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Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

No matter how good our intentions at times, we can find it very hard to stand alone and not become part of the crowd we hang with. It is so easy to take on mannerisms, beliefs, attitudes, habits etc without even realising. It doesn’t matter whether you are online or in a physical social environment. We become, far too easy, what is around us. We may have the best hope and strength for recovery, but the everyday whittling away from those around us, particularly the online environment, can find us falling back into relapse or struggling more than we need to in our recovery.

Where our mind or thoughts are focussed on, that is where our heart resides.

We might have to rethink our lives, clear things out, stay away from social media, make new friends, look at our spiritual self, make our homes a safe and strong environment. Whatever it takes to continue recovery, to continue health.

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If you spend the most time with people who are consumed by calorie-counting and their appearance, you’ll probably start watching your food and nit-picking your body.

If you spend the most time with people who bash their bodies and themselves, you’ll probably start looking at yourself with disappointed, angry eyes.

If you spend the most time with people who consider themselves martyrs, you’ll probably start to feel selfish for practicing any kind of self-care.

If you spend the most time with people who don’t respect your privacy, like to gossip and are very judgmental, you’ll probably feel alone and hesitate to open up to anyone. You may even view humanity with some suspicion and dread.

If you spend the most time with people who have zero boundaries and get upset when you set yours, you might find it hard to have a healthy relationship with both them and yourself.

If you spend the most time with people who have strong boundaries and treat themselves kindly, you’ll probably be inspired to do the same.

If you spend the most time with people who love to laugh, really listen to their loved ones and practice self-care, you’ll probably feel more fulfilled and energised yourself.

If you spend the most time with people who love you for the real you, you might be inspired to turn this love inward and start the process of loving yourself.

It’s the same with the shows we watch, the books we read, the places we go, the things in our homes. We often are our environments. That’s why I suggest recycling diet books and “health” publications and creating a home that nourishes you and helps you feel good about yourself.

 

http:/blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2014/08/reflecting-on-the-people-in-your-life/

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I am ignoring youIt’s a busy world. We all have deadlines, people to see, things to do. We have competing multiple tasks for our time. Email, phone, face-to-face mean we are in communication all the time. It also means as professionals in the medical world you are required to treat all communication at the same level, ie. email is just as important as phone or face-to-face time.

If a medical professional says “email me and I will respond”, or “you can contact me anytime by these methods”, you take them at face value. It means basically a handshake. They have given their word that they are available and will respond when you contact them.

Living an eating disorder, whether sufferer or carer, means you need to be able to contact someone to make or change appointments, crisis management, information etc. Often you find you need answers long before you next appointment, that’s if you have another one set up.

Imagine then what it is like for us, when there is no answer. When you don’t email back, you don’t return phone calls. It’s not like eating disorders are an illness that everyone knows about. We cannot just ring anyone else and get the answer we need. Specialised eating disorder professionals are very thin on the ground and we don’t have choices. It feels like you are in a void, no one is talking to you, you don’t know what to do, you don’t know where to go. In front of you your loved one is having a crisis (or you are yourself) and you can’t get answers or even manage to book an appointment.

We know you are professional medical people and for some reason that puts you above us the ordinary people. But not responding when you say you will, means you are not professional at all. Treat us with respect, care and integrity please. We do not have the answers we need, you do, and we require those answers for very real life illness/caring situations. You add to our stress, frustration, confusion, loneliness and sense of worth when you ignore us.

When eating disorders first strick, it is a very scary and confusing time for the family. We need support, we need answers, we need to not feel cut off from the medical establishment that offered to be there for us.

We wonder just how sick or messed up our lives have to be before you decide to respond to our communications.

So please, spare a thought for the person whose email you just ignored, the phone call you didn’t have time to respond to. We contact you because you said we could. We contact you because we need support and answers.

 

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Just like eating disorders, self-harm has just as many myths and stigmas surrounding it. Far too many misconceptions are out there, creating further confusion and isolation for those who means of coping include self-harm. These myths only places more burdens those who harm and their family. It discourages them from finding help and realising it is nothing to be ashamed of.

Self-harm is about coping. It’s a form of communication that says “I am in pain but cannot talk about it”. It’s about having a way to ease the turmoil on the inside. Self-harm doesn’t last forever either. Therapy means learning healthy ways of facing and expressing feelings.

Myth 1

Self-harm is an attempt at suicide.
Fact: Untrue. Most self-harmers are doing this to cope, it is simply a mechanism. Self-harm is an attempt to hurt, control, have power or cleanse, not to kill. They are more at risk however, and anyone who self-harms should seek professional help.

Myth 2

It’s just attention seeking.
Fact: Most harmers hide to do the actual behaviour and they mostly harm parts of the body that remain hidden. Very few outsiders will ever know someone self-harms unless told.

Myth 3

It’s an emo/goth/fashion/trend thing.
Fact: There is no correlation between any youth culture that has self-harm as more prevalent. Dress or culture groups will not give preclude or produce self-harming. Nor is it trendy. The mess and pain associated with self-harm is not something trend followers would put up with.

Myth 4

If you self-harm, you have a mental illness or personality disorder.
Fact: Self-harm is a behaviour not an illness or disorder. It is not a medical disease nor a diagnosis. It is the outcome not the source. It is more to do with psychological or emotional problems. Many self-harmers do not meet the criteria for mental illness or disorders.

Myth 5

If you start self-harm, you’ll always do it.
Fact: Most stop self-harming when they are able and ready. It’s about dealing with the emotions and life circumstances and learning how to cope/live in healthy ways.

Myth 6

Self-harm is just cutting.
Fact: Scratching, scrubbing, burning, hair-pulling, starving, over-eating, drinking, risk-taking, smoking, drug taking, over-work are all examples of self-harm. Anything that causes harm to the body or mind.

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black and white thinkingWhilst black and white thinking can make decisions and life simple, it stunts both growth as a person, expression, communication and the ability to perceive or discern what is around us. Another way of explaining black and white is polarised thinking.

I have been watching my two. Both are black and white. What I didn’t appreciate is there are levels of black and white. You would think black is the extreme end, but no, we get black black and white white. One child is black/white – the other is black black/white white on the same things.

Being unique beings, my two also have differing things that trigger the black/white thinking. Communication can be difficult and understanding each other’s perception is challenged because one is polarised on an issue the other isn’t. Then in trying to find common ground, they try another tactic which can trigger a polarised position in the other child.

Frustrating yes, confusing yes. For all of us. I mostly see all the shades of grey when dealing with others which in itself can be disabling. Procrastination and indecision haunt me, because I am always seeing all the different sides and choices. When dealing with myself, I am more black and white, hence the depression.

For good reading on black/white thinking, polarised thinking the links below are very good at explaining what it is and how to change thinking patterns. Those with Asperger, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, BDD etc, all suffer from this pattern of thinking and it challenges the recovery process.

http://psychcentral.com/lib/15-common-cognitive-distortions

www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACFE3E2.pdf

http://www.php.com/how-explain-black-and-white-and-gray-thinking

http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20591880_8,00.html

 

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family therapy

As confronting and difficult as it is, getting 3 people in a room to talk about the past, feelings, where things are at the moment for them, is a good thing.

That was us this week. One mum, 2 kids and our counsellor. Sophie found it difficult, she is used to having the space all to herself and didn’t want to share. Will found it also confronting as he isn’t ready yet to talk. I no longer have anything to hide but found it hard to listen to my kids.

No one wanted to talk about dad, but we did get to talk a bit how anorexia stalled our family, and what it meant for brother and sister to live through that. With Will teetering on the edge of an ED it is was more poignant.

However as our counsellor said (and she is right), it’s about hearing, really hearing what is going on for other members of the family. We are all affected by the same events but see and feel them differently. By opening up, we can share, empathise and journey towards wholeness as a family.

It’s never about wiping out the past, but harnessing it and using it for growth and wholeness.

Our counsellor was so thrilled, we all get to do group therapy again next week!

Today Sophie sees the psychiatrist and tomorrow Will sees her. The psychiatrist has rung the dietitian Sophie saw, he has txt me. Our counsellor already knows this. Clearly a lot of phone calls and talking has gone on this week. Meaning, Will is not in a good spot and possibly his bloods have problems. Get those results tomorrow. Once Will is settled on his new medication, we will bring the dietitian into the mix of appointments. Yes it is back to the days of early recovery with Sophie, with rounds of appointments, medications and supplements.

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To all the doctors, dietitians, medical professionals, and parents

Imagine you are in a dark, scary place. Your mind is playing tricks on you so you don’t know what is real and what is not. You have lost what truth means or write your own truth. You are terribly insecure, sad, and have no hope. You know you are sliding into a deep hole but are powerless to stop it. You hate yourself and feel so weird around others you isolate yourself. Your emotions and life are just numb and you prefer to just ‘disappear’. It would be better to hide. You have obsessions that you can’t control, that just take over your body and mind. It is like being on a treadmill that you can’t stop, but gets faster and faster. Until you are out of control and desperately want help, but are terrified to ask for it. Giving up on life completely seems a better option.

Would you like to live like this everyday for months or years?

This is the basis of what it is to live with an eating disorder. It is a mental health illness that needs treatment not ignorance.

How much educational awareness, media coverage, research etc will it take for you to realise eating disorders are serious. Or worse, they actually exist and will not go away just because you don’t want to understand or treat the disorder.

How many sufferers are condemned to getting sicker because you don’t believe they have an eating disorder or are not critical enough? Your brush off and lack of care or support silences the voice of the sufferer. Imagine having finally reached out to someone because you are desperate for help only to be told you don’t rate enough to get help.

Where do you get the idea that ‘just eat’ will work or ‘I know you can eat so get over this’. Why would you use medication to increase the appetite when you aren’t treating the mind or emotions? Who decides who is critical enough to warrant the attention of a psychologist or psychiatrist? Who decides that an eating disorder has ‘levels’ of diagnosis? Cancer is cancer not almost cancer. An eating disorder is the same and demands the same instant attention and treatment.

EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT ATTENTION SEEKING BEHAVIOUR

EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT A MINOR ILLNESS THAT YOU GIVE A BANDAID FOR

EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT A FOOD OR WEIGHT PROBLEM

EATING DISORDERS ARE NOT THE LATEST SOCIAL CRAZE AND MUST HAVE

There is no excuse apart from ignorance to treat people with an eating disorder as unimportant or stupid. Information is widely available including research. No one wants their loved one to have an eating disorder, but to bury your head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist will only make the eating disorder worse. It will get a stronger grip and you will end up with someone who is very sick. Early intervention and treatment is the key and so much research and statistics prove this point. And follow up support after treatment is also essential. You just don’t drop and run.

When you are an adult sufferer you can at least keep pursuing the challenge to find appropriate support/medical professionals to help you recover. It is a challenge that should NOT be there. Public health systems, medical insurers make the task of finding appropriate help a nightmare. Any other illness is a straight forward approach, but eating disorders still have not made even made it to basic level.

For those under adult age and are reliant on a parent getting them help they need it is heartbreaking. Not having a parent who understands or wants to take the time to learn what an eating disorder is only adds to the strength of the illness and the entrenchment of the illness. It won’t go away conveniently for you and yes it will cost money and time. Ignoring the illness and your child adds guilt, shame and denial of self to your child. They don’t need that – it just feeds the illness. I will be the first to put my hand up and say the journey over the last 4 years has been hell at times. But it has been worth it to see my daughter now.

I know I have vented before, and have said a lot of this before too. But I get sooooooo frustrated and angry when I get emails with desperate cries of help because families and the medical establishment remain blissfully ignorant.

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Many months ago, a close friend asked me what I could bring to God’s table. What could I offer in service to Him for all He has done for me.

It has rattled around my brain for ages, wondering if what I had in mind was enough, wondering if that was able to be labelled christian service. It has been consolidating now for sometime. When and how to write a post was the challenge. Do I even put it out there?

We aren’t given hardships in our live by God just so we can serve Him. That is ridiculous. He doesn’t need or hate us that much. What each of us do with what life gives us is up to us.

Sophie thinks God gave her anorexia. So.not.true.

We live in a crappy world so despite what or who you believe in, we all get the same treatment. It is the wonder of what God does with that. He rarely waves the magic wand and just fixes it. What He does do is provide the support, care, love and ability to survive. He carries us, enabling us, growing us. I cannot believe how much my horizons have widened because of anorexia. I hate having it here, but it has blessed in many other ways. I hate my daughter being subjected to this, but have found a way to survive that brings richness to both of us. My daughter will find that too one day.

My ministry (if you call it that) is this website, the book that will come from this site and the ability to reach out and support those who struggle with this. I cannot do less. It is a journey that is unique, difficult, and unable to be understood by those looking in. That doesn’t say we are precious or precocious. It just means a very basic and obvious fact. To truly understand this journey you need to be a carer or sufferer.

I still hope to add a counselling or psychology credential to the counselling, support and help I already find I am giving. To my followers you humble me and I thank you for your trust and opening up. I am just a mum who found a voice to say what it is all about, when there is nothing else to tell you.

I dream of outpatient facilities that will pick up after inpatient care, or provide care for those who don’t make the criteria of inpatient care. There is already enough medical professionals in this area that I could piggy back off. I don’t know yet, it is a huge undertaking. I dream of providing respite care for those who cannot keep going day after day with the grind of caring. Carers need breaks, need time out to put themselves back together again. Not everyone is blessed with the church environment that supported me.

So that is where I am, who I am and what I offer at this point in time. The rest will come if and when it is granted.

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