Being Grateful For (My/) The Eating Disorder?!

Background story

In elementary school at around age 12, I had problems with classmates and I never really fit in. I was simply different than the majority.

I love video games (and Manga & Anime in the past) and have a foible for Japanese culture since I was a kid.

Therefore, I often hid my interests because I was too afraid of being judged.

I tried to fit in & haven’t listened to my intuition (I didn’t know what this even is at that time).

The first time I felt fat was around age 14…And my grades dropped – my self-confidence was non-existent.

Even though I changed schools in grade 9 I carried traumas from the past with me and the wounds were deeper.

I thought being skinny would solve my problems…

 To make the long story short

After hitting rock bottom at age 18 I have learned so much about how our body works.

Without my eating disorder:

  • I hadn’t chosen the path of self-love

  • Wouldn’t have discovered spirituality & the Law of Attraction

  • Wouldn’t be where I am now and the person with all the experience, I gained over the years

  • And so much more…

If you haven’t, listen to the full topic on my newest episode and don’t forget to leave a 5* review!

LISTEN TO THE GOODIE HERE:
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Dating & Eating Disorders

At age 16 before [the spiral went down][1], I avoided relationships at all costs. I’ve heard the drama of my friends all the time, yet I was the one who they asked for advice.

I didn’t want to get dependent on someone and lose my freedom. I sure had some experiences with guys but nothing serious.

When I was trapped in anorexia, I lost all interest romantic relationships, dating, sex etc.

I was too busy destroying myself and wasn’t good or enough at all. And asked myself “who could ever like (someone like) me?”.

You see, I had non-existent self-confidence.

After being one year in recovery from my eating disorder and done with the first year of my apprenticeship training for a few months I met my first boyfriend or better said the first guy I trusted and ever showed my body.

I experienced the feeling of being in love for the first time, and from this moment on ED thoughts came up again.

I must stay skinny and perfect & be the perfect girlfriend, so no one could be in competition with me.

Everything about me needed to be perfect.

More or less, I barely made more progress and I eventually relapsed to stay skinny aka maintaining an unhealthy weight for my body.

But the butterflies in my stomach overlayed the feeling of weakness and being controlled by the demons in my head.

You see being in a state like this can be dangerous. Feeling happy but also lost at the same time.

In the first 2 years, he supported me & made sure I eat and said he’d love me no matter what size (tell this someone who measured her worth from her weight/body since years).

I was 21 around that time.

We were together for almost 4 years, yet in the present I know he sort of manipulated be.

I made myself completely dependent on him. So, he knew he could play with my feelings and use my weaknesses for his benefits. I often cried and took every fault on me?

He often went to parties, also with my friends because they got along well together while I stayed at home playing video games or taking care of his cat.

I didn’t see how toxic this relationship became and only realize this now being single.

Found out he cheated on me multiple times, but I always focused on the positive sides (good to use the law of attraction, hehe)

Now I’m here catching up what I’ve missed the last years. Living in another city on my own. But also set me under too much pressure which caused some lapses in the ED.

Where I’m currently recovering from & focusing on my dreams and goals. If you’re interested in a monthly recovery update, please let me know!

I don’t want you to experience something similar. Especially if you’re suffering from eating disorders too.

So, today I wanna share 4 tips if you’re dating someone but also making sure to protect your recovery.

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#1 Be transparent

Sure, it’s the last thing you want to talk about with someone who you’re interested in as you fear to push them away.

But let me tell one thing, the more serious your relationship gets the more open and honest you should be. Both sides.

If someone loves/likes you, they will understand and don’t define you.

It’s important to talk about your struggles and how insecure you are.

I would talk straight about fearing to gain weight and losing attraction as I want to be beautiful, not only for me but also for them. Or how you want to be healthy and enjoy every moment with them.

Having an ED and dating is possible, but you need to be honest with yourself and push yourself further.

#2 Talk about your triggers

Even people who seem healthy tend to have some unhealthy habits, like only eating in the evening.

Others aren’t a breakfast person. And as you tend to compare yourself with others, especially other's eating habits, this could be dangerous.

Tell them if something about them is triggering for you. It’s crucial to protect your recovery and focus on yourself and your health!

You’re in recovery and different standards are applying to you. (More about this here and here)

After a time they will understand you more and can help you. As everyone has different triggers and raw points.

#3 Do some "Non-ED" activities

Things like going to the cinema or on vacation can be scary. But those are parts of a normal, healthy life.

And since you don’t want to be defined by your struggles, it’s a great chance to tackle that.

What could be cooler than collecting memories with someone you love?

They can support you and you don’t have to do this alone.

Always ask yourself why to do you feel scared/other emotion. So, you can understand more and know the next time how to act more different and healthier.

Imagine yourself being recovered and being able to have a healthy relationship, not only with yourself but also with your partner? That’d be awesome, wouldn’t it?

#4 Put yourself first

Sure, you want to spend every minute with your new flame.

I think it’s important to spend time with yourself alone. This way you make sure, you don’t depend yourself too much on someone else.

Realize you’re the only one who can make you happy. Thinking otherwise isn’t healthy nor helpful.

It could even destroy a relationship. As your opponent don’t want to be reliable for your wellbeing.

Both of you still have their own lives.

You’re the most important person in your life. This isn’t selfish! You can only give love to others if you have more than enough for yourself.

Take this time to figure out what you love, maybe trying new hobbies or revive an old one.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to do something your passionate about while recovering.

Focus only on food and getting healthy physically isn’t the only thing, it’s one half. The other half is mental recovery.

Part of that is reconnecting with your true self. You spend months or even years making the eating disorder your personality while “losing yourself” (hint: you didn’t lose yourself, but it’ll take some time to figure out who you are).

I think this is the most crucial thing.

Now past recovery...

where I realized I can reach all my goals, I feel much more scared of my future (but my dreams are louder) than I feared weight gain, as I only have this one life and want to live it until the fullest.

So, I dare you to work through your feelings and fears, as they will lead you to your path.

Go where the fear is. It’s worth it, I promise!

 

 

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How To Support Friends, Family Members Or Others With A Mental Illness

Friendships are so important for getting through the hard time's life sometimes throws at us.If you need someone to laugh, talk or cry for a little time, friends are a good support system.If you have a friend or know someone with a mental illness, here are tips to make their life a bit easier. 

  • Listen

Make sure to give them a feeling of not being too much, too exhausting, [insert adjective…] and be there for them. It doesn’t matter how often this person will talk about this. Whether it is a few or multiple times. It takes a lot of courage and trust to open about these problems. You should feel good if someone is trusting you at such a high level. You’re not an expert or a professional, but you can always have an open shoulder and help for just being there for this person. I feel good if someone just asks me how I’m doing. 

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  • Go Out With Them

And with that, I don’t necessarily mean go to a party. Of course, you can if you both want that.It’s good to be outside. Just breathing fresh air is really good. This distracts your mind a bit as you live more in the moment. I often feel like that when I take a walk. This won’t cure depression, for example, but it can help to temporarily lift their mood and make them more awake. They probably don’t want to go if you ask them, but persistence helps. Some places, such as school or work should not be avoided and help to not identifying too much with their diagnoses. Because you’re encouraging someone who doesn’t want to do anything to something with occasionally high returns. It really helped me to be eventually forced into going when I initially refused. Find good places where it's peaceful, scenery or calming to walk, like a park, a garden or (if you live nearby) the beach. You can also do a picknick (if the weather is good). Or go out for a cup of coffee or a drink and walk back. 
  • Meals

Having a healthy relationship with food is important for everyone. And if someone struggles with a mental illness, their eating habits could be messed up. You either eat nothing or only small amounts out of lethargy or you refuse to (e.g. having a restrictive eating disorder) or you find yourself binging on chocolate in the afternoon. Hot and balanced meals? What’s that? No way… What you can do is:- Order a takeaway, and eat it in a cozy environment- Bake some treats, and there are tons of nutritious options out there- Go grocery shopping and cook together with them. Eating something homemade is such a different feeling than eating something ready.- Invite them for a meal. Make them feel at home and just have a good time together 
  • Do some household tasks

Especially when it comes to depression, where normal things, let alone the chores are very exhausting. And supporting a friend with, for example, doing the dishes or clean the house/apartment takes a load off them. Moreover, a clean and tidy place to live can help to boost someone’s mood too. You can also take an avoided phone call on their behalf for them. This could be a hairdresser or doctors’ appointment or taking out their trash, something small what disturbs them. I remember when I was too anxious to take phone calls. There are so many ways, where you can make someone’s day brighter by just doing little things. Help them with grocery shopping, write a shopping list with nutritious but also soul foods. This way, your beloved ones can maintain a healthy relationship with food. You should only eat what you (and your soul aka hunger cues) want and messing up your appetite will only confuse your body and led to more problems. Some people try to compensate for problems with alcohol, drugs or other unhealthy behaviors, but this won’t solve the problem at all. They might feel good for a while, but their sorrows will come back even stronger if they suppress instead of dealing with them. And the thing is, they and you’re not alone. Even if your friend doesn’t find a therapist at first. There will always be at least one person they can trust. This person is you in this case and talks to. If you know each other for a long time then you can understand your friend/colleague/family member even more, than a therapist who only knows them for a few weeks or months. (But this isn’t a substitute for a therapist in general!)Regular exercise is important as well. You don’t need to go to the gym with your friend and lift weight multiple times a week but taking a walk in the morning or yoga in the evening can boost their (and your) mood tremendously. And healthy isn’t only food and movement, it’s also about getting enough sleep. We often crave a refreshing night’s sleep, but some nights are just exhausting because you can’t seem to shut your eyes, and just sleep. It could be helpful to make it a rule to turn off your mobile phone one hour before you go to bed because leaving it on wouldn’t make it easier to put it aside and just go straight to sleep. Some people are more likely to hang on their phones for HOURS. So, in conclusion. It’s important to have rules, to have a routine where you have set meal times, and to do daily tasks. You can always support your friend/colleague/family member and there are lots of opportunities to improve their lives. Thank you for reading this. Did I miss an important tip?

 

 

Do you know someone with a mental illness? Please share to help them as well!

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