Monthly Archives: February 2016

Welcome to Sundaes for the Soul!

Welcome old! Welcome new! Welcome yellow! Welcome blue!

…I got carried away. But truly, welcome welcome welcome!

I am so excited to announce that my new blog is finally up and running! For those of you who followed me when I was posting at Coffee and Conundrums and have found your way here, thank you, thank you, thank you for continuing to follow me on this new platform and I hope you enjoy the changes I’ve made. For those of you who are just finding this site for the first time, hello and thanks for being here!

Like I mentioned, I was formerly blogging on a personal blog I had started, Coffee and Conundrums. However, after a few life altering events, I felt the need to change the direction of my blog to a place where I could share my eating disorder recovery journey as well as have a place to share some of the things in my life and in the world that I think are important. All my posts from Coffee and Conundrums have been added here so if you’re new, feel free to check them out and get to know me a little bit more.

Going forward, I have some new and very exciting ideas for this blog that I can’t wait to share for you all. For now, I encourage you to pop over to my “About Me” to get to know me a little bit better. I also encourage you to read “My Recovery Story”- an unfiltered and very raw depiction of my eating disorder battle that I’ve rarely shared with anyone. Sharing it makes me nervous and very vulnerable but I also feel that as someone who is sharing her recovery journey, it is important to share my own experience.

That’s all for now! If you were previously following me on Coffee and Conundrums through WordPress or by email, you will have to re-follow me since this is a new site. Sorry to make more work, but this is the only time I’ll make you do this, I promise! I invite you all to follow on my on my social media platforms:

Instagram: @sundaesforthesoul
Twitter: @sundaesforsoul
Facebook: Sundaes for the Soul

I invite and encourage you to email me with any questions, comments or even just a hello! You can reach me at [email protected]

Again, I welcome you to my page and thank you for following along with me on my journey!

The Terrifying and Amazing

Dear friends,

Have you ever been so inspired, so energized, so determined that you find it hard to put it into words? That is how I have felt the last couple weeks. I cannot quite describe it. I have so much I want to say, so many thoughts bouncing around in my head that I simply cannot organize them into coherent sentences. It’s a funny juxtaposition between immense creativity and tremendous writer’s block.

What I will say is this: I thought I was recovered from an eating disorder. I really, truly did. I thought I was there! I thought it had happened for real! And during a few heart-wrenching days of extreme clarity, I realized that I was fooling myself (and most everyone around me). The signs were all around me (and if you have a history of an eating disorder, please don’t read this as it is likely triggering). Signs like how I couldn’t take a day off from exercise without having a panic attack or crying. How I obsessed over calories and if a food is “healthy” or not. How I still had insane food rules like needing a certain plate to eat on or a certain utensil to eat with. When it took me a solid 2 minutes to decide which mug I wanted to drink my coffee out of in the morning (that’s in combination with my obsessive tendencies). When I found myself pinching my stomach 18 times a day to see how it feels. How I couldn’t walk past a mirror without looking at how my stomach looks. How I couldn’t eat certain foods unless it was at a specific time during the day. How my whole diet consisted of a very limited number of foods that I felt were “safe”.

It only took me 6 years to realize that these things are not normal. 

It only took me 6 years to realize that I was missing out on life. 

It only took me 6 years to realize that I am worthy of much more than I had ever given myself.

It only took me a year of “quasi-recovery” to realize that I was faking it. 

These are hard things for me to admit. They are things that I haven’t admitted to nearly anyone. These things are raw, they’re a wound that’s far from healing.

BUT.

Two weeks and three days ago, after discovering a method of recovery that actually made sense to me (more on this later), I committed to a full recovery. I have made a LOT of changes. Changes that terrify me. Changes that excite me (oh how I missed you, ice cream!) Changes I have to recommit myself to every day.

Piece by piece, I’m gaining back little parts of my life that I’ve lost. Day by day, I’m learning who I am without my eating disorder. Moment by moment, I’m reminding myself that I am worth real recovery. 

That being said, there are some changes in the works for both my blog and my Instagram page so there may be a bit of a pause in the next couple weeks as I work out the kinks. I can’t wait to hopefully share this journey with you all.

For now, I will share with you this little bit of wisdom that speaks to me so. Sending you all positive vibes and happy Tuesdays!

The Terrifying and Amazing

Dear friends,

Have you ever been so inspired, so energized, so determined that you find it hard to put it into words? That is how I have felt the last couple weeks. I cannot quite describe it. I have so much I want to say, so many thoughts bouncing around in my head that I simply cannot organize them into coherent sentences. It’s a funny juxtaposition between immense creativity and tremendous writer’s block.

What I will say is this: I thought I was recovered from an eating disorder. I really, truly did. I thought I was there! I thought it had happened for real! And during a few heart-wrenching days of extreme clarity, I realized that I was fooling myself (and most everyone around me). The signs were all around me (and if you have a history of an eating disorder, please don’t read this as it is likely triggering). Signs like how I couldn’t take a day off from exercise without having a panic attack or crying. How I obsessed over calories and if a food is “healthy” or not. How I still had insane food rules like needing a certain plate to eat on or a certain utensil to eat with. When it took me a solid 2 minutes to decide which mug I wanted to drink my coffee out of in the morning (that’s in combination with my obsessive tendencies). When I found myself pinching my stomach 18 times a day to see how it feels. How I couldn’t walk past a mirror without looking at how my stomach looks. How I couldn’t eat certain foods unless it was at a specific time during the day. How my whole diet consisted of a very limited number of foods that I felt were “safe”.

It only took me 6 years to realize that these things are not normal. 

It only took me 6 years to realize that I was missing out on life. 

It only took me 6 years to realize that I am worthy of much more than I had ever given myself.

It only took me a year of “quasi-recovery” to realize that I was faking it. 

These are hard things for me to admit. They are things that I haven’t admitted to nearly anyone. These things are raw, they’re a wound that’s far from healing.

BUT.

Two weeks and three days ago, after discovering a method of recovery that actually made sense to me (more on this later), I committed to a full recovery. I have made a LOT of changes. Changes that terrify me. Changes that excite me (oh how I missed you, ice cream!) Changes I have to recommit myself to every day.

Piece by piece, I’m gaining back little parts of my life that I’ve lost. Day by day, I’m learning who I am without my eating disorder. Moment by moment, I’m reminding myself that I am worth real recovery. 

That being said, there are some changes in the works for both my blog and my Instagram page so there may be a bit of a pause in the next couple weeks as I work out the kinks. I can’t wait to hopefully share this journey with you all.

For now, I will share with you this little bit of wisdom that speaks to me so. Sending you all positive vibes and happy Tuesdays!

 

6 Things People with Anxiety Are Tired of Hearing

I’ve been suffering from anxiety for a long time, long before I ever considered it anxiety or any sort of disorder- it only took me 22 years to realize that throwing up every time you travelled or got nervous (like on the alter at church- twice) isn’t exactly normal. My family and friends have been tremendously helpful and supportive throughout this process. I’ve gotten words of encouragement and support whenever I needed them. There are, however, certain things that just make me cringe when I hear it and/or exacerbate the anxiety so I made a list so you can help the anxiety-ridden gem in your life without making them inwardly cringe. Enjoy and happy weekend!

  1. “I worry a lot too.”

This is one of the most common misunderstandings about anxiety. Worry and anxiety are not synonyms. Everyone gets worried. Worry is a natural human emotion. Some worry is good; it can motivate us to make a plan of action, to fix something that needs to be fixed, to help us find solutions. Everyone worries but not everyone gets anxiety. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is exactly that- a disorder. It’s a chemical imbalance; it’s outside the realm of worry. You might worry, but do you ever wake up with heart palpations out of nowhere and not be able to explain them? Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and worry one of your loved ones with die in a terrible situation that you create entirely in your head? Do you ever spend an hour-long car ride worrying about the fact that you might have left your hair straightener on, even though you know you shut it off or worry that the oven is on, even though you didn’t use it? Do you ever enter a room full of people and feel exhausted and tight-chested at the prospect of what could be awkward conversation? Do you ever have a twitch in your leg and worry that you have some sort of overlooked diagnosis that will lead to paralysis or cancer or death? Worry is one thing. Anxiety is another.

  1. “Just calm down.”

Oooooh is that what I have to do? Calm down? Thanks for clearing that up!

Everyone with anxiety knows that they need to “calm down”. That isn’t the problem. I think I speak for all people suffering from anxiety when I say if we could, we would. But it’s not that easy for people with anxiety. Generalized anxiety is a disorder, one that prevents people from “just calming down”. In time, anxiety can become well controlled through medications, therapy and other techniques but until then, calming down simply is not an option. And by telling someone with anxiety that they need to just calm down trivializes the worries they have. It makes them feel like there is something wrong with them because they can’t calm down, which pushes them further into the downward spiral of anxiety.

  1. “You should do yoga/meditation.”

Yes, we all know that yoga and meditation are proven to reduce stress in some people. Truly, we do. Although there are no numbers to prove it, I would guess that every person with anxiety has at some point been recommended to try yoga or meditation. Chances are that the person you are speaking to may have tried it before. Maybe you suggested this because you’ve tried it and it helped for you or you have a friend who tried it and says that it changed her life, but what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve found my own ways to calm myself down when I feel the waves of anxiety rolling in and those methods look a lot different than the methods other people have come up with. Each person is different and each person finds peace in his or her own way. While yoga is certainly a helpful way to calm down, it’s not the only way and it doesn’t work for everyone. Instead, try asking if they’ve found anything they can do to calm themselves down and figure out what works for them individually.

  1. “Take a joke!”

This is possibly the least helpful thing you can say to anyone who has anxiety. The person who says this is trying to get the person to lighten up, get out of their anxiety-ridden mind and just enjoy the moment. But this phrase likely has the opposite effect. People who suffer from anxiety get caught up in their own mind and are also battling their own insecurities and uncertainties. I know that when my anxiety pays me a visit, I am sucked into a world of self-doubt and become even more sensitive to anyone poking fun or offhandedly joking. This situation is even worse in public situations with people you may not know particularly well because you’re trying so hard to appear like it totally doesn’t bother you when in fact, you’re on the verge of tears and having a hard time maintaining normal conversation because your mind is taking you down a terrible path of self-hate and fear. Whether it’s with people you know well or people you don’t, hearing to just “take a joke” makes you feel like you’re somehow failing at controlling your emotional reactions and the thoughts in your head when in reality, anxiety is not something that you can control.

  1. “Go out and forget about it.”

A lot of people go out and have a few drinks to forget about their worries and troubles. That may work for some people but it’s important to remember that what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. When anxiety strikes, the last thing I want to do is go to a crowded bar. People with anxiety try to process everything so precisely and with so much detail that a crowded place with lights and TVs and multiple conversations and too many people and drinks and that cute guy and the girl who has the cute outfit and the football game and the guy who is trying to talk to you and the conversation behind you is all TOO MUCH. Quite frankly, it’s exhausting and when my anxiety gets particularly bad, all I want to do is curl up in my bed, watch 30 Rock and have a glass of wine, thank you very much.

  1. “But you have so many good things in your life.”

Though certainly well intentioned, reminding someone with anxiety that they have so much good in their life ultimately makes them feel worse. When someone with anxiety hears that, it trivializes his or her fears and worries. They hear, “I have so much good and I still feel like I’m failing, like I’m not good enough, like my life is bad. I’m not appreciating what I have, I’m a terrible person, I shouldn’t feel this way, blah blah blah.” We know we have good things in our lives. We know that what we’re worrying about may seem trivial and small and ridiculous to worry over. We know that there are a lot of good things in our lives, our families and our friends and our boyfriends and our warm beds. We know there are people suffering worse than us. But that doesn’t make anxiety go away. Anxiety doesn’t happen because people think their lives are bad. Reminding us that we have so much only makes us feel like we are failing even more. Instead of trying to talk someone out of there anxiety, the best thing you can do is offer a compassionate and understanding shoulder to lean on. That is something that every anxiety-sufferer will appreciate.

 

Put Yourself First

Happy February friends!

Can you believe it’s already a new month? If you’re anything like me, you’re still writing 2015 after the date. (This is kind of a problem when I spend my days charting in medical records).

I hope January treated all you well! I’m always looking for an excuse for self-reflection and the end of a month seems like the perfect time. Here are some things that made me happy this month (in no particular order):

  • Discovering House of Cards (if you haven’t watched it, YOU NEED TO)
  • Starting my clinical rotation at the hospital with really awesome dietitians that make the workday feel not so bad
  • Putting a string of Christmas lights around my room so I can lay in bed at night with candles lit and feel like I’m in my own little cozy world
  • Spending the first two days of the year with two of my best friends, eating brunch and drinking wine like the fine ladies we are
  • Sitting in on WIC appointments and seeing first-hand why government assistance programs are necessary (despite what many politicians would like to believe); in particular, sitting in one one appointment with a woman about my age with one-year old twins who was so excited and so committed to being a mother
  • Putting the handwarmers that may sister made me in my boots in the morning to keep my feet warm (sound like something you need? Check out her Etsy site here)
  • Re-reading Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfection 
  • Attending a Bernie Sanders rally
  • Peppermint chocolate Lindt truffles
  • Discovering podcasts (I’m like 8 years late to the game, I know. Side note: if any of you have podcast suggestions particularly anything having to do with politics or feminism or general inspirational bad-ass-ness, I am all ears. Leave them in the comments below!)
  • Time to relax after work without having to do schoolwork (again. House of Cards.)
  • Southern Pecan coffee that I ground in my new coffee bean grinder- all thanks to my godmother 🙂

I’ve also had time to regroup and refocus this month. It’s fitting that it’s a new month because this weekend brought about big changes and life-altering revelations. I won’t get into them much here but suffice it to say, I am much more enlightened about the direction my life needs to go in than I was last week. (You may be thinking, “wow! That sounds like pretty heavy stuff!” You would be right.)

As I go into the new month, I’ve got a lot of ideas and a lot of goals bouncing around in my brain. Originally, this blog post was much longer but I’ve decided that most of the thoughts in my head aren’t ready to be shared with the world yet. Stay tuned.

This month, I’m deciding to put myself first which feels like a positively radical idea. I so rarely put myself first. Next to never. It fills me with guilt and the feeling that I’m a selfish disappointment (I’m pretty mean to myself in my head). I live my life constantly trying to keep everyone around me happy, never disappointing or rocking the boat. This week, when I was having a particularly bad day of people-pleasing, I got a much-needed reminder from my boyfriend: “Put yourself first.”

My goal this month is to abandon the compulsive urge to say yes when I really want to say no. To relinquish the need to check that other people won’t get upset before I make a decision. To surrender myself to what want. To make myself a priority. What a profoundly foreign idea.

 

So I ask you: what made you happy in January? What are your goals in February? How do you put yourself first? Share in the comments below!