I Love the Love in Your Eyes <3

Chocolate Lab

Throughout all of my struggles, all of the ups and downs, the highs and lows, there has always been one constant source of support in my life: my dog. Even when everything else is falling apart he is always there. Even when everyone else is mad at me he is always there to talk to. Even when nobody else understands he just accepts me for who I am. But above all else, he has never shown me anything but unconditional love.
Whenever I need a shoulder to cry on he is always available for me to bury my face in his fur. Whenever I need a hand to hold he is always there to lend his paw. I know that sounds silly but he always just seems to know when I need someone. He will just come and lie down beside me, put his head in my lap, and rest his paw on my hand. It’s like he just knows when I need him. He can read my emotions better than most people.
I’ve had people ask me why I talk to him, “it’s not like he can understand you” they would say. But that’s not altogether true. Even if my dog doesn’t understand the exact message that I’m telling him, he understands my tone of voice. He wags his tail when he knows I’m happy. He jumps around in circles with me when I am excited, even when he doesn’t know why. He rests his head on me when he knows that I’m sad. So even if he doesn’t know exactly what I’m saying, he still understands me. He knows when I need him and he is always there for me no matter. There is nobody in the world who can replace the kind of unconditional love that a dog can give you.
His mind is untouched by the unrealistic standards of beauty of society. He is not biased by the stereotypes that we are all accustomed to. He is the only one who I don’t feel self-conscious around. He doesn’t care how much I weigh, or what size pants I wear, or what I eat, or what I do with my life. He doesn’t judge me like everyone else. He loves me and accepts me for who I am and for that, I am so thankful.
Everyone could stand to learn a lesson about love from their dog. I know I certainly have.
So, to my wonderful little Munchkin, I love you with all of my heart, forever and always. Thank you for always being there for me.
Xo
Ayla

My experience with eating disorder assessment

My experience with eating disorder assessment

Based on the fact that I couldn’t find any information about the assessment for eating disorders, I decided that I would share my experiences with you so that anyone who has to go through it will have a better idea of what to expect.
My assessment began with an interview with my psychologist which took approximately an hour. The beginning of the interview was just really general questions to screen out other illnesses (ie. Have you ever seen or heard things that others have been unable to hear or see?, have you ever thought about or attempted suicide? Have you ever been irritable for extended periods of days at a time during which time you lashed out at someone outside of your family?). After this first interview section was completed, my psychologist based the rest of my interview on the answers that I provided in this section of the interview. For example, she skipped the section about suicide because I am not suicidal.
The first section of the interview took about fifteen minutes. After that the interview focused specifically on my eating behaviors. Here are some of the questions I was asked:
• Have you ever gone on a binge in which you consumed a large amount in a short amount of time?
o What foods did you eat? How much? Why did you stop?
o Was anyone else there during the binge?
o How long did the binge last?
o Did you take compensatory measures afterwards to make up for the binge (ie. Vomiting, exercise, restricting for days, etc).
• Have you ever gone for periods of more than 8 hours without eating?
• What did you eat yesterday?
• What did you eat two days ago?
• What calorie limit do you allow yourself?
• How often do you binge?
• How often do you take compensatory measures to lose weight? What do you do (ie. Vomit, exercise, laxatives, etc.)?
• Have you ever taken medication to control your weight?
This portion of the interview took longer because it was not just yes/no questions. I was asked to elaborate on my answers and provide as much detail as I could.
After the eating disorder section of the interview, I was assessed for trauma. This is not a routine part of an eating disorder assessment; it is specific to my experiences. These questions include:
• Have you ever been through an experience in which you thought death or bodily harm was threatened? How did you react?
• Have you ever had repetitive dreams, thoughts, or flashbacks as a result of a specific event in your life?
• Do you ever experience feelings of anxiety for no apparent reason?
• Do you ever experience muscle tension, hot/cold flashes, difficulty breathing, a fast heart rate, sweating, shaking, or dizziness as a result of anxiety?
o How long does this last?
o How often does it occur?
• Have you ever experienced a panic attack?
• When was your first panic attack?
• Do you consider yourself a worrier?
• When was your last panic attack?
• How often do the panic attacks occur?
This portion of my interview took approximately fifteen minutes. After this portion of my interview I was taken to another small room with a chair and a desk where I was left alone to complete two self-report questionnaires.
The first questionnaire was 365 questions and it took me about an hour to finish. The questions were general and seemed to cover all mental illness from self-harm to eating disorders to schizophrenia. I have some post-secondary education experience in psychology so I recognized certain questions as being targeted at specific illnesses. A lot of the questions on this questionnaire were repetitive and were focused on suicidal thoughts, anxiety, anger, stress, and sociability.
The second questionnaire was more focused on traumatic experiences but it was also more relevant to eating disorders. This one was about 110 questions. Some examples of the questions on this self-report test include:
• On a scale of 0-3 how often have you felt lonely in the last 3 months
• When you are upset, do you ever harm yourself in order to express your anger (ie. Hitting, scratching, burning, cutting, hair pulling, etc.)
• Do you like to drive fast?
• Do you spend money impulsively?
• Do you take part in activities that others would consider reckless simply for the thrill of it?
These questions were all answered on a scale of 0-3 (0= never 3=often).
The questions were still relatively general in the sense that it was not specific to questions about eating behaviors. The questions specific to eating disorders appeared more in the interview portion of the assessment. The self-report questionnaires felt more like a general assessment of my over-all mental health rather than a specific assessment for a specific illness, in this case, an eating disorder.
Overall, the assessment was not as bad as I was expecting. I was really uncomfortable at first but my doctor assured me that if at any time I became too uncomfortable to continue that I was free to leave. This really helped me calm down because I didn’t feel trapped. The self-report questionnaire was not stressful at all (to be honest I laughed at some of the questions (ie. Most people enjoy going to the dentist). The interview portion of the assessment was a bit more emotionally and mentally taxing because it was more detailed and it was really hard for me to talk about certain things in detail because of the shame that I feel about those parts of myself. All in all though it was not a terrible experience and if it helps me feel better then I suppose it will be worth it in the long run.
So this was my experience of an assessment for an eating disorder. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to give you more information and I hope that the information I have already provided will help someone who is going through a similar experience. It is also important to note that I live in Ontario, Canada and the assessment may not be the same in other provinces or countries. But I hope this will at least give you an idea of what to expect. Stay strong.
Xo
Ayla

Life is such a mystery

Life is such a mystery

Life is such a mystery. When I was younger I thought I had my life all planned out. I was going to go to university, become a dietitian, open my own practice and buy my own home complete with two pugs. I had everything all planned out. The irony of the situation is that I am now in a situation where I will possibly have to go see a dietitian depending on the results of my evaluation tomorrow. I have to be assessed for an eating disorder and trauma-related issues. Needless to say I’m really nervous, but that’s getting off topic.
The fact of the matter is, I had this whole plan for my life mapped out and now the life that I’m living is completely different than my initial plan. I’m not studying to become a dietitian, although I wish I had entered the healthcare sector. Nothing has gone quite the way I have planned so I have come to realize that nothing is predetermined. Nothing is left up to “fate”. Everything is changing all of the time. Nothing is ever static.
This gives me hope for the future, but it is also a daunting thought. Yes, my life could start looking up in the near future; but, its also possible that my life could continue to fall apart until one day I can’t possibly shatter anymore.
I guess what is important is what I choose to do with myself in order to change the course of my life. I think this realization might have had something to do with my decision to finally see a psychologist. It was like I was just expecting everything to just get better on its own without putting any effort in. But I realize now that it wont happen that way and therefore, if I want things to change, I need to do something. So even though I’m really scared about my appointment tomorrow, I hope it will be one step towards a happier future.
Wish me luck!

Just listen

Lately I’ve been feeling like nobody really understands me, nobody really knows me. Because of this, I felt lonely and desperate to be honest. So I told my best friend about everything that has been going on. About the eating disorder, about the cutting, about everything. I was expecting him to be really upset but he was actually really comforting. But I don’t feel better. In fact, I feel worse. I feel humiliated. I feel weak. I feel so ashamed of myself for everything that I’ve done. I thought o would feel relieved after getting everything out in the open but I only feel worse. And now I’m afraid to even see my friend. I know he won’t treat me differently but I don’t know how to act around him anymore. I feel naked, exposed. I’m so used to hiding everything and I don’t feel comfortable with the idea that he knows the secrets that I’ve hidden.
He told me that he noticed the signs so it wasn’t a complete surprise, but even still I don’t know how I can face him. Is this humiliation normal? I don’t know how to accept his support when all I want to do is push him away. How can I let someone else love me when I can’t even love myself?

Calling all eating disorder sufferers: I need advice

Recently I took a huge step in my life… I went to see a psychologist. I wasn’t initially going about my eating disorder but she quickly noted the fact that she thinks I have one. She recommended that I come in again for a two hour session which will involve both an interview type set up and also a self-report quiz section. Has anyone gone through this? I’m really nervous and I was hoping that someone might be able to tell me what questions to expect and how long the self-report questionnaire might be. I live in Canada so I’m not sure if its different in other countries but I would welcome and appreciate any feedback from anyone who has gone through an eating disorder assessment and diagnosis. The more specific you can be the better. I’m just extremely nervous right now.
Thank you so much in advance!!

I’m sorry Grandma

I'm sorry Grandma

Do you ever wonder what your loved ones who have passed away would think about who you have become? Today while I was cleaning my room I came across a bracelet that was given to me when my grandma passed away. I was only a few months old when she died so I have no memories of her. I have a few pictures of her holding me as a baby so at least I know what she looked like, but I really wish I had of been able to get to know her. My Dad tells me stories about his childhood with her, about how she was so loving and would have spoiled me. He tells me she loved me very much. But I can’t help but wonder what she would think of me if she was watching me from heaven right now.
I’m not a very religious person but I feel like there is something after death. Sometimes I wonder if my loved ones are watching me. It always seems to happen when I do something that I am not particularly proud of. The last time it happened was the also the last time I cut myself really bad. After I did it I felt ashamed. I wondered what my grandma would think of me if she was watching me. It makes me want to cry to think about it. I want her to be proud of me, I want her to see the best in me. I can’t help but think that I’m not living up to my potential.
It might sound silly because I don’t worry so much about what my living family thinks. But the difference is that I can keep the secret from them. However, its impossible to know if my departed relatives are watching or not because I can’t actually see them. Some people might think I’m crazy for even thinking that there is a remote possibility that someone is watching me, but surely there are others who will understand.
So Grandma, if you can see me and you are reading this, I am sorry. I am sorry for what I have done to myself. I am sorry for what I have become. One day I hope I will get better. I love you. Always always and forever.