Lapse, Relapse, or Collapse

Taking on the Woes of the World

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. – Lou Holtz

When someone who struggles with a mental illness or addiction slips back into unhealthy habits, it is often labeled as a “relapse.” However, where does one say that a relapse is detrimental versus part of the normal recovery process?

If someone eats two extra cookies that were not in her meal plan, is that a relapse? Why, then, is the same word used for the man who eats a whole pie, tub of ice cream, and three bags of chips? Similarly, “relapse” describes when a girl cuts herself once or 100 times.

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Letter from a Support Person

My father and my sister Maria years ago

My father and my sister Maria years ago

I recently received a beautiful comment on this blog. An anonymous support person wrote a letter that was much more powerful than anything I could write trying to understand that point of view. Thus, I wanted to share this letter from a family member or friend of a person struggling with mental illness. Hopefully, it will touch you as much as it impacted me.

Plus, if you ever have something that you want to bring to my attention or think that I should share, let me know in a comment. I cannot promise to always blog it. However, know that I am open to hearing your voice and what you would like to see more of on this blog.

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Top Ten Quotes on Self-Harm

Self-hate and self-harm

When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves. – Chuck Pahlahniuk

Self-harm is a difficult topic to discuss. On one hand, you do not want to trigger other people which might result in them hurting themselves. However, staying quiet about it can cause you to harm yourself even more.

Lately, SIB has not been as difficult for me. Still, the urges will rear up at times. Here are some helpful quotes for understanding and suffering through this unhealthy coping skill.

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My Whole Being Aches: Body, Mind, and Spirit

My friend Kelsey with a coin in her eye

Whether it is with joy, fear, or depression, our whole selves react to our feelings.

Each morning for the past few days, I have awoken wondering how I am going to make it through the next few days. School, work, medical appointments,  honor society commitments, and friendships are all weighing down on me. Although these are all good things, the amount of everything in my life is so much that I feel like I am going to break.

Our bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits are more attached than we realize. When in pain, every bit of ourselves aches. Joy radiates throughout our beings when we hear good news and makes us think good thoughts and feel well. Thus, it would make sense to see our whole self as connected.

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One Thousand Thanks: 877 – 887. People With Disabilites

Dressed up at the film festival with my friend Rachel

Dressed up at the film festival with my friend Rachel

This week, my university has celebrated Disability Appreciation Week. Speakers during chapel shared with the student body what life is like with OCD, dyslexia, sensory processing disorder, depression, albinism and many other health issues. In fact, I shared in a panel today about my journey with an eating disorder, aspergers, and more.

During this week, I have realized more than ever how many wonderful people struggle with some type of disability. Whether from a mental illness or a learning disorder, many gifted people throughout history have faced some health issue. Many great people in my own life have as well. This post is to honor all of them and state my thankfulness that they are in this world and made a positive impact on it.

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Coping Skills: #66. Text a Friend

Mario and Anna Rose on the phone

On the phone with Mario copying me

“Are you doing alright?” A friend looked me straight in the eyes and inquired about my emotional state the other day.

“Yes.” I replied at first on autopilot. Then, I stopped and was honest. “No. Today is a struggle.”

She smiled knowingly and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Would you like to talk? I have to work later. However, if you need me, just call.”

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I See the Pain in Your Eyes

Me in black and white

The look is so full of pain and inflicts more on you.

Certain comments bring it out the most in others although actions or refusal to speak up can too – that look.

The other day, my friend gave it to me when I mentioned not wanting to live into old age. The sorrow, frustration, confusion, and utter hopelessness made me stop thinking about death and start evaluating my response. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that thought aloud.

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Reclaiming and Listening to My Inner Writer

Note on Tolkien's grave

A note that I wrote and placed on the grave of Tolkien – he is an amazing writer who inspired me.

Monday is my media day. That is what I should write about and focus on in today’s post. Doing anything different would be against the schedule that I set and posted for my readers to see. Thus, I would essentially be lying to them as well as not being organized.

These were the thoughts that circled through my head several times today as numerous ideas came to me about this blog. Each idea was shot down by my brain or written on a note to address in the future.

At play practice tonight for the show on creativity and faith, I realized how often I tell my inner artist no. The ideas and creativity that wells up inside of me is silenced by the scholar, the perfectionist, the organizer, the judger, and the practical part of me. No wonder writing seems like such a challenge with no joy! I am no longer engulfed in imagination or the process; it has become a task, a way to function and communicate. That is all.

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Coping Skills: #60. Set Reasonable Goals

Path in Oxford garden

What path are you taking and what goals are you setting?

Yesterday, I moved onto campus and slept in my new room. All of today was spent at my university. This past day has been wonderful but also nerve-wracking and stressful. Escalated eating disorder symptoms have made that more and more apparent to me.

Just like in Oxford, symptoms that I rarely used are sneaking back into my life as are ones that were still present but tamer. Now, I feel flooded with urges that I either lack the will power to resist or seem more appealing than following my meal plan. Although I am trying to stay on track, this school year and eating is becoming an important issue that I need to address.

One of the ways that I have already begun to work through this issue is by setting reasonable goals. Writing lists and setting goals is one of my favorite coping skills. I enjoy checking off what I have done and thinking about how to accomplish what is left.

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Finding Your Strength

One of the positive traits that I can say about myself is that I am strong. Sometimes this comes out in a negative way like when I use that to hurt myself. Other times, it shows through my willingness to keep trying despite the pain.

Most people do not think strong when they first see me. Sweet, nice, naive, girly – sure.  But strong? I probably look like a bit of a wimp.

However, everyone has their own type of strength. Finding that is vital to recovery. This video with Maya Angelou is a wonderful example of having deep strength.

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