Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Recovery Is Worth It...

Recovery is worth it... That's what I have been trying to tell myself over the past few days. Lately due to a few things that have happened I have been struggling with both food and also the positivity I have built up over the past view months since weight restoring and being in a good place mentality wise.

So far my weight hasn't been effected due to my struggles with food.. I am still eating enough, but I'm finding myself only allowing myself certain foods and being petrified when it comes to thinking of having anything different and foods that I used to find extremely easy to eat are becoming increasingly harder.

Now I know at the start of recovery everyone thinks that the people going on about how "recovery is worth it" are completely insane (I know I did). If you think about it, recovery is such a fearful and uncomfortable experience that how anyone could say its worth it must be a sucker for punishment..
But ask anyone who is weight restored (myself included) and 95% of those people will say that there life is so much better then when they were entrenched in their ED. In my case recovery has given me the best life I have ever had - even pre ED.

Yes this has been a pretty big blip for me when it comes to depression because normally it doesn't last this long and hardly ever has an effect on my food. But I am constantly reminded of the situation I was in throughout my day... Anything triggers a memory so it is making things a little hard to move on from but I know eventually things will get easier and I will come out of this a stronger person.

The Main Things That Have Helped Me Through Recovery:

- Music - I know that this may not be something for everyone but for myself and a lot of people I have talked to they have found music to be something that has helped a lot both in recovery and in helping mentality. I have certain songs that I always go to in helping me through certain feelings or situations and I know that without them this current state (probably worse) would be my constant mind set. Something else I love is playing piano... I only ever play for myself and when people are out of the house because I am completely shy when it comes to playing piano because I am pretty bad at it to be honest. There is also something about it where I find that it is so easy to forget about what's going on in your head and focus on the piece of music you're playing. For me playing music is also kind of a private thing (which sounds a little weird) even though the music is not my own, I only learn songs that mean a lot to me, have helped and hold some significance for me so they always have memories and emotions attached to them.

- Instagram - This is always something hard for people to understand that aren't within the recovery community or within some type of community on instagram or some type of social media... People think you're strange for taking pictures of your food constantly and having (I know in my case) a slight addiction to Instagram. But for me this platform has helped me so much and has become such a HUGE part of my life. I am so grateful that I took the leap and decided to start posting.
I have met the most amazing, kind hearted and inspiring people on there and I know that I have made life long friends because of it. The people you talk to there have a pretty good idea of what you're going through (no one will know entirely because each ED is different). I also found it a great way to connect with old friends and also tell them about what you've been struggling with without having to say the words... I ended up adding a lot of friends and family to my recovery instagram and on the whole I am so happy I did it. Yes, people within the community will give you support but what's better then getting reassurance from people that you have a close personal relationship with??

So for me I know that this blip will pass... Overall recovery has made my life better then it has ever been in so many ways and even though that this is been a hard 9 months it has definitely been worth it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Why I'm Thankful For Recovery...

Before reaching this point there have been many times (like I'm sure all of you have experienced) when you feel like "really what is even the point of all this? All the stress, guilt and self hatred, I might as well go back to not eating anything at all at least that was easier".

But you have to remember that this is your ED taking over your thoughts.. Remember that eating is a basic human NEED. There is nothing to feel fearful or guilty about, you need adequate nourishment to survive and have your body functioning properly. In fact, if you are weight restored you have probably felt a slight shift in your thinking. I can definitely feel it and it has been proven so many times that nourishment is one of the highest contributing factors to your mood and how your mind and body functions.

So after that little reminder onto why I am so thankful for recovery....

For many years I have had depression. About my body and really just my life in general. I felt I was completely inadequate - too fat, not smart enough, pretty enough, didn't have many friends (the list could go on forever).. But through recovery I have learnt a lot about myself and have so much more thanks to recovery.

My body is functioning better than it ever has. Even with my 100g a day chocolate habit and eating a lot of crap to make up my calories at the moment. My fitness levels keep increasing, I've had a regular period now for two months where as I hadn't had one for two and a half YEARS before that due to being at a weight that my body didn't feel comfortable at. Yes, I don't have a "rock hard" body and I am probably what people call "skinny fat" I don't have any abs to speak of, I have the dreaded muffin top but to be honest at this moment right now I don't care..

My friends. Throughout the time of my ED I never saw my friends, never really talked to them and never told them what was going on with me throughout recovery because to be honest I was kind of ashamed and embarrassed and I was sure that I would loose all my friendships because of my ED. Now I know that makes me sound like I think my friends are shallow and unsupportive, but that couldn't be further from the truth! I guess my mind made me believe that no one would want to be around someone with something as weird as having an extreme fear of one of the basic things you need for your survival.
None of my friends knew about my ED until September this year. When I went to Australia to visit my sister I added a whole bunch of people to my instagram that I knew personally and I was ready for the back lash. But what I got was completely unexpected and overwhelming support from some of the people I am closest to. this really just goes to show that your ED gives you some very warped views when it comes to everything in your life...

My brain function. With going to university this is a big one. At the start of the year I went through summer school when my ED wasn't that bad and I was able to pass and concentrate a bit in class. But by the time the semester started my ED had spiralled and I had absolutely no focus or concentration at all. I wasn't sleeping and lack of food was frying my brain and making me incredibly irritable. This year in going through recovery I have come out of my 2nd year of university with a B average, though I had to withdraw from 2 classes due to starting treatment. Sure to a lot of peoples standards this will be pretty poor. But I am definitely not a bright student, and I have been maintaining a B average throughout my 2 and a half  years at university so far. with another year and a half to go until I can graduate with my Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.

Meeting new people. Through instagram I have talked to and had the opportunity to meet so many inspiring people. People who are outside a community of Instagram really don't get it and they just think instagram is an obsession. but for people within this recovery community is a place of support and really is just as legitimate as any AA meeting out there, our support group is just online.

And really there are so many more but those are kind of the main ones.

Remember you are worth recovery. You are worth the food your ED is telling you that you aren't deserving of having. And when your mind tells you "you're the worst anorexic out there" - remember that if you were the best, you would be dead and then what would that achieve?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Name Is Sophie and I Am A Chocolate Addict...

Since I know a lot of you follow me on instagram you all know that recently I have become something of a chocolate addict and I am really not ashamed of it. Yes, I know that there are people out there that my 100g a day chocolate addiction angers but really I just find that hilarious!! Why would you care about how someone chooses to make up calories? Really the important thing is that they're making them up right?

Anyway I thought I would give you a quick little update. So this week at REDS I had a little bit of a set back. After maintaining for around two months I had an unexpected weight gain of about 2kg in that many weeks and to be honest it threw me a bit. It took a couple of days to get over the shock and the wanting to get the weight off (thankfully I was able to fight the urges)thanks to all of you amazing people I got there.

Right now I have completed my first week of my 4 week practicum/placement. and to be honest after the year I've had I never thought I would be here. And a HUGE part of this is because of my university and the faculty that I'm in. They have been so amazing and understanding through all this and they have made some massive exceptions for me... Like in usual circumstances I would have to repeat my second year. But in my case the uni has allowed me to complete this year - I have also been able to finish this year's 2 full year papers of which I have missed half the year of - for one I had an essay instead of the exam (which I found out a few days ago I got an A for)  and then for the other one I am currently making up for the placement I missed. Go on and finish my third year - though I wont be graduating with my class. And then go back to year 2 and complete the two papers I had to withdraw from which I only had three classes of before being admitted. So they have been extremely gracious and accommodating about this whole situation.

But right now I would say that my state of mind is pretty good. And today marks the first day of not calorie counting since coming out of hospital in April and I plan to keep it that way.

My practicum is going pretty well I think. I am loving the centre I'm at the children and staff are lovely though I'm a little nervous about my assessing lecturer - I hate her with a passion. And this kind of brings back a few bad memories for me considering she was going to be evaluating me on the practicum I was doing at the time I was admitted to hospital.

Anyway, the reason for this post is just to give you all a bit of a life update and hopefully things are going well for you all!

Friday, October 17, 2014

What Has Helped Me In Recovery So Far...

At the moment I have been struggling a lot with eating but most of all my depression. Things just really haven't been going great, home life isn't the greatest, my therapy might be being stopped (I'm hoping not) and really university is just getting extremely stressful and I'm finding it hard to deal with it all. This is all being reflected in my food and my exercise, my way of choice to compensate for my feelings I guess..
For me I don't really have any "inspirations" for recovery or anything like that. Really I was forced into recovery by my doctor and really just haven't allowed myself to slip (by my perfectionistic personality and also because I know the stress it would put on my parents).

Anyway onto some of the things that have helped me stick with recovery

- Music - This would have to be one of the things that have helped me to stick out recovery and I use it multiple times a day to help me get through the day. For me music has always been something I have really enjoyed, whether that just be listening to it or playing it.

I find that music can be extremely powerful, a great distraction and its easy to get lost in it and switch your brain off when listening to it. Right now I have two songs in particular that are helping me a lot.. One around eating and the thoughts associated with that, and the other is helping me with my depression..

- Instagram - This would have to be one of the most helpful and inspiring things that I have done throughout recovery and I would recommend anyone do it that is starting out in recovery. You just have to make sure you are following people in the recovery community and not the "pro ana" community especially if you are easily triggered. Though annoyingly enough you will find a lot of those accounts will end up following you...

This community is amazing, and so supportive. I have found so many people that live in my city alone (as well as throughout NZ) and I hope one day soon to meet all of them because they are all amazing, strong and such inspiring people who have helped and supported me through this. It also helps that they have a bit of a better understanding of what its like to go through this (both the ED and onto recovery) and just how hard and what a struggle it is.

- My Friends and Family - without them I would have probably would have been in relapse a long time ago. Let me clarify that I am no way stating that I'm the picture of recovery at the moment, if anything I feel like I am in a pretty bad place.. But I'm managing to carrying on with eating even though its getting extremely hard.

Having friends and family to talk to when I find things are getting a bit hard is really helpful. I actually only let friends know about my anorexia about a month ago by following them on instagram. All of them were extremely supportive and its really reassuring to have people you know and trust helping you along and also being aware of what you're going through.

- University - Currently I am studying to be an early childhood teacher, being around and interacting with children is something that really brings me joy. They never fail to cheer me up, they will say or do something funny or adorable and it just automatically makes my mood better and brightens my day.

When I finally finish my degree my hope is that I would become registered as an ECE teacher and find a job in that field. Something else I would love to do is studying nutrition and fitness as this is something else that I really enjoy and find interesting - more so nutrition.

But I've found that uni is also a great for a range of things. it gets your brain thinking again, gets you out of the house and also throws you out of your comfort zone especially when it comes to social eating and just interacting with people again - which I know I found hard. Luckily my uni has let me continue with the class I was with and haven't held me back to complete what I missed at the start of this year, which helped a lot.

- Work - Currently I am a reliever at an early childhood centre and have been associated with that centre in one way or another for about three years. I find that work is a great distraction because its a chance to interact with other people, being thrown into a completely different environment and gives you something else to focus on (and earning some money in the process doesn't hurt). For me I love the other teachers that I work with but most of all I love the children within this centre. They never fail to cheer me up and to be honest I have been to 5 different centres through work and university and none even come close to my work!

- Reading - This is something I am still trying to get back into, though I am finding it extremely hard because I am finding it extremely hard to find the time around uni work and also I am finding it quite hard to concentrate. I used to love reading. Though as a child I absolutely despiced it! I think up until I started reading for enjoyment in my very late teens there was only one chapter I had actually finished (I'm not kidding). I started reading for enjoyment 6 years ago and I have never looked back. I have found some amazing series and authors because of this and it is something that I love because it gets you out of your own head and focusing on something completely different.

I hope that this was helpful to someone and that someone got something out of it, I'm sorry it's so long

Monday, October 6, 2014

My First Six Months In Recovery...

As of today I am 6 months and 5 days into recovery. In that time I have been hospitalised/inpatient once, have gained a total of 18kg from my lowest and have been maintaining for about two months now. I am also 99 days binge free...

What I have found from being weight restored is that most people without an ED (even the people living in the same house as you and are around you 24/7) start treating you differently, like everything is alright and that you are completely cured... That is 100% false.

For me, mentality wise I am probably in a state much the same, if not worse then when I was at the height of my ED.. The only difference is that my body is functioning a little better than it used.

What a lot of people (even people with an ED, I know I didn't to begin with) don't understand is that an eating disorder is a mental illness just like depression and that weight loss is only a side effect of it, and as of today my anxiety/depression medication has been doubled...

My biggest regret in recovery would have to not be doing FBT properly.. Since I was over 18 when I first went into the system they really couldn't force me to do it. But my original plan after getting out of being inpatient was to do FBT and have my family take over all my meals and be supervised pretty much all day everyday (just like being inpatient, only at home).

I only stuck to that plan for maybe 3-4 days, and to be honest I really didn't like who I became when I was in those 3-4 days... I threw food, yelled and screamed and was just generally a completely different and horrible person. The compromise that me and my family came to was first to agree on meal plans the day before and I would prepare it under their supervision, though that only lasted a couple of weeks also. Eventually what ended up happening is that I took charge of all my meals (choosing and preparing them) and my weight was just monitored...

What I regret most about not doing FBT is that I am still petrified of food... I only eat a very limited amount of items and have very rigid guidelines (which my ED has set up in my head) that I have to follow in regards to the calories I have, what goes into the meals (especially lunch and dinner) and also the exercise I do and how I spend my day. I feel that if I did FBT properly I may be close to being recovered by now (or at least a lot further along then I am).

Things really have been spiralling down hill for me mood wise lately and its starting to affect my eating.. I'm still making sure I have everything I need but its just making the thought of eating and going through my day a lot harder and I just feel like my quality of life has diminished significantly.

I am still heavily involved in treatment, seeing my psychiatrist once a week, having medication reviews every 6-8 weeks and medical checks every 3 months with my weight being taken every time I see my psychiatrist.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Little About Me...

I thought I would use this first post to tell you a little about me, my interests and of course how I got to this point..

So the basics.. My name is Sophie and I am 21 years old. I am currently living in Auckland and have so my whole life. I am currently studying to be an Early Childhood Teacher. I really love to read and listen to and play music, but sadly these have been things that my ED has taken away from me so I am trying to get back into that.

Where everything started...

I have been overweight my whole life but come the night of my sisters 21st Birthday party in late January of 2012 that all changed, well not for a while... On the 1st April 2012 I decided to have one last ditch attempt at loosing weight and I decided to go on Tony Ferguson (Meal Replacement weight loss programme).

And still to this day I feel like this was the right decision for me. Sure, it may have contributed to my disorder and heightened it slightly but when I look back on it I have had disordered eating throughout my life not just from the past 2 years.

So I started off at Tony Ferguson on the 1st April 2012 at 18 years old, 166cm and weighing a whopping 92kg (BMI of 33.4) with the goal of reaching 60kg which I got to within a year.

For me this was a slow process and took about a year. But im a person with an obsessive personality and I guess I didn't really think about that when I started and weight loss and exercise became an obsession...

Fast forward to April 2nd 2014 and I was admitted to hospital at my lowest weight for refeeding(ironic I know, my psychiatrist at the hospital pointed it out to me).

I was in the hospital for 15 days with an NG tube and it is not somewhere I would want to be again.

So right now I am currently weight restored  and am trying to gain my life back one step at a time. Though my body may be pretty much healed my mind is far from it. I feel like really I have made no mental progress since before I went into hospital back in April.