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

Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

You Are Here For A Reason.

Parts of this post may be distressing.
If you need support, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800.

Throughout my teen years, & into my early twenties, i was plagued by self-doubt, insecurity, & feelings of worthlessness.

Negative thoughts filled my mind – “you can’t do anything right”, “you are always in the way”, “all you ever do is make people life harder for everyone”, “everyone would be better off without you”... I wondered how anyone could ever like a person like me – boring, stupid, ugly… – what did i have to offer anyone?

I measured my abilities against those of others, & i never seemed to measure up – “you have nothing to offer anyone”, “you are useless, worthless…”, “why do you even bother trying?” I was always trying to be “good enough”, always trying to please others, hoping that someday i might be “good enough” to earn myself a place in this world.

Just after my 18th birthday i tried to kill myself. I was overwhelmed by the pain of my abusive past, & saw no reason to live. In fact, i believed i was doing people a favour, & freeing them from that annoying, useless girl that just kept getting in their way.

I lay in a coma for 3 days, as the doctors told my mother to prepare for my death – “even if she survives, she will be nothing more than a vegetable – unable to feed herself, toilet herself, unable to walk, or to talk….”

But God had other plans for my life.

When i woke up (incredibly unscathed), i did not recognise my blessing. The negative thoughts continued to plague me, & the wounds from my past remained raw. In the 6 years that followed, i would make many more attempts to “disappear”, & i was angry that people wouldn’t “just let me die!”.

“Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.” ~ Richard Bach

When i look back now, i can’t help but see things differently – it is as though God was trying to tell me “I’m not finished with you yet! I need you! You are part of a plan, & there is no-one else in this world that can play your part. You can try all you like to withdraw, to retreat, to give up. You can try all you like to “disappear”, but i created you to stand out – i have big plans for you! You are important! And i am not going to let you disappear, no matter how hard you try.”

Looking back now, i am so thankful that God’s plan won out, & not mine. Because God’s plan? It’s a heck of a lot better than mine was!

So when you find yourself caught up in those negative thoughts – “you have nothing to offer anyone”, “you are useless, worthless…”, “why do you even bother trying?” – know this:

You are here for a reason. You have a purpose.

Never doubt your place in this world – never doubt your significance.
You are here for a reason. You have a purpose.
There is noone else on Earth like you – your knowledge, your experience, your talents, your weaknesses & strengths… you are unique, & the world would not be the same without you.
You were created to do great things, so stand tall in who you are, & know that you are a part of something big & beautiful & important (even if you can’t see the details just yet) 😉


If You Had Told Me Life Could Be This Overwhelming Beautiful, I Never Would Have Believed You.

To the -oh-so-lovely M.
[my mermaid – the dietitian who swam beside me during my first year of treatment],

You saw me through my first year of treatment, holding my hand as i took those first shaky steps towards recovery. You helped me to consider that my worth was greater than any number on a scale – that i deserved to recover. While it took me much longer to truly believe this, you helped to sow this seed of value in my soul – one which i would continue to nurture over the next two years, into the beautiful, flourishing blossom of self-worth that rests in my heart today 🙂

[From the ‘thankyou’ gift i made for M., when we finished our work together.]

To the brilliant M.C.
[the psychologist who gave me the space to discover ‘me’],

You were the first person to provide me with a space that was truly my own. At first I didn’t know how to fill it – it took me quite a while before I learnt how to “just say whatever comes to mind”. When we first began our meetings together, I filled them with the expectations & offerings of others, but as time went on, I realised that this was not a space for the ideas of others – it was a space for me to discover my own. And it was in these meetings, that I began to discover myself – one beautiful, hidden piece at a time 🙂

Thankyou for being consistent.
Thankyou for being reliable.
Thankyou for being here when I needed you to be, & thankyou for the times when you weren’t.
Thankyou for your silence, even though it made me uncomfortable.
Thankyou for your words.
Thankyou for the pushes when I needed them, & for supporting me when I needed to stay still.
Thankyou for helping me to feel safe again.
Thankyou for teaching me that crying is actually okay.
Thankyou for your lack of criticism, but thankyou also, for not always agreeing with me.
Thankyou for your reassurance.
Thankyou for giving me this space, & the time to learn how best to use it.
Most of all, thankyou for helping me to feel worthy of filling it.

[A bag i sewed as a ‘thankyou’ gift for C.T.
Yep – those are my feet!]

To the beautiful C.T.
[the dietitian who helped me explore an exciting lifeinfullcolour during my 2nd & 3rd years in treatment],

You taught me about so much more than food & eating. In teaching me to trust my body, you taught me to trust in myself. In encouraging ‘experiments’, you helped me to replace my fear with curiosity – & that curiosity has led me to discover beauty & wonder in every place I look. You helped me discover the things I value – you helped me to discover MY value.

Thankyou for your encouragement.
Thankyou for your smile 🙂
Thankyou for your patience – especially in the face of my many shoulder shrugs & “I don’t know”s.
Thankyou for your flexibility – for allowing me to work with you, in a way that worked for me.
Thankyou for your humour.
Thankyou for sharing you enthusiasm for nutrition with me – & for helping me to uncover my own shared passion.
Thankyou for your metaphors, analogies, & crazy hand-waving.
Thankyou for recognising, that the smallest of steps can sometimes be the hardest to take.
Thankyou for celebrating those steps with me 🙂

[Every cloud has a silver lining…]

M.C. & i had already said our goodbyes back in December after he moved on from his work at the ED service, but i had still been keeping appointments with C.T. C.T & i met again this past Tuesday, & although we had been working together for a couple of years now, there was something very different about this particular meeting…. This time our appointment was not for my ‘treatment’ – this time, we were celebrating 🙂

Three years after entering treatment for an eating disorder, i was ready to move on. And so, on Tuesday, the 8th March, 2011, after a beautiful celebration, i walked out of C.T.’s office, & through the door of the big cream building that was now so familiar. I walked out of that building for the last time as a client of the Eating Disorders Service & into the sunlight, ready to embrace the next exciting chapter of this beautiful lifeinfullcolour 🙂

[C.T. & i celebrated my recovery with my favourite raw, vegan chocolate cake 🙂
We even wore party hats ;)]

To those who have not experienced the devastation of an eating disorder (whether directly, or indirectly), there is little i can say to convey just how heart-wrenchingly painful, & overwhelmingly exhausting the journey to recovery can be. So many times i feared that i would never recover, or in moments of relative stability, found myself thinking that ‘this is as good as it gets’. But as overwhelmingly challenging as this journey has been, it has been equally beautiful. And you know what? My life becomes richer & more beautiful every day 🙂

I often refer to my recovery as a journey of self-discovery. I have learnt so much about myself – my likes, my dislikes, my strengths, my passions, my dreams… I’ve just begun to uncover my potential, & it is far greater than I could ever have imagined. I am vulnerable, yet strong, & more resilient than I know. I am beautiful, passionate, intelligent, creative, magnificent! And I have a courage that roars like an open fire in my heart.

For so many years of my life, I truly & deeply hated who I was, & I didn’t think that could ever change. But you know what? I really do love the person I see now – a magnificent, complex being, full of surprising beauty – & I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life getting to know her better 🙂

I feel such immense gratitude to be here now at this point in my life, & for every beautiful, scary, & painful moment that has led me to it. Sometimes I feel as though my heart might burst with all of the hope & joy & love it holds nowadays. I am grateful to have had these 3 years to heal, & to begin this incredible journey of self discovery, & I am especially grateful for having had access to the treatment I needed to save my life. I feel truly blessed to have been able to work with such an incredible team of people, & i am deeply grateful to everyone who has helped support me on this journey – i would not be here without you.

We made it through the darkness to the light
Oh how we fought, but still we won the fight
Oh, yes, we stand together
Sia, ‘The Fight’

With much love, & gratitude,

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

  • Sleeping in
  • Finding out that my amazing friend A. is planning to come visit me from America later in the year!!!! 😀
    (I literally ran around my room & jumped up & down all crazy-like when i heard this!)
  • Freshly made carrot & ginger juice
  • Staying in my PJs ALL day
  • Air conditioning (it was SOOOOOOO hot here today!)
  • This dreamy cover:
  • My beautiful kitty-cat
  • All of you beautiful people out there who have taken the time to drop by & read this.
    For everyone who has left a comment, & for everyone who has shared one of my posts.
    For all of you who have “liked” lifeinfullcolour on Facebook, & for all of you who have shared your thoughts with me there, or taken the time to email me – you are all so lovely 🙂

What are you thankful for today?

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?