Role-Models

We need more female role models like Felicity Smoak on Arrow.  Perhaps then little girls would be more inclined to value themselves for their brains rather than their looks.  And perhaps then we’d have a lot more healthy, happy girls with high-self esteem… And a lot less eating disorders.  Someday!

Check out this article about Felicity and see what you think:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/21/felicity-smoak-busts-the-geek-ditz-complex.html

One-Way Ticket

Its actually happening!  I’ve been dreaming about backpacking through Europe with friends my entire life… And everything has fallen into place to allow it to happen.

We’ve bought our one-way tickets to Barcelona in March.  I’m headed to Germany for a few days before that to visit friends…

This is so scary and exciting, with everything I’ve been through in the last year.  But I know it will be good.  Let the adventure begin!

Dear My OneLove,

I’m writing to you because I made a mistake.  A huge mistake.  But you knew that already.  You’ve known me forever.  Who I am, what I’ve wanted to be.  It hurts me so much to know that you knew what I was going through – even when I didn’t.  You knew you had to let me go…  but how? How did you let me go, then?  It took me 3 years to see what you saw.  It took me 3 years to learn that when I left you, I fucked up my life.  I’ve been lost without you.  You were my one and only… but… I can and will understand if you want nothing to do with me… in fact, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.

However, for some reason, I have to tell you why.  Even if you never speak to me again… you have to know.  Butt – I was so sick.  I was so mentally ill, I’m so sorry.  I justified leaving you because then I could get “healthy”.  Then I could become a vegetarian  (and eventually a vegan, then gluten-free.. and so on… until all I ingested was juice.) Yes… it sounds awful… but it was there, in my mind for years.  For years before I even met you.  But you knew that. You challenged it.  You somehow knew I was sick… but, unfortunately it wasn’t the right timing.  Until 6 months ago I wasn’t ready to admit my sickness.

But it’s finally getting better.  For the past 6 months I have been in intensive treatment for an eating disorder.  I have been learning how to feed myself, how to love myself, how to value myself, and how to live my life so that I can better love and praise those who are in my life.  I hate that everything I go through, I think of you.  It makes me remember you and how much you loved me no matter what.  I remember some of our silly fights.   I remember you telling me who I was, and I wouldn’t listen.  I also can’t help but think that were we still together now, you’d be there holding my hand, supporting me every day.  I get through some days because I think of you.  I know… maybe you’ve changed a ton… maybe I’ve changed a ton… but whatever it is, I keep on pushing.

You just have to know – I didn’t know who I was.  I didn’t know what I wanted.  Near the end – I created this image in my head of you, so that it’d be easier to push you away.  Good lord, I hate to admit this… I didn’t cry until 2 years later.  I remember watching you shed a tear that day.  But it wasn’t until 2 years later that it hit me.  I was empty… a shell.. when I left you.  Last year when it finally hit me I was rolling on the floor, drooling, gasping, straining… in so much fucking pain.  My Butt… you have to know.. the girl who left you – it wasn’t really me… deep down… I still love you, and no matter what… I always will.

You also have to know… I hate to hear that you may be unhappy in the relationship you’re in now (I could be sooooo wrong though now?!).  You are the one I want to make happy, for the rest of my life.  You’ve pushed me, and strengthened me, and when I was sick I couldn’t handle my own illness, and I hurt you.. you somehow still loved me.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forgive myself.  A love like that doesn’t come along very often.  But I messed it up.  I was so sick Butt.  I’m still recovering, and honestly, right now, I’m relishing in small victories like: making a simple chicken dinner, going for a walk, saying no to someone, or just eating breakfast.

I miss you Butt.  I love you.  It took me 3 years to get here, but I did.  I’m sorry to make you wait.  But at this point, I’m putting it in your hands.  Please tell me what you want… If you tell me to leave you alone, I’ll move on forever… but if not… well, I love you.  I will lovr you either way, but I need to know.  Black or white, I need to know.

Love always.

5 Things You Should Know About Eating Disorders

1. They are about more than food
2. They thrive on secrets
3. It is an emotional disorder
4.  It IS a mental disorder, it usually partners with other mental disorders, but it CAN be treated.  However, it takes a long time to treat.  The average time it takes for treatment is 7 years.  These are deep-rooted issues and they take time to untangle.
5.  They are all different – causes, symptoms and treatments vary widely.

Dear Mom & Dad,

hank you for everything you’ve done for me.  I hope you know and can understand that I try so very hard to make you happy, and that it is tough for me to believe and know that I have made you proud.  I love you both very much, and will always be thankful for having such supportive and loving parents.  It takes a special person to be patient and supportive and strong for a child who is sick, and while you may not believe that I am sick all the time, you do try to understand me.  It’s just unfortunate that when a person’s mind is broken, it is a lot harder to tell (and to treat) than if say, their leg was broken.

All I ask is to please be patient and to continue to support me on this journey.  I am trying to understand and strengthen who I am, and what I am living for.   I pushed myself at 300 mph for 3 years, and so I am slowing down and trying to live at a normal speed.  To do that, I had to slow down to about 5 mph to recover… but am now getting better, and able to slowly handle more again.

I want you to know and to say thank you for everything you have done and continue to do for me.  From meals, to letting me move in, to paying for the vacation to florida, to allowing me to work a little less this summer to focus on my mental health, to driving a battery all the way out to me in minneapolis, to taking me to restaurants and theme parks, and giving me things to try at work… it never ends.  And I am forever grateful.

I have such supporting parents, and sometimes it kills me.  I want to be the perfect child.  I want to make you happy, and never disappoint you, and never make a wrong decision, and never fail, and always have you proud of me… but I’m learning that that just isn’t possible.  I’m learning that It’s ok to cry sometimes and to feel helpless.  I’m learning that sometimes you need to ask for help, and I’m sorry that the people I most trust to ask for help are also the ones that have already helped me so much.  It’s hard for me to ask for help (and to appreciate those who have helped me). But I’m trying.  Your support matters, and I am thankful everyday for it.  I’m trying my hardest so that you don’t have to be annoyed to support me anymore.  I’m Trying To feel comfortable on my own two feet… and I think I’m getting there.   Day by day, week by week.

I love you both, so very much.  I hope you know that.  I am trying, I really am.  I wish there was a better way to show it… but please know – I so appreciate everything you do.

Love you.

Fabulous Travels

I love to travel.  And not to just experience new places and cultures, but to meet new people.  And, part of it is honestly because I think I’m one of the luckiest people ever when going to the airport.  In the last 2 years I have never waited longer than 5-10 minutes in the he security line, and have had so many close calls it’s scary to count.  A few times I’ve been extremely late to the airport, only to find out my flight is delayed too.  Granted, I’ve had a few struggles, but tonight was a wonderful one.

I got to my gate about an hour and a half early and decided to sit at the bar like I always do when I’m early for a flight (or on-time when I fly through security during those close-calls, haha).  I relaxed and calmed down after a busy day at work for about 45 minutes.  Then ran into this really cute guy who sat right next to me and used to work at the bar.  He was really cool and had some fun stories.  Then across the bar I see Alicia, whom I went to both college and high school with.  And she happens to be talking with a friend who is headed to Orlando too.  And this friend happens to be dating a cousin of one of my friends… and those two guys happen to be meeting up for a beer tonight too.  What a freaking small world.

I love travel because of the fabulous people I meet.  Though the world seems so huge and so many things yet to be discovered, I continue to learn how small this world is.  Alicia said she’d talked to a few people who tied me to our college… crazy!! Guess quite a few people knew who I was there!

Anyway, it’s important to try to live in the present to appreciate the small things. Especially after a those stressful days at work… somehow airports spell adventure… and seem to help you forget some of your worries. It’s nice to step out of that comfort zone once in awhile and be surprised by life.  It’s absolutely fabulous out there, and I’m glad I’m starting to feel better. 

Life, love & fabulous y’all.  Happy Thanksgiving.

5 Ways to Explain Depression to Loved Ones

Thanks to “Virtually Free” blog for the content of this post.  Check them out – they’ve got a lot of great advice.  They’ve helped me prepare for this conversarion with my parents.  Here they propose 5 different ways to explain depression to loved ones:

1. I’m not complaining; I’m depressed.

Situational sadness and clinical depression are different. Whilst the first one is usually triggered by external events (such as a grief or sorrow), the second comes from within us and is the result of a change in the mood networks in our brain. We’ve all heard the typical sentence of “how can he be depressed, he’s got everything one could ever wish for”. Unfortunately, clinical depression can affect anyone, sometimes without any triggers if the person is particularly vulnerable to it.

2. I’m not moody, it’s my brain!

Depression also causes changes in the brain that result in changes in behaviour.  People affected can cry for no reason, isolate themselves and have no energy to do anything at all. You need to make sure your loved ones understand you don’t do these things for attention, it’s the direct result of the changes the condition causes in the brain. Some patience and understanding is the best help you can get.

3 Do not judge me, don’t feel sorry, just listen to me.

Depression causes something called a ‘negative cognitive bias’. Sounds like a bit of a mouthful, but it means the brain will ignore anything good that happens and remember a catastrophic version of anything remotely bad that takes place. Little can be done about this apart from relying on someone who will listen without judging.  Loved ones can help sometimes reframe events in a more positive light or help combat this ‘negative cognitive bias’ by helping to take note and remember some good things. It’s very important to do this without being patronising.

4. I know I’m loved, I’m clever, I’m not to blame. I just need time to get myself together.

Depression gets better with time and treatment, but those affected need a lot of support. It’s always good knowing that someone is there even when the person suffering from depression tries to push them away; someone who doesn’t give up. There will be bad days and good days, but knowing that a person is there no matter what, can help make recovery quicker.

5. Keep me busy and engaged, even if I want to give up. Or stay with me if I can’t make it.

There will be times when those affected will just want to dig themselves deeper into their own grief. At those times they will need someone to help them keep socialising and engaged. Ask your friend/partner/relative to understand your reasons to avoid social situations, but still try to pull you into it and be understanding as well if you just can’t make it one day. You will feel less lonely when you realise that someone cares about you and wants to spend quality time together.

Don’t be embarrassed to be open about your condition. If after making the effort to explain it, someone fails to understand your illness, stay calm and give them time. Some people feel fear or rejection towards topics that are new to them, and they might just need some time to come to terms with it. If after that time they still don’t understand, remember the problem is theirs, not yours!

Rock Bottom

I think it takes a huge loss for someone to realize they’ve hit rock bottom… no… it’s beyond that… you have to fall several feet below rock bottom.  Depression – it’s like you’ve gone below rock bottom, then you have to be kicked about 4 times while laying below rock bottom.. and then you reach your hand out for help, only to have no one grab it.

And it’s at that point you realize.

No one can live your life but you. 

No one will love you or see the value in you until you love yourself first. 

So you pick your ass up off that dirty cement and you do the only thing you can at that moment – you try to tell someone that you’ve got an issue.  You somehow, in your own way, try to tell them that you’re stuck, and you’re not happy.  It’s the equivalent of feeling as though every single bone in your body is broken except one… and there is only one person who can prevent that last one from breaking…. your mind has become so broken, so twisted… its so hard to explain.  But if you’re lucky – that person you turn to –  they’ll help you figure out where to go.

And if you are lucky enough to be that person for someone, I hope you know what to do.  I hope you listen.  I hope you give them hope.  Give them a hand. You can’t solve all their problems – please know that.  But if you point them to the right place… you will forever have saved their life.