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Reflections from Freedom Fighters

written by brave and committed Freedom Fighters

Let gentleness go before you, warriors of the light

We live in a society that is filled with hurting people, many of whom go unnoticed on a regular basis.  Have you stopped to take notice of the people around you? Of yourself?

 We often get so consumed with meeting the next deadline, competing for the next promotion, or running to our next obligation, that we lose sight of how we treat the people around us most especially ourselves.

Sadly, our busyness can lead to harshness, critical attitudes, frustration, or just being overwhelmed to the point that we treat the ones we love unfairly or indeed ourselves.

How many of our relationships are strained because we need to make an attitude adjustment this very moment? It’s time to pause. Take a deep breath and release the weight of what we have been carrying.  Remember as a warrior of the light, we have been called to be a light to those around us.  We are the light that we exhibit to the world, the light that is within us all. I know I have days and times where I’m comfortable back in the shadow…but ultimately the light within me should be seen, not me (ego).

Today I want to practise putting on the coat of gentleness today, starting with myself, even in the midst of those moments of frustration.  To slow down and begin to pay attention to what really matters.  It is not the to-do lists that are waiting to be tackled. It is the people around us. All of us. Let gentleness go before us today. Starting with myself. The things we accomplish will mean very little if we have no one to share them with.

 Please help me great spirit to be mindful today of my attitudes.  Help me to pay close attention to the ones I hurt including myself, if I am not paying close attention to the little things. May my words and my mannerisms be seasoned with the light, with grace.  May I pause to take time to commune with the great power within to receive the love that I need to share with those around me.  Let love flow through me like never before.

 Today’s challenge: Take a deep breath when I am about to lose my cool.  Stop and whisper to myself, inner light help me remain calm and allow your light, your true power to work through me each day.

 (A reflection I read that I modified for us – the warriors of the light) xx

Elfi

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The moment I realised that I am falling in love with my Recovery

Today I realise that I have a choice.

I have a choice to live, or a choice to die.

A choice to awaken, a choice to live asleep.

I realise that I am breathing full deep breaths as I wait for my aromatic coffee to brew, coffee pot bubbling away, the scent permeating everywhere,

I realise it’s wonderful aroma fills my nostrils…and I smile…inwardly…

I realise that by practising these moments I am coming into being, feeling the complete connectedness with myself and all things,

All light and energy around me, all connected, intertwined.

Here in this moment as I feel my lungs expand, I practise fixing my gaze on the beauty and splendour around me, trees swaying in the breeze outside,

the colours and vibrancy of greenish hues,

The children are laughing as they journey past, to a new school year,

As I stand here amidst the changing of seasons, I sense the chill in the morning air,

Autumn approaches to say her hello..And I greet her, I can feel her, I am practising how to be here, just here.

As I stand on my own two feet, the teachings of the freedom fighters fill my mind as I greet this brand new day,

Another lesson to be learned, I can begin again every moment,

If I stumble I realise I can start again, wipe the slate and continue on my way,

I realise that everything is a choice.

I have grown to love ‘realising’ each new thing…

Enlightenment, Awakening, Smells, Scents, Sounds, Sights,

Hearing my laughter, tasting my own tears, feeling my skin, warm and alive,

Life’s rollercoaster of emotions, relationships, experiences..

I realise I have fallen in love with recovery, my inner journey of self discovery,

Each morning I realise I am choosing the light, stepping out of the darkness,

And if I forget, I start again, and I remember,

The darkness is shrinking, the light it grows, and if I forget I remember and onwards it goes,

I appreciate, I feel, I think, I learn, I grow,

I am falling in love with realisations,

I am falling in love with my recovery, right here.

Elfi

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Time

Time is precious, this is something I heard since I was a young child. I never truly believed it. When I was deep in condition I filled every second of every day trying to keep myself busy so I didn’t have to think , didn’t have to feel. Condition had me running around , making plans with people so I was never alone. The only thing it really achieved was making me exhausted, condition masked the tiredness which added fuel to the fire. I wished everyday would be over on a regular basis and condition made me miserable. I didn’t want to give into condition so I wanted it to be bedtime or I didn’t want to feel hungry anymore so I wanted the day to be over. Time was passing me by. However at least now I am happy to say I have a new outlook on time and I value it. Time is precious and me , I , Social Butterfly believes this. I don’t want days to end. I don’t plan to fill ever second I enjoy living in the present moment. I find now that there is not enough hours in the day, time passes to quickly. When I say this I mean not enough hours in the day to read a book or take in the scenery or spend time with my new best friend. I still fit in time with true friends, but sometimes it is only a phone-call. I value doing things on the spare of the moment and I appreciate all the time I have a lot more as I am doing what I want to do. It is enabling me to enjoy Life living and it is because I choose what I do with all the precious time I have not condition. Live each day to the full and this could mean sometimes just relaxing in front of the sofa or reading a book in the garden, Stroll and take in the scenery and use your senses. Breathing and pausing to admire something is a beautiful use of time, watching a film is not a waste of a time or sometimes playing a video game may be just what the doctor ordered, Rest to rejuvenate is important so you can have the energy you deserve to enjoy your life. Meeting a friend in a coffee shop and an hour meeting turning into three hours because you are lost in conversation is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.  Follow your own heart and don’t wish your life away, live each second doing what makes you happy. Time does pass however you will have no regrets with what you do with your time if you follow your true wishes.

Social Butterfly xxx

Freedom

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 Opinions

In the not to distant past, Condition believed my opinions did not matter. Condition stopped me from speaking out as It scared me into worrying what people may think of me if I said what was really on my mind. Would my so called friends disown me If I was the true me. Condition was wrong so so wrong. I believe my opinion matters, I understand now people will disagree with me and that is ok. Not everyone has the same opinions and that is what is exciting about life and it makes for lively debates and conversations. I have now found my true friends who know the real me and love me for my personality and they don’t always agree with everything I say and that is ok as I don’t always agree with their opinions but we have the courtesy to listen to each other. I am not afraid to speak my mind anymore and I am more confident in who I am. My opinions and beliefs make up part of me. Believe in what you see to be true and make sure you speak out and get curious about things in the world. Open your mind to listening to others and maybe you will learn something and form new opinions or maybe you will keep the same one but know your opinion does matter and have the courage to share it as you never know maybe you will teach somebody else. We all learn from one another and you deserve to be heard, Just make sure it is your opinion and not conditions. Forming opinions is an exciting learning curve on the journey to freedom and it is one I am still figuring out. I enjoy reading and finding out about things which I was always interested in but never took the time to learn more about. It is an exciting time to look forward to and explore on the journey.
You have a Voice and You deserve to be heard. What you say matters never forget this.

Social Butterfly xxx

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Dental Health and Recovery

People can be motivated toward something, for positive reasons, or away from something negative. In recovery, it is sometimes appropriate, although rarely very pleasant, to consider that which we want to avoid. While scaring ourselves is not the best idea in the world, it takes self-awareness and emotional maturity to be aware of the risks involved in not minding ourselves as we deserve and to act, daily, to prevent the realisation of those risks.

I have chosen to write this article in order to highlight one of the many reasons to work hard on clarifying values, to place health at the top – not “high on”, but at the very top – of our lists of values. This article is about dental health.

I really and truly believed that dental problems were one potential ED outcome from which I would certainly be exempted. I was ready for osteoporosis. I feared arthritis. In the absence of periods, worries about future fertility niggled at the recesses of my mind. But I never once engaged in the main behaviour with which I associated risks regarding teeth; namely, vomiting. So I felt that warnings about these did not apply to me.

However, I am currently paying the penalty for years of poor nutrition. Having watching my gums recede for years, laughing at the likelihood that I’d need to get dentures in the far distant future, I now have to get a graft on my lower gum. I had a consultation with a periodontist last week and he said that my gum has gone too thin to hold onto my lower front teeth for much longer. I will lose my four front incisors if a graft is not done soon. I am nervous about the procedure, but I am pragmatic. It is a routine procedure, under local anaesthetic, and it will be fine. I am not looking forward to the discomfort afterwards and I have stocked up on nutritional drinks to sip the evening of and day after, while eating solid food is difficult. That will be fine as well. The cost is not delightful, but I am grateful that I can afford this treatment.

What this is, though, is a harsh lesson in reality. No one is exempted from any of the destruction to which the behaviours of Eating Distress can lead. Every choice that is not completely healthy – more practically, perhaps, every decision you would not be happy to go into a session and tell your therapist about – is self-destruction, plain and simple.

Brutal honesty is the name of the game for me these days. I am thankful for this reality check. Health has been promoted from “high” to the very top of my list of values now…

…and nothing will replace it there.

MX

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Dealing with Feelings

Written by Muddled

Affectionate, brave, despair, eager, free, glad, hateful, hurt, inspired, keen, low, nervous, petrified, pretty, relieved, sneaky, sure, tired, uneasy, worried, wonderful…

These are just some of the feelings that we were presented with in group. I remember covering this topic nearly a year ago. The person beside me was busy reading their sheet, circling feelings, putting stars and marks beside other feelings, talking about how they feel and what they hope to feel. I sat there feeling lost. I just couldn’t identify with any of those feelings, especially positive feelings. I went home and stuck the sheet on my noticeboard to remind myself of all the possible feelings I could have. Surely I was feeling them but I just wasn’t use to identifying and naming them? Hmmm it wasn’t that simple. I was numb to my feelings.

This time it was different. That’s not to say I have felt all of those listed feelings, but I certainly have felt a lot of them in the past year. This is what I took from group and from other peoples sharing:

#1. How do you feel?

Acknowledge your feelings. Are you happy, sad, calm, worried? Use the sheet to try and identify what you are feeling. Most importantly remember that feelings are not ‘bad’ or ‘good’. They are either pleasant or unpleasant. All feelings were created equal! I am definitely guilty of beating myself up because I am anxious when I ‘should’ be excited. Which leads to #2…

#2. What are these feelings telling you?

Feelings are your own high tech, top of the range Sat-Nav system They direct you through life and help you to avoid break downs (caused by exhaustion etc) or traffic jams. They can tell you when you need me time, more self-care, a nap, a walk outdoors, a chat with a friend, a night out! Every feeling tells you something. In fact feelings are a bit like having a PA This step may take a bit of time because you may need processing time and this leads to #3…

#3. What do you want to feel?

At this point you need to work with your feelings. There is no point in saying that you feel sad because of X and that you would prefer to feel happy. You cannot be happy until X is dealt with first. Think of how you can get to your desired state. Try not to let your feelings build up – a cocktail of feelings will lead to a hangover!

Some other nice points made where:

– Respect your feelings.

– Your feelings will get stronger as you recover.

– Don’t judge your feelings by what you think is ‘normal’.

– Remember tears are an emotional cooling system.

– Try not to describe your emotional reactions as ‘silly’. Your feelings are as valid as anyone else’s.

– Bring it to the surface so you can wipe it away.

Finally we were all lucky enough to get a bottle of bubbles and I have used mine every day so far. What a way to put a smile on your face!

Muddled

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Saying no to condition

Condition is a sneaky thing. The more work I do in teasing out all the ways it’s affecting my life, the more I am surprised at how clever it is. Those pesky red thoughts can come from anywhere, hijacking good freedom work you might be doing. Ironically, it’s not all black and white.

Take the situation I had today. I had a fall in work on Sunday and ended up with a lot of soreness and stiffness. Condition was straight in there, urging me to brush it off, say ‘I’m fine’, not let anyone know I might be actually hurt. The days after, I was hugely reluctant to call and say I wasn’t able to come in – condition telling me that everyone would think I was ‘soft’ or just skiving off. When I was able to stand up for myself and take the time I needed to heal and rest, the red thoughts changed. Now they were saying ‘you’ve had a whole day off doing nothing, you feel like frustrated so let’s turn to behaviours, you won’t be able to go back, you need more time off’. Round and round it goes!

So how did I get past this? By knowing what my values are and what I really want. Is has always been easier said than done for me, but this day was different. I was feeling so panicky – I can’t go back to work, I don’t want another day off, I don’t want to turn to behaviours but how else do I get away from all my thoughts…and then it just hit me. We’ve heard it a million times before, but I HAVE A CHOICE. Isolation is not inevitable, behaviours are not out of my control. I want to feel better. This is huge, because I really felt like I ‘deserved’ to feel frustrated. Maybe I do – but I don’t want to. I chose freedom for myself. I got up, showered, called a friend, had a nice nourishing dinner. Recovery and freedom will not just ‘happen’, it’s moments like this where the difference is made. I’m feeling very proud of myself tonight and one step closer to full freedom 🙂

Sunshine

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What I have succeeded in doing, which works for me:

  • Listening to uplifting songs, such as “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John and “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac.
  • Thinking of clothes as being my personal choice of garments to wear. They have no more power than that over me.
  • Remembering and dwelling on, and possibly talking about, free memories. I have recently made some posters as reminders of some of my freest moments/occasions and hung them in my room. I have been free at times. I can be free all the time.
  • Responding to unhelpful input from external sources, as follows:
  1. Taking a very deep breath during unhelpful conversations, when I am among people I don’t know very well, where I do not feel safe to say anything;
  2. In conversations with those I know a bit better, answering unhelpful comments or statements beginning with anything along the lines of “Apparently that’s full of…”; “They’re now advising that people should…” or “I heard that it’s better to have…” with a simple statement, such as “Personally, I find that sort of advice unreliable and unhelpful”. Explaining myself no further; rather, leaving my input at that.
  3. Actually answering the nonsense in advertisements and radio programs out loud, then switching station. For example, “Oh really? Good for you. Well, you can (expletive) off.”
  • Going to group sessions. The whole is worth far, far more than the sum of its parts. I always, unfailingly leave with some new tool, happy thought, reminder of something I value, or a whole bag of ideas to go away and apply.
  • Regular writing. In particular, I write each evening, with three foci: Gratitude, Credit and Learning.
  • Reading about people’s lives and about historical periods where strength, determination, patience and perseverance were exercised to achieve a goal. I recently found Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Invention of Wings” extremely inspiring and cheering.
  • Using social media only as and when they serve my purposes…positive, pro-Me purposes.

What I have begun doing and want to do more:

  • Being brutally honest. Honesty in one to one sessions is vital. Furthermore, having honest conversations with myself, about the matters I least wish to discuss. Having these conversations aloud with the one person I can trust – I am lucky enough to have one – for additional clarity. The condition hates full disclosure and openness. Honesty blows it open, shows up its many downfalls, and leaves it nowhere to hide. So it withers and dies.
  • Thinking about nourishment as a holistic process, involving caring for my body re input and output, minding my mind, and nourishing my spirit with people I find helpful to be around and with experiences that feed my soul.
  • Saying positive, encouraging, but firm statements to myself, particularly during food shopping and preparation and when eating.
  • Taking the approach that my life and my recovery are synonymous. This is it. All day, every day. I recover NOW, all the time.
  • Being my own best friend and treating myself well, especially when this is most challenging.
  • Shelving shame and embarrassment about my journey and embracing acceptance. It is what it is. I am who I am. This is the first moment of the rest of my life.

A Note on Emotions

It is alright to get upset and cry. It is also alright not to cry. But allowing myself feel is vital. I have felt ashamed and embarrassed recently. I have also felt frustrated. I have felt hopeful. I have felt proud. I have felt inspired. I know that feelings are not facts. This is a very important piece of learning. However, the feelings I experience are still important to acknowledge and allow. I can, ultimately, use this for my personal growth.

I have, recently, felt exhausted from working through the more unpleasant of the feelings above and using the tools I have to bring to mind the truth. I am still working out MY truth. I want to say that exhaustion is alright too. It is allowed. I do not have to get up early, do a day’s work, grab some groceries on my way home before rushing a dinner so that I am not late for an evening activity, and go to be at midnight, to feel tired. Recover is tiring, if it is being actively and constantly worked upon. I don’t think I have ever worked like I am now, actively and constantly, and I do feel tired. This is allowed. I am growing.

M:)


BODY

I came across something I wrote a while ago and I find it such a great way to ground myself and remind myself of what is really important to me when ED’s distorted thoughts(about my body) pop in my head.

  • My size tell me nothing about who I am
  • I am a kind, creative, funny, bubbly young women
  • I am a good person
  • No one will stop talking to me because of the size of my clothes
  • Every time I worry about size or how I look to others I give into the value of thinness and vanity
  • A smaller size doesn’t make me a better person- it shrinks who I really am
  • I am a woman who will meet my prince charming, fall in love, go on adventures, make new friends and experience all the world has to offer me.
  • I have a bright future ahead of me with unlimited opportunities
  • I am an interesting person with lots to share
  • I CAN make a difference and be an inspiration by my having my own mind and not giving in to ED values
  • Free people don’t let their size dictate how they think and feel about themselves so neither do I
  • People don’t judge each other by their size and if someone does they are not the kind of people I would like to talk to , so therefore they make no difference to my life
  • I value sense of humour and kindness
  • ED distorts what I see, so I don’t see what others see.
  • I am perfect in my body. Each body is different, no one body is better than another. Who makes this distinction anyway, ED! And there is no room for them type of values in my mind!
  • My body is my friend for life and we share and experience everything together and I want those experiences to be a nice one.

Although I still get negative body thoughts sometimes they’re becoming less and less and every time they do pop in, I need to put up my STOP sign and give myself a little pep talk on what is important to me and I can get on with the rest of my day and enjoy my life as me!

Starlight

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SELF HONESTY AND MY HEALTH

When I began my recovery journey I was warned about all the awful long term side effects from ED. Osteoporosis, never being able to have children, thin hair, organ failure, iron and vitamins deficiency …

At the time I didn’t listen, I thought people where over-exaggerating, ‘sure that won’t happen to me’. I thought I was indestructible. Well fast forward few years and now these effects have become a reality.

A few months ago I was told my bones are not in good shape and I think I convinced myself into thinking I was taking care of them but in reality I wasn’t, I think I have didn’t want to face it and half didn’t really believe it.  Whatever way I want to put it, my health wasn’t my number one value; I wasn’t my number one value.

It was pointed out to me recently and I got a bit of a shock, if I’m honest, of how in denial I was of how little I was actually taking care of myself. I am glad it was said to me because it made me think of how…

This life I’m living isn’t a dress rehearsal, this is the real deal and I only get one chance to live it the best way possible, as me. But having health issues such as the ones I mentioned above stop you from living life the way you want!

Health can be such a buzz word and often becomes misinterpreted in magazines, on social media and even to health care professionals! Carb-free, gluten-free, high protein, no sugar, gym 6 times a week isn’t healthy!

WHAT IS HEALTH TO ME?

Physical health, mental health, and emotional health all need attention and love.

  • To me health is my body working to the best of its ability, having an immune system that fights off sickness, strong bones that carry me throughout life and enable me to move and dance and live, a regular menstrual cycle, blood tests coming back with everything looking good, enough iron to give me energy to wake up and live every day!
  • To support myself throughout my day and life in any situation, to be my best friend and take care of myself because you know what! ‘I DESERVE IT’!  To not sweat the little things and trust in myself and abilities that everything will always work out.
  • Feed my soul!! Don’t restrict myself from the joys of life whether that’s connection, fuel, laughing, new clothes, a hobby, an interest! Do what makes you feel good on the inside and feck what anyone thinks!

What motivates me to take care of myself is reminding myself of all the joy and experiences I want in my life!

I want to ski, have a relationship, fall in love, have real connection, be free and be an inspiration to others, get my driving license, graduate college, explore the world, maybe have children, ride an elephant, live in present moment and so many other things!!!

But in order to do the things I want, I need to take care of every area of my life! The fire inside of me for life motivates me to take care of myself now so I can live the life I want now and in the future.

Sometimes the elderly are inspirations to enjoy my youth and take care of myself.  When I see an elderly woman or man walking down the street with a hunched back, or a walking stick barely being able to move it is a great kick, up the you know what, to take steps now to prevent issues like that in the future!

My options are:

Either I sit around kicking myself for not taking care of myself sooner or I can take action NOW!! No one else is going to do it for me so I am taking ownership for my own life!

  • Take the dam tablets for my bones; I have no reason not to!
  • Have a glass of milk a day!
  • Take spatone it will give me more energy!
  • Rest when my body is asking for it
  • Don’t be so hard on myself and just do my best at everything and ill have nothing to feel disappointed about.
  • Believe I can do it and I will!
  • Don’t do things I know will hurt me and my body.
  • Go to bed when I’m tired and put down the phone!
  • Respect my life and my body!

It never too late to start taking care of myself! 🙂

Starlight

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Walking the Talk

I used this phrase throughout thousands of conversations, full of its meaning, its importance, and also full of a complete disregard for it. The thing is, I didn’t understand it. Looking back, I can see that I was convinced that what mattered were my words; my tone, inflection, tact, articulation, and my body language- but only my body language with regard to contact with the other person. The thought of my body’s unconscious signals never entered my mind.

I had absolutely no value on my physicality and my being. It seemed irrelevant; a vessel, yes, but not more. I could see people around me who had strong physical presence, and I put it down purely to their choices of movement, and so I echoed them, unaware of the fact that all my motions were empty, my words void.

I see it now, remembering others in condition, myself deeply in condition, and observing those still in its clutch, and it’s an overwhelming realisation. Who would have thought that one’s treatment of oneself could be so blatantly and obviously on display, undermining every word, every movement? But it is, it really is. I feel it so strongly that I honestly think even if I had begun spouting, say, a constant stream of genuine revelations about the inner workings of rocket science, it would have still been utterly meaningless, and I doubt anybody would have listened.

Maria Kelly


Showing Gratitude

Over the past few months, I’ve found myself looking back over the past with fear and hatred. Traumatic experiences within the year and never ending panic caused me to lose touch with the world around me. I struggled to see any reason for gratitude instead choosing to believe that all was miserable, and while it can be said that it certainly was no holiday, slowly and surely I am realizing the great learning this year has given me.

A friend of mine shared a great quote with me:

“Rather than seeing the pain and struggle as obstacles, start seeing them as opportunities to step up and show the world how great you are”

Yes, this year has been tough, as I am sure it has been tough for others, but at the same time I believe that we have to see it as a chance to grow. I have been gifted with a chance to learn so much more than I ever believed possible because of this year. And while I won’t lie and say I have completely come to terms with the year I’ve had, I am learning, and I am grateful for it. Oftentimes I find myself blocking the past year out, instead focusing on happier memories or comparing the year to the year that friends have had. Condition 101. But now I am fighting it, remembering how I made it through this year, have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and of course giving myself credit for it. All memories are treasures of the heart, no matter how challenging, and they make us who we are. Be grateful.

It’s no secret that showing gratitude in this world is more difficult than one would hope. Everyday we are bombarded with bad news. It seems as though every two minutes there is a new breaking news story. Instead of focusing on these, seek out the good in each day, because believe me there is a lot of it. Did you know that there are 225 births worldwide a minute? That’s 4.3 new lives brought into this world every second. Be grateful for that. Around 500 couples are married each day. Where are these statistics in the news when they are fighting over a budget deficit? We need to find these statistics and make it news! We need the world to be grateful!!

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Freedom Fighter 


Freedom Reflections….

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 learnings.

Is mise Muireann 🙂

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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.

Freedom Fighter 

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Recovery for Me…

Recovery for me begins and ends with Re-connecting. When recovered, I will see the beauty in life around me like I used to, no longer trapped in my own bubble of distress. I will be present. My need for perfection will be replaced by acceptance….busy-ness by balance…. by lightness. I will understand and practice the meaning of the word ENOUGH.

Food will be my pleasure, not my threat. No more ‘good’ or ‘bad’, just pure nourishment. No more a source of anxiety – only quality fuel my body needs and what more, deserves. My life will be full – not just my head. I will no longer live by the rigidity of ED’s rules.

I will walk the walk, leading by example in school and society. Integrity will define who I am. The energy freedom brings will seep through me. I will radiate happiness and fulfilment. I will treat my body with respect as the treasure box it is: nourish it, nurture it and love it. Neglect and Deprivation will be a distant memory. I will accept myself for who I am and what I stand for. I will trust myself and believe in my abilities. I will value my own worth as a person – flaws included. I will honour my sense of judgement in making wise choices in life. I will take responsibility for who I am. I will have clarity of thought, nurture my spirituality and my every action will reflect truth and honesty. I will invest in me: making the best possible use of my time by embracing every opportunity that comes my way to grow. No more comparing. I will be self-empowered – proud to live and love life on my own terms.

I will OWN my life and be my own number 1 supporter.

Fearless.

By Dóchas

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Dear Body,

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the on-going abuse I have bestowed upon you the past 14 years. The starvation, the over-exercising, the constant criticism, the simple deprivation of the pleasure eating can bring….who knew apple crumble and ice-cream, that mixture of hot and cold could taste so good?

I had no idea of the extent of the suffering I was causing you. I was numb. I was like a puppet-following the orders of a cruel, vindictive, lying monster. And for what? The ‘perfect figure’, ‘thinness’, ‘acceptance’, ‘success’…’control’. The very things I lost.

In trying to sustain me, you turned to canabalism. You sought my muscles for energy when none was available from food. You took from my bones for minerals, my nails and teeth too. You slowed down and you conserved. But you never stopped. For that, I thank you.

In restricting, I disturbed my blood composition and deprived my brain of essential nourishment. You never gave up on me. You ceased to produce hormones, you slowed down my heart to keep me alive. You produced a light covering of hair all over my body to keep me warm. The old me would criticise you more for this – warranting me underserving – but the new me, the real me, is more grateful than you’ll ever know.

As for how critical I’ve been towards you over the years – I have no words for how sorry I am for all the pain I caused us. I have pinched and prodded, poked and pucked at you, finding flaws only my eyes could see. I insulted you every time I looked in the mirror or passed a shop window. I imagined lumps that didn’t even exist, bumps that once gave me a lovely shape were wished away. You were ‘fat’, ‘ugly’, ‘flabby’….and in my eyes underserving of any love or affection.  Yes I have a long way to go to accept you for what you are. To be honest, I’ve altered you so much I no longer know what you should truly look like right now at 27 years of age. Given the changes we are going through it might be quite some time before you are restored to that natural, womanly state but I promise we will get there. And once we do, there’ll be no going back. I will love for, and care for and respect you more than ever.

It’s my turn to look after you. I promise to continue to nourish you with quality, nurturing foods to restore you to full health. I promise to continue to rest. The days of running about 24/7 are over. Relaxation, as you may have noticed of late, is my priority. I have punished you too much.

Together we can overcome the damage this eating disorder has caused us. We’ve already begun. This time last year the prospect of having children and starting a family were slim to none but look at all we’ve achieved?  We’re getting our glow back buddy. I’ll battle the thoughts, I’ll continue to challenge my irrational fears over-riding them with positive, constructive, rational affirmations and self-compassion.

And I will feed you. Regularly and consistently. Please continue to fight with me. Please take all the nourishment you can from the food I give you and use it to repair all that I have damaged over years of abuse and neglect. Repair.Replenish. Revive.

I look forward to this time next year. Things will be very different for us. We’ll be healthy. We’ll be happier. We’ll be a fully functioning human being again – energetic, active, and in love with life all over again. We won’t be perfect. But we won’t want or need to be. We’ll be ever so close to the top of that mountain. We’ll deserve it.

Together we can,

Dóchas

………………………………….

Easter with enjoyment! 

For many people the lead up to Easter is a time of deprivation. They use lent as a punishment, for 40 days and 40 nights, from the things they love the most. Whether it is chocolate, alcohol, bread etc… 

Easter Sunday is then spent catching up on doing/eating all the things they missed out on for the past 40 days and nights.Better make up for lost time, you know?! It’s funny (but not really that funny) that it is so normalized for people to fall into this trap every year- giving up what they love and then beating themselves up if they ‘break’ before their 40 days are up. LIFE IS TOO SHORT! We need to enjoy every moment we can because we don’t know when life will be taken away from us.  

Deprivation was part of my everyday routine for most of my life, locking myself away from experiencing any ounce of joy . I would be overwhelmed with shame and guilt for any bit of happiness I felt as I thought I wasn’t worthy of feeling good. I locked myself away in a ‘comfort’ zone full of denial, hatred and anger. 

Fortunately I have done a lot of work on myself and learned that life is a gift that not everyone receives. It can be brilliant and as easy as I want, or I can make it full of hardship and anger. 

I could write for ages on the topic but I want to talk about how much pleasure I got from a little Easter Egg my auntie gave me today. 

I am 21 years old and can’t remember the last time  I had an Easter Egg without feeling a negative emotion towards myself after. Over the past few years I’ve  began to see food in a different way. It is fuel for life. Energy for all the adventures I want to get up to. Fuel for my body to run to the best of its ability. I’ve learned that it is OK to enjoy food. It does not make me obese, it makes me human. 

Today while having a cup of tea the Easter egg my auntie gave me was just sitting on the counter top. It didn’t even cross my mind to have some. I think sometimes I have become so accustomed to taunting myself with things that were ‘off limits’ to me, by the rules I put on myself, that I forget to question these automatic thoughts and answer back with ‘who says i cant have any?’

I decided to challenge this automatic thought and broke off some Easter Egg, dipped it in my tea and watched it melt for a second before putting it in my mouth. It began to melt on my tongue and well… It was the most beautiful taste I’ve ever had. So sweet and milky. It was as if a layer of sweet velvet was melting in my mouth. It was such an enjoyable and satisfying experience. 

My body was satisfied with what i had and didn’t lose control. 

Sometimes I think people, (myself included at times) just eat things for the sake of it. This is a ‘bad’ food so I’m going to break the rules and have loads of it or this is a ‘good’ food full of anti-oxidants and therefore must eat it in every meal. I used to be stuck in a viscous cycle of these thoughts around food. It is that sort of thinking around food which takes away all of the pleasure and nice experience of having a meal or snack. Instead of thinking with your head lets eat with ourself, our bodies, lets ask what we would like, use our senses! Make meal times an enjoyable, satisfying experience instead of one of guilt. Don’t be brainwashed by being told what we should and shouldn’t have. Let’s make up our own minds. 

Today I learned that all those years of telling people ‘Oh i just don’t like chocolate’ was total condition thinking (even though i started to believe it myself lol). Recovering from ED is so much more than food, but allowing ourselves to enjoy food and change the way we look at it is important! 

Starlight

 Freedom