Archive for the ‘Health’ 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.


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.



Read Full Post »

leaving the nestYes Sophie has gone. Gone to chase her dreams, gone to become fully independent and be responsible for her own life. Whatever happens now is on her terms.

Huge step forward and a wrenching for us both. Being only a 3 hour drive would have been hard enough. But instead she is a two hour flight. It is a long distance in between. We have grown close and are good friends as well as mother/daughter. It is about learning to put our relationship into the new and right context.

We are both worried as to how she will cope once semester starts and a full uni load is added. At this stage, she is full of confidence and trying hard to grow up and be responsible. It is the first time  she is fully responsible for shopping for her food, cooking and eating it. So far she is probably over compensating her food in fear she may not be eating enough.

In time that will all even out too. Recovery is about learning to be flexible, intuitive and normal about food eating. Soph can now really learn what that means when she is on her own and doing it for herself.

As her teachers and support people have said, to have seen her four years ago and to see her now. What a difference and many never thought she would get this far, this well. It makes my heart swell with pride (and my eyes prick with tears) to know just how hard and fraught the journey has been, and how my beautiful daughter has risen over it all to be where she is now.

Yes you can recover, and recovery is never to be compared to anyone else’s. You cannot compare your journey to someone else. You cannot say someone else had it easier/harder than you. There is no such thing in the world of eating disorders, particularly anorexia.

The journey in and out is hellish hard but the recovery level you reach will ALWAYS be far better than having the eating disorder in charge of your life.

Read Full Post »

“We get caught up in life’s flow, whether good, bad, or neutral. Wherever the current takes us we go. It’s as if we’re on autopilot, but depression happens when our autopilot gets stuck in a negative descent.”
~Turning Your Down Into Up: A Realistic Plan For Healing From Depression

Now and then, it’s a good idea to check in with yourself about how you’re really feeling about the way you’re spending your time, especially if you’re feeling drained or dissatisfied. It’s important to identify these draining activities, to be honest with yourself about why you’re engaging in them, and to take intentional action to make a change.

1) Make a list of all the types of activities in your life.

This is a pretty universal list, so you can probably start with something like family, friendships, home, work, recreation, religion, and community. But feel free, of course, to edit these areas, or add to them, as feels most appropriate to you and what you do.

2) Write each type of activity at the top of its own separate page.

Taking inventory of your life can feel like an enormous undertaking. The more you can do to break it into manageable sections, the more helpful and enjoyable this activity will be.

3) For each type of activity, make a list of the individual activities that fall into that category.

Write down anything and everything that comes to mind. There are no right or wrong answers. Watching television is just as valid an activity as balancing the checkbook, for example.

And don’t worry about shooting for any arbitrary number, or feeling pressured to think of everything at once. That’s the beauty of lists like these. You can make them all in one sitting, if you feel so inspired. Or you can go about your day, adding to the list with every new activity you find yourself engaged in.

4) Write each activity at the top of its own separate page and answer the following questions:

  • Why did you start this activity in the first place?
  • Why are you doing this activity now?
  • What does this activity say about you?
  • Is this activity one you really want to do, or do you feel pressured to do it?
  • Is this activity filling or draining?

5) For each of your filling activities, answer the following questions:

  • What about this activity makes it feel filling?
  • Would you like to do more of this activity?
  • What action(s) can you take to move in that direction?

6) For each of your draining activities, answer the following questions:

  • What about this activity makes it feel draining?
  • Is this an activity you can let go?
  • If yes, what action(s) can you take to move in that direction?
  • If no, why not, and how can this inform a means of at least modifying it?

While it may seem to you now there is nothing in your life you are currently doing that you can possibly let go, no matter how much it drains you — keep the following in mind.

You are intended to live a life of purpose that brings you fulfillment and joy. Anything that is not serving you in this regard is something to be carefully considered with a plan — as short- or long-term as it may be — for modifying it, or letting it go. All that this journaling activity requires of you is taking the first step in that direction.

Are you depressed? Take our depression survey. A Place Of Hope can help.


Read Full Post »

setting clear boundariesSetting clear personal boundaries is the key to ensuring relationships are mutually respectful, supportive and caring. Boundaries are a measure of self-esteem. They set the limits for acceptable behavior from those around you, determining whether they feel able to put you down, make fun, or take advantage of your good nature.

Your personal boundaries also define who you are as an individual. They maintain a line between “you” and “me”, recognising that we have different thoughts, feelings, beliefs, experiences and needs. Without boundaries, we would all meld together; there would be nothing distinguishing one person from another. Your personality and individuality are dependent on boundaries. People with poor boundaries easily conform to those around them; dress the same way, think the same way, even feel what people around them are feeling – there are a lot of “me too!”s at the expense of your own identity.

Close, meaningful relationships also require each person involved to have personal boundaries. Boundaries allow you to connect with another person as a distinct and unique individual. You can only value and celebrate each other for who each of you are, both in your similarities and differences, if you have clear personal boundaries. Without being able to express our individual differences and be accepted for who we are, our relationships would be much less meaningful and fulfilling. Authentic relationships can only form and flourish when individual differences are allowed to exist, and when personal boundaries are upheld.

Learning to set healthy personal boundaries is necessary for maintaining a positive self-concept, or self-image. It is our way of communicating to others that we have self-respect, self-worth, and will not allow others to define us.

Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. Their presence helps us express ourselves as the unique individuals we are, while we acknowledge the same in others.

It would not be possible to enjoy healthy relationships without the existence of personal boundaries, or without our willingness to communicate them directly and honestly with others. We must recognize that each of us is a unique individual with distinct emotions, needs and preferences. This is equally true for our spouses, children and friends.

To set personal boundaries means to preserve your integrity, take responsibility for who you are, and to take control of your life.

How to establish healthy personal boundaries

Recognize that other people’s needs and feelings are not more important than your own. Many women have traditionally thought that the needs of their husbands and children are more important than their own. This is not only untrue, but it can undermine the healthy functioning of the family dynamic. If a woman is worn out mentally and physically from putting everyone else first, she not only destroys her own health, she in turn deprives her family of being fully engaged in their lives. Instead, she should encourage every family member to contribute to the whole as well as take care of himself or herself. Putting themselves last  is not something only women do, but many men as well.

Learn to say no. Many of us are people-pleasers and often put ourselves at a disadvantage by trying to accommodate everyone. We don’t want to be selfish, so we put our personal needs on the back burner and agree to do things that may not be beneficial to our well-being. Actually, a certain amount of “selfishness” is necessary for having healthy personal boundaries. You do not do anyone any favors, least of all yourself, by trying to please others at your own expense.

Identify the actions and behaviors that you find unacceptable. Let others know when they’ve crossed the line, acted inappropriately, or disrespected you in any way. Do not be afraid to tell others when you need emotional and physical space. Allow yourself to be who you really are without pressure from others to be anything else. Know what actions you may need to take if your wishes aren’t respected.

Trust and believe in yourself. You are the highest authority on you. You know yourself best. You know what you need, want, and value. Don’t let anyone else make the decisions for you. Healthy boundaries make it possible for you to respect your strengths, abilities and individuality as well as those of others. An unhealthy imbalance occurs when you encourage neediness, or are needy; want to be rescued, or are the rescuer, or when you choose to play the victim.

Signs of Unhealthy Boundaries

  • Going against personal values or rights in order to please others.
  • Giving as much as you can for the sake of giving.
  • Taking as much as you can for the sake of taking.
  • Letting others define you.
  • Expecting others to fill your needs automatically.
  • Feeling bad or guilty when you say no.
  • Not speaking up when you are treated poorly.
  • Falling apart so someone can take care of you.
  • Falling “in love” with someone you barely know or who reaches out to you.
  • Accepting advances, touching and sex that you don’t want.
  • Touching a person without asking.

When we possess healthy personal boundaries:

✓ We have improved self-confidence and a healthy self-concept.

✓ We are more in touch with reality.

✓ Are better able to communicate with others.

✓ Have better more fulfilling relationships.

✓ Have more stability and control over our lives.


From: http://www.essentiallifeskills.net/personalboundaries.html

Read Full Post »



It’s about learning what are healthy boundaries. How to protect ourselves, our identity, our health, our mental state.

Boundaries work two ways – us protecting ourselves from others who don’t respect our boundaries; and us learning to respect other’s boundaries.

Often those with mental health illnesses have never learnt to build boundaries that protect them from people, situations and emotions around them. We have allowed others to crash our boundaries, giving up our rights and identity to others.

But more than that, eating disorders being the nature they are, are another unwanted crasher of boundaries. We can learn to push back people who would treat us like this, but will still allow the eating disorder to destroy and deny us every human right and life itself.

Recovery encompasses learning to build healthy, loving boundaries that respect us as people and keep us safe. We learn to set limits on the people who hurt and deny us, but we also learn to set boundaries on the eating disorder. We learn to tell it “you cannot come here again”.

Like all boundary building this takes time. It is not easy learning to build boundaries. We feel like we may be selfish or manipulative but building boundaries are not like that. It is critical, healthy and right to do so. It takes time and practice to build the boundaries. To tell people they cannot talk or treat you like this. And most importantly for those with an ED, that it is no longer welcome. You will not give it the time of day, it cannot continue to treat you this way or destroy you life.

Read Full Post »

I asked for help, now everyone knows
but I don’t want everyone involved.

out in the openThese are my sons words. I remember them being my daughter’s words.

They struggle for so long on their own, trying to cope but sliding down the slope into desperation. So they open up and call for help.

Suddenly they find themselves in the spotlight, on everyone’s radar. They have parental attention, medical attention, and no one is letting them go.

All they want to do is hide again. Yes they want help, but on their own terms in their own time and often they regret asking in the first place. It is ‘comforting’ sitting in their own private hell and it seems far less painful and more safe than the prying outside world.

But as our counsellor said, it’s no longer his burden alone. His team are committed to help and help they will. He is top priority and his NEEDS not WANTS will be met.

And that’s the clincher. NEEDS not WANTS. Often our wants are not healthy nor useful at certain times. What we NEED is essential and demands attention. My son (and daughter) need support, medicine, monitoring etc for his mental health and safety. His wants aren’t disregarded and are respected. But for now are on the back burner so to speak. Having this explained respectfully and gently means to my son, he knows he is heard and respected.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »