Eating disorders come in one size: miserable

Eating disorders are not a diet, phase or a trend. And you don’t have to have a certain weight or size or be super skinny to have an eating disorder. You don’t have to look sick to have an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are a mental illness, and anyone, at any gender, age, size, weight, socioeconomic background etc can have an eating disorder.

There are however certain criteria, one of which is related to weight, to be diagnosed with anorexia. However there are other forms of eating disorders which are just as serious and need help, support and treatment to get better.

Weightloss is just a symptom of an eating disorder, or for some eating disorders, weight gain is a symptom. But they are mental illnesses and can not always be seen from the outside. Many are functional sufferers, meaning they can live life somewhat normally but still struggle and suffer in silence – don’t be one of them.

If you are struggling – you need to seek help.

You don’t need to get sicker. You don’t need to lose more weight. You don’t need to look sick.

If you are suffering and struggling with an eating disorder and an unhealthy relationship with food and your body, then you should seek help. You may think you can live life and be ok, but in the long term it won’t last. You are still missing out on life and not truly living if you are suffering at the same time.

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And i understand that many think that they can’t seek help if they don’t look sick, because they won’t be taken seriously. But if you go a professional who is actually knowledgable then you should be offered help – whether it is talking to a therapist, getting help from a dietitian, CBT training, inpatient or day patient care. Whatever is best for your health and situation.

Don’t go your whole life struggling and suffering. Know that there is help and you don’t need to suffer in silence.

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There are consequences – physical and mental – that can occur over time if you don’t seek help. Anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates of psychiatric illnesses. And binge eating is actually one of the most common eating disorders- and there is presumed to be a huge amount of people struggling and who never seek help, making the percentage higher than what is documented. (I have had many ask me about binge eating and bulimia, so i plan to write a post/masterpost about this topic. Many find it incredibly embarrassing, whether they have just developed binge eating or whether they have transitioned from anorexia to bulimia, it is an awful dark circle and people find it incredibly embarrassing to talk about or seek help for. But also because of the embarrassment, many suffer in silence for years).

Know that you do deserve help, support and treatment for your eating disorder. Don’t think that you have to wait until you look sick or get sicker – eating disorders are serious nonetheless. And you can’t live a truly happy life if you are struggling and sick at the same time.

 

Micromanaging your food and your body just gives you a false sense of control – in actuality you don’t have control at all, it is your eating disorder, your illness that has control. Instead you are just running from the actual problem and the guilt and anxiety that goes along with recovery and facing your eating disorder. But the only way to recover and get better is to face your eating disorder and your fears, and deal with the actual problem. (And with help, support and treatment you can get better ways to learn to do that, as well as get support so you don’t have to try to face your fears alone.)

And remember that just because you can eat doesn’t mean you are healthy or have a healthy relationship with food. If you feel that you have an unhealthy relationship with food, or you feel like food controls you or gives you guilt and anxiety, then you need to rethink your relationship with food.

Eating disorders come in one size… and that is miserable.

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Work related anxiety? If the price is your mental health, then the price is too high.

Let’s talk anxiety…..

Recently i have felt my anxiety coming back again, after c.a 2 weeks of little to no anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety is overwhelming and makes me extremely tired and incapable of doing basic things in life. And other times the anxiety is just at certain times of the day, or a constant anxiety following me the whole day and i can’t really point out the reason for the anxiety.

At the moment it is the type of anxiety making me incapable of doing normal, basic things…. a constant anxiety. Work related, future related. Over thinking, worrying, stressing….. Things such as anxiety to read my emails, anxiety to answer my telephone and thoughts of “what will others think” are popping into my head.

All of these 3 signs, are just a symptom of me needing a break…. but having a break also gives me anxiety. Infact when i have tried to rest and have a break from work i get anxiety over the fact that i am not working or i feel like i should be doing something else productive. But at the same time, working gives me anxiety….. i only have 2 more weeks left of my current work before i begin my next work for the summer, and i hope these next 2 weeks go fast. I have realised that my current work (the same as last summer) is not a work situation i want to do again. I have tried it, i have learnt alot but just like last summer it gives me extreme anxiety and i feel like i lose all control in my life. I can’t control my day, i don’t have a schedule, i begin to fear opening my emails or answering calls and not knowing when, where or how often i will work is not good for my mental health.

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I am someone who needs control in my life. I need structure and routines as well. As long as i have a schedule to follow i am fine, and i don’t mind having irregular work times… infact i much prefer working mornings somedays and evenings other days. I am not someone who wants to work 9-5 everyday. But never really knowing when your next job will be or where it will be is not working for me.

I love working and i love working hard. But i also know that going to work should not make you feel anxious. You should not dread getting a phonecall from your employer, you should not feel so anxious you can’t sleep because of your work situation.

I am looking forward to the 8 weeks of work i have for the rest of summer, even if it will be tough and stressful times, it doesn’t give me anxiety thinking about it. But also i love writing posts, i love posting to social media and trying to connect and help others. That type of work i LOVE and can gladly do for 12 hours a day.

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Sometimes you need to do work just to pay the bills, but at times you have to ask yourself… is it worth it to sacrifice your mental health? If the price is your mental health, then maybe it isn’t worth it.

This is something i am taking with me for the future. For now i only have 2 more weeks and i am hoping that my anxiety will lessen so that i can feel more like myself again and not have this constant uncomfortable and anxious feeling inside of me.

Signs of stress/burn out

One of the first signs that i am overworked and stressed is being constantly tired. Being able to drink 3 large cups of coffee in one go and still feeling exhausted.

Also memory loss. I would say i have rather good memory, but when i am very stressed i can begin to forget ALOT of things. I can leave keys and cards everywhere, forget about important dates and just simple things i forget completely. Infact i have very little memory from the years that i was depressed and struggled with my eating disorder.. some of it may be repressed memeories as it was very traumatic, but i was in a blur and i wasn’t giving my mind enough energy so i don’t have alot of memory. Only when i look back on certain pictures or previous posts that it can respark a memory i had forgotten… i kind of see this as a good thing though, there is alot from those years that i DON’T want to remember.

Sleep problems – meaning both finding it hard to sleep and then sleeping in until 10 or 11am. When i am feeling relaxed and not suffering from stress or anxiety then i naturally go to sleep around 11pm and wake up at 6 or 7am without an alarm and i feel energized. But when i am not feeling healthy, then i can be awake until 2-4am and either wake up at 7am or wake up at 11am. And somedays i’ll end up sleeping 12-14 hours straight and still feel like i have been run over by a bus.

The simplest of things can feel like too much. When i am very stressed or anxious i almost want to cry because i have obligatory lextures or seminars and i just can’t find the energy to go to school or leave the house.

I don’t workout or go to the gym. When i am stressed, anxious or overwhelmed i can’t find the energy or motivation to go to the gym, so either i just don’t workout or i go out for a short walk to get fresh air. The gym is a form of therapy and anxiety relief, but when i am stressed or very anxious it takes far too much time and energy to get myself to the gym and working out… not to mention that my normal weights feel soo heavy and a 30 minute walk can make me want to lie on the ground and refuse to ever get up. Might sound extreme, but it is my bodies way of signalling just how tired and burned out i am… that just the bare physical movement takes so much energy. My whole body feels heavy and like my brain is in a fog.

Which brings me to the next sign/symptom… brain fog. I can’t think clearly and i can end up saying weird things because i can’t seem to formulate myself… not to mention trying to write essays or formulate myself properly in text can be extremely hard. Which is one of the reasons i don’t blog when i am very stressed, anxious or feeling overwhelmed because i just can’t think straight. I don’t feel inspired to write, have no creativity and when i do try to write it can take me 2-3 hours to try to write a post because i can’t seem to formulate myself in text.

Also irritability and moodswings. The smallest of things can irritate me and i just get this inner angriness and feel irritable at everything. I am a very calm person and it takes alot to irritate me, usually i don’t care… but when i am already feeling stressed and overworked the smallest of things can be too much.

Distancing myself, this has alot to do with the lack of energy i feel. I don’t have the energy to meet people or socialize, i don’t have the energy to go to school and don’t have the energy to reåly to messages. Infact, online conversations can give me even more anxiety when i am already feeling overwhelmed… just the thought of having to reply to people and try to hold a conversation is one of the reasons i don’t reply, because i don’t want the person to answer – so it is easier to just not reply.

 

I remember when i was very depressed, this was just my normal state… always tired, sleeping problems, memory problems, couldn’t think clearly, brain fog, my body felt so heavy and tired and i could barely do half of my normal workout or normal weights because i felt so tired physically and mentally.

These symptoms and signs are NOT normal. Brain fog, memoryloss, extreme tiredness mentally and physically, sleeping problems…. they are signs that something isn’t right. They can of course be signs of other problems which can be physical, such as certain food allergies can give these types of symptoms and other issues. So if you are suffering from some of these symptoms, do seek help and talk to someone.

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For me, the only thing i need to do is rest. To destress and then i begin to feel more like myself again, but it can take weeks to fully recover mentally. Burnout and stress don’t just happen overnight, it is a process that happens over a longer period of time and the signs start slowly appearing and you don’t really register them until it’s too late.

Take time to rest mentally and physically each week. (post about importance of mental rest days HERE)

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Mental health advocate- anxiety attacks & help

We live in a society that is fast paced and we are expected to always be grinding. Always working hard. Always working towards are goals and our dreams. The motto “we’ll sleep when we’re dead” is a way to motivate you to keep working and that skipping sleep to work just means you will be ahead of the game.

If you aren’t always working then you’re lazy or won’t reach your dreams, unless you have lots of money that you can fall back on and just pay your way through life.

However, this mentality of “always need to be working hard” can be extremely detrimental in the long term. For short periods of time when life is stressful, then maybe you need to skip a few hours of sleep and work hard. Sometimes there is alot going on in your life – whether positive or negative stress – and you need to work through it, but know at the end whether that is a month, 6 months or 12 months of hard work it will be worth it and you can rest a bit more. So for short periods of time you might need to work extra hard to reach your goals, but a constant “non stop, don’t have time to rest” lifestyle can cause you to burn out.

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Your body and mind give up… there is only so much a human body can handle. More and more people are burning out, mental illness is increasing. According to NAMI:

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year

Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities

Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%

Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–14 and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.

These statistics are frightening, but not to forget the fact that many people DON’T get help or get diagnosed. They suffer in silence, either because they don’t want to get help, they can’t get help or just don’t have the energy to seek help.

And so many people who seek help and are told to just rest and take some sleeping pills or calming pills. So many people that go to seek help and are told to wait 6 months because there is no time available. Whether it’s no time for therapy and therapy sessions, or no beds for someone who is suicidal and is told to go home and wait.

When a person is struggling with mental illness it takes ALOT of energy to seek help and many don’t do it easily. Usually seeking help is the last option, when you have given up on being strong and carrying on. When you have given up on suffering in silence, and then to be told to just wait or that you can’t be helped, that can be the last straw.

Mental health is a serious and rising problem that more people need to take into consideration. Better help and care for people with mental illness, but also to get rid of the stigmatization and taboo of saying you suffer with mental illness.

You can suffer from mental illness but be extremely hard working – you always show up to school, always do your work, go to work on time and can seem normal, but on the inside you are suffering and struggling.

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I suffer from mental illness – primarily anxiety and panic/anxiety attacks. Just last week i had an anxiety attack in the middle of class and had to leave the classroom to just breathe. I had felt the anxiety building up inside of me, hard to breath, felt panicked and like i need to crawl out of my skin, the same time that i felt like i wasn’t getting enough air. My mind was racing, and i just had to get out of the classroom or i would burst into tears.

There was no apparent reason for my anxiety attack, nothing that had triggered it (not that i am aware of either). And there are days i can’t even go to my lectures because i have so many anxiety or panic, or days when i push through and go to class anyway because i know i have to.

From the outside i look normal. Like a girl with high dreams and maybe a bit of a perfectionist/overachiever. I work hard, i am always studying or working. Balancing school, online social media work, gym, socializing and everything else. Always trying to do my best and somedays working 12 hours straight whether it is studying, writing posts or planning for projects. This is a 365 day process, and it is tiring. The stress builds up and it all gets too much until i burst…. the anxiety taking over.

In the past i also suffered from severe eating disorders and depression, which luckily i have recovered from now and it is only anxiety/panic i still struggle with.

I don’t talk about it alot, there are times i feel extremely anxious and i don’t write about it as much as i used to. Mostly because i don’t want it to affect me in the future or future career, but at the same time it is such an important topic to talk about.

Far too many people are suffering with mental illness, whether they are open about it or not.

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Better awareness, better help. But also letting people know that they are not alone.  There are people out there who can help you, whether that is a friend, family, doctor, nurse or even online people you follow or different hotlines which you can call if you need help.

I am lucky that i live in a country where medical care is “free” and so the cost of medical care isn’t the biggest issue, but actually getting time for therapy sessions or hospitals having free beds is the biggest issue. Therapy has never personally worked for me, even if i have been forced to therapy several times and i have never been admitted outside of my eating disorder/depression, but i have friends who have been on the verge of suicide and went to seek help and were turned down because there were no beds available for them despite them clearly stating they were extremely suicidal and couldn’t be left on their own. This just shows how many people are suffering everyday and need help and there just isn’t the resources for mental health as there is for problems with physical health.

A long post but i just felt like i needed to write about this. I know my blog is predominantly a recipe/vegan/nutrition blog, but i feel very strongly about mental health issues as well as overall health and it is something i do want to write more about and help others with.

If you have any questions or queries or want me to write a post about anything just let me know. Or do YOU suffer from mental illness, and how is the help/health care in your country?

^^People may joke about mental illness, but it doesn’t take away how serious of an issue it is. I can relate to these two pictures alot because it is 100% me. I.e i can distance myself, stop replying, be very silent and held back, sleep through 10 alarms and can struggle with just doing simple tasks…. and then when i am feeling better i begin to reply to the hundreds of  messages i get 3 weeks later with a “oh i am sorry i didn’t see your message” (sometimes i actually don’t haha…).