Body-Shaming Yourself

A few years ago I opened up about an eating disorder I had in my late teens and early twenties (see blog: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/i-had-an-eating-disorder-and-it-still-weighs-me-down-everyday/) and I spoke in great length at the time about how I never really figured out the root cause of it even after I recovered. 

But the truth is that even though I may have recovered initially from my battle with Anorexia and Bulimia in my early 20’s it has never truly left me; it’s just transformed itself in other ways. 

I never battled with my weight before the onset of my eating disorder, nor did I have any issues with my self-image. 

It probably didn’t truly present itself again until I began having children in my late 20’s and early 30’s and it has especially spiraled out of control since my battle with Depression and Anxiety began seven years ago.

Right from the start of my mental health journey and my diagnosis I was treated with over 20 concoctions of antidepressants for a solid two years straight which eventually led me to a further diagnosis of Treatment Resistant Depression and also left me with a weight gain of close to 100 pounds. 

And although half of that weight gain almost disappeared instantly when my husband and I finally made the decision together, along with the guidance of my Psychiatrist to wean me off all my medications, my weight has continued to be an uphill battle for me throughout my journey and just one of the many road blocks in my recovery. It all too often leads me back to those same destructive behaviours I exhibited as my 18 year old self battling an eating disorder. 

I’m struggling alot these days with these tendencies and it seems to have magnified itself by a thousand this past week when I needed to go dress shopping for an upcoming family wedding and I had a panic attack and complete breakdown which left me crying in a sea of dresses on the floor of a department store changeroom.

I know I’m not alone in my negative self-image or body-shaming thoughts and especially lately as we all begin to emerge from our cocoon that has left many of us bearing several extra “Pandemic Pounds”.

It’s no secret by now from all the pictures that I post how much I shy away from the camera. Seeing pictures of myself only sets off a destructive mindset and binge of body-shaming.

It’s a vicious cycle of bullying, negative self-talk, anxiety and suicidal ideations. Self-shaming or the act of body-shaming whether it be towards ourselves or someone else is a real and very dangerous problem which Social Media and the mainstream media have only made 10x worse.

My illness has pretty much destroyed any ounce of self-confidence I once had, it continues to tell me how worthless and helpless I am, it loves to focus on the negative and boy oh boy does it ever hate to hear compliments. 

I wish I were able to squash my destructive mindset once and for all and begin to see the same beauty in me that others do; and to believe that I AM ENOUGH from the inside out.

Tell me one thing you love about your body.

#bodyshamingyourself #bodyshaming #eatingdisorders #anorexia #bulimia #depression #anxiety #suicide #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #youmatter #selflove #innerbeauty #imperfectlyperfect #mondaymotivation

Happy 23rd birthday Jacob!

It feels like overnight you have “transformed” from the curious little Energizer Bunny that you once were as a toddler right into your “current” day role as Bob the Builder.

It comes as no “shock” to me that your “electrifying” personality and “positive energy” bring “light” to any room you enter.

You “brighten” up my life and so many others too (even with your dumb jokes!).

I am in awe of the amazing young man you have become in every “component” of your life.

Enjoy today to the fullest and keep using all that “renewable energy” you have for good in this ūüĆć!

Dad and I are so proud of all your hard work and accomplishments.

We love you to the moon and back, forever and a day. 

#happybirthday #twentythree #myfirstborn #sons #keepdoingyou #youmademeamom #electrician #flux #fluxxy #bebop #celebrate  #keepreachingforthestars

It’s “National Name Yourself Day”!

Giving and receiving a name at birth differs from culture to culture and is oftentimes followed by a significant ceremony or ritual. This name is incredibly unique to you and offers up your identity but does it really define who you are as a person? 

Have you ever wished you could change your name? What would your new name signify for you? Would you still be the same person you are right now or would you become someone totally different? 

Plenty of us are feeling less and less like ourselves these days and could really use some kind of change in our lives, anything at all for that matter. So why not start by trying a new name on for size today just for fun, unless of course maybe it kinda sticks with you!

What name would you choose for the day?

Just out of curiosity, what went into choosing your children’s names?

Would you consider those same guidelines for choosing your own new name?

#nationalnameyourselfday #selfexpression #ilovemykidsnames #bestself #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #whatsinaname #beyou #whatsyourname 

Dead Ends

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” ~ Coco Chanel 

It’s been nearly a year now since I last cut my hair and I have to say, it felt quite liberating. 

I’ve never waited this long in between haircuts before but then again I’ve also never lived through a Pandemic before either. 

My hair feels lighter and healthier than ever today now that all the dead ends are finally gone. 

As I watched every last one of those dead ends of hair fall to the floor it almost felt like a metaphor for how we should be living life. 

Just as it’s important for us to trim away the dead ends of our hair regularly to allow for it to grow back stronger and healthier, I do know that it’s just as important to cut off the dead ends (metaphorically speaking) from our lives as well in order to give ourselves the courage and confidence to keep growing stronger and healthier too.

How are you prioritizing your mental health today?

#cocochanel #selfcare #deadends #haircut #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #youareenough #youmatter #ichooseme #liberating #growth #strength 

Bang On

When you haven’t had your hair cut in literally like forever and it is literally unforeseeable as to when you will be allowed to get a hair cut again and your anxiety and depression are literally causing you to start pulling your hair out, you begin to look for new ways to refocus your energy.¬†

My life feels so out of control right now and I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Making a small change or altering one small aspect of your life when you feel like you literally have no control over most other aspects of it can be very empowering. So today as I stood alone in front of my bathroom mirror staring down at myself and overcome with sadness in my heart as I attempted to blow dry my hair, I reached for a pair of scissors. 

I’m not quite sure exactly what I was hoping for in that moment as I began to snip away a layer of my hair. Was I hoping to further hide my pain behind a blunt new set of bangs that would hang below my brow or was I about to create a light, wispy set of bangs that I could sweep to one side and give me that boost of self-confidence instead?

Making even one small change in your life can allow for bigger changes to follow and even if my new set of bangs are not life altering, the more I snipped away toward that light, wispy set of bangs, the more damn empowered I felt!

P.S. it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to become a hairdresser!

#bangs #empowerment #selfcompassion #selfcare #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #depression #anxiety #masksoff #selfexpression #change

Puzzled

I finally finished this puzzle tonight. I’m pretty sure it was the most challenging puzzle I’ve ever done in my whole life.

My girls had so thoughtfully bought me this puzzle a couple of weeks ago knowing just how much I enjoy doing them and it’d been a while since I’d done one but then almost immediately upon opening up the box I became quite overwhelmed by it.

Normally I have no problem organizing the pieces of any size puzzle and then I excitedly like to get started right away but this time around I became easily frustrated right from the very beginning. 

Puzzles usually take me at most a few days to complete but suddenly this time around I also found myself adding additional anxiety to my day everytime I looked at it and began pressuring myself to get it done RIGHT NOW, or else.

I’m not really sure why I always put so much undue pressure on myself for just about every single “piece” of my life, it really is quite “puzzling” to say the very least but in any case I was determined to complete the darn thing no matter what it took or even how long it did because I knew how rewarding it would feel by doing so.

#puzzled #youareenough #gingerbreadhouses #candycanes #goals #perseverancepaysoff

Sorry I Didn’t Mean To Bother You

In all likelihood if you try calling me there’s a very good chance you’re gonna get my voicemail, that is of course unless you are one of my kids or my husband. They know that unless it’s an emergency, it’s best though to give me a warning signal by sending me a text first.¬†

I wrote a blog a couple of years ago titled “Call Me, Maybe” where I spoke about how making a phone call can cause me severe anxiety and how much more severe it becomes when my phone rings.

Here it is in case you missed it: https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/call-me-maybe  

I much prefer to text, use Facebook messenger or even email with others unless I am in the right frame of mind to chat on the phone at that moment you call or I am prepared ahead of time to do so. 

I welcome texts and messages with wide open arms, I enjoy receiving your emojis and silly GIFs and I especially love the distraction late at night when my mind is spinning out of control. I truly appreciate every time you reach out to me “just because” you are thinking of me or you simply want to chat but much like making or receiving that anxiety provoking phone call, reaching out “just because” to my friends and family via text is just as overwhelming.

Like with most every aspect of my life, my anxiety causes me to worry; ALOT and it also causes me to have severe heart palpitations day in and day out, including when I reach out to others via text message etc just to simply say “hi”; and more often than not it will cause my mind to spin into a downward spiral.

What if I’m bothering them, what if I’m burdening them with my problems, what if they’re too busy to chat, what if they’re tired of hearing my negative thoughts, what if I’m just too exhausting for them, what if I say something wrong or embarrassing, what if they will judge me or what if they simply don’t want to hear from me?

I know that most of these worries and fears are just my anxiety talking down to me yet everytime I go to send someone a text message these thoughts overwhelm me and feel very real in the moment. 

The unknown possibilities are endless as to how someone will react when they receive a message from me and the guilt I feel for not being able to reach out more often is so unbearable at times. 

I know I have lost relationships because of my inability to reciprocate but sadly the deadly combination of having a depressed and anxious mind can do horrifying¬†things to your self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence and I’m just so grateful to have an army of people behind me that aren’t keeping score as to who sent the last message.¬†

#callmemaybe #texting #myarmy #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #checkonyourlovedones #depression #anxiety 

I Am Grateful Today For:

Things could always be worse. At least you have your health. You have so much to be grateful for.

These are just a few of the many phrases I’ve heard spoken to me, or about others over the course of my journey these last 6+ years but as a person living with a Major Depressive Disorder like I do, I find myself especially confused as to how much worse I’m actually supposed to feel?

Hearing someone tell you that things could always be worse is belittling their feelings and experiences, it’s shaming them and will leave them exploding with guilt. Hearing these words may also leave someone second guessing their illness and therefore living silently in fear of exposing it which may also lead them to the belief that they don’t matter.

Yes I am blessed that I am both capable and able to walk and talk and breathe and feel and see and smell and hear and taste all the beauty that surrounds me, but as a person who is battling a mental illness, being told that “at least you have your health” hurts very deeply because our Mental Health is just as critical to our well being as our physical health is and those words are also a very disheartening reminder to us all as to how much work is still left to be done to help end the stigma; Mental Health is Health.

But I think what hurts me the most sometimes is when someone who is suffering with depression or anxiety is questioned as to whether or not they feel gratitude. I practice gratitude in my daily life and I am very much aware of all the things for which I am most grateful for. The feelings and behavioural changes though that are associated with a depressed or anxious mind cannot simply be cured by practicing gratitude, but it can definitely help with the process.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend (in Canada) which is the time of year we set aside to celebrate being thankful and grateful for what we have in our lives and to recognize the genorosity and kindness that has been bestowed upon us since the previous year. Well this year, more than ever before, it may be very difficult to recognize or appreciate those silver linings (no explanation necessary).

I can honestly say that this has truly been the worst year ever for me since my journey began. The Pandemic and my illness have both played a huge role in that forgone conclusion but so have several other personal issues, many of which I have never disclosed to this public forum, but still I am so grateful for so much and wanted to share some of that here with you today.

I am grateful for:

Books

Nature walks and hiking

Bubble baths

My weekly therapy

Arts and Crafts

Television 

Diet Coke and Ice Capps

Flowers

Things that make me laugh 

Romantic comedies that make me cry

My creative soul

A warm and sunny day

My weighted blanket 

Social Media

My Blog that allows me to share my story

Being given a voice

Kindness and empathy

My compassion

My imperfections 

Forgiveness 

Animals 

Being born and raised in Canada 

My undeniable support system

Strangers who have become my friends 

My incredible friends who see me beyond my illness and stand by me no matter what

My large extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles whom I never get to see but who love me just the same 

My big brother who I know will always protect me 

My inlaws and my many beautiful nieces and nephews

My mother in law who is always there to cheer me on

Maggie, for appreciating a good cuddle and belly rub

My 3 beautiful children who have stolen my heart and taught me the true meaning of resilience and unconditional love 

And to my Soulmate and best friend Rich, I am beyond grateful for your protection and for always seeing my inner beauty and who continues to make me feel desired and loved

What are you most grateful for today?

#happythanksgiving #grateful #gratitude #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #youareenough #youarenotalone #endthestigmatogether #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealthishealth #mentalillnessawarenessweek 

The Positive Side Of A Selfie

Taking a selfie these days seems to be one of the biggest growing phenomenons since the creation of the Smartphone itself and statistics show that women between the ages of 16 and 25 are spending (on average) five hours per week taking them. 

Although the average age for taking selfies may be women between 16 and 25 years old, they are certainly not alone. Selfies have become a form of self-expression and a great way to present one”self” to the world, no matter what your age or gender is.¬†

We choose to take selfies most often for a feeling of instant gratification, to make personal connections with others, to boost our self-esteem, to gain positive feedback and to express one’s own creativity.¬†

Over the last many years I have shied away from having my picture taken as much as humanly possible (I much prefer to be the photographer if you haven’t noticed!), so the thought of me taking a selfie is like next to nil!

But today is one of those very rare occasions where I decided to try and step outside my comfort zone (way out) and try for even just one moment to feel the “positive side of a selfie” and embrace what the world sees in me in order to show you my new sweatshirt I made.

The words I chose to use are a deep and meaningful reminder to me as I continue to try and fight this battle and it’s a true expression of hope to the many women everywhere who are also struggling on their own journey right now or who have fought their way through one; whether it be physical or mental.

I created this shirt in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week and I chose the colour pink in honour of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

#selfies #prettyinpink #breastcancerawarenessmonth #mentalillnessawarenessweek #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocateforchange #itsoktonotbeok #checkonyourlovedones #startaconversation

What’s Your Personality Type?

My cousin sent me this personality quiz and asked me to partake in it. I told her that I feel like I have two personalities; one being the person I was before I got sick and the latter being the person whom I have become since. So I decided I should take the test twice. I started off by taking the test as the person I feel I am today and then I went back and took the test again thinking about the person I used to be; the person whom I feel no longer exists.

The results of the first test showed my personality type as that of an Advocate. An Advocate, according to Webster’s dictionary is defined as “a person who pleads anothers cause, or who speaks or writes in support of something” and according to the test itself is also someone who is “quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring” which are all traits that I have aspired to become over the last many years so I’d say the test was pretty accurate thus far.

When I went back and did my second test I answered the questions while having to think back to what I felt best represented my personality 6+ years ago. It revealed that I had the personality type of an “Entertainer”. Some of the traits of an “Entertainer” (according to this test) would be described as someone who is “extroverted, feeling, engaging in life eagerly and very social.”

All of which were true once again and although I miss many parts of my personality that depression and anxiety have stolen from me, on the other hand I also know that it has allowed me to explore a side of me that would never have been possible otherwise.

What personality type are you?
https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

#personalitytest #perspective #beyou #youareenough #bekindtoyourself #personalitytraits #advocate #entertainer #endthestigmatogether #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #suicideprevention #nationalsuicidepreventionawarenessmonth

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