Have hope, chase joy, embrace life – recovery is possible.

Posts tagged ‘family’

Day 5: Connection

Welcome to Day 5 of lifeinfullcolour’s 6-Day Exploration of Health At Every Size (HAES) – today’s theme is Connection 🙂

If you are just joining us now, you might also like to go back & try my Self-Care Challenge from Day 1,  Joyful Movement Challenge from Day 2, Intuitive Eating Challenge from Day 3, or Self-Acceptance Challenge from Day 4 🙂

Eating disorders flourish in an environment of disconnection & loneliness, but they can also help to create this environment.

Eating disorders are scary – my violent mood swings from frustrated screaming, to terrified & hysterical crying, to an impulsive mania, & back again, left friends & family asking “Where is the lovely girl i once knew? Will i ever see that sweet girl again?”. My grey-toned flesh & weakness, coupled with frequent trips to the emergency room left people terrified & wondering “Will this be the last time i see her alive?” It was a terrifying prospect, & one few people wanted to expose themselves to – out of fear many people removed themselves from my life.

Leaving the house had also become overwhelming, & the thought of having to eat something unplanned & unmeasured terrified me – after being turned down time after time, friends stopped inviting me out. neg used this as “proof” that everyone hated me, that i was a horrible person, & that i would never have any true & lasting relationships with people. I withdrew even further into my disorder.

(Image via: My camera! :))

The first few years surrounding my ED diagnosis, were the loneliest of my life. The lack of connection in my life left me feeling more hollow & empty than a lack of food ever could. But as i progressed through treatment, i began to reach out to people again – it was incredibly difficult, but i began to reconnect.

My treatment team & i now realise how important connection is to my continuing recovery – so much so, that my entire relapse prevention plan centres around it. While “me time” is also listed, things like talking to friends, maintaining contact with other positive body image activists, &  volunteering are all listed as important connections for supporting my recovery.

I try to maintain a sense of connection however i can, & today i want to encourage you to do the same!

Studies have shown that maintaining positive connections can not only provide a sense of companionship, or a shoulder to cry on, but can also assist us in maintaining our physical health, & even extending our life!

A study by the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University in Australia, followed nearly 1,500 older people for 10 years, & found that those who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%. As well as helping ward off illnesses such as depression, a sense of connection has also been found to improve the health of people suffering cancer & cardiovascular problems.

Day 5 – Connection:

My challenge for you today, it to reflect & connect 🙂

  1. Reflect
    • Who?
      Who do you feel most connected to?
      Can you list 3 people in your life that you feel close to?
    • What?
      What activities make you feel connected?
  2. Connect
    • Who?
      How can you reconnect with the people you listed above?
      How might you connect with someone new?
    • What?
      How can you make more time in your life for the activities you listed above?
      If you are not yet engaged in them, how can you begin to incorporate these activities into your life?
  3. Make time for connection today 🙂
    • Call or visit a friend or family member
    • Say hello or smile as you pass someone in the street
    • Hug someone

How will you connect with someone today? 🙂

Be sure to pop on over to lifeinfullcolour’s Facebook page today, where our theme of Connection will be permeating my posts. And please feel free to share with me there, or here on the blog how you have found today’s Connection Challenge – i’d love to hear about your experiences! :)

(Unless specified, images via: We ♥ it.)


Things To Be Thankful For

As severe flooding ravages the state of Queensland here in Australia, i find myself with mixed emotions. While it is a devastating situation & my heart aches for those who have lost their homes, their belongings, their pets, & in some especially sad cases, their families, i find myself with an even deeper sense of gratitude for my own blessings at this time.

(Images 1-3 via: Boston.com)

(Images 4-6 via: 9News, where a slideshow is constantly being updated with new images.)

Today i am thankful:

  • For those who are showing their compassion & kindness to those affected by the Queensland floods.
    Those who have opened their hearts, their homes, & their wallets. Those who have filled sandbags, shared food, given hugs, & not forgotten the non-human victims of this disaster.
  • For my home.
    Not only do i have a roof overhead, but i am also granted the luxury of having my familiar belongings with me, providing a sense of comfort that so many in Queensland are without tonight.
  • That myself & my immediate family are safe.
  • For afternoon cat-naps.
  • For amazing green smoothies.
  • For my aloe-vera plant, for providing some much needed relief from my very painful sunburn.

What are you thankful for today?

P.S. For further information on the Queensland floods including where to get help, & how to you can assist those affected, see the Queensland government’s page here, which also includes links to other helpful sites & emergency service contacts.

Things To Be Thankful For – Kick-starting The Year With Gratitude

  • Carpet picnics, with amazing salads & beautiful friends
  • Raw vegan cheesecakes

    (And yes, i did eat all of these! 🙂 Not all at once though!)
  • Lazing on the grass by the beach, with a book & an ocean breeze
  • Oh-so-juicy nectarines
  • Cuddles from my sister
  • Kitty cats in party hats
  • Sunshine
  • Fresh vegie juices
  • Being called “darling” by the lady at the fruit shop
  • This amazing drawing from my little sister C.! 🙂
  • Kitty cat cuddles
  • Bright Summer dresses
  • An amazing new pillow – firm & fluffy all at once!
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Lovely big bunches of local organic basil
  • The delicious almond & basil pesto i made from it 🙂
  • My ‘recovery’ playlist
  • Some beautiful new cushions for my bed 🙂
  • Big balls of string
  • Hot glue guns (i got crafty ;))
  • Laughing out loud 🙂

What are you thankful for this week?

Something To Celebrate

With 2010 about to draw to a close, i find myself reflecting on another incredible year in recovery.

This year i:

  • Found freedom & joy in intuitive eating
  • Embraced vulnerability
  • Cried,
    & loved a whole lot
  • Found peace through forgiveness, & let go of past hurts
  • Found hope
  • Travelled halfway across the world to meet my beautiful friends A. & L.
    – an incredible adventure, filled with rule-breaking growth & insight
  • Learnt how to appreciate the little things
  • Skipped,
    & sang – a lot
  • Broke some more rules
  • Said “i really do love myself” for the first time in my life – AND i meant it
  • Learnt how to bake vegan cupcakes (& baked A LOT of them)
  • Gave, but received so much more
  • Chased joy,
    embraced life,
    & saw the beauty in everything (even if it took a while)
  • Met some of the most beautiful, magnificent, & all-round amazing people in the world
  • And, for the first year since i was diagnosed in 2007, i have not had any hospital admissions due to my eating disorder
    – i am freaking AWESOME! 😀

But, while it has taken a lot of my own courage, strength, & determination to achieve these things, it was not without a whole lot of support & encouragement from my beautiful friends, family, treatment team, & even the strangers who touched my life this year. To all of those beautiful, incredible, amazing people who have shared yourselves & your lives with me this year – thankyou so very much. What an honour to have such amazing people in my life!

And so, with just 4 hours until the new year is upon us here in Australia, i wish you all a wonderful 2011. May it be a blessed year for you all, filled with peace, & love, & joy, & excitement, & laughter, & dreams, & dancing, & discovery, & health. *catches breath*
And remember – have hope & chase joy, because recovery IS possible! 🙂

What have YOU achieved this year? (I guarantee it’s a whole lot more than you think ;))

(Images via: We ♥ it.)

Things To Be Thankful For – Weekly Roundup

In a week which has been, for the most part, quite overwhelming, & at times just downright depressing, i am thankful for these shiny moments of hope & life, & things that made me smile:

  • The beautiful family of (9) kangaroos that live in the bush by my house
  • The Beatles – because “all you need is love.”
  • The echinacea that is growing on my windowsill
  • Meditation
  • Recognising that prevention is better than cure, & accepting  the support i have been offered
  • This blog post (on rape apologism)
  • This t-shirt:
  • My lovely friend E. for being nothing more or less than her beautiful self, & for sharing her friendship with me
  • Fresh raw veggie juice
  • Glorious sunny days, with their blue skies, warmth & gentle breezes
  • Exploring rock pools with my sister
  • My beautiful kitty cat Tigerlily, for knowing when her (adoptive) mummy needs snuggles, & for letting me nuzzle my head in her fur, & breathe in her loveliness 🙂
  • Walking through Newtown in my Oscar the Grouch PJs at 10 o’clock in the morning.
  • My purple hippo Henrietta, who travels everywhere with me (even to America!), & snuggles with me at night
  • ‘Forty Thieves’ solitaire
  • Sabbaba’s vegan falafel plate
  • Sunflowers
  • My lovely, bright pink, Summery dress, which i have been living in since i bought it a week ago
  • My beautiful friend A. for listening, for believing in me, & for always, always being there – i love you ever-so-muchly ♥
  • Big cuddly dogs 🙂
  • My little sister C., who is no doubt the light of my life – i absolutely adore this girl (yes, yes – i know i’ve said that before :P)
  • Being able to sleep in my bed again, after many weeks on the futon – my mummy bought me a new mattress as an early birthday gift! 😀
  • The comforting smell of a live Christmas tree
  • J., for noticing that things haven’t been “quite right”, & for sharing your awareness with me
  • A rather amusing sunburn (in case you can’t see it, i have a white patch on my shoulder, that was shielded from the sun by a forgotten sticker – it’s much more noticeable in person)
  • A lovely, supportive dietitian
  • Automatic car washes
  • G., for being one of my dearest & loyal friends, & for always making me feel accepted, exactly as i am
  • Knowing that“this too shall pass.”

What are you thankful for this week?

Things To Be Thankful For

  • Waking up with the sunrise – light streaming in through the wall to wall windows of my hotel room
    (where i checked myself in yesterday, after deciding that i really needed some time out from the stress that is my life right now).
  • Starting my day with a fresh raw veggie juice – a comforting familiarity.
  • Sweating out my nervous energy in the gym, but knowing when to stop.
    (Note to endorphins – i love you).
  • Blueberries & a juicy, juicy mango for breakfast 🙂
  • NOT missing my train
    (even if i did have to run through the hotel to get there in time).
  • Watching my gorgeous little sister dancing in her school’s Christmas concert 🙂
    It’s the first time i’ve seen her perform, & i was so proud of her! She was having so much fun 🙂
    (Apologies to my future kids – i am going to cry with pride at pretty much everything you do).
  • A hot & sticky Summer evening
    (even if i did spend a lot of time complaining about it! ;))
  • My new ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ DVD, which arrived in the mail today 🙂
    I fell completely & utterly in love with this movie, when i saw it in America earlier this year – which was coincidentally, a little ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ journey of my own! 🙂
  • My beautiful American friend A. for sharing her photos, & reminding me of the incredible time i had there with her 🙂

What are you thankful for today?

Things To Be Thankful For

  • Cold, leftover pizza for breakfast, which was awesome for so many reasons.
    One – i have a huge irrational fear of eating leftover food, so it was pretty exciting to eat this & not die.
    Two  – it was a big break in routine for me, but again, it was nice to find that the world did not come crashing down around me 🙂
    Three – it tasted damn good! (I make the bestest pizzas ever ;))
  • Christmas carols! 🙂
    Especially ‘I Believe In Santa Claus’ by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton.
    I love the traditional carols too, but this album is a bit of a family tradition 🙂
  • Not having to be anywhere or do anything, & having the house to myself for the day.
  • Rocking out on Guitar Hero ‘Warriors of Rock’ with my little sister 🙂
    The drums are my FAV!

What are you thankful for today? 🙂