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
Eating Distress from A Male Perspective
Because of the fact that this condition is often mistakenly viewed as a teenage girl’s problem, it can be extremely difficult for male sufferers to be open about their illness and look for help. The stigma attached to this condition is greater for men and can be a barrier to finding help and understanding. We need to create more understanding about the extent of this problem in the male population. We need to develop a safe environment for men to feel free about expressing the way they feel.
Men with Eating Distress are extremely sensitive and emotional people and these two qualities are not sufficiently recognised and accepted in today’s society.
My name is Simon. I am 41 years old. I have suffered from Eating Distress for many years. Eating Disorders/Eating Distress are often labeled as a ” women’s” disease however I am a male and also have an Eating Disorder. I find it very annoying and very unhelpful when it is reported in the media as mainly a female problem as it is not. There is a large percentage of males that suffer and have more trouble seeking help as it is nearly a taboo subject.
It is slowly becoming more acceptable. My Eating Distress was brought on by bullying in school and my early years in work. I became obsessive about food and my body. I began to exercise regularly. I could not stop thinking about food and my body. I was constantly worrying about what I had eaten. I was completely exhausted and most days as I was feeling weak and had no energy.
Having a very poor diet lasted for years before I accepted I had a problem. It came to a head one evening as I broke down having a conversation with my sister. It was a cry for help. I was just sick and tired and an emotional wreck. Within a week I was in the treatment centre getting some much needed help.
They were many tough times but I came through them with the help of my therapists, my Doctor and family. I can happily say I am well on my way to full recovery. Many things have helped me on my road to recovery like learning to forgive, accept and love myself. I hope this will help others to seek help and not suffer in silence.
You Are Not On Your Own
At about fifteen years of age I noticed that food was playing a very important role in my life. I was constantly thinking, ‘What am I going to eat next?’ At first I did not mind. I quite enjoyed eating. I was tall and I could have done with a little extra weight. But as time went on these food thoughts were coming more and more to my mind. Sometimes I used to find that even after a substantial dinner I was still very hungry, and even if I felt physically full I could not stop. These feelings started to bother me. I was afraid that other people would notice that I was eating so much and I started to be embarrassed about my eating habits.
My eating became more and more secretive and slowly and surely it changed to binges. At that time I thought I was the only man on the whole planet who had this problem and that made things even worse. I was starting to panic. I did not know what was happening. I felt so desperate and lonely and the more I felt this way the less I wanted to see any other people. My friends slowly gave up on me and gradually I became a loner. My only company was my food. Now I can see, that each time I binged I forgot all my problems. I was numb, I did not feel, I did not think, I did not mark my existence. This went on for so long that I was afraid to look back and ask when it actually started. That would only bring more and more guilt, which I was full of anyway.
A time came when I knew I could not continue to go on this way, but I was not able to see any other way. I knew I had an Eating distress, but where was I to go from here? This is only a woman’s problem. How could I have it? There must be something wrong with me. I went to numerous bookshops trying to find out more about it. But every book talked only of girls and women. I just felt I couldn’t go on anymore, and I definitely couldn’t tell anybody. What would they think? They’d probably lock me in a mental hospital. The despair was growing and I could not handle it anymore, so I decided to finish it forever. For a while I debated whether to do it, but then I knew I would feel like a failure who couldn’t stick to anything. I did it.
Now years later I am so glad I did not succeed. I can’t even remember everything that happened that night. Nobody ever talks about it in our house and I did not ask. It is better that way. My mum has since passed away and I am just sorry I could not explain things to her. But I am sure she is watching me somewhere and it was probably she who gave me the strength to go and fight this illness. It did take a long time. I was sent for treatment for depression and even there I could not tell them about my ED. I just could not. But I learned more about myself and about life. Today I think I am nearly recovered. I am finishing my studies and I’ve found my own worth. I still cannot talk openly about my ED, but I have found somebody whom I trust and with whom I can be myself. I am being helped to let go of this monster. I know I am not the only man to suffer from this condition. There are thousands of us and knowing that helps a lot.
I just would like to say to all men who suffer as I did, please do something about it. You are not on your own. It is only people who have been there themselves who can bring about changes and re-educate our society about eating disorders. I hope the time will come when I can speak more openly about it. I do not wish anybody to feel the same way I used to.
Every choice we make matters. I get that may seem like a pretty big statement but it’s true. Wherever you put your energy, that’s where your energy goes. Through each action, we make an impact, be it on ourselves, our experience, or others. We cast a vote towards what we support or stand for by the moves me make.
In recovery, our potential impact is fairly simple – pro-condition or pro-recovery. It’s worth waking up to the trail we leave, the ripple effect we create. Whether we want to or not, we have influence. We can reinforce the condition’s strength or we can empower our own.
So, it’s time to become aware. Become aware of what we’re feeding into, what we’re spending time on and whose favour we’re consistently voting in. Are we supporting the value of thinness? Are we feeding into the diet industry? Are we setting an example we wouldn’t be proud of? Are we promoting low self-esteem by continuing negative self-talk? If the answer to all of those is yes, don’t worry, but do become aware of it.
Awareness is the ignition for change. No action or gesture is too small to make a difference. If you don’t agree with the condition’s values then show it. Walk it, talk it, and bring your recovery alive by acting on it at every chance. Freedom fighters are so-called for a reason, we have something to fight for and we need to support that fight by what we do.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”.
What does Freedom mean to you?
What is your definition of freedom?
Who is Muireann?
These questions have been posed to me many a time and after quite some time I’m actually finally starting to give them some serious thought…
I guess the difference now is that I want Freedom and I want to be me. I want to cross the line into the unknown…the land condition fears so so much…I want to enter the country of freedom.
I have been feeling very reflective and emotional as of late over the past years and time lost to condition…I didn’t wallow in this too much however as I finally realised that over wallowing etc isn’t helpful! What is helpful now at my stage and every stage is that I take action and a full swing at condition!
100 years ago Ireland emerged an independent state after much turmoil…people fought for our country’s freedom…I need to honour that truly, how can I justify handing over my freedom to condition when so many fought for the place in which we now live! I have a right to be me, I have a right to do as I want and not be instructed by a worn out conditioned useless thought…id serve myself much much better by switching my focus to what can I do about it? I have a choice, we all do. I need to choose….condition or freedom? Once I enter the country of freedom I won’t be allowed return to condition land, my visa will have well and truly expired. So much awaits in the land of freedom, I’m going to view this as an exciting journey and let it unfold as it will. I know what I need to do…key words to get me there: trust, simplicity, action and practice!
Let’s make the most of this journey, as hard as it is at times it does provide us with lots of valuable learning.
Is mise Muireann 🙂
What is Freedom to Me?
Below is a very special Freedom Fighters interpretation of what Freedom is to them. Please feel free to send your version, whether it be song, poetry,art of any kind to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharing is so powerful when we are recovering from an Eating Distress
Simple Tips to Slow Down and Create More Memories
When we are in condition our distorted thoughts go very very fast around around in our head. Like our hand, it we wave it very fast in front of us we cannot see it cleary. Wen we have rapid thoughts we find it very challenging to remember a lot of things as we are ot in the present moment, slowing down and connecting with our senses. Many of us find it challenging to remember what has happened in a day never mind a week. Here are some simple tips to help slow down and make more memories :
Slow down your breathing. It is very challenging to have fast thoughts when we are slowing down our breathing. Focus on slow deep breaths. “Breath in and out, that’s what lifes about”
Get Out of Your Head & Into your Senses. Secure experiences more by engaging with your senses.
Ask yourself :
5 things I can Hear?
4 things I can See?
3 things I can Touch?
2 things I can Smell?
1 thing I can Taste?
Journaling. Journaling is a very simple yet effective way to improve your memory has it helps file and organize our thoughts and experiences throughout the day. We gain more clarity by getting into this habit. Simply writing how your thoughts were that day and what you learn will add to slowing down and improving your memory.
For more simple tips on improving memory Click Here for Huffington’s Post article The Best Way To Boost Your Memory Is Already In Your Hand
Click Here to watch a newly hatched baby penguin being weighed at Chester Zoo. No fear here or worrying about his weight 🙂
My Beautiful Broken Brain
My Beautiful Broken Brain
“I’m never going to be the same. And in that discovery, I’ve become empowered” -Lotje Sodderland
Lotje Sodderland is a 34 year old woman who suffered a severe haemorrhagic stroke in 2011 while at home alone. She stumbled out her front door and remembered nothing after collapsing in a nearby hotel. When she woke up, it became apparent that she had lost the ability to read and write. This documentary is about her journey.
I liked this documentary because Lotje is very inspiring. She is vibrant, brave and determined. Most importantly, she was committed to regaining her life. She never gave up.
This is a story of survival. Of piecing things back together. Of recovery. This is a story of hope. I cannot recommend it more highly and think it ought to be on the list of ‘must -see’ films for recovery.
Valuing me for Being Me!
Throughout my life, my personal values have changed drastically. Perhaps the first thing I valued in life was my family, my mother and father who loved this tiny being as much as another human could possibly love someone. As I grew up, this value became clouded by new values. How I saw life changed as I changed. As I tiny baby, I had no time hatred of my body but instead viewed it with wonder and excitement, loving my fingers and toes and rubbing my belly. I valued it like the beautiful gemstone it is. Somewhere along the way I lost that. I began to question my worth and valued nothing more then the number on the scale and how my jeans fit. I believed my value as a person was based on how others perceived my appearance. However, the other day I came across a quote by Max Lucanda, an American author, who wrote:
“You are valuable because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done – but simply because of who you are”
It’s time to return to the beginning, and learn how to love myself again. When we were born, we hadn’t even taken our first breath and we already had value. Everybody in the delivery room valued us and we had done nothing to earn this. Because you don’t earn your value, you are born with it, now it’s just trying to learn how to care for it. Once I begin to value my value, others will value it too. I won’t need to do things to please others but rather to please myself. I will become my own best friend because I am the only one who’s with me every step of the way. The last time I truly loved and valued my body and mind was when I was the size of a pineapple. So small and yet I loved every bit of it. Now there is more of me to love and my value has grown with me. Before, I couldn’t see it through all the clouds and fog but now spring is here, the clouds are parting and the rays of my beauty are peeking through.
Learning from our Weekly Classes
In our Recovery Classes we learn from one another on how to enhance and speed up or journey to Full Freedom. Click Here to catch up and get updates from previous classes .You can also use it as learning material during your one-to-one sessions.
The Power of Body Language
In recovery we play a lot of energy to our thinking, but not always use our body as a helpful tool. This is a very helpful video with lots of tips how to use our body for improving our communication, with ourselves and with other people as well. You can get many helpful tips and it can help to make your recovery more interesting.
Click Here to Watch Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are by Amy Cuddy
I walked along the Bray/Greystones cliff walk today and freedom feels like this: just strolling, in awe of all the different colour blues in the sea, smiling at the older people who really know how to enjoy this life, the ones taking it slower than everyone else, the ones stopped for a picnic and sitting in silence staring out to sea.
Freedom feels like gratitude, not how I imagined gratitude to feel, but just a humbling appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us with no wars raging, no climate upheavals, just normal day-to-day life. It feels like not having to make conversation and just walking in silence because the sound of the waves and the seagulls is nicer than anything else. It’s getting mucky but not caring. It’s not getting irked by the power walkers brushing past, angrily marching along with their faces to the ground.It feels like just panning out, no exact plan on arrival, a crepe might be nice, savoury or sweet not sure. It feels like skipping ice-cream even though everyone else gets one, because you’re listening to your body and your full, and you don’t feel remotely deprived or restricted. Freedom feels like being spontaneous and getting a taxi when we’d planned to take the DART. It feels like the hilarity of sitting outside the creperie in the cold, because we’d a dog with us.
Freedom feels fun and light and living in the moment, without having to try to. It feels calm too, no problem too big. It also feels cosy. And it feels safe. It’s like going along on your own little wave, what other people are doing or not doing is no concern of mine.
It took me a long time to get here, but it’s worth it, it’s really, really worth it. Today was a very special day, spent with people I really love, no phones, no car. But sometimes days aren’t that perfect but I still feel free because I let myself be cranky or tired or worn out or overwhelmed. I used to think I’d be perfectly poised at all times as soon as I became free, it took me a while to let that belief go. Freedom is being imperfect and accepting yourself.
Another thing is the odd time I’ll have an old thought but the funny difference is, it’s just a visiting thought, there’s no weight attached to it, it doesn’t hang around, the thought might pop in but I don’t believe it at all. The visiting ED thoughts of old used to scare me now they don’t, they’re just passing memories.
I think probably one of the most important things for me, well two, to get to freedom, were counting my free moments instead of itemising and analysing my unfree ones. The other thing was coming up with my own definition of freedom, what suits me, what kind of person am I and what do I need to do to meet my needs.
I’ve been thinking about this a while and I thought freedom is just one big long self-care, you’re always self-caring; be that paying your bills on time so you’re not stressed, lathering yourself in coconut oil, using your favourite conditioner, turning your phone off for the day, cancelling a date, phoning a friend, meditating to come back to yourself, going for a brisk walk to get rid of nervous energy, joining a club because you’re bored.
Above all else – that’s what freedom is for me, self-caring. Anyone going through recovery, for however long, do keep at it, it is possible and it is so, so worth. Find your wave and ride it.
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 email@example.com
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Groups Meetings in Marino Therapy Centre:
Tuesdays: 7.30-9.00pm – Sufferers only
Saturdays: 10.30am – 12. 00pm – Carers & Sufferers Groups
**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 www.nirvanatherapycentre.com
Dare to Live SOS
Visit http://daretolivesos.blogspot.ie/ for lots of interesting and helpful recovery articles from people who have personal experiences surviving suicide.