Angst vs. Honesty

Me in black and white

Is it angst or honesty?

If I’m honest, I struggle with being angsty sometimes. “Oh my life is awful! No one loves me! I would be better dead!” On and on the negative thoughts go.

Angst is annoying at best and only pushes people away instead of drawing them into your support team. It makes you seem like a victim instead of a survivor, a martyr instead of a warrior, a helpless person instead of a strong person.

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For Every Bad Thought, Think Two Good Ones

Meeting Peter Pan

Peter Pan knew how to think of positive, happy thoughts.

The other day, hatred for myself kept creeping into my thoughts. In fact, self-loathing has been especially strong the past few weeks.

A coworker gave me a helpful tip. “For every bad thought about yourself, think two good ones,” she told me.

Is that really possible? I doubted my ability to do this. However, she simplified this coping skill by having me choose two things that I liked about myself and concentrating on them throughout the day. My thoughts were that I liked my hair and love of learning.

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Ten Reasons I See Myself As Better and Worse Than Others

Me at Goodwill

We have reasons why we are better/worse humans even if we do not realize them.

At my university’s chapel yesterday, the speaker gave an amazingly candid and thought-provoking exercise for us to do. “List the reasons why you think that you are a better person or Christian than others. Then list the reasons why you are worse.”

Even more shockingly, he went on to list some of his reasons. I similarly made lists in my notebook. Looking back at the items was a strong jolt of reality for me. Pride and superiority is a far bigger issue in my life than I ever realized. In fact, all of us seem to battle this more than we want to admit even if it is hidden in the guise of self-hate.

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What I Wish That I Learned in Eating Disorder Treatment

Figures of women in Oxford

Figures of women from a museum in Oxford

The past few days have caused me to realize that there are many things that I wish I learned in eating disorder treatment, important aspects of living a normal life with food in it. Without these lessons in treatment, I have struggled greatly to try to adapt to the real world and maintain my recovery.

Now, most of my time in treatment was instructive, healing, and motivating. Health care providers gave me hope with their optimism and constant support. Fellow friends in recovery stood by my side and told me their own stories. Therapy groups taught me to use music, art, CBT, or my faith as a coping skill. Dietitians crafted a meal plan to support my body, lifestyle, and other needs. Acupuncture, yoga, family nights, outings at restaurants – all of the different activities allowed me to heal and explore new aspects of myself that had lay dormant for years.

However, something was still missing. More was needed in my treatment to help me further along in recovery.

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Self-Hatred: Part Self-Doubt and Part Self-Disgust

Without even looking down, I tugged. The denim refused to budge. Surprised, I turned my attention to the jeans from my sister. As much as I hate pants, these ones were acceptable to wear on the odd day when I felt so inclined.

The jeans, on the other hand, did not feel so inclined to me. After another tug, I realized that there was no way the buttons could close over my hips. The jeans that had fit the last time I tugged them on now were too small.

I hate recovery. That was my first thought. Hate it so much. Almost as much as I hate myself.

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Top Ten Quotes on Compulsive Over-Eating

Mario eating food

Mario eating a S’More

Even for people aware of eating disorders, compulsive over-eating tends to be forgotten. After all, the danger appears to be less if someone is eating and keeping the down the food. However, the agony of this mental illness is just as real as are the medical consequences. Heightened blood pressure, diabetes, loss of mobility, and depression are just a few of the conditions that can accompany compulsive over-eating.

Instead of seeing this type of eating disorder as less important, we should try to support and understand those who struggle with it. For years, this plagued me. The result was deep self-hatred, poor body image, and longing to starve myself. Obviously this disorder is a serious problem and not something to belittle or criticize.

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Body Image is the Last to Go

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. ― Steve Maraboli

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. ― Steve Maraboli

Two weeks into Lent, I am having nearly 100 percent of my meal plan every day. Giving up restriction has been simpler than I thought. At the same time, it has been miserably hard. Sometimes, I just want to scream and go back to starving myself.

One of the hardest elements is the constant nagging voice in the back of my head. “You are so fat,” it hisses. Anytime that I sit down, see myself in the mirror, look at my body, or feel my clothing on my skin, I feel nauseous. How can I live in this body for the rest of my life?

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Everybody Hates Me, Everybody Loves Me…

Today I walked to and from the place we are staying by myself either very early in the morning or later in the evening. Both times I was alright but anxious and did not feel quite safe all alone. However I was too scared to talk to anyone.

Today I walked to and from the place we are staying by myself either very early in the morning or later in the evening. Both times I was alright but anxious and did not feel quite safe all alone. However I was too scared to talk to anyone.

Do you ever feel like you are on a roller coaster when it comes to relationships? At one moment, others seem to enjoy your presence, and you begin to trust yourself with others. Perhaps people could genuinely like your company and think you are fun.

Then the world seems to shatter as someone sneers at you, ignores you repeatedly, and grins knowingly at a friend while turning their back to you. Suddenly you think about all of your worst qualities. Of course thinking others could enjoy you was stupid. They would never accept your ungraceful remarks, know-it-all demeanor combined with obvious ignorance, and disgusting looks. If you were in their shoes, you would hate yourself as well.

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I’m a Bad Luck Magnet for Cars

Saying goodbye as the brothers drive away

I have always feared being around cars much less driving them.

Most teenager long for their driver’s license and the freedom of driving. Youth ran to get their license at 16 and dangled their keys in front of others, causing envy and longing. At least, that seemed to be the response of my friends and family.

I, on the other hand, dreaded cars and everything related to them. Driver’s Ed was one of the worst experiences of my life. The fear tactics that amused other classmates terrified me. Anxiety about crashing and nightmares with graphic images haunted me even when I was a passenger. Worse yet, my intrusive thoughts (probably from OCD) would enter my head and refuse to leave. Suddenly, I kept visualizing killing others and myself in horrible ways. The responsibility and power one has when they drive a car crippled me with fear.

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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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