There is a common—and dangerous—misconception in society that eating disorders result from vanity and a need for attention, but the truth is, eating disorders are not for the vain. This stereotype minimizes just how severe and catastrophic these illnesses can become, while reinforcing the belief that sufferers cannot reach out for help, lest they be dismissed as attention-seekers fixated on their own appearance. But in order to dismantle this added layer of cultural stigma that keeps so many victims both silent and ashamed, it's important to realize that eating disorders are not for the vain. Rather, they are caused by intricate, nuanced factors which are often unrelated to vanity and rooted instead in self-loathing, trauma, or insecurity.
Vulnerability is not something we normally equivocate with self-esteem. We are much more inclined to picture an impenetrable sort of confidence, a version of ourselves where nothing can breach our walls of strength and self-adoration. Yet vulnerability is not only an incredibly powerful tool for those already on the road towards building self-esteem–it is also a very good place to start.
As this decade is reaching its end, I am reminded of how long behavioral addictions have haunted me and exactly how far I've come. Around 2010, I first began exploring my sexuality as a teenager and I quickly learned how helpful sex could be as a coping skill for a struggling and defiant teenager like myself. Over time though, I wasn't just relying on sex to cope.
Recently, my excellent therapist suggested that I try to start needing reassurance less often from other people. My schizoaffective disorder makes me doubt myself and second-guess myself a lot, so I often ask other people if something I’m doing or did or that happened is okay. But doing that only reinforces the idea that I’m not capable. So I’m trying to be more independent. Here’s how needing reassurance less often is going.
What is interoceptive exposure and how does it help rid you of phobias? If you live with fears or phobias, chances are you want to keep yourself as far away from them as possible. Fear can cause high anxiety and can contribute to panic attacks. Living with extreme fears can reduce the quality of your life as you avoid people, places, and situations because of phobias.
When one is severely depressed, work is usually the last thing on one's mind. In fact, many people, including me, have to battle active suicidal ideation and struggle to get out of bed each day. Unfortunately, work doesn't stop just because you are not in the right state of mind to do it. If you are one of the lucky few who can take time off from work, go ahead and do it right away. But if your workplace or job does not allow for you to take a break, here is how you can stay productive even when you are severely depressed.
I fake normalcy because having a mental illness is isolating and makes me feel different. Facing the outside world can be difficult. Here are five coping methods (positive and negative) I noticed I do when I leave the house that help me fake normalcy.
I’ve been a pretty massive introvert with anxiety for my entire life. Compared to the population at large, my threshold for social interaction has always been exceedingly low; even after a simple night out with friends, I generally need at least a day of alone time to recover. Of course, I’ve struggled with severe anxiety for my entire life as well, and because of that, I thank God that I’m an introvert. I sincerely believe the fact that I’m an introvert with anxiety makes it easier to keep my anxiety under control.
Deciding to tell a family member or friend about your posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis can be a stressful decision. It's tough to open up about your mental health, especially after going through a traumatic experience. Will people understand? Will they judge you?
How do you feel about the transition between fall and winter? Where I live, it can almost seem as though we do not have a fall. Sure, there might be a few weeks when the weather cools down and the leaves change color. But the temperature might freeze too fast for your mind and body to react properly. Here are some ways to prepare before winter starts.