’s not selfish, it’s necessary.
  • Pamper– Take a bath, take a long shower, book a massage or a facial, anything that’s going to help you feel normal and special.
  • Move– You don’t have to do anything intense to get your body going, a quick yoga session or even just a leisurely walk in your favorite area of town will do the trick. Anything to get your heart rate up and blood flowing will always make you feel better.
  • Clean– Having a clean space can help clear your mind. When your space is cluttered, it’s easy for your mind to reflect your environment. Tidying up and doing a simple clean can help you feel in control of everything, and it’s a great way to get moving a bit.
  • Therapy– This isn’t something you can do right on the spot, but I really believe that therapy is a life-changer. Ever since I began therapy, I feel so much more centered on a daily basis. It’s not going to fix all your problems at once, it’s a practice that takes time, but it helps, I promise.

 

#inspo:

 

As always, I’m sending an infinite amount of love, support and positive vibes your way. Whatever you’re going through, however shitty your day/week/month has been, I promise it will get better, I promise the light will come. Someone in my life once told me that there is no “light at the end of the tunnel” but simply people who love you bringing a light into the tunnel. Eventually there are so many people shining a light around you that you forget you are in the tunnel. I’ve been playing that through my head constantly the last few weeks, and it’s helped put everything in perspective. Being at rock bottom has allowed me to see beauty and joy more clearly than ever. The light will come, believe me.

Lots of love xx

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 #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

January Favorites 2019

Can’t believe we’re already at the end of the month, I feel like we were just celebrating New Year’s. One thing I’m super excited to be doing this year is monthly favorites. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers/vloggers do this in the past and I love the concept of sharing all the things you’ve been loving each month. What I share will vary from month to month depending on what life is looking like, but each month will be full of fun beauty products, clothing items, foods/restaurants, movies and anything else under the sun that I’ve been loving.

Favorite…

Makeup productTarte Sex Kitten eyeliner. I’ve been obsessed with bold eyes lately and this eyeliner does just that. Honestly I’ve never really liked non-liquid eyeliners for my top lip but this one changed my mind. It works so well both on the top lid and the water line, lasts forever and is so pigmented and bold.

Skincare productAhava Hydration Cream Mask. During these cold winter months, my skin has been so dehydrating and screaming for moisture and this mask makes my skin feel so much better. You can either leave it on for 20 minutes, wash it off and moisturize or use is as an overnight mask.

Beauty product– The worst part about moving to a place with seasons is not being naturally bronzed and tanned all year round. I never thought I’d be the one to use self-tan, but during the cold winter months I started craving a tan. I found the St. Moriz Instant Self-Tanning Mousse online with great reviews and tried it out, and I’ve been loving it. It’s so easy to apply, doesn’t get streaky easily, and gives a beautiful deep, but natural, tan. And the best part, it’s only $10 for a bottle and application mitt.

Haircare product– This month I started using the Treatment Mask from Morrocan Gold Series and it has seriously saved my hair. After being in chlorine for hours a day and then getting out to the driest weather ever, it’s helped to hydrate my hair and give it a healthy shine.

Clothing itemFluffy Pink Jacket from Forever 21. I bought this when I was back in Tokyo for Christmas and I have seriously been living in it. It’s the best thing ever, it’s big, fluffy, soft and the most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn.

Brunch spotFour Cafe in Eagle Rock. I’ve been to this place a few times before but I’ve been obsessed with it this month. They have a roasted Brussels sprout dish on their menu which is absolutely to die for. And they make eating clean so fun and easy, exactly what’s needed after the holiday season.

SnackTrader Joe’s Coconut Sesame Clusters. I found these a few months ago and have been obsessed with them ever since. They’re little coconut crisps covered in black and white sesame seeds and (healthily) hits those sweet and salty cravings.

Planner– The Kate Spade ‘Things We Love’ Planner (2018-2019) has been my saving grace for this school year, and that’s especially true at the beginning of the year when I’m trying to get everything ready and organized. When I first saw it on their website I knew I HAD to get it and I’m so glad I did.

AppRecovery Record. I actually started using this app a few months ago when my dietician recommended it to me, and let me tell you it’s been such a big part of my recovery. It gives you space to record what you’re eating every meal without going into specifics (you can literally just upload a picture if you want), and it also allows you to record how you’re feeling, if you’ve binged, if you’ve purged, etc. You can also connect it with your dietician/therapist (if you’re working with one) which gives them access to all your logs. It’s a simple and non-time consuming to keep track of everything you’re eating.

TV Show– Over the break I started ‘Fresh Off The Boat’ which is such a fun and easy watch. But I also couldn’t write this without mentioning my all-time favorite for this month which is Colton’s season of The Bachelor.

Book– I got “Becoming” by Michelle Obama for Christmas and although I haven’t finished it yet, it’s so incredible and inspiring, but honestly what else would we expect from her. It’s such a good read, but warning… it will make you miss the Obama’s, I promise!

Amazon purchase– I didn’t really have a good title for this one, it was pretty much just a random purchase, but I thought it was worthy of putting in here. I’d read about the Rapid Ramen Cooker from SharkTank, but thought it was too good to be true. Then I found it on amazon for only $6 and figured, why not, so I ordered it and it’s so cool. It actually works for instant ramen (every college kids comfort food, including this one), but it’s also just a sturdy and easy container to use in the microwave for anything else as well.

 

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/

To My Eating Disorder…

Today is National Love Your Body Day, and while I try to preach and live by the idea of self-love, I’ve been struggling with this by a battling with an eating disorder. It’s not something a lot of people talk about, and it’s not something a lot of people talk about publicly. But I’m ready to break that mold. The scariest thing about this whole battle has been feeling alone in my fight. But I know I’m not the only one. I’m here telling my story with hopes that it can help others out there feel a little less alone. I’m not posting this looking for pity or attention, I’m posting this because reading other peoples stories was such a big part of the start of my recovery. If this can help even just one person feel a little less alone, then it’s worth it. 

No matter what is going on in my life or your life right now, please take the time to appreciate your body for all it does and all it allows you to do. Love yourself and help others love themselves. Happy Love Your Body Day xx

To my ED,

First of all I want to thank you. I want to thank you for being there for me when I felt like I needed you and for telling me the things I wanted to hear. I loved you more than I’ve loved before. You became a part of me, and it was a part I didn’t want to lose. In the darkest days when I felt nothing but the worse things of myself you made me feel beautiful by following your demands. You tempted me, you encouraged me, you seduced me, and it was something I couldn’t ignore. You knew when to step back and when to take control. You were sneaky but terrifyingly appreciated. You captured my heart so enticingly and I became addicted to it. But no matter how hard I tried or begged, I couldn’t get rid of you. I was obsessed with our brutal love story.

Now that I’m beginning to break free from our abusive relationship, I can see what you really did to me. You made me tell endless lies to my family and friends. You made me believe things about myself that weren’t even close to true. You made me believe that food was the enemy and that eating was a punishable sin. You made me feel guilty but then extremely rewarded and satisfied after a purge. You made me damage my body in a way nothing else had ever done before. You tricked me into loving you when I couldn’t love myself. You took the things I loved away from me and taunted me with it. You took over my brain, consumed me, every hour, every minute, every second of the day. You made me spend hours in the bathroom bent over the toilet with tears coming out of my eyes. You made me feel unworthy of all the things I dreamed of. And finally, you made me the person I never wanted to be. I thought that I was you and you were me, but I now know that I was never you and you were never me. You were simply a voice in my head who I trusted and felt connected to. And I am grateful to not have you in my life anymore.

There are days where I still miss you. There are days when I wish more than anything that we could be back together. Trying to recover from our relationship has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do, and I don’t think it will ever truly end. Sometimes I wish you could come back to be the voice in my head telling me what to do. You knew me better than I knew myself and always knew what I wanted to hear. In the moment, the harm you inflicted on me paled in comparison to the beauty and confidence you made me feel.

But I find myself wanting to thank you again. Ridding you from my life has given me the chance to appreciate the life and body I’ve been blessed with. I’m thankful for my family and friends who have loved me and supported me no matter what. I’m thankful for a body that allows me to do the things I love. I’m optimistic for a life free from the bathroom and out in the beautiful world. I’m thankful for the small things in life that bring me pure joy. I’m thankful for my new look on life, one that’s much clearer and brighter than ever before. I’m thankful that I still have my life, even though you could have taken it from me. I’m thankful that I get to move on and forward, leaving you behind only as a distant memory.

Now that I’ve started distancing myself from you, I promise to live a life full of gratitude and love, remembering that I am worthy of being happy and loved in my own skin. I’m ready to live my life as me, only me, and no one else.

Aime

NEDA: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/