Recovery in the Media: #57. The Carpenters

The Carpenters

The Carpenters left the world with sweet, romantic tunes and courage to recover.

57. The Carpenters

My mother first mentioned the Carpenters when I began treatment for an eating disorder. Karen Carpenter was a beautiful singer that you hear in many of the songs done by this family band. However, her talent was lost early when she died from anorexia nervousa in 1983 at 33-years-old. Back then, few treatments were available for people with eating disorders, and little was known about this illness. Plus, this singer struggled with her agent and other media members pressuring her to lose weight. Although she ended up dying from this struggle, I still look to her as a source of strength and inspiration. She reminds me of where I do not want to end up as well as the potential I have inside of me. Many of the Carpenters songs are cheery and sweet too. Because of this, I thought that they would work wonderfully to review this Monday.

Selected Songs:

  • “(They Long to Be) Close to You” from their The Ultimate Collection album
  • “At the End of a Song” from their Voice of the Heart album
  • “Aurora” from their Horizon album
  • “Bless the Beasts and the Children” from their A Song for You album
  • “Don’t Be Afraid” from their movie From the Top album

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Feeling Alone in Groups

Group of people around dog

Sometimes I feel loneliest in groups.

One of the loneliest feelings in the world is being surrounded by people but not feeling part of the group. I have struggled with this for years. Even places with friendly and kind people can make you feel miserable if you do not belong. The theater, youth group, retreats, parties, my own home – I can feel miserable just about anywhere.

There are many reasons for this loneliness. Some might say that it is a normal part of the human experience. We all get caught up inside our heads and become nervous that everyone is judging us. Since we cannot read minds and know what people think about us, we have to guess continually how they are perceiving us. This can lead to us assuming others are trying to exclude us when they are simply focusing on something else.

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Coping Skill: #56. Creating a Memory Box


A poppy that I found on my way to Tolkien’s grave

Perhaps because of my aspergers or perhaps just because of my personality, I am a very sentimental person. Each letter that has been written to me is kept in a bundle with similar notes. My room is filled with figurines and pictures drawn for me are taped across my walls. These help me to remember people who touched my life and helped me along the difficult journey of life.

However, having too much clutter will not bring back helpful memories. Instead, you will be overwhelmed, frustrated with yourself, or simply not be able to see what what you need. That is why putting certain items into memory boxes can be a helpful coping skill.

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Comforting Others

When you struggle with depression or an eating disorder, getting outside of yourself and noticing the world around yourself can be difficult on some days. At the same, many people with mental illness care deeply for others. Many are caregivers to the point where they wear themselves out and are left wearied each day. Finding a balance between being stuck in my head and focusing on others to the point of hurting myself is difficult. Many times, I go to one of the two extremes, but I am trying to get better at loving others and myself.

Even though caring for others can be stressful and tiring, this selflessness can be very healing and life-giving. We are meant to help one another, rejoicing in good times and mourning in hard ones. As someone with aspergers, empathy can be a bit confusing for me. I previously wrote about how I both take on the feelings of others but also struggle to read people. However, the overall function of empathy is an amazing thing that keeps us close to others.

Everyone loves in a unique way. We need to find the way that works the best for us and those around us. This video shows one way that comforting others and empathy can look.

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One Thousand Thanks: 692 – 702. Difficult but Empowering Interactions

Me standing in a tree

You can be strong but sway in the breeze like a tree.

On Tuesday, I went to see my old therapist who I had not seen since early December. Our last session was very painful, and because of that, I never wanted to return to her. You can read part one of that story and part two in my previous posts. Anyway, our talk was anxiety-producing and emotional but good for the most part. I do not know if I am ready to see her regularly and rather doubt it. Mending the relationship and hearing her response was extremely healing.

Looking back over the past year, I can see my growth in facing scary social situations where I had to learn to be honest and stand up for myself. Although these experiences were difficult, they forced me to grow stronger. Plus, many taught me that my “rude honesty” or “selfish behavior” was simply normal assertiveness. People responded extremely well overall. Funny how you make yourself so scared of something that turns out to be fine.

So for Thankfulness Thursday, I am going to look at these situations as well as the benefits that arose from them. Please leave a comment to tell me what you have learned from confrontations or honest interactions that you were nervous about but still did. I would love to hear about your inspiring (or disastrous) moments.

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Top Ten Characters I’d Want On a Deserted Island

The stream and pond near our house

The stream and pond near our house

This post is a bit unique and perhaps off-topic. However, one of my biggest interests besides helping people in recovery is literature. In fact, for my Masters/Doctorate degrees, I am considering looking at how literature affects mental illness and what authors suffered from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other such illnesses. Thus, connections between books and the human psyche fascinate me. Because of that, answering The Broke  and The Bookish’s weekly blog topic appealed to me.

They asked on Tuesday’s post what ten fictional characters you would want to be stranded with on a deserted island. Thinking about this made me so excited that I had to write about it. Thus, here is a little look into my brain. This not only shows my tastes in literature but also how I view others, choose friends, and deal with hardship. Who you identify in books or films says a great deal about you as do the characters that you find attractive. Even if you are not interested in books, I suggest that you think about any fictional characters (in books, movies, or television) that touched or impacted you.

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5 Free Family Activities in St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN

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If you happen to visit one of these beautiful cities in my wonderful state, you should check out these places.

Originally posted on Traveling by 5s:

Visiting Minnesota and looking for some fun activities? Wanting to spend some quality family time without paying money? Whether you are a resident or a tourist, there are many great places to visit in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Here are some free ones, enjoyable for any age, in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area.

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Can You Be Both Assertive and Kind?

Me standing in the trees

Me standing in the trees

Saying “No” to someone and voicing my opinion have been struggles for years. Not wanting to get in trouble or make others unhappy, I went along with whatever people desired. My own feelings and desires did not matter. After awhile, I did not even know who I was or what I wanted. All that I knew was I needed to be obedient, good, and sweet.

Yet, there were some times when listening to others created complicated situations. Teasing increased, “friends” manipulated me into doing whatever they wanted, and I lost sight of my identity. However, standing up for myself by not agreeing with my peers or setting boundaries seemed impossible.

One day, a theater friend made a joke about me that was humorous but also frightening. She stated, “You know, I think that if you asked Anna Rose to kill someone, she would say, ‘Only if I can do it nicely and without hurting them.'”

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Recovery in the Media: #56. Waiting for My Clothes

Waiting for my Clothes

This book of poetry tells the story of a girl who defeated her eating disorder.

56. Waiting for My Clothes by Leanne O’Sullivan

While looking for poems and other material written on eating disorders for a speech, I stumbled upon this book. Leanne O’Sullivan crafts each poem uniquely, displaying her ability to write in many different styles. The pieces touch on difficult elements of recovery, dealing with mental illness, and everyday issues. As someone who is easily bored by poetry, I found this book to be engaging and inspiring. That is why I decided to discuss it today.

Synopsis: Mental health, family, growth, relationships, eating – there are so many difficult elements of recovering from an eating disorder. Writing about these issues can be a very helpful for both the author and readers. That is what Waiting for My Clothes does. Leanne O’Sullivan shows how bumpy the road to health is but also gives hope for others who join her along that journey.

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Just a Burst of Thoughts – And a Choice for You to Vote on my Tuesday/Wednesday posts

Mario holding up food necklace

Mario and I made an eatable necklace as part of Christine’s present. This is a practice one that we made for him.

Sorry, this is coming out so very late! Today has been hectic, to say the least. My sister, Christine, turned 21. Mario and I spent the day together. We went to see a show, buy gifts, make gifts, have lunch, read a book, etc. Then I had to finish working for the dinner cruise of retreat center that I live at with my family. Just now, I finally tumbled into bed.

However, so much has been on my mind lately that I have thought about writing about on this blog. Instead of just bombarding you with information that might be boring or strange, I would love to hear your opinions on some topics. These could be addressed in posts this week or later this month.

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