January 3, 2011

Inspirational Quote of the Week

Filed under: Quote of the Week — Tags: , , , , — BringChange2Mind @ 9:00 am

The BringChange2Mind blog team is introducing a new weekly feature…a quote of the week! We know that Mondays can be a bit dreary and hope to provide a little boost to your morale. Feel free to post your own favorite quotes in the comments. (We may even feature one of your favorites in the future!)

-The BringChange2Mind Blog Team

Quote of the Week

“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

Benjamin Franklin


December 6, 2010

Refocusing Your Goals

Filed under: Story, Youth — Tags: , , , , , , — Linea @ 12:00 pm

As many of you know from my last post, Food and Coping, I have been having some issues with an eating disorder. The anxiety induced through my bipolar has decided to take it out on my body leading me to stop eating and start focusing my perfectionism on something dangerous and very un-Linea, weight. I have always had severe and painful perfectionism. The kind that no matter how much you accomplish and how much you change it leads you back to the thought, “I’m not good enough”. This pattern is very harmful and has in the past led me to take it out on myself physically or to punish myself mentally. Along with my bipolar disorder this has been one of the most painful and exhausting parts of my personality.

There are, of course, good things about perfectionism. The drive to work hard and accomplish your dreams. The endurance to do your best. But there are, of course, so many painful things. The most important thing that I have developed in all of this however, is the realization that this, like my bipolar, is something that I have to come to terms with and live with. I know that I get obsessive. I know that I can get overly hard on myself. I know that I like to do a lot of high-level tasks. So, I realized that when this eating disorder reappeared that I was using the pounds lost as a way to feel and see that I was “accomplishing” my “goal”. I had, and at this point still have, the idea that I can finally scientifically see that I am reaching my goal because it is demonstrated by concrete numbers on the scale. I am not having to go off of other people’s abstract compliments or comments of “good job” or “you are doing so great”. I have, in a very bad way, convinced myself that I am accomplishing something.

This is of course a lie, because although I can make numbers decrease, I am actually increasing health risks. I am far less than perfect when it comes to taking care of my body. Starving yourself is not achieving perfection, but rather denying it. And I know what everyone will say, there is no perfect.  I know this, but I try to get as close to it as I can, in spite of the fact that there is no top to the mountain I am climbing.

Now that I have realized that my goals have become the dangerous focus on numbers I am going to try working against it as I work to get healthy. Here is one way that I am going to try to accomplish this: I know that I like to run. I love to run and it soothes me and lets out the excessive anxiety that I usually feel. However, I cannot run without anything in my stomach. It is dangerous to run when your body feels faint with no calories. So, I have convinced myself that I want to run again. And to run I need to eat. Each day I have to eat at least three meals, with snacks, before I can run. And I’m starting to do this. Because the anxiety that comes from not running is worse than the hunger of not eating

I know that my mind and body like to have a goal to work towards, so I have decided to try to refocus my goal from loss of pounds to increase in miles run. There is a half-marathon in June and I would really like to get to the point where I can run in it. To start I will have to eat. And when I have accomplished eating rather than weight loss I can start to run. From there I can focus that need for proof through numbers towards miles and food consumed. I don’t know that it will work, but I know that I am a person who needs a goal. I can’t always seem to make a goal out of taking care of myself, so this is at least a way to trick myself into doing it. I will let you know how it goes and hopefully my ability to understand and know myself will help me move to safety and on towards healthy goals and accomplishments.

September 13, 2010

Heading off the Winter Blues, By Theresa Emerson

Filed under: Story — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — BringChange2Mind @ 12:30 am

The Fall season and the approach of the holidays seem to trigger an influx of lows for me.  I have always been affected by the shorter days and lack of sunshine.  In fact, I used to joke that I’m solar powered and it turns out that that’s not far from the truth!

Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and for me, it can be the first trigger of depression and anxiety.   Early on, before I had a good understanding of my mental health I fell victim to these depressive phases in my life, struggling through these cycles year after year.   Privately, I was constantly tired, not eating, cried easily and felt very alone fluctuating between apathy and high anxiety.  On the outside, I did my best to smile my way through these phases.  Unfortunately when one of these phases coincided with the timing of my divorce and the death of a dear friend and her son, I “crashed”.    When major life stressors occur during low phases, the end result can be emotionally devastating.

Through the help of a wonderful therapist and Zoloft, I was able to get back on my feet emotionally.   It took awhile to find the right medication, in fact Zoloft was my third medication and I gave each medication a fairly long trial period so the whole process seemed to take forever.

Ironically two months before her death, my friend  had given me a SAD light box to use and it has been a tremendous help to me.  I pull out my light and use it practically every morning from November through April.  I wake up, grab a cup of green tea, turn on the Today show and fire up my computer and sit in bed with my light shining on me from the bedside table.  It only takes about 20-30 mins a day for me to get the boost that I need.  On those mornings when I don’t have the time to sit next to my light, enjoying my cup of tea, I place the light on my bathroom vanity and it shines on me while I get ready for the day.   Another option is to place it on my kitchen counter right next to me while I prepare and have my breakfast.  All of these little opportunities offer valuable “light time”!

I also do my best to eat and drink healthily and I think that helps my emotional/mental health as well as my physical health.  My personal experience has been that when my body is struggling to process unhealthy foods, it increases feelings of fatigue.  And when you’re constantly fatigued, it’s easy to get down.  It can be a slippery slope.

There have been times over the years that I have had to go back on Zoloft.   Times when life’s circumstances create feelings of lows and anxiety that I find hard to control.  I now have a good sense of when I need to go back on medication and luckily am able to control my health through a very low dose.  My advice is to get to know your body, listen to it and try to recognize the triggers that affect your mental health.     It’s not a particularly easy or quick process but it is worth it!

Theresa Emerson

BringChange2Mind Volunteer

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