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 #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

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/

The Art of Taping

Today, if you turn on the TV to watch a sports event or scroll through Facebook to see pictures from a game, you’ll see athletes with bright strips of tape on different parts of their body. This is called KT Tape (or physio/rock tape). It’s an extremely controversial method of rehab in the athletics world. There’s been a lot of research done and it’s proven that taping both works and doesn’t work. So I thought I would break it down. There has been research done to show that there is an ‘ingredient’ in the tape that pulls your skin away from your muscles, allowing an increase in oxygen and blood flow to the muscle for faster recovery and longer muscle endurance. The material used to make the tape has the same elasticity as human skin, allowing the muscle tissue to move comfortably even when taped. On the flip side, there are many people saying that they have tried KT tape and that it has never worked. For me, I’ve been using KT tape for the last 3 1/2 years, and it has been my savior. I have used it on multiple parts of my body for many different injuries including my shoulders, back and ankle. I use it the most on my shoulders since I am a swimmer and have done damage to my rotator cuffs, and I really notice the difference. Not only does it seem to prevent further injury, but when I’m swimming with the tape on, I notice that my shoulders don’t hurt as much and don’t tire as easily. The same on my back. I used it on my ankle after a really bad sprain, and it helped to stabilize my ankle and increase the amount of time I could put pressure on it. So whether it really truly works or if it just the placebo effect, I will continue to use KT Tape because it is helping my performance. As an athlete, I will do anything I possibly can to increase my muscle endurance, prevent injury, and quicken the healing process of injuries, so there is absolutely no reason any athlete out there shouldn’t give KT Tape a shot. The worse thing that could happen is nothing at all. So give it a try and let me know how it goes!

A Game of Balance

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Being a 15 year old student athlete, there are 4 things that are on my priority list; school, sports, recovery (sleep and food), and my social life.

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If you put everything in a chart based on how much time you should be spending on each aspect, you would end up with a 30+ hour day, which is simply impossible. For most people, school and sports are the 2 things that cannot be changed. Now we’re left with recovery and our social lives. Because we are teenagers, we will simply do whatever we can to not lose or give up hanging out with friends. Because of this, our sleeping and recovery time becomes severely shortened. This, especially after a long period of time, can begin to effect us in negative ways. As growing teenage athletes, we should be getting a minimum of 8 1/2 hours of sleep every night. In reality, most of us are lucky to get a mere 7 hours. For athletes, sleep is not just a time for us to rest, but it is a time for our bodies to fix any tears or breaks in our muscles from that days workout. If you have a super hard dry-land session followed by a 2 hour killer sprint workout, chance is you have done some damage to your body. If you don’t allow your body plenty of time to repair the damages, then they will stay with your body until your next workout, and this is when injuries occur. Sleep cannot be sacrificed for anything. It is a vital part of your health.

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If you look at what else can be sacrificed for sleep, it’s your social life. When this happens, you begin to sleep in later on weekends and get to sleep earlier at the expense of going to a movie or breakfast with your friends. This exact thing happened to me during my freshman year of high school. I had morning practice and afternoon practice almost everyday, and Saturday morning practice. On school nights, I would go to practice, eat, work, and then go to sleep. This seems normal, until you see what my weekends were like. After friday evening practice, instead of going out to dinner with my friends, I would go home, eat dinner, maybe watch a little TV, then go to bed early, and I would wake up early on Saturday morning for practice. Afterwards, instead of going to breakfast with my friends, I would go home, eat breakfast, and then sit in my room doing nothing because I was exhausted. Eventually, I would get around to doing some work. At night, I would be way to tired to do anything, so I would stay home, eat and watch TV. Sundays were my only practice-free day, meaning that it was my designated work day. It was the only day that I wasn’t too deadly exhausted to work, and because of this, my Sundays weren’t exactly the best days to hang out with my friends. So there was my 7-day week, filled with school (work), sports, and recovery.

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You could look at that and say that all my needs were covered, however things began to go downhill. My grades began to spiral, I was constantly tired no matter how much rest I got, and I was always in a bad mood.

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It wasn’t until Sophomore year until I realized that my social life wasn’t something I wanted back, but it was something I needed back. I decided to drop one morning practice every week to get more sleep and work done, and I learned how to manage my time better so that my work was getting done much more efficiently. Even though I lost a morning practice and those eventful Saturday mornings of sitting alone in my room doing nothing, I was able go to that movie, or go to dinner or breakfast with my friends. After a couple weeks of getting back into a healthier routine, I started to feel much better. My grades improved, I was always full of energy, and I woke up every morning, excited about what the day was going to be like.

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From that experience, I’ve learned the importance of leading a balanced life. It’s okay to have those weeks here and there where you just can’t get enough sleep, or you have no time to hang out with your friends, but make sure that on a regular basis, you are finding time to do things that make you happy. Finding a healthy balance can improve your mind, health, and happiness. Figure out what works for YOU, to live a life where you wake up every morning with a smile on your face.

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