There have been countless moments during my time in both outpatient therapy and inpatient treatment when a certain fear held me back from embracing true recovery—the question, "Who am I without my eating disorder?" I knew the illness had starved my body, wrecked my relationships, consumed my mind, and seduced me into harmful decisions, but I clung to it still as my one source of identity. I was terrified of losing the behaviors that I assumed—inaccurately—made me both special and unique.
Baby steps are a great way to build self-esteem. It's kind of like climbing a mountain: From the distance, we see a simple shape. It looks easy enough to climb if we just start walking uphill. Yet the closer we get, the more we realize that what looked like a basic silhouette is actually filled with valleys, cliffs, detours, and falling rocks. Suddenly, we start to question ourselves. Where do we start? How much energy will it take? What happens if we get turned around? This is when we can turn to baby steps to build self-esteem. When we measure our progress in smaller increments, we have more opportunities to reflect on our progress and make sure we are headed in the right direction.
Many people may not realize that depression has physical symptoms. When extra stress is added to our lives, we may be more likely to see manifestations of the physical symptoms of our depression. What are some of the physical symptoms we may experience due to depression? What, if anything, can we do about stress and its effect on the physical symptoms of depression?
A lot of people say that taking schizoaffective medication hinders their creativity. For me, this hasn’t been the case. Taking psychiatric medication keeps me stable and helps me stay productive—and ensures that the art I make is good.
It would be nice to change your anxious thoughts because they often cause great misery. It can be annoying when ideas crashing around in our brain cause anxiety. These crashing and rumbling ideas are known as automatic negative thoughts (ANTs). They often overpower all other thoughts so we believe that our ANTs are true and reliable, and anxiety grows bigger and stronger. Negative, anxious thoughts further control how we interpret the world by imposing a bunch of rules on how we think and what we do. Knowing the rules will help you break the rules so you can move away from anxiety's control and change your anxious thoughts.
I frequently struggle with my hot head, my anger, which feels a little embarrassing to admit. I'm a very anxious person -- something I address in a lot of my articles -- and my anxiety often manifests as anger. I try not to make my anger visible when I'm around others, but it's an all-consuming emotion that's hard to hide. I'm angry about wasting time and energy being so hot-headed, so I am searching for ways to ease my mind.
My mental illness will never be cured, but I’m not asking you to think my opinions are the only valid ones. That would be a mistake. All I ask is that you listen and agree if you so choose. That being said, this post is going to touch on the idea of finding a “cure” for mental illness. For some, the idea of being “cured” of their malady is a dream – for me, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never be cured, and, in fact, I don’t want to be cured of my mental illness.
If you can't make decisions because of depression, you're not alone. Not being able to make decisions (indecisiveness) is actually a symptom of depression. People don't tend to talk about it, but that doesn't mean it isn't a huge problem for people. In fact, I've had people literally beg me to help them make decisions because they are feeling so debilitated from depression. I've written about making decisions before and how you might go about it, but today, I want to focus on one particular coping technique that I use every day to mitigate an inability to make decisions because of depression.
You can cope with eating disorder triggers even though, as I often describe an eating disorder, there is a stubborn, little monster in the back of your head. It may lay dormant for days, months, even years, but when it arises, it wreaks havoc.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia can go hand-in-hand. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders in the world. With around 10-30% of the general population suffering from insomnia, it's normal to know a friend or two that has trouble sleeping at night. Because insomnia is such a common condition, it's often left out of the discussion around posttraumatic stress disorder. But with sleep disturbances proven to increase daily distress and dysfunction in the 80-90% of PTSD patients with insomnia, it's a PTSD symptom that shouldn't be forgotten.