A ‘Pep Talk’ From an Eating Disorder Survivor

I often get asked the question:

“How do you find recovery? or

“How do you finally reach a place of safe rest and reflection?”

As Jenni Schaefer would say, “Recovery is like a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces are different for everyone.”

While the pieces of the puzzle do vary for each individual circumstance, the bottom line is you have to want it. Strong recovery is a choice which occurs deeply and internally, and stable living cannot be attained through force alone. It has to be a personal decision as a result of a new perspective, mental breakthroughs, and personal emotional commitment and maturity. It isn’t a smooth road either…yet each stumbling block has the potential of creating an even stronger soldier. Such individuals like myself already have the type A personality…we are already intrinsically motivated and extremely determined. It’s just a matter of shuttling this drive into a positive energy towards healing.

There will be fear of losing that control—that security blanket of meticulously counting, measuring, recording and obsessing. We get so trapped and convinced that we cannot exist without it—that we will always be different, and always have to be alert so the evil voice won’t creep back in. In a way, we let this feed us. Deep down we want an escape, but for so long this has been “comfortable” —a sense of grip over our constant climb while trying to keep up in this world.

If you want to gain the trust and respect and self control over your own life again you have to be adamant about true recovery, and outwardly show your serious effort to change in order to regain your friends’ and family’s trust. Even with my respectful degree in Exercise Science, my family probably feared that I would use this new knowledge in the wrong ways. Despite popular belief, this knowledge assisted in extensive intellectual understanding about what exactly was taking place inside my frail body, and everything else associated with the illness from a physiological standpoint. Today, I use this knowledge to my own health advantage, seeking opportunities to apply the practical information to myself and to others. And I’m
still learning. But that is the glory of becoming one with yourself…it makes you feel so alive. 

With that said, I’d like to offer a little pep talk—(the inner coach in me can’t help herself 😉 )
Below is a message directed to anyone who feels this sense of trapped identity and confusion. May this huddle empower you to take a stand, on behalf of yourself, or on behalf of a life you care about:


~A message from your Coach…

“Instead of viewing this step towards healing as relinquishing the sense of control that you have idolized for so long, redirect your perspective to a control GAINED. By surrendering your old strangling ways and obsessive habits, you gain a brand new freedom, and a brand new peace. Break free of the shackles of restriction and lies of stagnancy. You were born a free spirit with influencing outside circumstances. Everyone deals with the same stressors differently, which determines the prognosis of our unique journeys.


Your identity does not lie within your eating disorder.
Yes, it is a part of who you are, and contributes to your story, but only to reveal just how far you’ve come with your newly acquired strength. In the beginning, self discipline and desire for control simply got out of hand. Take back your life with this same discipline and desire. Don’t let this disease control you. By remaining enslaved to the familiar behaviors, you are simply fueling the fire for disaster.

You have to forgive yourself in order to love yourself. You have to stop making excuses for your suffering. You must stop trying to convince yourself that you were meant to suffer and that you don’t deserve to be well. You must preach to yourself the truth that your suppressed spirit knows so well…while trapped behind your ED voice, you are not truly well.

Once you admit you do want to get better, you then have to allow yourself to get better. You must be patient with yourself, and allow your body to figure itself out, piece by piece. You have to spiritually realize that God did not create you with the intention of living a life of pain—He created you with purpose. You must conceptually come to terms with the fact that it is ok to be ok”…it is ok for you to be healthy, and it is ok for you to be happy.

No more feeling guilty about the past, and no more feeling guilty when you give your body the quality care that it needs to survive. Enough of this “But I’m different”  business—everyone is unique in their needs, including you—but this doesn’t mean a life of deprivation, isolation, and slavery. I believe that God envisioned you in your best version when He formed you in his hands. He had wonderful intentions and dreams for you—so much that He saved you, and placed this book in front of your tired face. God wants to be your center. He wants all of you, including the piece of your heart which was deceived so long ago. Give Him all of your guilty filth. Give Him all of your secret thoughts. Surrender to Him all of your mess-ups and give-ups. Present to Him all of your shameful fears and regretful tears.

The truth is, you are already forgiven, my friend. Live with the knowledge of this truth. The past is written, but the next pages are clean. It’s time to forgive yourself. It’s time to free yourself. It’s time to love yourself, and to love yourself without feeling selfish about it.

Consider for a moment who or what it is that you worship. Don’t grant evil rules and fretful lies more attention than they deserve. Instead, direct your attention to the one sustaining source of life, who has stuck it out through it all. It’s time to get better…truly better; selflessly better; holistically better. It’s time to draw near, reach inside and march out victoriously while lifting up your roughly-beaten soul. It’s time to reverse the curse, grab the reins, and believe in a better tomorrow. Though scars may be lingering, nestled within them lie badges of courage. The fears of change are minuscule compared to the joys of recovery. I promise…

Your identity is not tied to the strings of your past. In untying your knots to the present, hope is set free. Reciprocating through the doors of faith, new life will return.

Imagine a meal with no regrets. A family dinner without fighting. An evening run with powerful strides, a smile that reflects a healthy glow. Laughing with pure joy…engaging with real intention…living in harmonic peace. A freedom which surpasses all understanding, and a new chapter to your survivor  story.

Together, we are strong. Together, we are survivor strong.”

Full Source: disableddatingclub.com

How I Power Through the ‘Rain Pain’

I don’t know about you guys but if there’s
anything I hate more than the day-to-day pains of chronic illness, it’s what I
like to call “the rain pains”. Many people don’t realize the effect that the
weather can have on a pain condition, but boy when it strikes, it strikes
strong and hard like lightnin’. (See what I did there?)

Let’s start with the science of it all. There are several factors that go into
the connection of weather pressure and pain. Now I use the words weather pressure for
a reason. While scientists have yet to pin-point a direct connection between
pain and the weather, most theories aim not at the precipitation itself, but at
the drop in barometric pressure. This means that
our elevated symptoms do not stem from the rain or snow, etc., but from the
drop in the weight of pressure in the atmosphere surrounding us. I’m no
scientist, in fact it’s a miracle I even passed science in school, so if you’re
looking for more information, I found this online article to
be pretty enlightening.

Now that we’ve gotten our homework out of the way, I thought I would share some
ways that I plan on getting through today’s “rain pain”

1)  Dress comfortably
– I’m very blessed that I work in a casual
office. Now typically I do my best to be as business casual as possible but
today was a leggings and Victoria’s Secret sweatshirt kind of day. Layers,
layers, layers.
 Who knows what kind of hot flashes or chills will
strike throughout the day, so stack those layers on, take a few off, whatever
you have to do to keep yourself comfortable. (But take it easy with the “taking
layers off” part, you don’t have the time nor patience on a rain pain day to
deal with HR.

2)  Tea, tea, tea 
– Teavana has a tea called “Rejuvenate”. This blend has been a game changer
for me on days when I’m having a tough time staying focused. I also benefit
greatly from green tea, ginger tea, and chai tea – though chai tea serves as
more of a comfort tea than medicinal. I just love those spices.

3)  Don’t
strain yourself ­– 
If you’re feeling like you want to get things done despite the
pain today, that’s fine, however, pace yourself. Set distinct
goals and let yourself accomplish what you can with the energy you have. If it
can wait, let it.

4)  Try to move
 – I know, I know, the stiffness and pain
seems unbearable, but moving your tired and aching muscles can be beneficial to
you in the long run. Even if all you do today is move from your bed to your
couch and back again, you’ve moved. My mission at work today
is to get up from this desk as many times as possible despite my pain and
fatigue, even if it’s just to grab papers from the printer or fetch the mail.
(And, on the days when my pain and stiffness is at its worse, I drag my butt to
Zumba class anyway. Sounds crazy, right? But actually, once I get through the
first few songs, moving and dancing actually releases the tension and stiffness
in my body, and I sleep better that night than I would have if I stayed home)

5)  Rest – “But Katelyn I don’t have time to rest; I have
work, the kids have extracurriculars, I have appointments, we need groceries”
—  Hold it, warrior. There is always time
to rest. This may not mean a full 90-minute nap, as glorious as that may sound
right now, the focus is to rest your mind when you cannot rest your body. Put
on your favorite music while you’re driving around, listen to an audiobook (yes
they still have those), take 5 minutes in the car to do some quick breathing
exercises
 to calm your mind and body. Find something. Anything.
Make that your rest.

My final piece of advice to you all on “rain pain” days is
this – remember how strong you are. You are a warrior!
You are mighty! Your success rate of surviving bad weather days in
the past is 100%. That’s impressive! Keep your head up, snuggle in, and weather
this storm like the mighty warrior that you are. Now, I was going to post some
cheesy quote about how rainbows come after storms, but man that’s nauseating.
So instead I’ll share a personal story with you all. The last time we had a
severe rainstorm, I had just pulled in my driveway from Zumba. I was sore,
tired, and man was I cranky. BUT, my favorite song came on Pandora, I happened
to be wearing a shirt that said “FIGHTER”, and I decided,
“ah heck, life’s too short”, and I spent 30min in my front yard
dancing in the rain. I can’t even begin to tell you all how liberating that
experience was for me – plus, I’m sure my neighbors got a good laugh out
of it, too, so it’s a win-win.

I believe in you, I know you’re going to get through this, and if you need
someone to help you through this thing called life, I’m here 24/7 (because it’s
raining and Lord knows I ain’t gettin’ any sleep tonight 😉 )

Xoxo,
Katelyn

 

Full Source: disableddatingclub.com

When Chronic Illness and Anxiety Go Hand in Hand During the Holidays

If you believe the majority of Facebook posts, greeting cards and annual newsletters, then you believe that the holidays are a time of unadulterated joy, peace and merriment. They are a time to connect with loved ones, to eat and drink too much, and to fill our love tanks to overflowing. That all these good things leave us recharged with enough love and energy to launch us well into the new year, a fresh start, and a clean slate.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that these things don’t exist, for I have experienced many of them and I know that most of my personal friends genuinely do too… at one level or another.

But I also know that for a huge chunk of them, through this holiday period, there are more triggers than Christmas lights, more forced or lost interactions than loving or warm ones, more work than pleasure, more heartache than joy. I also know that in the name of not wanting to spoil the mood or fun of everyone else, they put on their “happy masks”, hide their fears, speak nothing of their anxieties and pretend to be “just like everyone else”. And those are just my healthy friends.

In the chronic illness community I have spent more of my encouragement energy the past few weeks on this than any other topic. Anxiety often goes hand in hand with chronic illness and the lethal cocktail of high happiness expectations, financial commitments, energy sapping activities…. with low spoons, tons of triggers, large crowds, more and more hype each year than the one before, and no wonder the words that I hear more than any others, are anxiety, panic, and worry.

The holidays aren’t over yet and I wonder where all the “self care” that I kept hearing about this year went… Self-care has been a totally new concept to me and I went into December with no intentions of giving any of it up, at a time when I knew that I would actually need it the most. So why do I feel somewhat like the last soldier standing? Why have some of the strongest chronic fighters I know crumbled? I believe that it is because society is not yet ready to let us be vulnerable at this time when we are supposed to be nothing but both thankful and merry.

I know that people are all trying to do their best, but the reality is that we still live in a world where it is not cool to say no at a time like this. We can be sore and sick and struggle the rest of the year, but at this time we are all expected to put aside our illnesses, forget about our traumas, pack away the fallout of our abuse or neglect. No one wants to know about our grief or our losses. No one wants to see our open wounds or the scabs that are barely beginning to heal.

At this, the most anxious time of all for so many people, when we need extra love, support and care, we often get it the least. Anxiety is soaring right now and the holidays aren’t over yet… Give yourself that self care that you taught me this year guys, I know you need it :)

Full Source: disableddatingclub.com

Sexuality and disability

Many students with disabilities have been told they will never be able to have a relationship or engage in sexual activity.  Other students have been told they will not be a good match for relationships or they have “more important things to think about” other than sex.  Sometimes students have been told they should feel “lucky if someone wants them” or they are not capable of being a sexual being.  Other students have histories of frustrating interactions and/or relationships with others and don’t feel as though they are in control of how their disability affects their experiences. 

 

Disabled Dating: List & Reviews of Disability Dating Sites – Disabled World

: List & Reviews of Disability Dating Site
Dating is defined as a part of human mating process whereby two people meet socially for companionship, beyond the level of friendship, or with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage. It can be a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by the couple. While the term has several meanings, it usually refers to the act of meeting and engaging in some mutually agreed upon social activity in public, together, as a couple.

– By joining a local dating service, rather than an online dating site that lists worldwide members, you have a far better chance of finding a compatible male or female close to home – rather than finding your ideal mate happens to live on the other side of the world!

The experiences of people with disabilities has shown that the basic human need to form close relationships is as relevant for PWD as it is for humans without a disability.

– Disabled dating websites and disability personals reviews including online dating tips and advice for those with disabilities seeking friendship love and romance.

 

 

Easter Seals | Love, Dating, Relationships and Disability

We’re exploring in many forms with first-hand accounts from the frontlines of dating, marriage, intimacy and friendship, all with people living—and loving—with disabilities or challenges like long-distance romance.

 

Does it seem more difficult to find love if you have a disability? Many of our interviewees said that, at first, yes. (Of course, when is it ever easy, right?) But they all agreed that once people talk and get past questions or concerns, love is love—sometimes it’s messy but mostly it’s marvelous. And these stories show it.

 

When was the last time you exercised your brain? Our Train Your Brain Challenge is proven to help improve memory, enhance problem-solving skills and much more.

 

My Boyfriend Has A Disability, Our Relationship Doesn’t | BlogHer

And how it manifested for him.  As time went on, my feelings started to grow for him and started really caring about him deeply. But I still had my concerns:  What would people think about my disabled partner? What would my family say? What if people stare at us when we’re out on a date? How can I support him when he needs me?

when it came to dating a disabled man that I was worried about – it was other people’s reactions to my choice that really worried me. In some ways, those concerns were warranted because many people don’t understand what it means to date a disabled man, they don’t have real conversations about it, and they end up making very wrong assumptions about my partner and me.

We were following each other during that time, then one day tweets turned into GChat conversations, and GChat turned into Skype dates. When I moved back to DC last summer, we took it offline and soon after started dating. He was even cuter in person, funny, smart, intriguing, and he happened to be disabled.