Self-Harm Recovery

March 31, 2014

Sometimes self-harm can seem like an easy coping mechanism for everything from day-to-day troubles to deep trauma and pain.  While people's reasons for self-harming can range - some do it to feel alive, some to quell stress, and some to assuage self-destructive urges - the process is always unhealthy.

Recovery from self-harm takes great strength and dedication.  First, a person has to admit that they have needs that aren't being met. Subsequently, they have to find a way to meet those needs without the use of self injury.  A great list of alternatives to self-harm can be found at http://www.siriusproject.org/alternatives.htm

Self-harm is also usually an indicator of a deeper mental illness.  Whether a person struggles with depression, anxiety, or other conditions, treatment is key.  If you have trouble with self-harm, the best thing for your recovery would be to see a professional mental health expert. This way, you'll be able to let yourself live a happy and healthy life without the urges.

Not all people have the funds or the time to see a professional, though, and that's okay.  While professional help is the best road to recovery, there are also support groups on the internet.  If possible, you can create a support network in your life as well, so that you'll have people to turn to who can keep you safe and happy.

All self-harm is serious, regardless of how the behavior manifests or the severity of the injuries.  And sometimes certain self-destructive behaviors fly under the radar.  Because self-harm as spoken of in media and by mental health professionals usually entails methods that evoke immediate physical damage, others aren't even recognized. But substance abuse, reckless driving, and other situations that pose danger to a person count as well.

No matter how long you've been self-harming or how deep your pain is, there is always hope for recovery.  If you're struggling not to self-harm right now, you can open a chat on 7 Cups and talk through the urges.  And our recently-opened member forum offers a place to receive support from listeners and members who have struggled with the same issues.

Though recovery is a difficult and often messy process, you deserve to be safe.  And you deserve to life a happy life without being plagued by self-harm.  Your strength knows no bounds, and I'm wishing you all the best.

By, Katie MacEachern

7 Cups of Tea Listener: KittyKat

 

Tags:selfharmrecoverysupportactivelisteningtherapy

Recovering From A Binge Eating Disorder

March 21, 2014

Food is necessary to human survival; it provides the sustenance and energy that we need to carry ourselves through the day.  But food can also be used as a coping mechanism for our problems.  With people who suffer from disorders like anorexia, a limiting of food helps to offer control.  And with binge eating disorders, food helps to self-medicate feelings and fears a person has about daily life.

Binge eating disorders are characterized by frequent episodes of binging and overeating.  These behaviors are used as an attempt to solve problems in our lives.  However, binge eating is a vicious cycle - after the episode, the feelings creep back in and we feel out-of-control and negative about ourselves.  This in turn can encourage another episode to happen!

Because bingeing can feel like a behavior that can't be controlled, sometimes it's very difficult to recover from a binge eating disorder.  Learning to eat food in moderation is something that takes time and dedication.  In addition, it's important to learn healthy coping mechanisms for your thoughts and feelings.  Since binge eating is used as a form of self-medication, it's even harder to stop if you have no other ways to deal with negative influences.

One of the most important aspects to remember is that binge eating disorders are part of the mind as much as the body.  Though most of the effects manifest physically, the causes are found in a malicious thought process.  Eating allows an escape and temporary relief, but will ultimately make you more unhappy in the long run.

If you feel you need assistance to get your life back under control, seeking professional help is the best route.  However, if you don't have the means to do so, there are also support groups and helpful resources on the internet.  If you need to talk to someone right now, you can open a chat on 7 Cups, and you can also connect to other members on our recently-launched Member Forum.

Though sometimes life may seem out of control, you have the strength and the means to cope with your experiences and emotions in a healthy way.  Recovery is a long and sometimes painful process, but ultimately you'll be happier and safer.  And there are people who are rooting for you and who will support you, even if it takes some time to find them.

I wish you all the best.

By, Katie MacEachern

7 Cups of Tea Listener: KittyKat

Tags:Eatingdisorderbingeeatingselphelprecoverysupport

Listener of the Month: Pieta

March 13, 2014

This month, we would like to celebrate and honor our listener and mentor Pieta. Pieta is a listener from Germany, who can connect with members in both English and German. Pieta brings her positive energy and supportive nature to our community. With a steady following of regular members, it is clear that Pieta provides a high quality listener service to the members she supports. We are so lucky to have her as part of our team!

Let’s all give a digital high-five and a big 7 Cups of Tea hug to Pieta this month!  

Get to know more about Pieta in her own words: 

What is your favorite part of being a Listener?

My favorite thing about being a Listener is that we can help our members so much with saying so little. There are countless times when we are the first ones to validate our member's feelings, the first ones to let them know their thoughts, feelings and problems are acknowledged as such and not judged. It is so little but yet helps so much.

Tell us something we may not know about you?

There are many times that I am struggling with my self-esteem. Plus, I'm actually not a big talker in real life.

When I’m not listening on 7 Cups of Tea, I’m…

I am into riding, photography, watching movies/TV series, geocaching, reading - but of course I'm not doing half of it as much as I'd like to. What I most likely do is working, surfing the Internet and watching movies or TV series.

Tags:listenersupportmentor

What To Expect When Recovering From Anorexia & Bulimia

March 11, 2014

Recovering from anorexia nervosa or bulimia is a difficult journey that requires immense strength and dedication. However, with a strong support network and manageable goals, you'll be able to regain control of your self image and live a happy and healthy life.  It's important to know what to expect when recovering from anorexia or bulimia. Each recovery experience varies from individual to individual, but there are a few factors to consider:

1)  Recovery will require more than just your body.

Anorexia and bulimia are mental illnesses, even though many of the symptoms manifest physically.  Both are categorized by an obsession with thinness, a distorted body image, and a fear of gaining weight.  The first aspect to understand is that anorexia and bulimia are being used to meet a need that you have in your life.  You'll need to identify that need and work on healthier coping mechanisms and ways to fill it.  Without treating the underlying cause of the fears, you'll never truly feel better.  Healthy eating goes a long way, but it means nothing if you're still judging your self-worth by your weight.

2)  Triggers might be found in strange places.

Messages that trigger the fear of weight gain can be found everywhere.  Most media is tailored to praise thinness above all else; many models are clinically anorexic or bulimic.  Even articles that promote healthy weight loss might trigger that fear.  You'll have to identify your triggers and do your best to stay away from them.  Sometimes you're exposed to triggering situations without expecting it, though.  In these cases, you'll need to have a plan regarding how to take care of yourself when you've been triggered.  Whether this involves reaching out to somebody or working through the feelings on your own, you deserve to feel happy and safe.

3)  Letting go of old habits will be difficult.

When we've had certain routines for a long time, they're incredibly difficult to relinquish.  This sentiment is increased tenfold when those routines have been helping us cope with daily life.  Letting go of your fears and rituals regarding eating and purging will be difficult, and might have to come with time.  But ultimately it is rewarding.

4)  Embracing yourself will take time.

Recovery is a difficult and arduous process.  Some days will be better than others, while some will be worse.  The journey can be frustrating and painful at times, but every step you take forward is an important one.  It's important to keep your eyes on the end goal, even if you're having trouble meeting your own expectations on a certain day.

5)  Your self image will eventually improve.

Though it might take time, eventually you'll be able to appreciate yourself.  You'll be able to equate your self worth to more than your weight, and to acknowledge that you are more than your body.  You'll be able to live your life in a way that makes you happy, instead of always trying to achieve a standard of perfection that doesn't exist.  You will be able to do these things.  You deserve to do these things.

Each person's recovery experience will be different, but the end result is always possible.  You can get better.  You can love yourself.  It's always possible, even in the most dire seeming circumstances.

It's possible, and you deserve that.

By, Katie MacEachern

7 Cups of Tea Listener: KittyKat

 

Tags:eatingdisorderanorexiabulimiaselfhelprecovery

Recovering From Anorexia and Bulimia

March 4, 2014

Anorexia and bulimia are two of the most difficult disorders from which to recover.  Recovery has to come from you - it's not simply about gaining weight and being told to eat by your peers.  True recovery involves learning to let go of your fears and embracing yourself.  It means learning to love yourself the way you are.

That said, recovery is incredibly difficult without a support network.  It's easy for your motivation to be drowned out by the voices and compulsions prompting you to lose weight.  Enlisting the help of family members, friends, and professionals is the best way to combat this. They can be there for you on rough days and they can remind you that you're worth much more than you think.

Professional help is the best place to turn when recovering from any eating disorder.  Therapists and counselors have special training and will know how to assist you in ways that family members might not.  You can also visit a nutritionist to figure out what foods will keep you healthy, which can take some of the anxiety out of recovery.  If you don't have access to healthcare or you need immediate assistance, you can also phone the National Eating Disorders hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

Oftentimes, anorexia and bulimia develop as a desire to have control over external situations.  They're coping mechanisms to deal with fear of failure and worries about inadequacy.  But like other unhealthy coping mechanisms, they come with addictive qualities.  Though on the surface, it may seem as though anorexia and bulimia allow you to have control, the truth is that anorexia and bulimia are controlling you.  The voices and fears aren't bettering your life, they're hurting you - classic wolves in sheep's clothing.  And they can be fought.

There is always hope for your recovery, no matter your age or gender or circumstances.  There are people willing to support you even if you're having trouble finding them right now.  And you deserve to have help and safe spaces. You deserve to live a happy and healthy life.  You deserve to make the most out of your life and become the person you want to be.

And all of these are things that anorexia and bulimia can't give you.  Temporary satisfaction in weight loss will always be overrided by the voices.  You deserve more than that, and you can have so much more than that. Recovery is difficult and messy and even painful at times, and this can make giving up seem like the easiest option. But the hardest road is the most rewarding.  You deserve the world, and you deserve to love yourself.  You deserve a bright future and happiness.

I wish you all the best.

By, Katie MacEachern

7 Cups of Tea Listener: KittyKat

 

Tags:eatingdisorderanorexiabulimiaselfhelprecoverysupport