May Newsletter – Dealing with Exam Stress & Other Recovery Tips


“Recovery Now”
Eating Distress Handbook

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Welcome to May’s Newsletter.  This time of year involves a lot of transitioning. School and college are either ending or coming up to a break, many of us are entering new chapters in our lives and getting ready for a new season. Even the weather is changing to brighter days 🙂 When we are super sensitive changes can sometimes bring up anxiety and recovery can sometimes go on the back burner. In this issue of MTC’s Newsletter we are exploring exam stress, how to make recovery a priority and a fun freedom recipe 🙂


MTC’s Tuesday’s Group Sessions will change to the new time of 7.30-9.00pm. This change will effective from April 26th 2016

Is Recovery Your Priority?

During the early stages of ED, recovery is the ultimate goal-the prize at the finish line. When you’re starting out sometimes you want it all NOW-recovery, freedom, the whole shebang. Often maybe you are so focused on the prize that you lose sight of what you need to do in order to get there and you grow impatient and frustrated-I know I did!

Accepting that recovery takes time and patience is a very important part of the journey but you can’t use this acceptance to just wait for recovery to arrive one day, you still need to work for it. Take driving for instance-you can’t just take the theory test and expect to get into a car the next day and pass your driving test. You’ve got to keep practising, practising and practising some more. Driving in the day, at night, on country roads, on main roads, at roundabouts and junctions-as many scenarios as possible before you can take that test and expect to pass. Recovery is similar, you must put the theory you have learned into practice-simply knowing isn’t enough-you must apply. Nobody ever “knew” their way to recovery, they had to practice
the application of the theories.

Do you make recovery your number one priority?
Unfortunately going to group occasionally or attending a session once in a while isn’t enough. Recovery needs structure-recovery needs to happen every day-time needs to be spent doing the homework and applying the theory you have learned.
Everyone lives very busy lives these days and often recovery can take a back seat but think about it-If you sacrifice a few weeks of your recovery to travel-How much will you enjoy your travels when you realise you have packed condition into your suitcase?
Recovery takes a lot of work and it requires sacrifice but it’s absolutely worth it. I sacrificed a lot along the way but it now means I can enjoy things exactly as they’re meant to be enjoyed-not with a dark cloud constantly looming over me waiting to ruin perfectly good memories.
I can’t stress how important it is to really make recovery a priority-ED will not go away by itself-it needs hard work and commitment but you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Everyone deserves Freedom and Happiness.
Make Recovery Number One Priority – it will worth it!


‘Is Recovery your Priority?’

‘Is Recovery your Priority?’ That question can seem quite affronting, but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to help you us be self-honest, and it’s meant to turn on a few light-bulbs.
I used to hate being asked that question. My head would conjure a list of excuses the length of my arm. I had all the reasons in the world why it was much harder for me, I was much busier. I feel less defensive these days. Maybe I could be doing more for my freedom…

How do you know if it’s not your priority?
Perhaps you book sessions and careworks whenever it suits, with no clear structure or plan. Perhaps you cancel sessions ad hoc. Perhaps you’re very busy and don’t have time to do some journalling, write credit lists or do self caring things. Perhaps you aren’t resting enough, you’re pushing your body too far, and you’ve not seen the inside of the GP surgery in ages. Perhaps you’ve become very fluent in the language of Excuses and Poor Me. Perhaps you actively park your recovery when you go for a weekend away, or to a party- as though the condition magically falls into abeyance just because you wish it will. Perhaps you don’t go to group enough. Perhaps you find recovery work sheets stuffed down the side of the bed or in the bottom of your handbag, evidence of your good intentions. Perhaps you don’t prioritise your nutrition, and keep finding yourself caught short. Perhaps you say ‘it’s not my fault because I…’ whenever anyone points out that you aren’t putting the effort in.

It kinda stings a bit when your realise it’s not your priority. Well it used to sting for me. I’d go straight to the guilt, and wallow in how I wasn’t good enough at recovery. Very helpful…
I suppose everybody leads busy lives these days. A perpetual competition over who is busier. Prioritising recovery means carving out time for recovery, but also bringing recovery and freedom into all the actions and intentions for the day. Do everything with love. Do everything with the intention that you want (and DESERVE) freedom!
The biggest learning of my recovery has been that the more I put in, the more I get out. Recovery can be fun, but it’s also hard work at times. Recovery and freedom don’t fall from the sky, and it’s pointless sitting with a list of all the things you ‘know’ about recovery, and not following through with the action.


What do we Learn from our Classes/Groups?

“I went to group before I attended or signed up to any sessions and that first group was a game changer for me. I don’t even remember the topic but I do remember coming home feeling over the moon; I was not alone.
Group has many benefits; topics are discussed, advice is given, realisations are made and bucket loads of inspiration is provided through the presence of those who are recovered or who are completely free from ED. However, for me, one of the biggest benefits is the support that group provides on so many different levels.
Everyone smiles. Smiles of welcome, smiles of understanding, smiles at some funny anecdote, smiles of encouragement to vocalise what is necessary…
There are tissues. These are used for momentous realisations, a challenging week, milestones reached, issues yet to be tackled, issues recently conquered…
Everyone understands. You think you are alone; that your thoughts and actions are uniquely yours or are in fact ‘normal’. Then you realise that they aren’t. Yes, you are told all of this in your sessions or carework (if you are attending these), but I think group hammers it home. When you suddenly realise an entire room is quietly nodding in agreement you or that you yourself are silently nodding too.
I look forward to group. It motivates, inspires and focuses me. I am not alone.”

Freedom Fighter

A few words from a carer…

“As a carer it gives great comfort to be able to sit and listen as sufferers and carers alike share such honesty.
No judgment just sharing.
Each Saturday helps me to regroup & keep me going for another week for whatever ED is going to throw at me.
I get so much from each class and I know that I need it every bit as much as my daughter – maybe even more so.
It’s the one place where I don’t have to justify or put on a facade. I don’t feel alone in my fight with ED.
Thank you Marie & everyone for helping through such honest sharing – I’m privileged to be part of it.”

Caring Mum:)

Group therapy can be a good forum to educate ourselves on important topics that may not often be connected with recovery. Leaning from one another in the class/group can speed up your recovery process. Group members also educate each other from their varied experiences in identifying and solving problems.
By sharing and listening to others, we learn that we are not alone in our experience of having an Eating Distress. It can enhance a person’s self-esteem just to realize that he/she is neither crazy nor alone. Some people handle certain issues better than others, and they help each other in this way. In recovery classes we learn new ways of coping, to tolerate and accept one another experiences and to learn from it. Attending recovery classes is a great way to enhance and shorten the recovery process.


An Epidemic of Beauty Sickness: Renee Engeln at TEDxUConn
Here is a very interesting TED talk on a topic very relevant to recovery from ED. Watching this video could help you understand more what is happening in our society today . How influenced and brainwashed we can become and how being bombarding with images effect us more than we realise. Understanding what is actually happening can help us protect ourselves and deal with influences from the outside in a more effective way.

Click here to be directed to the video

Inspiring films

Eddie The Eagle
This film is ‘must see’ for anyone recovering from ED.  The film is based on true story of Michel Edwards, a British ski jumper, who’s motto in life was never give up. Anytime you feel demotivated in your recovery I would recommend to watch this film. I heard so much about it, but nothing described the energy that it gave me watching it. Eddie’s story teaches us about patience, attitude and how important it is to never give up.
I hope you will enjoy it too.

Click here to watch the trailer


Book Corner

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christen Lamb

This is the truly amazing story of Malala Yousafzai, a brave young women who stood up for the right to an education in the face of the Taliban and paid a heavy price.
Told in Malala’s own words this beautiful naritive combines cultural, political and family history. It paints a stunning and vivid picture of a young girls life in war torn Pakistan and Afghanistan and her fight for education.
One of the most touching moments is when Malala is describing how her parents meet and how they saw the real inner beauty in each other.
It is ultimtly a very human story of what can happen when courage over comes adversity and how the human speirt can journey on to achieve great thing.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Holiday Enhancing Therapy in Lanzarote

Everybody needs a holiday. When you suffer from Eating Distress this can be a little more complicated. There is extra ‘luggage’ going with the person. From our work we can often see that many people in recovery from ED find holidays very challenging, and can have a setback after their return, and many family members come home disappointed.

A couple of years ago we started to organise Holiday Enhancing Therapy (HET). HET is an intensive programme, personally tailored to each person’s needs, and to enhance their recovery stage. There are many benefits in providing an HET in Lanzarote. This programme can allow people to focus on recovery, and help people to see that Recovery is not all about therapy, but about LIFE and learning to have FUN on this journey. It creates opportunities for the person to get absorbed in the culture, and different lifestyles around them.

Holiday Enhancing Therapy can aid a person’s recovery, and help to provide or demonstrate real freedom of both body and mind.  It helps people to open and use their senses more. The aim is to highlight what living really is, learn about what beauty is around them, and most importantly, within them.HET encourages and promotes a Freedom Fighters own independence to enjoy their holiday and enjoy living. This in turn will allow them to use these learnings in their own environment, on their return home.  The added bonus is that they can have the benefit and assurance of an Eating Distress Practitioner on hand to continue with recovery, challenge the condition, and to provide hope, and motivation.The benefits of taking recovery outside of the therapy room is that people are provided with the opportunity to see, in real situations, recovery in action, not just in theory. The Eating Distress Practitioner leads by example and assists people to do it for themselves.
People in recovery and their family are learning to have a fun together, communicate and enjoy one another, without the ED interference.
From organising several of these trips, with people and their families attended many found it very helpful in their recovery process. Many attendees realised that instead of their ED condition, they brought home a luggage full of powerful learnings, which helped them to enjoy their recovery process more.

Our next HET in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote will be available from 13th February 2017 to 6th March 2017. For more information you can contact the MTC office +353 1 857 6901.

Feedack from people who have attended previous trips:

“This week was a turning point in my recovery. I learnt so much about myself and about life. Being away in a different environment, with support , really showed me how far I had come and how far I could go. I saw a taste of what life really was and I realized I wanted it and I wanted it badly. What I learnt in that week would have taken me months to learn”.

“On this trip, I felt free, grateful and alive. It’s worth it to all those who may be afraid to go. We all have the same fears, no one thing exclusive to you, each of us understands and helps each other to conquer our fears”.

“It helped my confidence in talking to people. It helped with my independence as it was the first time I was abroad without family”.

“I learned how to use my senses. It helped my body image. I learned to look at the beauty around me which helped me to stop living in my head all the time“

“It has been the most powerful week in my recovery, even though really emotional! It turned recovery into a special journey. I have been on several programmes abroad and each one I have benefited from immensely, and in ways I am continually learning about myself and about life, appreciating every day and how far I have come and having compassion for myself.  In all areas of life intensity is beneficial because its only logical that the more you put into something the more you will get out of it, so why not use this philosophy for recovery. “

“I had so many fears before going to Lanzarote.  My practitioner kept reminding me, FEAR – false evidence appearing real … But I wasn’t sure that I believed her. My fears did not feel false, they felt real.  I even considered cancelling going.  But I didn’t and am I glad I went.  The big realization I had was that my fears come from lack of self knowledge.  Its like there was a whole part of me that was invisible and taking the risk of relating to other people, and working on my relationship with myself made it visible, and I am now actually excited to be me.  I am curious what else I will learn about being me. I no longer fear the future!  And I believe in full recovery and I know it is there for me too.”

Surviving Exam Time Written by  Freedom Fighter Tigerlilly

Exams. The word can instill fear and paralysis and send condition on it’s merry way to destructive thinking. But you know, they’re actually not the end of the world, nor are they the most important thing in the world. This year for the first time I had a different approach to exams than I’ve ever had before. It was more self-supportive and more balanced. I’m not saying it was plain sailing or easy but it was far less stressful than previous years and the reason why is so simple! I gave myself a chance.

Every year that I did exams I self-sabotaged – I engaged in behaviors and placed exams as my priority instead of my wellbeing because yeno, that can wait! But it doesn’t work that way and I see that now after years of being told it. Putting exams before my physical health, mental health, my recovery, my relationships and just my general daily living only led me down a very dangerous path. Any steps that I had taken up the escalator towards recovery prior to exams were quickly moving further away and I was being dragged down because I wasn’t making the pro-recovery decisions. I thought that it could wait, that exams were the most important and I’d get back on track once they were over and promised myself that the next time exams came around that it would be different, that I wouldn’t do this again. I did it every year from second year in secondary to school to second year in college and the yo-yoing kept me stuck!

The ironic thing is that by ‘putting my exams first’ I probably didn’t do as well as I could have. I used to envy and mock those that had a ‘balanced’ approach to exams and the people in the newspaper who claimed to keep up hobbies etc and still manage to get A’s. Sure they must have been lying. But now I get it. Balance is essential. Working myself to the bone and taking away any enjoyment only serves to take away my real chance of doing well. Because doing ‘well’ is more than about doing well in the exam – it’s about keeping my life going and not putting it on hold.

This year I listened and trusted what my therapists said and actually took the action instead of putting it off. I continued to nourish and didn’t compromise and in doing so I could actually remember things far easier than I used to – it wasn’t as much of a struggle and I didn’t have to read the same page over and over again because I lost concentration. I repeated reassurance and I BREATHED and it helped so much. Before, I thought it was ridiculous – how could such simple things even begin to help me when I’m so stressed, so overloaded, so behind, so not good enough blah *insert condition words* blah. But those thoughts just took up time and energy and space in my brain. The panic consumed any time I had so of course I couldn’t study as well as I wanted to. Don’t be like me and keep putting it off because it works. Remove the pressure and get fascinated. Listen to the wise words of those that have gone before us – they do actually know what they’re talking about 😉

The final thing I’ll say is that exams come and go. They pass. Recovery cannot come and go – it needs to stay and it needs as much attention as everything else in our lives. It is what will support you, not the result of the exam. The percentage or the letter on the paper will not define you, it will not help your vitality, your relationships or your passions. It will just be. So think about that the next time you think you ‘should’ be doing better or ‘have to’ study for hours. It’s quality not quantity. It’s balance and not distortion. Life is so much bigger than what schools and institutions make it out to be and the one route is not going to suit everyone – we all have different paths. So enjoy your journey and discover what you want – don’t let your dreams be governed by a few hours of exams because in the proportion of your life they take up only a tiny fraction of it. Something that my mam always says is – what’s the use of good grades if there’s nothing of me left at the end to do something with them?!


Fun Freedom Recipes

Chocolate Seaweed Delights
For the adventurous or curious cook…
600g dark chocolate (at least 70%)
40g coconut oil
60g ground almonds
60g chopped walnuts
2 sheets of Nori seaweed
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
10 paper cups

Break chocolate into small pieces into a pudding bowl, then add coconut oil.
The pudding bowl with contents no needs to sit on a saucepan with water. Put this over the heat and slowly bring to simmer. Keep stirring the chocolate while it melts.
When waiting you can toast sheets of Nori seaweed. Toast them for about one minute under the grill and then break into small pieces.
When the chocolate is melted stir in all remaining ingredients.
Mould your mixture into paper cups and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Make sure you enjoy it and when your condition is trying to advice you otherwise read all the benefits for your body functioning again and again (see “Did you know” below)….

Did you know??
  • Dark, unprocessed chocolate has many positive impacts on your health. The flavonoids it contains have antioxidant properties that can help protect your body from damaging oxidative stress. There’s evidence that consumption of dark chocolate can improve your glucose metabolism, blood pressure and cardiovascular system.
  • A new study on chocolate showed that eating dark chocolate can increase your natural skin protection and protect you from skin damage from sun exposure.
  • Nori seaweed is a rich source of calcium, zinc and iodine and vitamins B, C and E.
  • Coconut oil is good for constipation and any build up gas in the stomach and intestine track, rich for vitamin E and is regarded as a super, super food.
  • Walnuts are a very good source of protein and rich in vitamin B and E and magnesium.
  • Almonds are rich in vitamin E, zinc, potassium, iron, fibre and lower your bad cholesterol and anticancer, controversial vitamin B17.
  • Cinnamon is great for boosting memory and cognitive function and great for regulating your blood sugar.

On another note…

We love the idea of other people contributing to our newsletter and sharing their opinions and insights. Please feel free to submit anything that you feel other people would like to read.  It can be anything from jokes, poetry, tips which have helped you in the past, your comments or if you just want to let off some steam, anything of interest would be greatly appreciated as we have noticed that every person who walks through MTC doors is multi-talented so go on, put those gifts to use. Simply email us at


Groups Meetings in Marino Therapy Centre:

Tuesdays: 7.30-9.00pm – Sufferers only

Saturdays: 10.30am – 12. 00pm – Carers & Sufferers
**From 26th April 2016 All Tuesday Groups will run from 7.30pm-9.00pm**

Groups in Limerick:
For further information contact Eating Distress practitioner Catherine O Grady at 086 195 3537
or visit

Dare to Live SOS
Visit  for lots of interesting and helpful recovery articles from people who have personal experiences surviving suicide.