recovery challenge

The brain does weird things when you deprive it of food.

And I don’t mean just calorically. Even if you’re eating 2000, 3000 calories a day in recovery, if they’re all safe, you’re still going to be obsessed with food and what you “can’t” have.

(AKA a friendly reminder to challenge yourself today.)

How to broach a difficult subject with your therapist

Here are some tips that work very well! Also, my favorite tips are to:

  • email them beforehand that I would like to bring up (x subject). Email feels more removed and safer to me, and this way the pressure is off me to bring it up. I can also include in the email how I feel about talking about it, and ask the therapist to be accommodating.

    Example: “Hi, I want to talk about my concerns RE: eating/body image next session but I don’t quite feel comfortable talking about it. I think it would be easier if you asked more of the questions/simpler questions so there was less pressure to talk about it. Is that okay?” or “I think I need to talk about my eating issues next session. There’s a few things I’m sensitive about. Please go slowly when you ask questions just in case something comes up that gets overwhelming. Thanks.”

  • write it down on a notecard, in bullet points or with short sentences you can read right off the card. Even if you freeze up during the appointment, you can just hand them the card.

  • remember that you can go as slow as you need to. Sometimes it’s helpful to have the first half or even a whole session dedicated to just talking around the issue. Example: “I need to talk about something, but I don’t know if I’m ready to talk about it yet.” A good therapist will meet you where you are and work with your feelings around bringing it up, and then when you feel ready to actually name/talk about it can just go right ahead.
Recovery Challenge: How to Forgive Yourself -- No Matter What

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes they are small and forgettable, and sometimes they are big, but too often we can’t seem to stop beating ourselves up about it, way past the point where it’s helpful.

This is something I’ve found helpful for reconciling that just because I did something bad doesn’t mean that I am doomed to always be a bad person — no matter what I’ve done, I can learn from it and change for the better, and so can you.

1. Identify when you are beating yourself up, as it is happening. 

  • Example A: I failed my math test.
  • Example B: I lashed out in anger and hurt someone I care about.

2. Identify the thought and put it into words.

  • Example A: “I’m so stupid.” “I’m just terrible at math.” “I’ll never succeed.”
  • Example B: “I am a terrible person. What I did is unforgivable; I hate myself for what I have done.”

3. Limit the damage mentally, both in terms of extent AND duration. This is where you regain control over your thoughts by reminding yourself that you can come back from this. It is NOT an excuse; It doesn’t mean that your mistake wasn’t a mistake, or that it was okay to do (this applies especially if other people were hurt by your mistake). It just means that who you are and what you choose to do in the future are not defined by your past mistakes.

  • Example A: instead of “I failed this test” say, “I got a bad grade on this test.” Instead of “I always fail math tests” say “I have been getting bad grades on my math tests.” Instead of “I AM stupid,” say, “I am having trouble with math.” 
  • Example B: Instead of “I can’t believe that I’m the kind of person who would do something like that,” say “It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that I did such a bad thing.” If you were in control at any point, recognize the areas where you WERE in control — “At least I kept myself from using physical violence” “At least I stopped when I realized what I was doing”. If you were not in control at any point of the encounter (emotions were overwhelming, you were under the influence of drugs/alcohol, etc.), know that you are in control NOW, and that you are alive and capable of making positive changes moving forward.

4. Identify ways you can improve the current situation

  • Example A: “My grade is lower than I want it to be because of this grade. Perhaps I can ask the teacher for an extra credit assignment.”
  • Example B: Assess whether an apology is appropriate. Is it totally genuine? Will it help the other person? Keep in mind that many people want merely to forget about these situations entirely, and reminding them of the situation might only cause harm or conflicted feelings on their part. Know that they are entitled to feel whatever they may be feeling as a result — including resentment and other unpleasant feelings towards you —  and if/when you apologize, make sure to validate their feelings rather than excuse your behavior. This includes respecting their choices afterwards if they choose to distance themselves from or end the relationship. Accept responsibility for what you’ve done, that it is a part of your past which you can learn from but can’t erase. This can be a lot to stomach, especially if they choose not to forgive you, so recognize that you are making a CHOICE to improve and change, that that is a brave choice, and again that your past does not define your future.

5. Once you have done what you can to rectify the situation, find a lesson in the mistake.

  • Example A: “I should figure out which areas of math I struggle with BEFORE the exam.” “I must get help as soon as I realize I don’t understand, rather than putting it off.”
  • Example B: “I need to recognize when my anger starts interfering with my ability to control my actions.” “I need to limit my alcohol/drug consumption so that I remain in control of my actions.” “I need to be more aware of what actions are appropriate to the situation, and the consequences of my actions for others.”

6. Prevent this mistake in the future by committing yourself to a plan for practicing this lesson.

  • Example A: “I will bring questions about material I struggle with to the class before the next exam.”
  • Example B: “When I notice myself getting angry, I will take 10 deep breaths.” “If I start feeling out-of-control with anger, I will leave the room for 5 minutes and calm down.” “I will pace myself when drinking in order to avoid getting so dangerously drunk again.” “I will stop using alcohol/drugs and/or get help in order to do so.” “I will check in with the others involved in situations where I am unsure about what is appropriate.”

7. Look forward and forgive yourself. The purpose of guilt is to teach you a lesson, the lesson being “Hey! Don’t do that again!” It’s sort of like your brain’s built-in behavioral conditioning system. Now that you’ve learned this lesson and are committed to applying it, you can let go of this guilt. No matter the mistake you’ve made, you can always improve from here. You don’t have to be perfect to forgive yourself. You just have to try to be the best you know how to be from this point on. This step takes more practice, but until you’ve gotten the hang of it, start by just saying to yourself, “I made a mistake. I have done what I can to fix the situation and prevent this from happening in the future. I am a work in progress. I forgive myself.”

What is a recovery jar?

Since I’m getting a lot of asks about this I decided to just explain what I’m doing again. So recovery from mental illness does not mean you are cured. It’s an acceptance of your condition and the ability to live a fulfilling life. Recovery is an internal process that enables you to get the most out of life despite your mental illness. I am a firm believer in recovery but on my bad days I lose all of the hope and drive that has keep me going. I wanted a way to remember the things I did during the “good days” and the things that lead me to recovery. Every time I do something that gets me closer to recovery I will put it in the jar. On the bad days when I’m feeling hopeless I will take them out and remember everything I did to get to where I am today. I will remember that one bad day or even a bad month isn’t going to stop me from recovering. 

If anyone is going to do this and want me to see it tag me! I’d love to see what everyone is doing! <3 

Recovery Challenge: Notice Your Body

Something that helps me a lot is watching my body as it moves. When I lean forward, I have belly rolls; if I stretch backwards, they stretch with me. When I sit down, my thighs spread out wide. Realizing that my rolls are just my skin being flexible to fit me, that my spreading thighs are where my body creatively turns currently-relaxed parts of my leg into a comfy seat just for me, helps me also realize that my body isn’t just one shape — that my “perfect shape” would be too rigid, stiff, and useless for me to be much more than a Barbie doll. Doing this thought exercise helps me realize that many of the “imperfections” I find with how I look are actually necessary for me to have a functioning human body — and that being flexible and capable of change is infinitely more valuable than fitting an arbitrary definition of “perfect.”

This is really important. So as I’m sure a lot of you guys know, it’s kind of frowned upon for people in recovery to become vegan since usually it’s a way of adopting a socially-approved restrictive diet. I was super conscious of this but knew I was doing it for the right reasons since I had to give up a lot of healthier, lower-calorie foods to go vegan (coconut yogurt vs greek yogurt, soy cheese vs real cheese, froyo vs sorbet, etc.) Anyways, I was at Target a couple weeks ago and I saw these limited edition cinnamon vanilla english muffins. They smelled sooo good and I really wanted to try them— then I looked and saw they had dehydrated cream cheese. So I put them back. Afterwards, when I was being honest with myself, I realized I used the fact that they weren’t vegan as an excuse for not challenging myself. In other words, my ED was taking advantage of my veganism.
Last night, I bought them.

I’m still following a vegan diet, but I firmly believe mental health comes first. That’s why I needed to eat these. I understand if I lose followers over this, but I’m really proud of myself.

anonymous asked:

Hi:) I am looking for a ...days challenge. I am looking for something to bring me forward in my recovery - 'day 1 - do..''day 2-...' (and not things like post a selfie/picture of..) but things that are kinda challenging me in a positive way? I have tried to find something but I can't and I don't think I can come up with something myself as I am trying to get out of my comfort zone. Do you know any? (if not, it's ok :D) THANK YOU!! xx

Hey there :) xx

I’m super happy that you messaged us this question. I’m sure that my answer can help many others too in recovery

  • Day 1- Write a letter to your addiction (‘drug of choice’) or your disorder.
  • Day 2 - What have you done to help yourself with your addiction/disorder? 
  • Day 3 - List 3 things you like about yourself.
  • Day 4 - Have you emotionally harmed anyone (besides yourself) with your addiction/disorder? If so, how? 
  • Day 5 - How do you want to be remembered?
  • Day 6 - Write a letter to someone who has harmed you or has made you feel bad.
  • Day 7 - What are 2 things you want? What are 2 things you need?
  • Day 8 - If you could go back in time (before your addiction/disorder) what would you tell yourself?
  • Day 9 - Who do you look up to? Why?
  • Day 10 - List 5 goals you have for yourself, short-term or long-term.
  • Day 11 - What motivated you to enter recovery?
  • Day 12 - What are 3 things you would like to change about yourself?
  • Day 13 - Have your struggles changed you? For better or worse? Why?
  • Day 14 - Think about yourself one year ago, how have you changed?
  • Day 15 - When you are triggered, what do you tell yourself to calm down?
  • Day 16 - List 5 things you are grateful for.
  • Day 17 - What in your life has improved since you entered recovery?
  • Day 18 - Have you found a Higher Power (doesn’t have to be religious)? If so, what is it? If not, do you have any beliefs?
  • Day 19 - What is the hardest thing you had to give up because of your disorder/addiction?
  • Day 20 - Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • Day 21 - What was your ‘rock bottom’? How did you overcome it?
  • Day 22 - Favorite quote(s) to live by?
  • Day 23 - How would you deal if your (future?) child had your addiction/disorder? What would you say to them?
  • Day 24 - Has having a Tumblr helped or hurt your recovery? Why?
  • Day 25 - What/who in your life makes you smile ear to ear? Why?
  • Day 26 - What would you say to someone if they told you 'I give up on my recovery. It’s too hard.’?
  • Day 27 - Tell us a story about yourself in the midst of your addiction/disorder. It can be positive or negative.
  • Day 28 - What do you feel is your greatest strength?
  • Day 29 - What are some of your favorite recovery blogs or sites?
  • Day 30 - What is the best part about being in recovery?

(source.)

Hope this helps lovely <3

-Shelby (:

Tips for Breaking Your Gum Addiction

It’s been a little more than two and a half months since I stopped chewing gum, so I wanted to share some advice on how to do it :) 

  • Focus on the long-term gratification. Try to make it just one day without gum. At the end of the day, think about how good it feels to NOT have chewed gum. I know that after I binged on gum, I always experienced guilt/shame/sadness— compared to pride/accomplishment when I had resisted the temptation. Chewing gum feels good in the moment, but (literally) at the end of the day, staying strong feels so much better.
  • Respect your hunger. You’re thinking, “But I chew gum so I don’t HAVE to eat!” Sorry, but gum doesn’t equal nutrients. You need food in your mouth, not flavor. If you rely on gum as a way to stimulate your taste buds while restricting, there’s only one way to kick the habit, and that’s to eat when you’re hungry. Trust me, I know it’s hard. I’ve been starving an hour after a huge breakfast, and although in the past I would’ve chewed manically for two hours to put off eating until my “set time,” now I have a snack. Your body is telling you something, and it’s your responsibility to listen, not trick it.
  • Brush your teeth. If you’re craving gum not because you’re hungry, but because you’re bored, brush your teeth! It’s the same burst-y effect in your mouth, but unlike gum, it has that sense of finality, like after you brush your teeth, you’re going to move on with your life.
  • Don’t chew it at all. Ever. You’re dependent on gum, and so you can’t chew it “in moderation.” Don’t accept pieces from friends, don’t buy a pack with the plan to spread it out over a couple of days, just. don’t. chew. it. I know from prior experiences of trying to quit that “just one piece” turns into a whole pack very, very quickly.
  • Mark your progress on a calendar/reward yourself. For every day you make it, draw a little smiley-face. It’s so so so cool to see the smiley faces stack up. After I reach certain mile-stones, I like to treat myself!

I hope this advice helps anyone who is trying to stop chewing gum! It’s such a hard thing to overcome, but speaking as someone who used to walk two miles just to buy a pack, it’s definitely do-able.