Little things, big changes. Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2017.

Choosing recovery is one of the hardest choices I have ever, and probably will ever make. Recovery is different for everybody, for me it was making a promise to nobody else but myself and never letting myself look back. It is letting the eating disorder go every second of every day, allowing myself to heal and break free. Allowing myself to be me without the eating disorder. Of course doing this is a lot easier said than done and I can not put it into words just how difficult it is, but please know although difficult, it is possible.

Letting go of an eating disorder and choosing recovery is possible. Recovery is possible. Believe in yourself and your power to change, to heal and to recover. 

Continue reading “Little things, big changes. Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2017.”

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Gratitude without guilt.

I have been practicing gratitude for a while now, I am by no means an expert in the subject and I still have a great deal to learn however, I would like to share what I have learnt so far, possibly to help others but mostly to remind myself.

Gratitude is defined as: ‘The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’

No mention of comparison or guilt but as children, for me anyway, it was confusing to hear phrases such as, ‘you should be grateful’, ‘there are people worse off’ and ‘don’t be so ungrateful’. Phrases often bringing the negativity of comparison and guilt to what should be the positive feelings of gratitude.

I used to believe that to feel grateful I should feel some amount of guilt. I would compare what I have, to what others have, trying to force myself into feeling grateful, more often than not the feelings of guilt overriding the feelings of gratitude.

A huge part of my recovery was letting go of the guilt I felt and comparisons I made, it was then when I began to feel truly grateful.

Moments of pure gratitude, no longer conflicted with negative emotions.

You see, by feeling gratitude without feeling guilt or comparing and giving reason for my gratitude, I have been able to truly enrich my life. By clearing up the confusion and false believes I had around gratitude has changed my life.

This hasn’t happened over night, I have been practicing for almost three years now, noticing my feelings and bringing an awareness to what and who I am grateful for, consistently letting go of guilt and comparison.

Most evenings, before falling asleep I ask myself ‘what are you grateful for today?’, and no matter how small the answer I allow myself to focus on that for a few moments, feeling nothing but gratitude towards it.

Sometimes, gratitude comes to me and it is one of the best feelings, again, when this happens I allow myself a few moments to be with that feeling and focus on what it is I am grateful for.

I’m unsure if this confusion of gratitude is common, or if this post even makes sense, but I just want you (and me) to know that it is more than okay to allow yourself to feel true gratitude for whatever it is that makes you feel grateful, thankful or blessed. You (and me) do not need to attach gratitude with feelings of guilt nor do we need to compare our lives to others in order to feel it.

Thank you for reading,

Nicole

A written conversation.

A spoken conversation can sometimes be difficult but a conversation about mental health does not need to be spoken. Sometimes writing can have just as, if not more, of an impact than speaking.

When I first started therapy I was asked to write letters to myself, also to the illness, this helped in ways I was able to express my thoughts and feelings without actually talking.

I then started blogging and my therapeutic letters soon turned into daily posts, reflections and conversations with others who had been, or were going through a similar experience.

Having a mental illness can be very isolating, so allowing myself to have this connection with others was a huge step within my recovery. After a while these online conversations turned into written conversations, often posting and receiving letters and cards, pen-pals that gave me friendship in what felt like a mist of loneliness.

I remember thinking about how these letters and cards made me feel and wondered if I could bring this closer to home and so I began to write letters to my family and friends to, something I had done here and there before but never in depth. I began to write to my parents explaining how I felt, allowing them to gain some sort of understanding and they began to write back.

When the illness was so strong at pushing people away, writing allowed me to let people in. Postcards, letters, cards, poems and even post-it-notes, short and long, each one reminding me I was not alone.

Having a mental illness can make you feel very alone and having something, no matter how small that makes you feel not so alone can completely change your life. It gives you a feeling of warmth when all you have felt is cold.

Without these written conversations, I do not believe I would have been able feel such a connection with those around me or those a far. I cherish each and every word and have each placed into a scrapbook, which is now bursting at the seams. From my great-grandmother’s cards, poems from my father and even letters from my younger brother, it seems I am not the only one who finds it easier to write.

Talking to somebody experiencing ill mental health does not need to be difficult and definitely not ignored, words can let people feel less alone, a feeling that can truly change a person’s life. It does not need to be fancy, a simple, ‘how are you?’ or ‘I saw this card and thought of you’. Letting people know you are there, spoken, written or even a text, all have the power to create change.

Also, we all have mental health and I know that well or not, words can give people the little ‘pick me up’ they need. Writing notes and sending letters is something that I still do and it continues to give me a feeling of warmth.

Starting a conversation today could change someone’s life. Whether you want to talk or write, join in with Time to Talk Day and get talking about mental health.

Thank you for reading,

Nicole

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