Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Call it what it is.....

Have you ever caught yourself stuck in a ‘vain repetition’ as far as prayer is concerned? Have you ever caught yourself praying for the same thing over and over again? I know that we have been cautioned about sending prayers up repetitiously. What do we do when that is how our heart truly feels? What do we do when those are our heart sincere desires? I don’t think I’ve prayed for anything more than for Heaven’s help to help me endure the day, overcome the demons in those impossible moments…..the number one thing I hear myself saying? “Heavenly Father, PLEASE help me to do this…..”  regardless of what the “this” may be.

Have you seen one of the newest videos put out by the church to help educate children on the dangers of pornography? We have reviewed in our home. It gives a three step process on what to do when they are confronted with it. The first step is to call it what it is. The second step is to turn it off and to turn away. Or in other words……to stop it. The third step? They teach kids to talk to a trusted adult. 


When I first saw this video, I thought it was very smart of the church to present it with kids talking and very helpful for me of knowing how to approach the subject with my kids. As far as I can remember, we only reviewed it one time for FHE a while ago. However, it has come to my mind many times in the last few weeks as I’ve identified my relapse. I feel ‘nudged’ from Heavenly Father to use these same steps in MY process. (Perhaps it's not necessary for you, but THANK YOU for letting my share my perspective! ! ! )
First of all, I need to call it what it is. Relapse. That is what it is. If I shirk around with an ill-defined concept of my current location, I will not be able to gauge where to go from here. In my reading of eating disorder literature during this last week, I remember an article that gave the suggestion that not defining your current state can leave one in denial; the same general premise that our secrets keep us sick. Then moving on to step two is to turn away. From any other addiction I can think of, this is true. Of eating disorders, it is the abstaining that is the problem. Step three? Talk with a trusted adult. Therapist, trusted friend, support group, sponsor, accountability partners……whoever it may be. This I find insightful as I am still evaluating the suggestion that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but rather connection.
I only hope that perhaps these three steps in this perspective may be of benefit to someone else out there.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

No matter how hopeless or broken we might feel.

According to the dictionary:

     lapse → is a temporary failure of concentration, memory or judgement (noun)
     lapse → to pass gradually into an inferior state or condition (verb)

     Its origin in Latin is labi, which means to slip or fall.

According to the dictionary:

     relapse →(of someone suffering from a disease) suffer deterioration after a period of improvement.

I'm not sure why I get caught up on semantics so often. I have this internal debate with myself about how its important to define where I am, so as to find direction an move on from there.....vs.....recognizing that there might be a problem and just jumping in to fix it without analyzing everything to pieces.  
I had the honor to go to Haiti earlier this month as a nurse, spending time in remote villages and orphanages doing some medical work. I was gone for a week. It was truly a remarkable time. I'm so thankful I had the chance to go & I really hope that I can go again. 

Something happened after that trip that I didn't foresee, or even have on my radar as I returned home. I had a much greater sense of culture shock coming home than I did going to Haiti. My demons were waiting for me here back in the states. I was not prepared for them.

This is where it gets confusing to me. 

On one hand, I sense that I might have a problem. I am restricting. I've lost weight in the last 3 weeks that I've been home. (I will not list numbers or specifics so I don't trigger anyone else who may read this.) I find myself immersing myself in Anorexia/Bulimia literature. I exercise as much as I can push myself to......strictly as a means 'purging' although I use the excuse that I have a 5K/10K/Half Marathon coming up that my son and I are running in. But here is some of the most concerning red flags: My thinking is so confused that I'm not sure which character in my brain is saying what. Is the ED in my head thinking of this stuff or is it truly me!?! That person in the mirror hasn't changed in size, but she is a lot less tolerant and a lot more irritable. 

So my other hand tell me that everything is fine. I have nothing to worry about......that I have everything under control. I gained a fair amount of weight over the last couple of years, so I still have a decent amount to loose before I even get to the 'target weight' I was given while in treatment. 

I had to work today. Because my ward didn't start until 1pm and I had to be to work by 10am, I stopped at our ward building and sat out in the foyer, (in my athletic shoes and scrubs) so I could partake of the sacrament of the 9am ward. I had the tender mercy of seeing a dear friend who goes to that ward. She gave me a hug and expressed sincere concern as she inquired as to how everything was going. I almost broke down in tears as I expressed my discouragement. As the Sacrament hymn began to play, I encouraged her to join her husband and I sat back down. As it thought about yesterday, what a challenging and nearly impossible day it had been. I make some frustrating mistakes and was beyond irritated with myself for those choices. I began to hear in my head, what a mistake it was for me to be there, to partake of the Sacrament, that because of such poor choices, that I wasn't worthy to renew my baptismal covenants, not to mention being forgiven as it is taught to us in D&C. But as I sat there, listening to the Sacrament hymn, I had the clear sense that Heavenly Father did want me to partake of the Sacrament. I wish I could adequately describe how that helped me. It was as though he was trying to teach me that that is what the Sacrament is about, what his Atonement is for. For when we make mistakes, that there is a way to repair them with his help! ! !  It reminded me of attending ARP meetings. I cannot express adequate gratitude for the intense sense of the spirit that can reside there. It is so comforting to know that those of us who attend ARP meetings, who willingly admit they struggle with some form of addiction, can also have an amazing amount of the spirit join us, no matter how hopeless or broken we might feel.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

It is so hard to learn the correct truth.

Have you ever had a day, where you cannot help but wonder if someone is trying to tell you something? And if that really is the case, can you help but wonder what message they are trying to get across, and who ‘THEY’ are?

Today was like that for me. I’m in school. I’m working on getting my RN. In today’s classes, the same point was brought up in each of them, although they each had a different take on it. Can you guess?

Yep…….Eating Disorders. 

I almost laughed during the first one because she taught the stereo-typical information that most everyone believes. It wasn’t entirely correct, but I wasn’t about to raise my hand to tell her the things she had missed the mark on. Plus, I figured that she was teaching what would be on our NCLEX, when it came time to get licensed with our national boards test. 

The second class? Not so funny……not at all. She showed a YouTube video of grossly emaciated girls who looked like the skeleton hanging in the Anatomy & Physiology lab. To say the YouTube video was triggering would be a gross understatement. 

{And just now, I checked my word processor’s synonym file, for a different word for the word ‘gross’ (since I used the root of that word twice in the last paragraph) and do you know what one of the words were? Overweight.}

By no means to I intend to promote the following, but rather this is used to educate. There are websites, forums, chat-rooms and ‘how-to’ information on the internet that promote the ‘lifestyle’ of Eating Disorders. They are commonly referred to as Pro-Ana (as in Anorexia) and Pro-Mia (as in Bulimia) sites. In my less than professional opinion, they are just as dangerous, (if not more so) than pornography websites. Yes, some of their pictures, depicting the extremes that the human body can be pushed to, can be paralleled to pornography by the nature of how much skin is shown. It is so much more than that. It glorifies, promotes, endorses and blatantly encourages weight loss extremes……as if to tell you how much space you shouldn’t take up. It is the paradoxical lie that ED teaches, that the less the number, the more worth you have. 
That is what I heard ED say to me all day. I need to be less in order to be more. I need to eat less, talk less, weigh less in order to be cared about more, to be loved more, to be worth more. And as logical as I know this is not, that is the feeling I’ve lived with for over 25 years. 

It is so hard to learn the correct truth.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

We must wait in distress.

Today was a fairly nice day. It was sorely needed after such a desperately challenging night. Today was a day where I could feel the prayers of those around me who may have an idea where I am and know how much I may need help although struggling to ask for it. I had no expectations for myself or for my children. We watched many Christmas movies because our time for getting them all in, is becoming short.
This was a pleasant change from this week where we have all been at each others throats. I've come to realize that I am suffering from a burn-out along with my lapse. It has also come to my attention than my kids are also feeling burn-out. I don't think they realize what burn-out is yet, nor do they know why it comes and certainly have no idea how to cope, deal with, or recover from it. Perhaps that's why today was so nice.
Yes.....food, calories, carbs, weight were still on my mind, but I was not driven by or obssesed by it every moment of the day.
[Funny, as I began to write this post, I wondered what the point of it would be......But as I write, I feel directed by the spirit as to what I can learn and gain from it.  Although you may not gain anything from my writing, I appreciate your patience while I am taught.]
I thought that my being burnt-out would be attributed to just finishing finals at school, to keeping up with the demands of a single mom and the obligations and short-comings I feel towards my kiddos. However, as I write, the possibility of my lapse causing my burn-out makes a little bit more sense. If I were explain, even in simple detail, the fixation my mind has on food, calories, protein grams, carbs, what my scale said this morning,  I believe you may wonder how on earth, someone can be so obsessed with something so menial. I completely agree. However, that is the nature of my beast, and as I write, I feel as though I underestimate the time, effort, energy, and mental fortitude that is affected by my addictive behavior. Of course Ed and his brother Lucifer, will point the finger elsewhere as far as blame is concerned, and will work so cunningly so as to go unnoticed for as long as possible, until you find yourself caught yet once again.
So a lapse being the foundational cause for being burnt-out does make sense. Now what to do about it?? Of course the simple answer is to just knock it off, to get back up and dust myself off and get back on track. So many times, I think of how nice it would be to not know how many calories or carbs a particular food is. It would be great if my mind didn't just automatically add up my intake for the day. That's probably not the point. The point is to learn coping techniques, patience, reach out for help, to learn empathy and compassion.
Earlier this week, during another emotionally challenging and crushing evening, I was looking for light and answers. I went to LDS.org and under the search, I simply typed in "purpose in pain." The first address that caught my attention was from the April 2011 General Conference talk by Kent F. Richards, entitled "The Atonement Covers All Pain." Let me share the part that pricked my heart, helping me to hold on.

President Henry B. Eyring taught: “It will comfort us when we must wait in distress for the Savior’s promised relief that He knows, from experience, how to heal and help us. … And faith in that power will give us patience as we pray and work and wait for help. He could have known how to succor us simply by revelation, but He chose to learn by His own personal experience.

The reason why that helped, was because it sounded like President Eyring understood what it meant to "wait in distress." Does that take away the burden or my emotional pain? No, certainly not. But somehow knowing that someone else understands is validating just enough to help me get grounded.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ten Tips to Take the Holidays Back from Ed

From Jenni Schaefer

1. Choose a Go-To Support Person. For each holiday celebration, select a designated person for support and accountability. Choose someone who is willing, available, and, if possible, actually attending the event. Teach this person the do’s and don’ts of support and discuss things-that-might-happen scenarios—explaining what kind of response would be most helpful to you in each situation.

2. Carry Support with You. Program other key support people into your phone—set them up as easy-to-access favorite contacts. In moments of distress, make a call. For extra long events, be sure to bring your cell phone charger! The Tenth Anniversary Edition of Life Without Ed suggests,
If picking up the phone to make a support call is sometimes too difficult for you, maybe you can at least send a short text—like ‘SOS’ or even ‘Ed.’ Tell your support team ahead of time what your distress signal text might say, and let them know helpful ways to respond.


3. Stop and Breathe. Practice mindfulness by paying attention to all five senses—see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the joys of the season. Meditate—even for just a few minutes—before attending holiday gatherings.

4. Facing the Food.  Ed will try to make food a big deal; don’t let him. The truth is that holiday food is often the same, so you can easily plan ahead by consulting with your dietitian or a trusted support person. If you don’t know what is going to be served, consider asking beforehand. At the meal, you might even ask a support person to prepare a plate for you. For extra accountability, text a photo of your plate—before and after eating—to someone on your support team. Ask your friends and family not to comment about what you are eating.

5. Plan Something Special Beyond the Food. For many people, including those without eating disorders, food can become the focus of holiday gatherings. While it is normal and healthy to enjoy the festive meals, it can also be important to plan something to look forward to that doesn’t include turkey or stuffing. As I wrote about in Goodbye Ed, Hello Me, add fun to your schedule. Play a board game, watch a movie, or go on a walk.

6. Increase Support. The busyness of the holidays might lead you to want to cancel some therapy sessions. But the added pressure actually means that you need to beef up your support. Add to; don’t take away. Get creative. Adding support doesn’t necessarily mean a big time commitment. For instance, you can listen to recovery podcasts when driving to and from holiday events. (Click here to RSVP for Wednesday’s MentorCONNECT special holiday teleconference!) Use apps like Rise Up + Recover and Recovery Record to send yourself positive affirmations during holiday gatherings.

7. Address Body Image Upfront. When I was in early recovery from my eating disorder, I asked my friends and family not to make comments about my appearance. I clarified, “Please don’t even say that I look ‘great’ or ‘healthy.'” In an effort to educate your friends and family about how you experience negative body image, consider showing them the ambiguous thin or large woman pictured below from my latest book, Almost Anorexic.
Do you see a thin or large woman? Click the image for an explanation of the different views.
Are you wearing Ed glasses? Click the image for an explanation of the different perceptions of this figure.

8. Celebrate Small Victories. If you conquer a food fear at a holiday gathering, share the news with your support team. To some friends and family, eating a slice of apple pie might not seem like a big deal, but, to you, it surely can be a sign of courage. Celebrate with people who understand.

9. Create an Emergency 911 Card. As described in Life Without Ed, make a list of time-tested relapse prevention tips. Keep this list with you at all times. Consider typing your emergency 911 card into your smart phone as a note. Ed thrives on forgetfulness. Be a step ahead of him.

10. Remember the Meaning. Despite what Ed may tell you, the holidays were not created as a way to upset people in recovery. What does each holiday truly mean to you? Practice gratitude. Laugh.
Never, never, never give up. If you fall down this holiday season, pick yourself back up right away. Choose recovery in each and every moment. Most importantly, hold onto the hope for a full recovery. In the years to come, imagine a holiday without Ed even making a peep. Yes, it can get that good.
- See more at: http://www.jennischaefer.com/blog/overcoming-adversity