Thursday, 20 December 2018

Holiday Survival Tips

Dear Blog Readers, 

Holidays. Pretty lights all around. Familiar sights and smells. Family. 

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, its there. In your face. All the time. Every store. Every advertisement. You can’t escape it. For some it is a beautiful time of year. For others it is the epitome of hell. 

Whatever you celebrate throughout the year, I’m sure you can relate to family gatherings, work parties, and getting together with friends. 

It is joyous and exhausting. It is full of expectations and obligations. Warmth and love. Stress and anxiety. All wrapped up with a big bow made of good and bad memories. 

I reached out to the community and asked for some strategies to stay safe, well, and on track this season. To share your own strategies, ideas, or stories about the holidays, please comment below or email me at sheenassharedstories@gmail.com

Here are some ideas from our community:

“I made myself a small soothing package that I keep in my purse. It has a fidget toy, a special tiny stone I can hold without being noticed, and a fragrance I can sniff when I excuse myself to go to the bathroom.” 

“I carry a self-care kit with me wherever I go. Then all my things that calm me are in one place.”

“I wear a bracelet my Gramma gave me when I was 16. When I put it on I feel safe.”

“There’s a couple of good friends who understand me. We text each other when we need support.”

“I’m a terrible liar. Like really bad. So I drink as many beverages as I possibly can. Especially with caffeine. Then I can honestly excuse myself to go to the bathroom multiple times without having to lie!”

“Using my dog as an excuse to leave early is awesome. He needs to be walked so I have a limited amount of time to give.”

“Boundaries boundaries boundaries. Set them. Keep them. Allow them to make you safe.”

“If you need to leave then leave. Who’s going to stop you? Go outside for a few minutes. Go for a walk. Offer to go on a coffee run. Your well-being matters more than anything else.”

“Bring a buffer. Bring a person who can run interference. If you have a family member you trust, tell them your triggers and ask them to prepare to change the subject if needed.”

“Offer to take the small children into another room to take care of them. Then you’re awesome and no one knows it’s your way of bailing.”

“Don’t go? Just joking. I go prepared with broken record phrases like:
  • I’m not comfortable talking about that 
  • Enough about me, how are things with YOU?
  • Hold that thought, I’ll be right back”

“Stick to your routine. Plan ahead. But also be flexible. Participating in something you enjoy for one day, or even at each gathering, doesn’t mean you aren’t in recovery. The work is not letting guilt and shame crush you for doing what everyone else is doing. Its okay to celebrate sometimes you know.”

“If you’ve participated in more than you had planned or in more than feels comfortable, do not change your routine to overcompensate. Our brains lie to us. The rest of the world goes oh no I can’t believe I did that and minutes later move on. Tell your brain to shut up and get right back to your routine.”

“Food has no moral value.”

I think it is important to remember that the holidays are meant to be joyful. They are meant to make you feel loved, welcomed, and that you belong. Your ED will tell you that you are unworthy and unloveable. It is lying. Its a liar. Tell that thought “I  hear you but I know I’m enough”.  Surround yourself with people and experiences that bring you joy. If family obligations do not offer you that, make a point of finding that in the next few days. 

Above all else, remind yourself that:
  • you are not your eating disorder 
  • Recovery is not linear 
  • Every moment is an opportunity to stop and reset
  • You are worth recovery so reset and keep going

We would love to hear your strategies! Please comment below or email me at 
sheenassharedstories@gmail.com

Take care of yourself, and remember to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. 

Your blog moderator, 
Kira 

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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content is edited and approved by the moderator. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your health practitioner if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. 
If you would like to share your stories, writings, and art, please email Kmccarthy@Sheenasplace.org
If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at nedic.ca
For information or to register for groups at Sheena's Place, please visit www.sheenasplace.org

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

WALKING THE FOOTSTEPS TOWARDS RECOVERY:

Monday, December 3, 2018

WALKING THE FOOTSTEPS TOWARDS RECOVERY:

I am sitting here in front of a blank Word Document, ready to start writing.  I am not quite sure how to get started.  I am approaching a journey in my life that could be extremely treacherous. Although I am not quite sure how to use words to describe what I wish, I am mapping out my own individual healing journey. I am approaching myself as a person whose been wounded by her eating disorder.  It is difficult to understand my thoughts and emotions as they arise.  Even my sensations, as I feel them inside my bodyleave me not knowing anymore what to feel.  Is it more important to detach myself from my own self as a writer?  I wish to reach out to others. I have similar concerns than others about food, body image issues and psychological problems related to eating disorders.  Who am I writing for?  Is writing for an audience an area that I need to be sensitive about?  Sometimes, being spontaneous with regard to my writing is the most effective way to start.
It is tough to begin a piece like this in the present moment.  It makes writing interesting. When understanding sensations in my body set the pace for wishing for a smoother recovery.  What is it that I wish to write about for Sheena's Place?  My intentions differ so much from what I feel ready to discuss at this given moment.  Today may not be an appropriate time to discuss what I have hoped to.  I am simply getting my feet wet.  Sometimes it takes getting started by writing in simple language what I would like to introduce to my readers to. As part of my journey towards recovery, I wish to write what can be an asset to others.  We are all coming from separate places and points of view.  Is there enough space in this written piece to delve into my experiences? It may be helpful for others to learn what is happens while trying to be creative.  Maybe as a writer I am finding a need to unwind with my work, and go with the flow.  Finding a focal point to start writing about recovery, related issues and self-compassion may need sometimes my gradually getting acquainted with a topic that is meaningful.  It becomes like a winding road.  Which is the way to go? I truthfully wish to embrace my own sense of self-compassion.  Depending on the day, it is not always accessible to endure loving feelings towards myself.  At times, our senses of self-compassion become muddled up by our negative emotions.  Sometimes they interfere with our abilities to feel safe and trusting within ourselves.
I have suffered from many years from a mental illness.  It has been difficult to feel better a lot of the time.  My illness is complicated.  It has left me missing so many experiences.  I am having consequences from many missed opportunities.  My eating disorder is what has triggered for me a chain reaction of many symptoms.  Without getting lost in trying to explain as a fourteen year old, my truth was only beginning to be revealed. It seemed that my symptoms developed into greater disturbances.  It was extremely difficult to diagnose me. Understanding the environmental factors that interfered made my situation sometimes overbearingly complex.  It is a long story.  Telling it in detail would take more than a book length autobiography.  The most I can share at this point, is that my eating disorder kept flaring up for many years.  It wasn't the point that at fifty I swallowed my pride. I gave it up.  It was my anorexia that I gave up on.  I was almost in an all or nothing trap.  It wasn't helping me.  I didn't have the skills to utilize. I wasn't learning how to interrupt symptoms.  Sometimes it was a nightmare for me. Developing Type Two Diabetes and feeling blamed for this was too much.  I self-blamed.  My body image almost prevented me from walking down the street. A lot of what I went through led me to social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia.  It may have been necessary from my psychiatrist's point of view to ignore my Eating Disorder symptoms. I gradually stopped my struggle to be a certain way.  I did partially over time, make improvements.   It wasn't right for me to keep being on medications that caused side effects.  They triggered the diabetes that was a handful to accept and deal with.
Here I am as a writer, wishing to tell my story.  I am feeling wounded beyond what I am able to handle at this point.  My psychiatrist achieved in his own ways results that were appropriate.  I am diabetic.  I had some near life and death situations with my sugar level.   My family doctor does not put pressure on me.  It is tough illness to manage.  For now I have reached a bit of a happy medium.  My body image is improving.  
  I had previously seen a professional in the field of eating disorders for five years.  I think of ways I could still change further.  I am an x-dieter.  It would be appropriate for me in kinder ways to learn to be friend with myself.  No rush for January 2019. I am trying to understand self-compassion and what it means to be connected to Sheena's Place again.  I am feeling excited about my writing for this Blog. 
Now that I've already began getting my feet wet, I think there are many ways I can help myself be the compassionate person I am in many ways.  I have read many books on Compassion-Focused Therapy.  As I write this piece I am visualizing many avenues to heal myself from my longstanding eating disorder and other areas of my life.  I do feel empowered by sharing this story.  Recovery and eventual classes that I hope to endeavour in at Sheena's may gradually feel like I am becoming at ease with myself. Sometimes it becomes too much.  Life isoverwhelming. Medication reactions are tough.  Maybe working with someone who could help me at this stagewould offer me some guidance. For now writing through some of my pain may help myself.
Writing this piece feels like some doors are opening up to me.  I would strongly like to go deeper into areas that bring me hope and meaning.  This is a beginning writing attempt.  When someone is suffering from an eating disorder, it is hard to differentiate from the reality that of what it is.  It is not always the best option to be non-accepting of an eating disorder needing to be ignored.  When my psychiatrist was only checking my blood work and he wasn't specialized in treating me for anorexia, I was devastated and depressed.  I was a patient crying for help. I needed help. It is too much looking back. Realizing the wounds that I kept tolerating were growing as suffering I could not explain.  At times I did take drastic measures as means of seeking attention. I wasn't helped or heard during this time. I was misunderstood and hurting.  I wanted to be cared about and loved. I am getting grounded.  There is a continuation to this piece.  My overall recovery is feeling hopeful.  I am optimistic that whoever readers I connect with understand that there is a kernel of truth in wanting to be understood and needing to be heard.  Whatever is soothing and comforting in helping ourselves accept ourselves and what sometimes is unacceptable, there's a way to get started.   Here is my first step.      

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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content is edited and approved by the moderator. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your health practitioner if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. 
If you would like to share your stories, writings, and art, please email Kmccarthy@Sheenasplace.org
If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at nedic.ca
For information or to register for groups at Sheena's Place, please visit www.sheenasplace.org

Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Power of Words by Preetha


Dear Blog Readers, 

This week, Preetha writes about how powerful language can be. One of the fantastic facilitators at Sheena’s Place, whom we shall call “Leah”, often speaks of the small changes to our vocabulary that creates changes in the ways we think and feel about ourselves and the world. “Leah” speaks of the invalidating word “but” as a way for judgement and shame to take their place in your truth. For example, one could say “I have not been symptomatic for 2 weeks”, or that same person could say “I have not been symptomatic for 2 weeks, but I know that it won’t last.” Any sentence that comes after the word “but” entirely erases the first part of the sentence. 

“I graduated from high school, but it was easy.”

“I was published in the New York Times, but the article isn’t that great.”

“I just got hired at this awesome company, but that’s because I totally faked my way through the interview.”

In DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) the word “but” is replaced with the word “and” to express that too oppositional thoughts can exist at the same time. This concept has also been used in conflict resolution training for decades. For example when addressing a colleague about an issue one might say “I understand that you disagree with me, and at the same time I think I have made some valid points”. 

Words to explore:
but
should
must
normal
crazy

I would love to hear from you about other words that can change our thinking, and examples of how the power of words have affected your life. Please email me at Kmccarthy@sheenasplace.org or comment here by clicking the “comment” box below. 

You don’t have to write a whole story or an article, you can write a few sentences to inspire or remind us about how much influence language has over our thoughts, emotions, interactions, and experiences. 

Take care of yourself, and remember to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. 

Your blog moderator, 
Kira 

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Date: June 2017
Project 4: How to say it 
Title: The power of words
General purpose: To inform and persuade
specific purpose: After hearing my speech the audience should understand the power of words

  Words are so powerful they can cause death or save life.  I took a writing course with Beth Kaplan, an author and creative writing instructor at Ryerson University.  She explained the power of words using an illustration with the diary of Anne Frank.  Little did Anne Frank know, when the Jewish people were being persecuted, that the words this child scribbled in a diary would one day have so much worth.  Words are power, they are so potent that they can build and destroy.  In the next few minutes I will illustrate and argue the power of If you want to kill without a weapon, use words. An example of this is bullying.  So many young lives are taken from this world because of bullying and words.  Words are capable of wounding someone so deeply that it can cause death. 

I would like to now talk about how words can save. I will use the example of the many distress centre that exist today to illustrate my point.  The Gerstein centre, Medic and so on and so forth are centres where people who are in distress can call for support.  The support is all oral.  Words save lives. People that are in distress are saved by words. So, words are so powerful that they can save.  

Love and hate are expressed through words. We all know the melody of words of romantic love.  Romantic love is expressed in words.  In fact, all forms of love are expressed in words and gestures. All the love songs that exist in any language are such a poetic and beautiful combination of words. Hate and heated arguments are also expressed in words.  When we get into a heated argument we often express our anger verbally and we end up regretting it and apologizing.

Knowledge is acquired and shared through words.    And I think knowledge is power hence language and words are power.  Humans think in words.  Words are everything happening in the world.  All the written holy scriptures started with words.  History and religion is preserved and remembered using the power of a pen and paper.   I live on words. Words sustain me and keep me alive.  I consider the written word to be my companion.  I read an average of one wisdom books per month and I usually take two classes per semester.  I love language, words and knowledge. I am passionate about these things. 

In conclusion words are potent.  Words can really hurt a person.  Words can kill and sustain.   Words can damage a person so deeply that they can create a wound so deep that the only solution one sees to the suffering is to take their own life. Words also have the power to heal.  A person in distress is often helped verbally. Love and hate is expressed verbally.  So, I invite you to control your tonged, watch the words you utter and think before you speak.  Once a word is uttered it cannot be taken back. I 'm going to leave you with a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorn who was born in 1804 and was an American novelist, Dark Romantic, and short story writer.  

 “Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

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Work published on this blog is property of the writer/artist. Content is edited and approved by the moderator. This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please see your health practitioner if you have concerns about yourself or your recovery. 
If you would like to share your stories, writings, and art, please email Kmccarthy@Sheenasplace.org
If you or someone in your life is struggling with an Eating Disorder, you can contact the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) at nedic.ca
For information or to register for groups at Sheena's Place, please visit www.sheenasplace.org

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