July 25, 2016
“Amor Fati - ‘Love your fate’, which is in fact your life.”
- Friedrich Nietzsche
As my blogging debut, I would like to speak to a message that has been inked onto my arms and a mark of a turning point in my life. Amor fati, as above, means love your fate but what does this truly mean?
My own thoughts point me to acceptance. They point me towards a world of our own where we are able to not only cope with what has happened to us or what we have done, but we are able to love it. Love, to me, is a feeling of intensity. I do not believe it is positively or negatively valenced. It just is. We describe love in different ways, we experience it on our own terms and, ultimately, it is simply a word for a deep sense of caring and the demand for special attention towards the object of our love.
We love many times throughout our lives. We love what we are passionate about, we love our lovers, we love our friends and family. But what of the journey within? I have encountered many who have not come across love for the self. I have come across many who have not encountered love for their lives. It is not a lust for life, per se, but it is a feeling of motivating intensity that drives us further up the path of growth.
When we love our fate, our life, we welcome the good and we welcome the challenges. Upon reaching those challenges, no matter the consequence, we love ourselves and our life despite that. We take what fate has given us, the choices we have made and we continue forward. We face our demons and say: “I accept you”. This is, of course, easier said than done. Life is not easy, in fact, as I said to a friend very recently: “It is the most difficult thing we experience.”
In life, we learn to share our joys and we love them because they feel triumphantly satisfying. Life, however, gives us lessons to learn as well. Not all of these lessons spring from joy or good fortune. Some of these lessons are hardships that leave us devastated and give rise to a paralysis, a questioning of “what do I do next?”. It is these hardships that are the hardest to love but it is also these hardships that are most fruitful to love. The hardships we experience draw upon the innermost strength and, at times, we forget what that truly means in terms of our selves.
When something bad happens, our automatic reaction is to reject its existence, at our own expense. When something bad happens, we draw away from love. We draw away from acceptance. It is therefore our most dire time of need. We must ask ourselves whether it is most beneficial to retract or to overcome. I will always cast my vote on overcoming. In my experience, the overcoming of our life’s greatest challenges will always be worthy of love, but in order to get to that point of overcoming, love must come first.
There is no devaluation, minimization or casting aside of what you have experienced. Life has vicious ways of creeping up on us. However, to show love towards what has happened, to show peace towards that moment makes us the strongest we can be. There is so much importance in standing up towards what you come across and saying: “I accept and love you.” After all, it is a part of your life and your life is precious. Have we really the time to reject the ebbs and flows? We do, but in your hands, in your heart is the power to bring yourself to the point of overcoming.
I take every day as it comes and when the necessary evils of my life occur, I look down at my arms and I remind myself to embrace them. I remind myself that, in doing so, I am loving my life. It is a painful love, but it is love nonetheless. Do not ever doubt your abilities to play that role in your life. You have love to give, and so I challenge you to give that to yourself and the time you spend processing all you have experienced.
All my love,
Letters From Lee
Written By Lee
July 21, 2016
Let’s have a conversation on coming out. For members of the LGBT+ community, this can be the defining moment of their journey in sexuality. For others, it’s the thing that terrifies them the most.
I have had many people come to me asking if they should come out. Truth be told, I will never, ever be able to provide that answer for someone else. That is a spiritual and mental journey that one must face when they’re ready, if they feel it’s necessary. Here are a few scenarios that may be applicable to someone considering coming out.
“I’ve told my friends online, but I don’t know if I’m ready to tell people in real life. I’m afraid they may judge me.”
Firstly, if you choose to come out, it’s a really big step just having it out there to your friends, regardless of what capacity it’s in. I do encourage someone who is feeling like this to try to get a good read of the situation. How do your friends and parents in real life react to knowing that someone has a differing sexuality? Do you feel safe in your environment? If you come out, are you at risk of being hurt, abused or mistreated? Lastly, are you ready to come out?
Because it’s a spiritual journey, it’s something that many must think about for a long time. If you’re having doubts, you may just not be mentally ready to come out, and that’s okay. There is no set time where you have to come out -- do so at your own comfort level and safety.
“What if my friend/spouse/family/parents disown me for feeling this way?”
We can not control the actions of other people, we can simply only control how we react to the situation at hand. That being said, if you’re outed unintentionally, or if you come out and it ends up backlashing, have some sort of backup plan. Again, I will endorse safety to no end. Make sure that you have a place to live, make sure that you are in a position that things will be okay. If things aren’t okay, find places in your area that can help make things okay.
They may try to “fix” you, and they may be angry with you, but do know that your life is yours and you don’t need their permission for your sexuality. It’s yours; what you do behind closed doors is your own.
“I don’t feel the need to come out.”
That’s okay! You don’t have to come out if you don’t want to; no one will ever expect you to come out on a whim (or, if they do, they are not the type of people you want to be hanging around). If you don’t want to come out, and you either want to keep your romantic life secret, or you want to try to surprise your friends or family, always err on the side of caution and safety. Your journey is yours; you don’t have to answer to anyone if you don’t want to.
Quick tips on coming out (if you feel you’re ready to come out):
1. Make sure you’re safe.
2. Consider the timing; there are right and wrong times for everything.
3. Give people time to cope and process what you’ve said - don’t expect or demand immediate acceptance; it’ll blow up in a bad way.
4. Don’t feel as though you need to label yourself. You are a human being, your sexuality is yours. If you don’t know what that is, that’s okay.
5. Know that you’re not alone; there are several communities who will protect and fight to no end for those who may need it (including 7Cups).
Any questions about coming out or suggestions for future topics are encouraged. I am only a PM away.
From Cadie, with love.
Written by :Cadence
July 19, 2016
Binge eating is consuming large quantities of food in a short amount of time (within 2 hours) with recurrent episodes of repeating this behavior. Commonly this is associated with an eating disorder, though there may be other related or complicating factors. It is the most common eating disorder in the US.
Don't confuse binge eating with overeating. They are different issues. Overeating happens, but it isn't a lack of control on a frequent basis.
Some of the consequences of binge eating are the after effects of shame, guilt, depression, gallbladder disease, hypertension, diabetes (Type 2), joint pain, sleep apnea and more. The combination of all of these problems can lead to suicidal ideation or attempts as there is a feeling of lack of control and being in a circle going no where.
Questions to ask yourself if binge eating is a problem for you:
Do you feel out of control when you’re eating?
Do you think about food all the time?
Do you eat in secret?
Do you eat until you feel sick?
Do you feel disgusted or ashamed after eating?
Do you feel powerless to stop eating, even though you want to?
If you answered yes to these questions or a number of these questions, you may have binge eating disorder and it is recommended you speak to your physician or a counselor who is knowledgeable about binge eating.
There is hope and help for binge eating disorder. In addition to professional help, consider using a food log to identify your triggers for eating. Look for ways to distract yourself when you feel like bingeing. Keep a list of goals on you, as well as coping skills to help when you're feeling the urge to binge. Follow a set meal plan and avoid easy foods such as snacks and fast foods as much as possible. Instead of buying a bag of candy or a large bag of chips, purchase one candy bar or a small bag of chips so that you can have some pleasures but limited because that's all that's in your home.
Some treatment programs for eating disorders are Remuda Ranch, Sierra Tucson Binge Eating Program, River Oaks Hospital, Renfrew Treatment centers. There are many others as well. These are programs that have inpatient, residential, outpatient and/or intensive outpatient treatment.
Don't give up if you binge eat. There is help available, and there are support groups available. NEDA offers a database of eating disorder support groups.
Need to chat with someone about your struggles with binge eating or your feelings around it, look for a 7 Cups listener who lists eating disorders as one of their specialties. Consider posting in our message forum on eating disorders. We'd love to be a support and to encourage you. There are also other opportunities for support here.
July 13, 2016
Last summer. Waiting for my flight to Oregon. One of my first solo trips ever. I had been looking forward to this for so long, partly as respite from my job, and also due to an inescapable wanderlust. But now, here in the airport, my anxiety was in overdrive. I was convinced that the cold I was recovering from was something worse; that I might also have shingles.
I debated whether even getting on the flight, and went into the bathroom to cry. Without the help of an incredibly kind volunteer from Crisis Text Line, I might not have gotten on the plane.
Don’t get me wrong - I love traveling. It is incredibly important to me and I feel incomplete without it in my life. But traveling certainly can present complications for anyone, and these complications can sometimes be worse for those plagued with anxiety. There is the anxiety of figuring out logistics of flights, lodging, etc. prior to the trip, and then there are the possibilities of what could go wrong on the trip - some people have anxiety about flying, others worry about staying safe: there are a multitude of anxieties that can present. It’s unfortunate, because we want to be able to enjoy a vacation, and it’s discouraging and upsetting when anxiety rears its ugly head.
What can be done to combat anxiety during travel?
1. Be Prepared & Plan Ahead
As I think about how I will be traveling abroad (and for part of the time, solo) later this summer, it’s a question that is on my mind. I also hate to think of any fellow travel lovers missing out on travel because of anxiety. Perhaps one key aspect of dealing with anxiety in general that can also apply to travel is being prepared. Whether you have anxiety about your safety, culture shock, traveling solo, etc, knowing more about your fear can probably help to ease it, at least to some extent. Purchasing travel books or borrowing some from the library can help familiarize you with the area you are traveling to. Coming up with a list of what needs to be done prior to the trip and breaking that list down into steps so it is not too overwhelming may be helpful as well.
2. Maintain At Least One of Your Regular Routines
Another thing to consider is that routine is likely an important part to managing anxiety. When you travel, routine tends to get pushed to the wayside. I personally don’t believe this is inherently a bad thing; I welcome spontaneity and think it helps keep life interesting. That said, some people prefer to have more structure in their lives, and that is totally okay too! Additionally, there are certain aspects of routine in regards to anxiety that may be important to keep up so that your trip can be enjoyable. If you take medication, I would recommend checking to make sure you have enough medication (and perhaps even extra) before you leave. If you see a therapist and have been working on particular coping techniques, it may be worth discussing with your therapist how to continue those techniques while you are away, and what to do in an emergency.
3. Know Your Support System
Lastly, making sure that you still have a support system even though you are traveling might be super helpful. Making a list of emergency contacts, as well as having a list on hand of local hospitals in the area you’ll be traveling to can be handy. It may also be worth talking to at least one friend or family member about your anxiety and letting them know how they can best be of help to you. This works even if you are traveling solo - depending where you are going, you may still be able to call or text your support system; or if traveling internationally, you can use an app such as Skype or WhatsApp.
Finally, as much as anxiety can be really frustrating and discouraging, your happiness and ability to do things you enjoy (such as travel) matter too much to let anxiety take over. You’ve got this. There are also so many wonderful listeners on 7 Cups who would be happy to talk to you about anxiety relating to travel. Happy traveling!
Edited By 7 Cups Mentor Leader: @PoeticGuy