What Loneliness Taught Me

Selfie in mirror at Disney

Being alone can teach you about yourself and others.

“Two is a pair. Three is a crowd.”

That saying might not be true, but I have certainly experienced it at times. Children pair up, having a best friend and sometimes even a second best friend. Girls giggling with others while passing me by, being picked last for a team, roommates making plans while I watched – being alone has been an important part of my life.

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How to Improve Self-Esteem: A New Secret From Research

Great point! This is what I want to work on and keep growing to practice.


It seems we all want to know how to improve self-esteem these days.

Life can be hard. And who is usually hardest on you? Yourself. There’s that negative voice in your head criticizing you. And sometimes you can’t shut it up.

So the answer is to boost your self-esteem, right? We’ve seen an explosion of this kind of thinking lately, that self-esteem is the answer to everything.

But it’s had some negative effects on the world too — like an epidemic of narcissism.

Via Self-Compassion:

This emphasis on high self-esteem at all costs has also led to a worrying trend toward increasing narcissism. Twenge and colleagues examined the scores of more than fifteen thousand college students who took the Narcissistic Personality Inventory between 1987 and 2006. During the twenty-year period, scores went through the roof, with 65 percent of modern-day students scoring higher in narcissism than previous generations.


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Coping Skills: #72. Backing Out If Needed

But I'm Not Ready Yet

“The trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we’re ready for it.” – Arnold H. Glasow

Wednesday evening, I looked forward to heading to a show with my friends. However, my anxiety rose as the moment approached. A huge paper still needed finishing, and I had worked nearly 35 hours in the past 6 days while finishing finals and helping to set up a party.

When my friend came to get me so I could try to follow her to the location, I broke down in tears. My weariness and need to finish school ended up holding me back from the play. She kindly understood that I needed to back out of my commitment despite my longing to join her.

My life has been full of yeses: working until 1:00 A.M., helping with commencement, caring for a friend, buying gifts for others, cleaning up spills. The list could continue on, but this post is not to rant. Instead, I want to focus on the coping skill of saying “No” even if you previously said “Yes.”

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Top Ten Ways to Adjust to New Medication

Many people who have struggled with health know the roller coaster ride of finding the right medication. Sleepiness, not knowing what dose is right for you, weight gain, decreased attention span, having to wait several weeks to see if your new prescription works – these are just a few of the challenges faced when trying a new medication or altering an old one. Sometimes, it does not even seem worth the effort, but finding the right one can be life-saving.

Flower heart

A flower heart that I left on the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien

Last night, I forgot to take my evening medication. At 1:30 AM, my brain was still racing which altered me to the fact that something was wrong. Seroquel, one of my pills, makes you extremely sleepy and helps me to make it through the night restfully along with calming my intrusive thoughts. Taking it late was not a big issue – until this morning. At 8:30, I awakened with my head throbbing as if someone had hit me with a sledgehammer. Maybe this is what it feels like to be hungover, thought my naive brain once it adjusted to the pain. All morning was a struggle to simply function. Walking, talking, and typing seemed like laborious tasks.

The reason that I bring this up is because it reminded me of adjusting to new medication. That process can be simple or painful and aggravating. Often, I wish that someone would have given coping skills and helpful tips to me. Sure, doctors explain all of the potential side effects or dangers. However, that is not the same as someone sitting down and comforting you through the uncomfortable journey.

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Please Don’t Come Near Me

It's Not You, It's My PTSD

Memories haunt, words remind, fears remain, but I will survive.

The phrase “It’s not you, it’s me” has been haunting me the past few days. However, two words are changed in it that makes all the difference: “It’s not you, it’s my PTSD.” In fact, I wanted to name this post that, but it appears that I already had that idea.

Lately, I have been more jumpy than usual. A man who looks homeless walking down the street sends shivers up my spine. The words “kiss” and “smile” cause flashbacks with both images and physical sensations. Even sweet remarks about how I look can make me cringe.

Worst of all, my fear around men has intensified. Certain people remain safe, thankfully, such as my little brother and father. However, I have a strong desire to keep all guys (especially new ones) far away from me. What if they touch me? My thoughts often race into terrifying directions in a manner of a few seconds.

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A Butterfly with the Wings Pulled Off


A rose in C.S. Lewis’ garden

Right now, I feel like a butterfly with the wings pulled off. Although I love my family and Minnesota, all of me long to be back in Oxford. Or at least somewhere where I am free to soar, grow, and learn. Everything here is stagnant, including myself.

Each day, my spirit seems to sink a little lower. I am trying to stay positive, but my energy is draining fast. Why is it that when we have little to do, we feel the most tired? Depression is a strange and crippling thing.

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It’s Just One of Those Days

Keble College chapel window

Keble College chapel window

Today was just a hard day. I am still feeling disgusting, depressed, and disheartened. My tutorial yesterday left me feeling confident and excited about life. Discussing guardian figures in Jane Austen’s novels as well as Frances Burney’s Evelina with my tutor was a great educational experience. This left me longing to return here and actually feeling smart.

But now I am drained. The C.S. Lewis tutorial confused me, and I fear that the tutor hated my work. Body image discomfort increased as well as suicidal thoughts and overall misery. Moping seems ridiculous when I am in my favorite place ever, but nothing seemed to lighten my spirits.

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Coping Skill #47. Listening to and Obeying Support People

Mario and Anna Rose on the phone

On the phone with Mario copying me

Throughout treatment, people have told me to differentiate between my healthy voice and ED or the eating disorder’s voice. Separating the two helps you grow in strength and confidence. Yes, my thoughts may be screaming not to eat all day, but my body and true self really want to care for myself.

However, there are times when the voices in your head and urges to use unhealthy behaviors are just too loud. That is the point I was at for the past few days. In times like this, knowing how to act and finding the energy to do it seems impossible. Just breathing and staying alive is all you can manage.

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Just When I Thought You Didn’t Like Me

Just When I Thought You Didn't Like Me

We are prepared for insults, but compliments leave us baffled. – Mason Cooley

Often I assume that people think the worst about me.  Instead of seeing me as a person, others snicker or gasp in disgust at me and my problems.  Not only does this scare me away from making friends, it also causes me to doubt current relationships.

Does this ever happen for you?  My head tells me so many different critiques.  Boys sneer at me as ugly and fat while girls fear being associated with me.  No one thinks that I deserve to eat.  My boss wants to fire me and all my teachers view me as a stupid kid who talks to much.  To put it briefly, I fear that everyone hates me but is too kind to say anything.

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Thanks But If You Really Knew Me…

Thanks But If You Really Knew Me....

We are prepared for insults, but compliments baffle us. – Mason Cooley

Everyone longs for compliments and affirmation.  Even people who pretend to not care worry sometimes about what others think.  The most confident and charismatic men and women still enjoy positive remarks.  This is simply part of being human, neither good nor bad.

I am certainly no exception.  One kind word brightens my mood while criticism drains any of my joy quickly.  Although people lecture to not care about others’ opinions, I still fret about pleasing everyone.  Unsurprisingly, my past few years in treatment introduced me to many people who felt similarly.  Beautiful woman, talented girls, and wise men all begged silently for the approval of the world.

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