A Raw Realization

Hello loves. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and was able to spend time with family and friends.

Today I felt the need to write (even though I just finished writing a 7 page paper, lol), but instead of writing for someone else, I wanted to write for me…and for you guys of course! This post is reflective, and I hope it inspires you in some way, no matter what your suffering from at this time (stress, mental illness, physical illness, the business of the season) – whatever your going through – this post is meant to encourage you and to help you see that there is good in everything.

Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to do a lot of reflecting and thinking. Let me back up for a second…yesterday afternoon I had a doctor’s appointment, the BIG doctor’s appointment…the kind that you wait months for and have to go in with a list of questions. This was my first appointment that I had with my doctor after receiving my new metabolic disease diagnosis in August. Since then, a lot has happened. I have had to schedule appointments with a nutritionist, take a whole bunch of new medicines, change my diet, and the list goes on and on. However, this is not about me and the instructions I need to follow in dealing with my condition. This is about a realization that came to yesterday.

My doctor’s appointment went well, but it caused me to have a lot of mixed emotions. For starters, I received another diagnosis: Raynaud’s/Antiphosphlipid antibody syndrome. The doctor wrote me another script so I can take more medicine (perks of chronic illness…lol), and I had the opportunity to discuss everything I have been wondering and concerned about for the past three months.

I left his office feeling heard, validated, and encouraged, which is not always the case when I leave the offices of some of my other doctors.

BUT, when I got home, there was a heaviness inside of me. I was thankful that another piece of the puzzle has been solved, but sad to receive a new diagnosis. I was hopeful for the future, but afraid of the uncertainty. I collapsed on the couch, exhausted from the day, and I felt sorry for my body. Yes, you heard that correctly. I felt SORRY for it.

I have spent most of my life hating my body, destroying my body, hurting my body, and doing everything in my power to change it. And here I am now, feeling sorry for it. And I thought to myself…what brought about this change? This shift that I have been working towards, hoping to one day achieve?

PHYSICAL ILLNESS.

Yes. Exactly that. Now let me start off by saying that physical illness is not at all fun. It can be downright horrible. I miss doing all the activities that I used to do. But maybe this curse is actually a blessing in disguise. And I say this because, for the first time in a very, very long time, I have some self-compassion. My doctor helped me to see that I NEED to take care of myself, that I NEED to love myself. Because I have to have my own back. My body has been through hell, and it is time to show it some care. Maybe it took a physical illness for me to see this truth and come to this realization, because I would have let my eating disorder kill me out of denial. My last time in treatment was my saving grace, even though that is where I got sick. I am learning that it’s okay to rest and take care of myself, which in the past has been a completely foreign concept. Most importantly, I am learning that I am deserving, that I deserve to treat my body with respect. It has done nothing but keep me alive for all of those years when I starved it and tried to harm my body any chance I got. Physical illness has shown me that it’s time…time to start taking care of me. Time to realize that I AM enough. That I DO enough. Even with my limitations. I need to accept myself the way I am, illnesses and all. And, as my doctor said, I need to NOT feel guilty. I am doing the best I can given the circumstances. Only I know what I can do and not do. Only I know how much I can and can’t take. So it is time to take charge of my health. Of my recovery. Of my life.

And if I can learn to love myself, after I thought it was IMPOSSIBLE, I know you can too.

Much love,

Claire

Let’s Talk About Numbers

Hello loves! Well, it has been over a month since I last posted…wow, feels like forever! I was going to muster up some courage and dedicate this post to the election, but after some thought, I am going to leave it alone and maybe save that for another time. I think it might do us all some good to keep moving forward with our daily lives and remain positive, no matter who you voted for!

So–on to what I really want to talk about, and that is NUMBERS. We attach so much meaning to numbers. Just take a minute, and think about all of the important numbers in your life…

Anything come to mind?

I know most of us would admit to caring about the number of calories we consume in a day, or what the size of our jeans are, maybe what the number on the scale says, how tall we are…if we are sick we may have to track our blood pressure, our heart rate, our blood glucose levels, iron levels, and the list goes on and on. We become consumed with these numbers, giving them so much more importance than what they deserve. Yes, it is important to every once and a while know where your weight is at, for health purposes. We need to know what size we are so we can shop for clothes. If you have illnesses like I do, you may need to keep track of your blood pressure, heart rate, and so on. But there is a fine line between monitoring these numbers for health purposes, and letting the numbers dictate your life. Maybe you do this, and maybe you don’t, but for those who struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder, numbers can be an absolute nightmare.

I am going to open up to all of you who follow me with a struggle that is very real, one that I typically do not discuss in great detail, and that is my issues surrounding mental health. In previous posts I have talked about my recovery from Anorexia, I wrote about tips that I use to combat and cope with anxiety. I believe a while back I even wrote one post about OCD. However, I recently have been getting away from the more personal stuff, and writing on more general topics. This post is going to get to some of the nitty gritty that I have been leaving out. Why? Because it is something that I have been struggling with recently, pretty much every day. And I KNOW I am not the only one out there who has difficulty with numbers.

So, why do numbers hold so much meaning? When I was entrenched in my eating disorder, numbers were my life – no joke! I was exact and precise about every little calorie I consumed. The calories on the bottle of vitamins mattered, the number of calories in gum mattered. The number on the scale, oh boy did that matter! The size of my pants – yep, that mattered too. But let’s just take a step back for a minute. Why on EARTH would I let numbers, meaningless numbers, hold so much weight? (no pun intended) Partly because I was very sick, both with my eating disorder and OCD. However, at least now I am able to look at the bigger picture. It took me years to come to this conclusion, but I now realize that those numbers: the scale, my size, calories – in the grand scheme of things – do not really matter! The scale does not measure my worth, what size my jeans are does not prove anything, the number of calories I eat in a day does not measure my success. I was trying to internalize external things that have no true value. We need to be comfortable with who we are, and recognize all of the good that we are and the good things that we do. We are special, unique, and beautiful just the way God made us. BUT, I am digressing and I tend to do that. Yes, my obsession with numbers surrounding food and appearance have lessened quite a bit, but I think it is safe to say that the obsession has just latched on to another area of my life, which is my health.

As many of you know from my last post, I have Dysautonomia, among other illnesses. This requires that I track my blood pressure and heart rate, as well as occasionally my blood sugar. My struggle right now, is knowing when to stop…knowing when to let it go, and leave the numbers as they are rather than trying to manipulate everything. I feel a bit vulnerable writing this, and I am not going to go into extensive detail about my obsessive thoughts, but I will tell you that sometimes, I get stuck taking these measurements. Over, and over, and over again. The hours add up. And I feel guilty. I feel anxious. I feel stupid. I feel down right bad and ashamed. But I need to realize that, like the number on the scale or the number of my jean size, these numbers do not carry so much weight! Yes, it is important to know when things are off so I can try to correct it and feel better, but my life does not depend on these numbers, if you know what I mean. Half the time, I know how I am feeling and can tell when something is off without even taking these measurements. So yes, in a way they are important, but just like my struggle with numbers surrounding my eating disorder, there is a fine line where it can become unhealthy, an obsession. And THAT is what I need to continue to work on. So, if you struggle with numbers, I hope this post speaks to you, and I hope you know you are not alone. It is not an easy task, but try to not let numbers dictate your life – they should not hold that much power. Life is meant to be lived fully and whole heartedly – and you cant do that if your constantly counting.

Much Love,

Claire

Kicking off Dysautonomia Awareness Month!

Hello loves! How is everybody? I am doing pretty well today. I spent the majority of the day doing homework and helping (as much as I could) my family move some boxes over to our new house! I am not sure if I mentioned it on this blog, but my family and I are moving. We have to be out of our house in 3 weeks! I’m excited because in our new house, I get to stay in the loft above the garage – so I get a little bit of freedom for the first time in a long time and I am so psyched!

Anyways, on to what this post is about and that is…Dysautonomia. I typically do not go into detail (at least I haven’t recently) on my blog about the ins and outs of all my illnesses. BUT, since it is Dysautonomia awareness month, I thought I would write a post as tribute!

I have been afraid of going public about the illnesses and diseases that I suffer from. Yes, if you follow my Instagram you will see that I do make some posts regarding my health, but I do not spell out in the bio what illnesses I have, and I typically do not go into detail or do health updates. Additionally, Facebook is off limits when it comes to my chronic illnesses too. The general public I do not want to know. The only places where I have felt comfortable delving into my chronic illnesses as well as mental illnesses are on this little blog, and my Tumblr. However, this year has been a little different. For the first time, I actually raised awareness on my Facebook page for the metabolic disease that I have, because the awareness week was just a couple weeks ago. I also just changed my Facebook profile picture to support Dysautonomia awareness. I was actually quite nervous to take these little steps. I am normally a very private person. But these diseases have affected my life in such a way, that I do not want to “hide” it any more. I am not ashamed that I have been diagnosed with these illnesses, because honestly, I believe it has made me stronger. Dysautonomia, as well as my other conditions, I truly believe have helped to make me the person I am today. I have grown because of them. I may be weak, and tired, and dizzy. I may pass out or come close to it, I may have to use a walker every once in a while (it used to be all the time) but if someone were to ask me do you regret any of this happening to you…you know what I would say? Absolutely not. Don’t get me wrong – chronic illness is HARD, mental illness is HARD, but to be able to get through that stuff? It just proves that you are fighter. I am also a firm believer in that everything happens for a reason. We may not know what that reason is, and it may take years later to really discover the reason, but there is a reason nonetheless; God has a plan for us. If my plan involves illness, so be it. I will deal with the cards that I have been dealt with.

So, Dysautonomia awareness month. I am raising awareness here, on my Tumblr, on my Facebook, and also on my Instagram! I follow the Dysautonomia Project on Instagram, and they have a 31 day Dysautonomia photo challenge. It is only day three, but I have completed the challenge thus far. It was scary to start it, because there are some people on my Instagram who I was not sure I wanted to them to know some of the details of my illness. BUT, there are a lot of people who I follow who are brave enough to be open about their conditions, and I wanted to feel that freedom of just letting go and not worrying what other people think. That is not always easy; I always worry about what others think and what others would think of me if I was open about some of my struggles. But then, I think, you may just be able to help someone out there, in some way, or provide support or advice to others who are struggling/going through similar issues. It is also a way for me to connect to others with similar problems, maybe they can even help me when I am having a bad day.

Before I end this post, I want to discuss my evening this past Saturday. On October 1st,me, my boyfriend, and two of my good friends met at the Rainforest Café for dinner, and after that we saw Niagara Falls light up in turquoise for Dysautonomia Awareness Month. It was so much fun! That was my first time attending an event for Dysautonomia, or any of the illnesses I have, and it was such a good time. The love I felt from my friends was overwhelming. We took pictures, played with glow sticks and wrapped ourselves up in streamer – you know – all the typical things that an almost 25 year old girl does…Just kidding. We were being so silly, but it was honestly one of the best nights that I have had. I was so glad that I actually worked up the courage to attend this event, even though I was nervous and felt ashamed and guilty. Ashamed that I have the illness in the first place, and embarrassed that people were coming FOR ME. But if I just focus on how much fun that night was, and how much support and love I have around me, those negative feelings dissipate.

HAPPY DYSAUTONOMIA AWARENESS MONTH!

For those who suffer from the illness, stay strong and keep fighting!

I wish everyone a good week 🙂

 

Much love,

Claire

 

To The Man Who Told Me I Was Too Old To Color

Dear man in Barnes and Noble,

You saw me curled up in a big comfy chair with a large bag of colored pencils and a journal with coloring pages. I had my ear buds in listening to some acoustic songs, trying to center myself and get myself to a more peaceful place. I am sure that the reason behind my coloring didn’t even cross your mind, and if it did, you probably could not figure out why a girl my age was sitting there by myself doing an activity that, in your mind, only 5 year olds should be doing.

“Aren’t you a little old to be coloring?”

I didn’t really answer your question then, mainly because I did not know what to say and was caught off guard, but I am going to answer it now.

No, I am not too old to be coloring. You told me that you used to color when you were a little kid, but that people my age don’t color. First of all, have you looked in Barnes and Noble? You were there. The store is filled with coloring books and Mandala books for children, teens, and adults. Granted, I know you are quite a bit older than me and so we have very different experiences; you may not be up to date on the latest trends, and I certainly do not hold that against you. I have grandparents, and I respect them and what they have to say. However, you talked to me for 40 minutes in Barnes and Noble, when I do not even know you. I was trying to be polite and listen, but the truth is, I just wanted to return to my coloring book, music, and forget about everything for a little while. By the comments you made, I’m sure you thought of me as silly and naïve, you certainly did not take my field that I am in seriously: “Well, have fun picking a part people’s brains”, you said to me about social work as you left. Here is the thing: you don’t know a thing about me. You made assumptions without knowing the story, the background, the truth. I was in Barnes and Noble trying to kill time, minding my own business, when I was interrupted in a not so nice way. You probably didn’t know that before coloring in Barnes and Noble, I was sitting in the parking lot for half an hour having a meltdown. You probably didn’t know that I was experiencing symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, and low blood sugar that all piled up to create one big mess to the point where I was in tears unable to go into the store for a chunk of time. You probably didn’t know that before driving to Barnes and Noble, I climbed 6 flights of stairs on campus with a heavy backpack and a chronic illness just to be too scared to walk into the MSW student lounge, so I  turned around and descended the same 6 flight of steps. I felt dizzy and weak, I felt as if my body could collapse. You also probably didn’t know that prior to THAT, I was in the store on campus buying some school supplies, and counted my money incorrectly at the cash register due to brain fog and anxiety, and felt so embarrassed and anxious that my body started to shake. You must not realize what it is like to live with a mental illness, and a chronic physical illness for that matter. I know because I know your life story after listening to you talk for a good solid 40 minutes. You certainly had your challenges that you faced, so why did you judge a book by it’s cover? Did you ever think that maybe I was trying to cope with one of my own challenges? That I was doing something to help myself get to a better place? It probably never occurred to you that I suffer from anxiety disorders, or that I have a rare metabolic disease along with some other chronic health problems. I was just trying to get myself through the rest of my day, doing what I had to do to get by, and I really did not need or appreciate the comments that you, a total stranger, made to me.

So, to go back to your question, no, of course I am not too old to color. I am not too old to journal. I am not too old to hug my stuffed animals when I feel scared or anxious, or when I am in the midst of a panic attack. I have to do what I have to do to get myself through the fear, and over the mountains that sometime prevent me from living my life to the fullest. We all have barriers and obstacles that we need to learn to overcome. Mine may seem silly to you, but to me they are very real and frightening, and I am not going to be ashamed of using my coping skills and taking care of myself, no matter where I am. Next time you see someone doing something that you don’t understand or that you think is silly, I invite you to keep an open mind, and to remember that we all have very different, unique experiences. You never know what kind of battle that person may be fighting, and if you do not know the reason or story behind the action, don’t judge. Take a step back and think before you speak. You told me that young people should talk to older people because they have a lot of good things to say. While I do not deny this is true, I love having conversations with my grandparents and family friends who are older, I did not learn anything from your words. Rather, I learned from your actions. You were a bit rude and made false assumptions. However, thank you for reminding me that I need to stand up for myself more, and that I should not talk to strangers for almost an hour straight (haha), maybe 5 minutes at most if they seem harmless. I am not holding on to the anger and frustration that I felt when you were putting in your two sense. It is not worth it, I am letting it all go because there are other things that I could be worrying about. I just thought you should know the answer to your question.

Claire

 

Meal Planning In College

Hello loves! So, since the majority of college classes are starting back up soon, if they haven’t already, I thought I would write something geared more towards college and how I handle my eating disorder while in school. During my undergrad career, I cannot think of many times where I was actually in recovery from my eating disorder. In fact, I spent most of my time entrenched in my ED. This year is different, however. I am happy to say that I actually feel comfortable writing a post like this for you guys, and I hope these tips for meal planning can help whoever may need it!

Meal planning…This is something that many people dread, I know I do at times. However, it is a crucial element to recovery for those who suffer from various types of eating disorders. It has taken me years to learn (definitely the harder way) that if I do not meal plan, I slowly slip back into eating disorder behaviors. If I do not incorporate some form of structure into my day, then that leaves just enough room for my eating disorder to sneak back in and leave it’s two sense. When that happens, do I listen to my eating disorder? Sometimes…okay, I do not want to lie. When there is no structure or planning going on during the day, I listen to my eating disorder probably 98% of the time. This is why it is so important to have some kind of plan! I spent most of my college career listening to this eating disorder voice that still haunts me at times. Mind you, I am much better now and am on the path of recovery, but it used to wreak havoc on all aspects of my life, including school.

When I was in the midst of my eating disorder, I would plan everything around food, including when I would eat, what I would eat, when I would use behaviors and how I would use behaviors. School did not come before my eating disorder; anorexia was my number one priority, and I used school as a way to engage in more behaviors. In college, you have A LOT more freedom than you do in high school. You don’t sit down with all of your friends every day at the same time for lunch, and you do not have teachers and faculty watching you and keeping a close eye on you. Eating becomes more ‘on the go’ so to speak, and you eat when you have the time in between or during classes. You have full accountability. Even if you do not go away to school and commute like I do, you still have much more responsibility. Yes, I get some help and support from my parents when I am at home, but when I am out and about if I eat or not is ultimately on me.

Here are some tips that I want to share on ED recovery with all of my high school friends preparing to go off to college:

  1. Meet with a dietician. Now, I don’t know about every university out there, but I know my university offers free services including meetings with a dietician however often I need. When I discovered this, it literally changed my life because this nutritionist is amazing! If your university offers this service, please please take advantage of it! It can only help and a nutritionist is a great person to confide to in how your eating habits are going while in college. If your university does not offer dietetic services, maybe consider seeing a dietician outside of school. If you are open minded and willing to recover, it can really help!
  2. Plan out your meal times. This is something I did not do in the beginning, because well, I just didn’t care to. Now I know how important it is to make sure that I schedule time to eat, because for me if I do not literally pencil it in, it might not ever get done. Once you get your school schedule, look at it and figure out times that you can fit in your meals and what you have time for. Do you have time to sit down and eat somewhere like in the dining hall or the student union? Or are you rushed for time and need to grab something quick? Figuring this out ahead of time will definitely be beneficial.
  3. Ask a friend. If you know people going to the same school as you, or if you have made some friends, ask them to eat with you! This is really important, especially if you are still struggling with your eating disorder. I know that the times that I ate with friends were some of the most helpful because I had a normal meal and used less ED behaviors. When you eat with others, you are kind of forced into normalized eating habits. Eating with someone else also helps you to stay more accountable! So ask anyone – your room mate even! Find people who you can eat with. Guaranteed it will make your life so much easier and will make meal times that much more enjoyable!
  4. Think about what you would like to eat ahead of time. I am not one to make a super strict meal plan. For me, that pushes me further into disordered thinking and disordered ways of eating. My best option is to have a loose plan. I have figured out over the years that it is important to have some guidelines, but I should not have every single food I eat and the amount planned out, it fuels my OCD. If this works for you and helps to keep you accountable, by all means go that route! What helps me, though, is to have a flexible plan in which I figure out what I would like to eat the night before. That way, you are not getting to the dining hall or student union and trying to figure out what you want on the spot. That is always so hard, especially when you are with other people. I know I can be very indecisive, so if I know what I would like to eat the night before, I can feel a little less stressed about the whole process of buying my food.

So, those are my four main tips for how to eat/meal plan in college. I hope you found them helpful! I just wanted to reiterate that I am NOT a professional; I just speak from my own experience.

Stay strong lovelies – your life is worth so much more than your eating disorder!

Much love,

Claire

 

Summer Recap and Reflections

Hello loves! I hope everyone had a good weekend. I know I did! Since summer is winding down and coming to an end, I thought I would give a recap of my favorite moments this summer. I start school next week, and my orientation for my Master’s program is this Thursday. It is so crazy how this summer just flew by. I also did some journaling this morning from my prompt journal, and I want to share my thoughts with you all and talk a little bit about what excites me about the possibility of a new day. So, let’s get started!

Fourth of July

The fourth of July was a blast. My family was in town from Florida, and we watched Fireworks and had a bonfire with sparklers and sky lanterns.

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Helicopter ride and Whirlpool Jet Boats

My boyfriend and I had a day of fun earlier this summer. We took a ride on the whirlpool jet boats that go into class 5 rapids. It was so much fun! We got soaked – literally. It felt like buckets of water were just constantly being dumped on us. So worth it though! After that, I took my first ever helicopter ride over Niagara Falls! It was incredible! I was really nervous at first, but again, so worth it!

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My Big Doctor’s Appointment

Back in June, I had a muscle biopsy done to see if we could find the cause for all of the health issues that I have been experiencing. I was extremely nervous for my appointment and to find out the results. Honestly, I was not expecting them to find anything because I did not want to get my hopes up just to be disappointed. However, the doctor did find something. It turns out that I have a rare metabolic disease that explains my fatigue and low energy. You are probably wondering why this is even on this list…I mean, how could this be a good thing? Well, when I received this diagnosis, I was relieved. Finally, we can pin point the cause for my POTS and Dysautonomia, and why all of this started happening to me. We can now treat the underlying cause, and my doctor was hopeful that I will eventually feel better. It isn’t always easy. I probably cried at least 5 times over the fact that I have this disease and how hard it is to live each day feeling ill, but I’m grateful too. Grateful that I have this diagnosis and grateful that we discovered it. If I never had this muscle biopsy done, who knows if I would ever feel better. At least now I have a chance!

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Starting A New Job

I recently just started a new job at a local hospital. This is kind of a big deal, because I have not been able to work in over a year. I am ready to get back into it though, and this job is perfect for me! Reason being is that I am not on my feet all day, and I get to utilize what I have learned in school and apply it to real life!

 

My Vacation to The Thousand Islands

I just returned a couple days ago from the Thousand Islands. My boyfriend and I took a trip there for a couple days for my graduation while I have ten days off between my last undergrad course and my first Master’s course. It felt so good to be back there! Growing up, my family and I would take vacations there every summer. It is so beautiful and peaceful. We went swimming, visited Boldt Castle, took a boat tour, and just enjoyed our time. I miss it already and wish the trip could have lasted a little longer, but I’m so thankful we were able to go there!

 

Family Dinner

Last night we had a family party/dinner at my house. It was me, my cousin and his wife, my sisters, my boyfriend, my aunt, and my parents. We decided to have a big dinner to celebrate my graduation and my sister leaving for college. It was so much fun. I enjoyed some wine and good food, sat by the bonfire, ate s’mores, and took pictures with everyone I love! We even went for a night swim in the river. It was so nice to have everyone together and just enjoy each others company. I miss it already!

 

There was a lot of good that happened this summer, and I am sad to see it come to an end. However, I am looking forward to starting my Master’s program and for all of the new adventures still to come.

So, what excites me about the possibility of a new day? Having the opportunity to live life to the fullest. Every day is a gift, and even though some days are harder than others and things just don’t seem to be going our way, we need to be able to find the good in each day and just be thankful for the day because we are alive and here. I used to dread each and every day. There were times where I wished that I wasn’t even alive. Now, I realize that life isn’t supposed to feared, or dreaded. We are here to love and be loved, to live our lives to the fullest, to create memories and partake in different experiences. We are here to learn, to grow, and to flourish. There are still times where I fear parts of life, where I break down and cry because I’m scared of the future, of my own thoughts, or of the unknown. That is all part of having an anxiety disorder. Even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, we will all experience fear and sadness in life; we cannot avoid these feelings because they are inevitable. What I am learning to do, though, is to embrace those feelings when they occur. The negative feelings are also a part of life, and I want to try to accept every little bit of what life has to offer. I am excited for what life will bring each day. I am excited to learn something new, to spend time with the people who I love. I am so thankful for my support system. It makes life a heck of a lot more fun and enjoyable when you spend time with the people who you love. My family dinner the other night was one of those times that made me realize how good it is to be alive. It is those moments that keep me going and help me to remember why we are here.

Tell Me: what excites you about the possibility of a new day?

The Bigger and Better

Hello loves! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. As for me, I am on top of the world right now. Why? I just got home from my last class ever as an undergrad! I am so excited to finally be finished, have my bachelors degree, and move on to bigger and better things. It only took 6 years and an eating disorder later, but I did it. This is really a huge accomplishment, so I’m sorry if it seems like I’m bragging, but I think sometimes we need to ‘toot our own horns’ because we are worth it! It is OKAY to recognize and celebrate our accomplishments! This is something that I need to continually remind myself. When others congratulate me, I tend to brush off their compliments like they do not really matter, but you know what? I have GOT to stop doing that. WE have to stop doing that. Accept people’s compliments and allow yourself to recognize the good things that you do. If other people want to praise you for the good things that you do, let them! I know it may be uncomfortable at first, but the more we practice the easier it will get. Believe it or not I think that when we accept other’s compliments, we are actually practicing some self-love because we are allowing our successes to be recognized without refuting the compliment or disagreeing with it. Moral of the story, you are worthy and deserving of everything, including acknowledging and celebrating your accomplishments!

-Now that that rant is over-

I am excited to look forward. In the past, the future seemed so dark and dismal. In fact, I really didn’t think that I had a future. But for the first time in forever, I can see a real future. That scares me sometimes, it definitely comes with its own anxieties, but it’s different from the times where I was in a deep depression and nothing seemed to be looking up. I have to say that I still struggle sometimes, most definitely. I struggle with my eating disorder and my eating disorder thoughts, I still struggle with behaviors, I still experience anxiety that can be crippling and obsessive thoughts that don’t want to go away. HOWEVER, overall, I can handle it. Life will never be perfect, and my struggles may never go away, but if you learn to live with whatever you have going on the best you can, your life will be 10 times better. I am learning how to help myself, and realizing that I deserve to be helped. This is crucial if I want to succeed in my future. I have so many good things that are happening. I just graduated, and in a few weeks I will be starting my Master’s program for Social Work (part time). I can’t wait to get one step closer to my career as a medical/health care social worker! I also just started a new part time job which is the most grown up job I have had yet. In addition to these things, I also recently received a new medical diagnosis that explains the diagnoses that I have had for the past couple of years and the symptoms that just have not been getting better. Now with this new diagnosis, I am hopeful that I will start to feel better with time and a lot of work. Life is far from easy. In fact, it’s pretty damn hard. But I refuse to give up and I am really going to try to enjoy the ride the best I can – even when things aren’t going so well – because every day is a gift, and I want to live like I am thankful for all of it.

Much love,

Claire

Currently!

Hello loves! Happy Friday! Since it is the start of the weekend, I thought I would do a lighter/more fun post for you guys. A while ago I did my first ‘Currently’ post, and a lot has actually changed since then, so I figured this would be a good time to write my second ‘Currently’ post for ya’ll. I am really glad that I have gotten back into the swing of blogging more regularly. I forgot how much I missed it! It is so nice to just write and connect with everyone. I feel like the craziness of life has picked up again, though, so I am going to try my best to continue blogging fairly regularly. Anyways, onto what I’ve currently been up to!

Current Song(s): First by Cold War Kids, Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld, and Ophelia by The Lumineers

Current Snack: Quest bars…I’m loving them! They are great for when you are busy and on the go. My favorite flavors are cookies and cream, cookie dough, and mint chocolate chunk 🙂 I’ve also been loving Tostito chips with queso! yummm..

Current Dessert: Birthday Cake Oreos! I tried these for the first time yesterday, and I’m hooked! Those things are dangerous!

Current Drink: Body Armor…love that stuff!

Current Book: Neuropsychological Evaluation of The Child…this is a book that my boss from my new job let me borrow. I’m going to read and skim through as much as I can. I recently just finished All The Bright Places, and what a great book that was! I also have more books that I want to read. Two that I am really looking into is Quiet, which my sister lent me, and I am really interested in reading January First by Michael Schofield.

Current Stressor: Starting a new job…don’t get me wrong, I’m excited too! However, starting a new job is always a stressful and scary process. Especially while you are trying to balance that with school, other weekly appointments, and not being 100% healthy. I am a testing technician at the neurology department at a local hospital. I have been in twice to train and observe, and man is it overwhelming! There is so much information to keep straight and a lot that you have to balance at one time, so it is definitely going to be a challenge until I get the hang of it.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Gossip Girl! I found it on Netflix earlier this week, and I’m hooked!

Current Movie: My Girl, another great one I discovered on Netflix.

Current Plans For the Weekend: Besides catching up on homework, studying, and rest, I have plans to go see a Shakespeare play on Saturday evening, which should be a nice break from everything.

Well, that’s a wrap! Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

Tips For Better Sleep

Good morning lovelies! So right now instead of sleeping (it currently being 5:30 am) I am writing ya’ll a blog post. This morning around 3 am my dog scratched on my bedroom door, and I got up to let her in. Ever since then I have been lying in bed awake. My mind was jumping from one thing to the next. So, instead of getting upset over the fact that I can’t sleep, I decided to get out of my bed where I have been laying awake for a couple hours and go down to the living room. I turned on the television (why does television assume everyone is sleeping at 5 am?? Nothing good is on!)  and I am snuggling with my pup as I write.

In light of recent events, I thought I would write a post on sleep hygiene. Sleep is so important, and I am not going to go into the science behind it and pretend like I know exactly what I’m talking about, because I don’t. What I do know, though, is that our cells regenerate during sleep. So, getting proper sleep is important. It is good for our physical health as well as our mental health. I know when I do not get enough sleep, not only do I physically feel tired and sluggish, but that makes some of my mental health conditions worse. I know lack of sleep can really amplify my anxiety. I am not new to insomnia…it is something I have struggled with since I was a kid. So…what do I do now to ensure that I get a good amount of sleep? Besides my medication to help me sleep (which is sometimes needed), below I will list my tips for ‘good sleep habits’ and how to deal with insomnia for all you insomniacs out there who may be reading this at early waking hours.

  1. Have a bedtime. Yep, I said it. I don’t care if your 6, or 60. If you go to bed around the same time every night, your body will ignite it’s internal clock and get used to falling asleep around that time.
  2. Turn off the Phones, Computers, and other electronic devices. These activities stimulate your brain, which is something that we do NOT want to do when we are trying to sleep.
  3. Read before bed (if you have a good book). This may not work for everybody, but it usually helps me to read before bed. I end up getting sleepy (even if it is a book that I am really into) and can fall asleep easier.
  4. Have a light snack. You will hear people tell you to not eat before bed, but I find that I can sleep better on a stomach that isn’t empty. I do not recommend eating a large meal before bed, but having a snack before bed so you are not going to sleep on an empty stomach is something that always helps me.
  5. Drink Tea. If you are a person that has trouble sleeping, I suggest drinking a cup of hot tea (non caffeinated of course). Chamomile is one of my favorites, but there are so many different teas for sleep that you can buy.
  6. Make a routine out of it! Take all of these steps/suggestions, and create your own bedtime routine! This will help you prepare for sleep and help to improve your sleep quality.

What happens if I wake up and can’t fall back asleep?

  1. DONT LAY THERE FOR HOURS. This is the mistake I made this morning. Let some time pass to see if you can fall asleep. If you can’t, though, get up for a few minutes. You may want to go into a different room and read, maybe make yourself another cup of tea, and then return back to bed.

If you read this post, I hope that these tips were helpful and can be of use to you. I know they help me. Overall, I have much better sleep hygiene now putting these tips into practice than I used to. On that note, I think I might try to go back to bed myself, goodnight everyone!

Much love,

Claire

Just A Journey

Hello everybody! Happy Friday! I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that it is the weekend. It is a beautiful day, and I am feeling good. Much better than last night, where I had a major anxiety attack and just spent most of the evening crying and freaking out. But, we all have moments like that, and it always passes so that is a good thing. Today, I woke up feeling refreshed ready to take on the day.

Today I want to talk a little bit about a journey that I’ve taken. Now, I have gone on many adventures, vacations, and taken plenty of trips. This trip, however, is one that holds dear to my heart, because it was on this journey that I really began to find myself and heal from all of my inner demons. In fall of 2014, I was in a very rough place. My mom and I spent weeks researching places for me to go that would help me deal with my eating disorder, anxiety, and OCD. Finally, after much searching, my mother found a place in AZ that she really felt like could be the place to help me. So, reluctantly, I packed my bags and flew there with my mom, across the country, where I would stay for God knows how long by myself. The first step of this journey was hard. When I arrived there, I immediately wanted to go home. I didn’t want my mom to leave me there. I was scared. I felt alone. Everyone seemed very nice, but that wasn’t enough for making me want to stay. I hugged my mom and clung to her side. I started to cry saying “I don’t want to stay here.” My mom begged me to give it a chance. “This place might really be able to help you Claire. Please just try.” So I did. Turns out, trying was the best decision I could have ever made. I did a lot and learned a lot on my journey. I met some of the most caring, wonderful people that I would ever meet. I formed great connections and relationships. I worked with a fabulous therapist. I loved my room mate. Now, it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. It was HARD. Probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but so worth it. That initial anxiety and dread that I experienced when I first arrived didn’t stay. It did not take me long to realize that this was a safe place, and come the end of my stay, that initial fear and anxiety returned. This time, instead of the fear being of the facility, the fear was of leaving the facility. This treatment place became my home away from home, a place where I felt safe, supported, and cared for. It was hard work, but I am so glad for this journey and that I pushed through those initial feelings upon arriving.

Below are some pictures from my experience that I captured with captions…

 

Tell Me: What was your best journey that you went on? What were your initial feelings when you started on your journey? I would love to hear from you!