Recovery update: Moving on from bulimia?

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Hello again,

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I’ve been really busy with school and work and just trying to figure out where I want my life to go in the future. I’ve made a lot of big decisions and I feel like I’ve really grown as a person. My recovery has been going pretty well with only a few steps backward along the way.

My life is drastically different from the way it was one year ago. This time last year I was not healthy. In fact, I was at risk of dying. It scares me to think about this looking back on everything, but at the time I didn’t really care. My eating disorder was so strongly engrained in my mind that I didn’t really see any hope for a happy future. The only thing that I could hold onto was the constant weighing, measuring and calorie counting.

Thankfully, I’m a lot better now. Sometimes I’m not so thankful for this though. Sometimes there’s a voice in the back of my mind that wishes I could go back to the time when I was thinner. I know it’s silly because the life I was living back then was nothing short of pure hell; but, I still have relapses.

Today, I’m feeling like I am good enough. I am worthy of happiness and recovery. It’s hard to imagine in my mind a life in which I am not completely consumed by thoughts about my weight and the number of calories in the food that I just ate, but reading other recovery blogs has helped me realize that it is entirely possible to reach this point. It is possible for me to have a healthy relationship with food and one day I really hope I will get there. I may not be recovered today, but I’m doing a lot better than I was yesterday and every day before that.

Recovery is a process; I know I’ll get there one day.

Xo

Ayla

I need your help!

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Hey everyone!

Could you all do me a favor and follow this link to view my friend Bec’s profile on 7 Cups of Tea? http://www.7cupsoftea.com/1976404

She recently began an internship with the organization and she needs to get as many views of her profile as possible! Also feel free to send her a message if you ever need to talk to someone! She’s a great listener and will be sure to offer you support!

Thanks everyone!

xo

Ayla

Talking to parents about eating disorders and self-harm

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Last week was one of the most challenging weeks that I have ever had to face in my life. I had to face the challenge of telling my parents about my mental illnesses. I was dreading it for months but I knew that they needed to know about it, and there’s no better time than the present, right? Right.

I had been worrying for months about how to tell them and how much to tell them. I didn’t think it would be possible for them to understand. I thought for sure that they would be mad, but I was wrong.

The amount of love and support that my parents showed me was incredible; it was unpredictable. I had imagined every possible worst case scenario in my mind but never once did it cross my mind that my parents would be 100% supportive. Turns out I should have had more faith in my parents. They’ve been incredibly supportive and have continued to treat me the same as they treated me before. They are 100% supportive of my recovery and are not being pushy or asking questions about my illnesses. They’ve completely respected my boundaries and are not pushing for me to tell them anything that I am not ready to talk about.

In my mind I thought that they would freak out, yell, scream, cry, and any number of other bad reactions. While it’s true that there were some tears and some questions in the first hour or so after learning about my struggles, my parents were not angry or disappointed in me about any of it.

On the contrary, my parents told me over and over again about how proud they are of me for struggling with these illnesses for so long but still working to recover on my own. They recognized the courage that I couldn’t even see in myself for a long time. They saw past all of the self-destructive behaviors and saw only a girl who was fighting to survive the only way she knew how. And they were proud of that girl; they are proud of me.

For anyone who is considering talking to their parents about an eating disorder, self-harm or any other struggle that you may be facing, please trust me when I tell you that it gets better after you disclose your struggles. I tried for years to hide my secrets, and I was very successful at hiding them, but in the end the weight of all of my struggles almost destroyed me. It took more courage than I even realized I had for me to finally open up and talk to my parents about my struggles. That being said, I didn’t get through it alone. I had my therapist by my side during the appointment with my parents, and I had the support of two of my closest friends who were there for me before and after the appointment. I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life, and I am so happy that I was finally able to open up and tell my parents about my struggles.

Sharing my story has been a life changing experience for me. I realized that if I can get through that, then I can get through anything. I’m no longer ashamed of myself for what I have been through; I am proud of myself for getting through it all.

I am so much happier now that I have told my story and showed my family the “real” me. If you are thinking about telling your parents, be prepared for them to be upset, but have faith in their love for you. The love that they feel for you will be so much stronger than any other emotion; no matter how upset they may be initially, they will still love you and support you.

Have faith in the love of your friends and family. Have faith in yourself. You are strong enough to get through this.

Now is all we’ve got

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Now is all we’ve got

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where I want my life to take me and who I want to be in the future. A lot of the time this can be really inspiring because of all of the potential in the world, but at other times it can be really intimidating. Sometimes the future can be a really daunting thing that we have to face which can lead to a lot of unwanted stress.

Right now I’m faced with these daunting and stressful thoughts about the future as a result of an upcoming appointment which could change the course of my life forever. It’s times like these that my therapist encourages me to use “Radical Acceptance” and accept that which is unacceptable. But the problem is that acceptance does not necessarily mean that I will not feel stress or anxiety about the upcoming appointment. In fact, I accepted the inevitability of this appointment months ago, but that doesn’t make it any easier to think about.

After countless nights spent tossing and turning thinking about this appointment that has not even been scheduled yet, I realized that I really do need to stop worrying so much. I realize that now is the only thing that I have and I need to focus on the present. I can’t keep stressing myself out and counting down the days until the dreadful appointment will become a reality. Instead I need to live for the small joys that I get to experience every day. What is the sense in worrying about something that has not even arrived yet? Or in worrying about an outcome that I have very little control over for that matter?

It seems like such a silly mantra, but it’s the truth. The here and now really is the only thing that we have for sure. The future isn’t a guaranteed thing so we need to start living in the moment and appreciating what we have. Even though I know that this appointment is literally one of the last things that I want to face right now, I know that there are a lot of people in situations that are a lot worse than my own.

So, with that in mind, I have challenged myself to go the entire day tomorrow without talking about the appointment that I am dreading so much. Perhaps if I stop talking about it with friends so much I will be able to distract myself with other conversations and subject matter.

Here goes nothing!

Xo

Ayla

Why “slut shaming” should sound more like “sexuality shaming”

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One of these huge movements for the empowerment of women recently is the idea that slut shaming is not okay. While I agree that it is not okay, I believe that calling it “slut shaming” is in and of itself not okay. I mean, think about it: by calling something “slut shaming” you are inadvertently telling people that it is not okay to shame a slut, but it is okay to still refer to them as a slut which is in and of itself a demeaning term.

So how about this: how about we drop the term “slut” all together? It’s a disgusting term born from patriarchy. It is a term used to demean any woman who should dare to express her sexuality while at the same time it is a term that men will use to refer to a woman who isn’t quite ready to have sex yet.

“Slut” is a ruthless term used to insult women whether they are sexual or not; whether they have had one sexual partner or 15; whether they have are monogamous or not. But the fact remains that it is most certainly NOT okay.

As a sexual abuse survivor, I can tell you that I experience a great deal of insecurity and anxiety about sexual relations of any manner. I have never been able to be completely intimate with a man and yet I have been called a slut so many times that I’ve lost count. As if I needed another reason to feel disgusted by sexuality; as if I needed another reason to feel horribly about myself.

If you agree with me then I want to you to make a vow to yourself to never refer to another human being as a “slut” or any other sexually demeaning term. I want you to empower women, not tear them down. Let’s end slut shaming, not sexuality shaming.

Ayla

This is not the end of me; This is the beginning,

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We’ve all heard it time and time again: “live in the moment”. And while it can definitely be a good thing to do, there are also benefits to thinking about the future. For one, if you are struggling with something in this present moment, it can be helpful to think about how your struggle won’t necessarily last forever.

Alternatively, it can be great to think about all of the things that you want to do in the future in order to give yourself a reason to keep on fighting. For a long time I felt so lost; I felt like I had no purpose. However, lately I have been feeling really hopeful and at peace with myself. I’ve been more optimistic and I’m working towards achieving my goals for the future. Over the last few days I’ve been happier than I have been in a long time, and tonight in particular I’ve felt so free and independent.

Thinking about the future really helps me to focus on working towards something that matters to me. I’ve essentially assigned myself a purpose for my future. This doesn’t mean that I’ve figured out my life goal, but it means that I am giving myself small goals to work towards.

Right now I have a mental list of things that I want to achieve, but I’m planning to make a written list really soon so that I can not only have something to look forward to, but also so that I can look back on everything that I have achieved once I cross some of these goals off my list.

If you are feeling really hopeless or unhappy, I would encourage you to make your own list of dreams, goals, and hopes for the future. Even if it does not change your mood or outlook instantaneously it might just give you a reason to keep on fighting.

I’ve come a long way in the last few weeks and I am so proud to say that I am 19 days free of self-harm as of today. It hasn’t been easy, but my new-found optimism is certainly helping me keep on going down the path to recovery. I know that the next few months are going to be some of the hardest months that I will ever have to face, but there is going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

This is not the end of me; this is the beginning.

xo

Ayla