What works for me…works for me (most of the time!). I cannot assure it will work for you, as this process does require trial-and-error, patience, and self-awareness. I always said once I started understanding what recovery meant, I would do my best to reach out and help those who need guidance. So, here we go!
I have journaled my entire life. I used to keep a diary and wrote in it every single day for about ten years. Writing is my outlet. Writing is my truest voice. This blog allows me to freely express myself, to receive feedback and support from my readers, to chronicle my daily musings, to celebrate my victories and to reflect on my setbacks. This blog shows me everyday how much I am progressing.
My school program required us to seek personal psychotherapy in order to work on our own issues. If you have an eating disorder, I highly suggest finding someone specialized in this field, as there are many misconceptions and, unfortunately, a lot of ignorance regarding treatment. My therapist (who is in recovery from various eating disorders herself) has challenged me in many ways, and I am very grateful for her guidance and suggestions. Psychotherapy can be expensive, but there are several options available, especially if you are a student, have insurance, or seek out non-profit agencies. The client-therapist relationships is imperative. Therapy can be like dating, in that it requires two people to mesh well. If you have had a negative experience in the past, do not be deterred or discouraged from trying another one out!
This is a support group aimed to provide support to ALL individuals on the eating disordered spectrum. I was entirely resistant to the Twelve Steps philosophy and the insane idea of powerlessness and Higher Power. But, at my therapist’s suggestion, I went. And stayed for about six months. It is much different than other eating disorder group therapies. OA follows the model of AA. I had a sponsor, regularly attended meetings, worked steps, rode literature, wrote, and reached out. It was wonderful to be among others who are exactly like me, struggling exactly like I am, and feelings exactly as I felt. I stopped going for various personal reasons, but I strongly recommend everyone try out meetings for at least a month.
I owe so much of my own personal growth to my program and cohort. I entered this field anticipating to learn more about others and their behaviors, but I am continuously gaining more and more insight on myself with each course, assignment, and demonstration. So much self-awareness can be painful, but I am grateful for the opportunity to work on healing myself everyday.
Indulging Myself. In ways other than food.
This may seem like common sense, but many people with eating disorders often feel they are unworthy or undeserving of feeling good. I now actively try to seek out things that I enjoy, be it long walks, coffee breaks with friends, free-writing, massages, etc. Self-care is critical in EVERYONE’S life.
My Friends and Family.
Most people know, to some extent, about my eating disordered behaviors and history. This wasn’t always the case, and I just recently came around to “coming out” about it them. However, being able to confide in people (other than therapists, sponsors, etc.) is an invaluable tool.
Read whatever you can about eating disorders and find what works for you. I think it is important to expose yourself to a variety of sources. I read OA literature. I also like Geneen Roth. Christopher Fairburn is one of the pioneer researchers on binge eating and bulimia. I also like books on intuitive eating. Memoirs, as well, can be extremely helpful and relatable. I also read several peer-reviewed literature articles and dissertaions. I am very up-to-date on eating disorder material and research! I do not recommend or endorse any “diet” or “weight loss” book.
Yoga and Deep Breathing.
These take practice, but I highly recommend trying them, as both exercises keep your mind and body in tune with one another. Anytime you feel connected to your breath and soul is a good thing 🙂
If you haven’t noticed on my blog, I routinely refer to quotes and affirmations. They are uplifting and inspiring. The Internet is a great tool for coming up with these. I find many of them on Pinterest or Tumblr, but honestly, Google Images is just as good.
(Free) Cell Phone Apps.
Recovery Record: Log to track your food in addition to the thoughts/feelings/behaviors around the food. Also lists positive coping strategies, eating disorder inventories, positive affirmations, and the ability to connect your information with your treatment team.
Breathe2Relax: guided meditation breathing
Take a Break: another guided meditation breathing with various sounds or background music available
Relax: same as above
WordPress: Obvious reasons.
AA Big Book: It’s FREE!
Gratitude Diary: simple way to jot down your gratitudes and blessings
Transform: Provides a daily reading and a daily assignment.
Reaching out to other people, helping other people who reach out to me, guiding and facilitating, providing a listening ear and supportive heart, offering empathy and unconditional regard…this keeps me sane!