CHANGING APPROACHES…

CHANGE is SCARY. But sometimes it is soooo needed.

My journey to recovery is not an easy one and I started to feel like I was stuck and I needed to make some changes to to get out of the rut.

This is where the BIG NEWS comes…

[Okay it really isn’t groundbreaking and probably won’t be noticed by many people but hey ho!]

 I AM MOVING TO A NEW WEBSITE.

I have decided to rebrand and change my social image. I know that sounds lame but I felt like my WordPress was not the positive, healthy space I wanted it to be. It became focused on the events that happened a long time ago and my past experiences of my eating disorder, however I really want to start looking forwards to a bright future and be present in the moment.

With my routine, and my life in general, I was hitting a wall which I couldn’t seem to push through. I felt I needed to switch everything up including the image I am portraying to the world. Part of this rebrand means I have also changed my Twitter and Instagram handles to represent the real me by using my own name.

By stepping away from handles associated with my eating disorder, I am no longer allowing the illness to define me and instead I am slowly removing the mask that anorexia has made me wear for such a long time.

So where can you find me now…

Here: https://hannahrecovery.wixsite.com/recipeforrecovery 

I would love it if you would come and join me by subscribing and leaving me feedback!

What are my intentions for this new site?

  • To focus on food as something crucial to our health and happiness
  • To represent a healthier attitude towards diet, nutrition and eating
  • To provide a space to connect with others on a journey to better their health
  • To post informative and helpful blogs based on moving forwards
  • To give tips and guidance on how to manage and cope mental illness

Work Work Work Work Work

At the moment I have a dissertation to write, an 1,500 word essay, a presentation to prepare and rehearse, and exams to revise for. Oh, on top of applying for jobs and attending interviews and assessment centres!

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I have SO much going on right now, like so many things whirring in my brain.

Normally I would step back and just try to avoid all the stress and worry by immersing myself in food, drowning myself in easy-to-control numbers. It’s my ‘go-to’ when times get tough.

Let’s face it, it’s easier to count calories and channel all your energy into food, than face up to the realities that we face in our everyday lives. Circumstances are constantly changing, plans we make fall through, drama enters our lives unannounced and like the weather, most things are out of our control.

Meals can be planned and organised. Food can be measured and manipulated. It is controllable.

But I am an adult now. Anorexia is a child and wants me stay one forever. But to achieve all my dreams and goals, to live my life, I need to grow up and find healthier, more MATURE coping mechanisms.

So the stress has hit and I am ready.

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I am ready to fight anorexia and tell her where to stick it. I am ready to stay strong and plough through my mountain of work. I am ready to fight the panic that deadlines and exams induce. I may not know what is coming and can’t measure or plan it down to a T, but at least I am ready to accept whatever circumstances swing my way and that is all anyone can really do.

You know what the Scouts say: “Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail”

Let me know how YOU cope with stress? What healthy coping mechanism do you turn to during stressful times?

Lets Connect!

Instagram: @health_hannah

Twitter: Hanorexia1

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Okay. So I tried. I really did. I set out to do something. And it definitely didn’t happen.

But you know what? It’s okay.

Sometimes we expect so much of ourselves, we create unrealistic goals, and put too much pressure on ourselves to achieve them.

My ‘one blog post everyday for a week‘ wasn’t the BIGGEST goal in the world. And for some people would seem very much a realistic aim: let’s face it, some people have a full-time job doing it!

However one great thing has arisen from this failed effort: I have learnt to not be so hard on myself and to not set myself standards which are just, quite simply, unattainable.

I have a busy life right now. I have lots of other priorities which are unfortunately more pressing, like my University dissertation, which really is (and trust me on this) very unfortunate. In fact, it’s awful. But enough of that…

I wanted to take this blog post to say: relax, enjoy your life, stop rushing around, look up, breathe in, and take a moment to appreciate that life is precious and sadly, its short. 

Eating Disorders Awareness Week has made me realise how lucky I am and how blessed my life is. I was on the brink of death at one point and I didn’t want to be on this Earth. Now when I think back to that darkness, I feel grateful that I am in a safe and happy place and that I can see how beautiful life really is!

Oh and if you have a quick moment to yourselves in the middle of the hectic lives we lead, sign this petition, to show your support for Eating Disorders becoming a hotter topic on GP’s agendas!

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#EDAW17

It’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week and so in support of the all the charities and health organisations working hard to campaign for wider education about these mysterious, secretive, hard-to-treat illnesses, I am going to try and write a blog post every day…

The first blog post is dedicated to an issue that is being widely discussed and debated today. It is one of the key focuses of BEAT‘s campaign this week.

It is about educating GP’s. When it comes to illness, our first point-of-call tends to be our local doctor’s surgery. My story is no different in that respect. My Mum took me to my GP at the first signs of something suspect. I was on a ‘health kick’, had established a ridiculous amount of ‘new year’s resolutions’, and I continued to diet and lose weight despite my periods stopping.

I was talking to my Mum about this recently. I asked her how that appointment made her feel. And her answer was unsurprising considering she was told by my GP that I was ‘fine’ and just ‘needed to eat a bit more’.

Mum recalled feeling angry for not being taken seriously and frustrated for being given no solution to what she perceived to be a problem. There was no support or specialist advice for me or my mother. She felt embarrassed, and saddened, that she had simply just been turned away. She was left feeling lost and unsure how to help her own daughter. As a parent the one constant responsibility from birth is to feed and keep your child alive. She was losing the ability to do that and as a mother I can’t imagine how heartbreaking that must have been for her.

My version of events is not unusual. Many people I have met in in-patient care can recall similar situations.

Disclaimer: it is not any individual GP’s fault. They are at a loss as to what they should do because they have never had the appropriate education and lack the specialist knowledge to treat and identify such a dangerous, life-destroying illness.

However I am not going to lie. I always think about how different my life could have been and could be if my GP had intervened earlier. I think to all the ‘what ifs’ and I ask myself ‘what if I had been given help and support before my mental state deteriorated beyond help?’

The reality is this: I can’t change the past and I now can’t just avoid my eating disorder and the changes it has made to my life. But I can help others in the future by advocating my support for causes like Beat who are lobbying for more specialist training in mental health issues for GPs. And I can also keep writing my blog and using social media to spread awareness about the deceitful and difficult nature of eating disorders.

If you want to read more I would highly suggest this BBC report…

The worst emotion?

What is the worst emotion?

For me, GUILT is up there in the top 10.

(Hell, it might even be ranked at the top of that 10 for me).

Don’t get me wrong, other emotions are just as hard to manage and deal with: feeling sad or lonely crushes my spirit, dulls the beauty of life and leaves me hollow inside.

But guilt is, for me, one of the most soul-destroying, panic inducing emotions out there.

I constantly live in fear of feeling guilty. Guilt about what I do, guilt about what I say, guilt about what I eat, guilt about what I choose, guilt about what I don’t choose. Wherever that guilty feeling comes from, in the past my strategy has been to do everything in my power to avoid risking feeling the affects of it.

Anorexia had me in a tight headlock for a long time and every morsel of food that passed my lips would trigger a roller-coaster of guiltiness. A broken roller-coaster that I get off.

Now I am eating better, eating more, I obviously still feel the same guilt but I am better at managing it. I have learnt how to rationalise and reason with the negative thoughts, and I remind myself that any forms of self-harm, whether it be purging or ripping my hair out, is not going to help.

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More recently, I have noticed some negative consequences of being able to fight the food fears: guilt now emerges in new forms, often in social contexts.

I feel hyper-aware of what I am saying and doing. My stomach churns as I think back over conversations I have had or things I have done, just to make sure there was nothing offensive or rude or unsympathetic in what I said or did. I feel pressure just to say ‘yes’ to any request, running myself ragged, putting my own needs right to the back of my priorities, until I have pleased everyone else. Sometimes this ever-presence possibility of guilt, makes me not go out in the first place, stops me from saying something or commits me to an event I won’t really enjoy.

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I am working on learning how to not feel guilty for saying no, for sometimes putting my own health first, for a inadvertent slip of the tongue. I am learning that not everyone will like me, and not everyone will like every little thing I do or say. We all make mistakes and there is no point dwelling and feeling endless guilt: we just need to learn from it, apologise and move forward.

As long as I am not being intentionally impolite or nasty, there is nothing wrong with having an opinion. As long as I am aware of people’s sensitivities and situations, there is nothing wrong with not wanting to do the same thing as everyone else.

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The beauty of humanity is that we are all created different. We are unique. We are special. We are one-of-a-kind.

And I need to learn that I don’t need to feel guilty for being me.

Self-care 4.0 – Baking for myself?

So I have been the baking queen to my friends and family for years…

(Okay, maybe baking princess, because let’s face it, Mary Berry is QUEEN!)

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I used to bake cakes for my cousin’s cafe business, I’m a dab hand at a charity bake sale, and I must be half-decent because my (now) sister-in-law asked me to bake her Wedding Cake (10/10 would NOT recommend – trust me, the stress is not worth it!)

But in all honesty, I never partook in the sampling part of my baked goods. Anorexia would love that I was loading others up with sugar, butter and flour, and diligently avoiding it myself. Anorexia was proud of me for fattening others up, because they needed and deserved it, whilst I certainly did not. Anorexia would encourage me to abstain from enjoying any celebration of food and sweet treats were just a thing that “I don’t eat”.

Recovery is about challenging Anorexia and standing up to my demons. I have had enough of saying “I don’t eat that” or “I can’t eat this” because in reality, I can. I am lucky enough to be fully physically able, and all my taste buds are still intact, so why shouldn’t I enjoy the fortune of my fully-operating body?

This week I baked my own version of some truly blissful balls bursting with energy – based on a recipe from Zanna Van Dijk’s book Strong which I would TOTALLY recommend (side note: could rave about this book for while so will probs have to do a separate post for it!) 

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And you know what? I am pretty chuffed with my energy balls! They were sweet and although I find any sweet treat hard to process mentally, I think using natural sweeteners (in this case, dates) was a good way to start getting my brain used to sweet snacks!

P.S. Let me know if you think I should start doing recipes!

bake

Self-Care 3.0 -She hates me now…

Anorexia hates me. Literally the levels of abuse are unreal right now.

But I love me. I love myself for challenging the anorexic thoughts that have dominated for too long.

Ok, maybe not so much LOVE, but rather, I LIKE myself BETTER now.

Self-love doesn’t come naturally to me and it would be unrealistically to say I am going to wake up and be like ‘oh yeah I love myself. Forgot about that for the last 6 years I have spent torturing myself. Woops.

It is just not that simple.

However one can only try. And right now my way of fighting back against the self-hatred and internal criticism is by challenging the rules that Anorexia plays by and coming up with my own.

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Anorexia ideally likes the absence of all foods. If food must be consumed the anorexic rule is that it must be a ‘safe’ food. Recently I have been trying ‘new’ foods. ‘New’ foods are scary and ‘unsafe’ and this upsets and challenges anorexia.

I tried almond butter for the first time courtesy of Pip and Nut and you know what? I loved the taste! Although I couldn’t quite fully enjoy the experience, considering how mentally draining the whole process of buying new food, opening new food and consuming new food can be, I definitely appreciated the nuttiness, the smoothness and the slight salty kick it added to my sweet apple slices! (Perfect snack idea right there!!)

Anorexia objected and screamed the whole way along, but I felt that fear, and I fought it anyway. It is not simple or easy. But I can safely say it’s worth the pain.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress…

Self-care 2.0 – RAAAWRR

First question: how STRONG are you?

Second question: how STRONG do you FEEL?

It’s all good and well being able to dead lift 100kg in the gym, but if you are spending your days dragging your feet a long the pavement with your mouth gaping in a constant yawn, it doesn’t really count!

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Being #strong is about feeling strong. It’s about feeling energised and invigorated! It’s having the motivation and drive to power through your day and smash it!

I struggle to get to sleep and even if I take my sleeping tablets just to make my body rest, I wake up feeling groggy and muddled. My fuzzy head can sometimes last all day and I end up feeling unproductive, guilty for the lack of work and annoyed at myself for not getting anything useful done!

So as my #selfcare project continues… this week I went into Holland & Barrett and was recommend these RAAW Juice from Bioglan – they are sachets packed full of superfoods and brimming with minerals and vitamins! 

raaw-juice

Honest opinion? The taste is great and works well with cold water and ice, but you could liven it up by adding it to a smoothie or juice! Although I would have to say one slight issue, but it is a personal preference! I have to drink the juice from a bottle which has a cap as the smell reminds me of something (I’m not sure what) that makes my stomach turn a little bit!

[Sidetrack: Does anyone else get that when certain smells remind you of certain places or situations?!]

Anyway, this are delicious and have added the zing back into my day! I am feeling livelier, more upbeat and definitely #stronger – so my advice to you is get down to Holland & Barrett whilst the penny sale is still on!

raaw

Charcoal Face Mask – Self-Care 1.0

They always say that happiness comes from being ‘happy in your own skin’

Our skin is so delicate and extremely sensitive. It has the (irritating) knack of knowing how we are feeling before we know ourselves… When I am stressed, my skin breaks out before I have even had time to register how fraught I’m feeling!

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As a victim of Anorexia, I look in the mirror and see flaws. And only flaws. I see blemishes that other people don’t. I see defects that make me “ugly, repulsive and unworthy of love”. My skin is no exception. It might sound disgusting, but I could spend hours with my face pressed up against a mirror, squeezing every pore, picking at every bump, scratching and scrubbing until the skin is red raw, just because Anorexia won’t stop pointing out the problems.

My poor skin suffers: I have the scars and scabs to prove it. These only add to the imperfections I see in the mirror and so I start to pick at my face even more. And here begins the vicious cycle, which never allows my skin to heal and repair and glow…

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So new year, new skin care routine… I have decided that self-care include the precious protective layer that coats our bodies and guards us from the the outside world. I am going along with the theory that when our skin is happy and glowing, we feel happier and healthier too!

I have started by trying this Himalayan Charcoal Mask from the Body Shop which is intended to refine the pores and draw out impurities.

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My verdict? For someone who can spends HOURS picking at her pores and may have become almost a bit obsessed, this mask is a wonder!

I have have combination skin and around the T-Zone my skin can get incredibly oily, but this mask acted like a magnet to all the impurities and drew out all the bad stuff. It left my skin looking smoother and less greasy, but at the same time, it didn’t dry out the skin at all!

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Although it was hard to fight the anorexic voices telling me that £16 to spend on me was undeserved, and despite the feelings of guilt I felt for treating my skin and giving it a little pampering, this mask made me feel better about myself. Having good skin and using a mask instead of picking and playing with my face has definitely given me a burst of confidence.

I would say to anyone who may be unsure as to whether they deserve a little skin treatment session, that you do! Everyone deserves a little me-time and to feel comfortable in their skin! It’s not frivolous, it’s not expensive (considering how little product is needed for one mask), it’s not something to feel guilt about, it’s just a few minutes twice a week of letting your skin get the nurturing it deserves!

 

Self-Care

I am learning to love myself: it’s a major part of recovery

For 6 years I have hated my body, refused to accept it, put it through hell and not treated it with an ounce of respect.

Anorexia had me completely disillusioned for a long time and although I still find it difficult to like myself and look at my body positively, I am willing to fight the cruel thoughts and actually make an effort to change how I see myself

I have set up a page on my blog site for pictures and articles which inspire me to keep finding new ways to look after my body…. https://journeytoeatingdisorderrecovery.wordpress.com/self-care/

If you find any inspirational or positive messages worth sharing, please comment so I can add them to my self-care page!

In the mean time, look out for my first self-love attempt (wish me luck!)