Chasing, Gaining, Losing, Desiring Dreams

Cherry blossomsDreams are etched deeply into part of our being – our memories, minds, or spirits perhaps. They influence many vital decisions and alter the courses of our lives. You can choose to stifle them deep inside, never allowing them to see the light and grow into a branch of your life. Alternatively, you can take a wild chance and follow them, knowing they might lead to pain and difficulty. In the end, you will always wonder what would have happened if you never give those dreams a chance.

Still, chasing a dream and catching it only to have it crumble in your fingers is agonizing. Having a fleeting idea fail or not enjoying a temporary situation is frustrating. Yet, realizing your dream that you fought for is a thing you no longer desire wounds much deeper.

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Losing Sight of Yourself

"There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self." - Benjamin Franklin

“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” – Benjamin Franklin

You know yourself better than any other human.

Sounds simple, right? Why is it then that I find this so hard to remember? I look to others to tell me what I do well, how I look (or how I should look), and who I should become. When I need approval, I don’t even try to rely on myself. Instead, a friend or family member is sure to boost my self-esteem.

Or at least, that is how it has worked most of my life. A time arrives, however, when people around you belittle instead of charm, critique instead of comfort, and ignore instead of notice. Suddenly, you are forced to look at yourself in the mirror in confusion, wondering who you are without the words of others. Or perhaps, wondering if the bitter, nastier labels they stuck on you are the reality of your character.

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Who Am I?

Firstly, I am so sorry for not posting yesterday! The wedding, travel, and lots of work have gotten in the way. I will update you more on that later.

Lately, I have wondered who I am. Loving people is my first priority, yet that leaves me drained and depressed. How can you find a balance between self-care and selflessness?

How do you discover who you are and what you want? I do not really know where to start anymore. I just feel lost and sad. Maybe it is because I miss my family so much.

These questions keep bothering me. They even haunt my dreams.

What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?

How often do you look at a little girl and tell her that she is ugly? Do you regularly tell a toddler that he is useless? Normally, we do not tell children these types of hurtful statements that we tell ourselves.

Yet, all of us were children at some point. One of the coping skills that I learned in treatment was to hang a picture of myself as a baby or toddler near the mirror. Whenever I wanted to degrade myself, I was supposed to look at the child that I was, the child that I remained to a certain extent.

Looking back, there are many messages that I wish I could tell myself. With this knowledge, I would have escaped heartbreak, rejection, and physical pain. However, lessons that made me a stronger person might have been lost.

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Being Comfortable in Our Own Skin

How many people can admit to being comfortable with their appearance? Oddly enough, those who are sometimes are criticized as being vain or deluded. Why is it that characters in movies and books who are confident in their appearance are Gaston in Beauty and the Beast or the self-consumed mean girl?

This video brought tears to my eyes. The truth of it hit me really hard. As we grow up, we listen to what other people say about our bodies and take those cruel comments as truths. Instead of seeing our bright green eyes, we focus on our freckles. The lumpy shape of our calves blinds us to the dimples on our cheeks. Our rosy blush is seen as awkward instead of charming.

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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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Feelings of Disgust with Self With Eating Disorders and PTSD

Rose

Here is a rose that I pass each day.

Although I am loving my time in Oxford, the pressure to be independent and produce quality school work is stressful. Plus there is anxiety about maybe finding romance, what other people about me, figuring out my future, how to save money, not wanting to go back home, hoping people like me. . .the list could go on and on.

Thus, my eating disorder is manifesting itself in new ways. Binging has crept in a few times, and I am ashamed to say that I responded by using another symptom. Anorexia is a terrible disorder that is physically, mentally, and emotionally utterly draining. However, compulsive over-eating and bulimia have so much disgust and shame attached to them. Just thinking about those symptoms makes me feel dirty much less doing them.

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Showing Extravagant Love to Others AND Yourself

There is a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures. There is a time to pour out your affections on one you love. And when the time comes - seize it, don't miss it. - Max Lucado

There is a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures. There is a time to pour out your affections on one you love. And when the time comes – seize it, don’t miss it.
– Max Lucado

Loving others hurts.

Today in chapel at my university, the speaker talked about “loving extravagantly.”  This term hit me straight in the heart.  Lately, I have been struggling with this and feeling very unloved and unable to help others.  Every since the age of 4 or 5, I have longed to let others know that I love them.  Despite my many mistakes and fumbles, my desire has remained strong.  Each day, I strove to do something wonderful.

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Is Thin Ever Thin Enough?

Why is it that thin is never thin enough?

No matter how much a woman or girl weighs, I often hear her complain about her body.  Sadly, this trait seems to be rising in males as well.   Most people tells others that weight should not factor into self-worth.  But we rarely apply that same belief to our own physic.

Instead of realizing the beauty of our bodies, we force them to the limits and then complain about their weariness.  My legs carry me around each day, but I grimace at the normal layer of skin and fat on my calves.  Every flaw is highlighted while each strength is forgotten.

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Choosing to Love Yourself

Many people talk about love being a choice instead of a feeling.  Sure, the gratitude toward a dear friend or fluttering of your heart when your crush draws near are wonderful.  Love, however, means something more.  This overused but powerful word stands for a decision we make about how we view and treat others around us.

Yet, I too often shy away from what this means about how to treat myself.  If I believe in caring for other humans, the logical response would be doing the same for me.  Instead, self-harm and restriction gang up against me along with negative thoughts.  I choose hate instead of love.

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