Senior

So today I had my first day back to classes for my SENIOR year of college.

It is crazy to think that I will be done with school this time next year.

I only had two classes today and I am already filled with emotions. I am excited, curious, and thrilled. However, I am also struggling and anxious.

I knew coming back to class and getting in a routine again would be a challenge for me. However, I did not expect it to be this challenging. I made a meal plan for myself, I am trying to stick to a set sleeping schedule, and I am making sure to give myself at least 30 minutes of “liv time” a day.

The only problem is I am petrified to eat again and I am so tempted to buy a scale for my apartment.

Here at Drake I have weekly weigh ins/vitals, I meet with a therapist, dietician, and I call my psychiatrist back home as needed. I do not do blind weigh ins, which is probably something I should work towards.

So not only am I here juggling 18 credits plus about 40 hours of field experience, I am also in some kind of doctor’s appointment on my time off.

Luckily my schedule is pretty laid back this semester even though I have so many credits. I really only have to worry about Wednesdays since I am in class from about 9:30am-8: 20pm.

I had my first weigh in today and I maintained my weight so that’s a good sign. However, if I keep not eating I wont maintain much longer and then I will get sick again. And if I get sick again that means I wont be able to graduate on time and I might have to go residential or something, so there’s a lot on the line.

I want to say that I trust myself, but it’s hard to trust myself when sometimes I become a different person.

I just have to stay focused and be with the things that keep me grounded. I need to remind myself WHY recovery everyday.

I love the families I nanny for and I want to continue doing that for as long as I can.

I love teaching and I want to be healthy enough to be bending up and down without blacking out each time.

I just need to stay aware and remind myself that it is okay to take a break when things get too overwhelming. I am lucky to have no class on Thursdays and Fridays so if I need to go home I pretty much have a nice long 4-day weekend to enjoy.

This year is a big year for me.

All I can say is I am so thankful for the amazing support that I have going into this semester and the unconditional love I receive even when I feel I do not deserve it. Your support means everything to me.

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Drunkorexia

Alright I am going to tell you guys all about a type of eating disorder many people probably have never even heard of. It is scary, because while you many have never heard of this condition before, I guarantee either yourself or some of your closest friends have engaged in some of the behaviors of drunkorexia.

Drunkorexia is when someone plans to not eat much when they know they will be drinking so that they can get drunk faster and not have to worry about alcohol related weight gain. Someone will deprive there body so that one drink is all they need to feel drunk. The goal is always to consume less and less because calories are the monster.

Too much alcohol is already not good for you at all, but pair that with malnutrition and we have an even bigger issue on our hands. Drunkorexia is SO common on every college campus YET WE DO NOT EVER HEAR ABOUT THIS!

Sufferers think it’s the calories that will kill them when instead it is themselves and their own behaviors that kill.

I suffer hardcore with this condition. And let me tell you about one of my worst nights ever because of it…

So it was my freshman year at Xavier University. I never drank much before  because I couldn’t fathom putting in these excess calories if my body did not actually need them.

It was a few weeks into school and my friends and I were feeling pretty bored so we decided to drink. There were three of us total and a lot of vodka was consumed that night. I know for a fact that that exact day I walked/ran about 6 miles and hardly ate a thing or drank any water.

We were drinking, having fun, and being stupid. The night was going great until I blacked out and woke up in the mental ward of a hospital. All the patients had cots we slept on and the only privacy was a little curtain. The person next to me suffered with schizophrenia. Every now and then he would scream or call out to people who weren’t there. I was scared; I was 7 hours away from home and had no idea what was going to happen.

I got so lucky that night that nothing worse happened to me. I got so lucky. I danced with death that night. I wish I learned my lesson after that first time.

I have a weird relationship with alcohol to this day. I like to go out and drink, but I hate not being in control. However, I still will purposely deprive my body to compensate for the alcohol. I never know what a night of drinking will look like for me. Some people call me lame for not always wanting to go out with them, but I have a bigger issue I need to take care of first.

This is important…to my friends just now starting college, or my friends who may see these behaviors in their friends. Help inform them. Help them. Help them realize something is not okay. I am lucky that my foolish behaviors didn’t get me in any worse trouble in the past.

I cannot stress enough how much more this topic needs to be addressed.

Here are some of the biggest symptoms:

  • Cutting back on food and increasing exercise to either speed or enhance the high from drinking
  • Engaging in bulimic-type behaviors: vomiting after eating, taking laxatives or using diuretics
  • Boosting exercise or eating less to offset calories from drinking: this could include drinking low-calorie beers or cocktails, skipping a meal or avoiding food all day, or exercising intensely

(http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/college-game-plan/drunkorexia-prevalent-among-college-students-study-finds-n614871)

With the school year starting it is so so so important that we get a step ahead of the game.

If you have more questions or want to know more about my personal struggles let me know and I will do whatever I can to help.

I am…

I used to only care about..

How my body looked, being the skinniest, how I looked in the mirror.

I used to only care about…

Counting calories, being perfect, eating  less than my peers.

I used to avoid hanging out with friends and participating in activities

I used to be a zombie just trying to get through the day.

I had excuses lined up for why I couldn’t go out.

I had rituals I would do before bed that Ana insisted I had to do.

With about six years of recovery under my belt I am now starting too..

Love my body, feed my body, and accept who I am.

I am starting to…

Have energy to be involved in activities, get excited about seeing friends.

Life is no longer a chore like it was before.

I no longer just go through the motions

I no longer cry myself to sleep.

I still have urges of restricting and body checking.

I still struggle with accepting my body.

I still get frustrated that I suffer with mental illness and the feeling that I’ll be like this forever.

I worry no one will love me since I sometimes forget how to love myself.

I worry I will not reach my goals and aspirations and let myself down.

However, I fight because I want to be strong and healthy.

I want to get married, start a family, travel the world.

I need to eat and take care of myself.

I need to stop inflicting pain on my body.

I am a work in progress.

I am a young woman in recovery.

I am an Ed warrior and everyday I am getting strong towards destroying my demons. 

I am Liv and I am NOT defined by my disorders. 

summer ’16

Tis the season for change. The season for things to come to an end so new things can bloom.

This summer may have been my best one yet. Not because it was perfect, I definitely struggled and relapsed. BUT it was my best one because I learned so much about life and recovery and myself.

This summer I broke my phone 3 times, I made new friends, trusted the wrong people… I worked with awesome summer campers, had days I didn’t want to leave bed, and spent too much money. This summer I did a lot of stupid shit but I also grew immensely {{{cue the cheesiness}}}

This summer I put MYSELF first. This summer I focused on making me happy and healthy.

I began free writing and drawing again, I was able to run for a little bit of summer, I got a new car, I painted, and traveled. I took chances again and put myself out there.

I felt like a real girl again this summer. I wasn’t consumed with thoughts of food. I still was not reaching every target, but Ana’s voice was turned off. I was back in charge.

My biggest takeaway from the summer is probably to just let karma take control. Shitty things will happen to good people. However, what makes the person good is how they respond to the bad. Do not seek revenge. Do not crave to see others suffer.

When someone wrongs you, its best to just turn the other way, be the mature adult, and walk away. Karma will take care of everything in the end.

My summer is now almost over and I am all moved into my apartment.

Am I scared for this year?—Yes.

Am I ready for this year?—Yes.

I am always scared I will relapse. Living on my own scares me because it is only myself accountable for actually eating my meals.

However, as I enter my senior year I reflected on my past semesters of school. I have yet to have one completely healthy/no need for a hospital semester of school. I do not want to jinx myself, but I have a feeling this will be the year.

I am stronger every day.

I am surrounded by great, genuine people.

I have skills to control my urges.

I am sick of being sick.

So here is to the start of my senior year.

Here is to living, learning, loving and making mistakes along the way.

Here is to good health and happiness. May you also accept health and happiness as well because YOU DESERVE IT TOO!

Other Side of ME

There is no easy way to explain how during the day I act one way and then night comes I can act totally different. SO, I am going to try to describe how it feels to be bipolar through song- so here we go

*cue song, the other side of me by Hannah Montana*

“By day, I play the part in everyway of simple sweet calm and collected.”

I wake up, have some pep in me, do my makeup, make sure I look my best before I leave, hold the door open for people, use my manners, talk to everyone, be a social butterfly. I have a go-getter mentality all day long and hardly stop until I am confident that everyone around me is doing okay.

Now it is a little bit different between Miley Cyrus and me because well, the other side of her is she is an international pop star sensation named Hannah Montana. The other side of me is just a bit darker, sadder, and less energized. The other side of Olivia is reckless, acts out for her benefits, does things to make her feel good even if she has to take someone down to get there.

I have gotten a lot better now at controlling my episodes, but that does not mean that everyday is still peachy. This past week was a bad week for me. I had two episodes and engaged in a really bad behavior. One of my episodes was in front of some people and I felt ashamed for it…but now I am thinking to myself, “why should I be ashamed for WHO I AM?”

cue lyrics again

“Don’t wanna hide just wanna fit in; sometimes its harder than it seems”

I hate when people see me having a low. I dislike myself when I am having a low because I am not the real Olivia. I am a B*TCH and I am well aware. I will manipulate you, use you, and destroy you. I will do whatever I want for my own pleasure. For those of you who really know me, you know that this is so opposite of how my normal behavior really is.

Being bipolar sucks. But my illness will not stop me from living my life. I am not going to hide my bipolar side anymore. If I am having a low, I will be genuine about it. It is exhausting to play fake happy when the thoughts in my head are dark. So yeah, it’s pretty hard…and frustrating. A lot of people just still do not understand mental illness, which is a big shame. I want to make my voice louder. I want…heck I NEED to do something more to get this movement going. Mental illness deserves to be handled appropriately. Students should get better educated on mental illness because it affects SO many people.

This got off topic, but now I’m inspired to do something BIG.

Flowers Need Food to Grow

Everyone always says that when you go to college you find your best friends.

Well, in my case it was partly true, but the most meaningful relations and some of the best friendships I have is with the beautiful women I was inpatient with.

As I mentioned before, I was NOT happy about going inpatient. I remember the first day sitting at the end of the table across from two beautiful girls inside and out named Hannah and Ellie. Hannah is older and she had this beautiful red hair that I was SO JEALOUS OF.  I had recently dip dyed my hair purple but man, all I could think about was how badly I wish I could pull of that red. She can draw amazing things and I already told her one of the dresses she drew is what I plan to wear for my wedding. Sitting next to her was (and still is) one of the most mature girls I have ever met. She is wiser beyond her years and she is one hell of a fighter. Also, don’t get me started on her art skills cause wow… lets talk about talent. Anna came a little bit later in the week, but even though my time with her was shorter, it did not make it any less meaningful. She always wore these amazing footie pajamas and was so genuine and motivated. (like I mean it when I say motivated… this girl did like a 1,000 dot connect the dot puzzle picture and did not go bonkers.) I always saw a little bit of my younger self in Anna (even though I am not much older than her)  which just really made it easier for us to connect.

Anyways, back to my flashback of my first day there. I remember my first conversation with Hannah and El was me saying I would be gone the next day and that this was only temporary. –but  boy was I wrong. We all joke about it to this day and Hannah and Ellie definitely exchanged looks with each other like “this girl be craaaayyy if they are going to discharge her that quick.”

We would split up for groups and have adults in one room and adolescents in the other. Hannah and I stayed together and El and Anna went across with the other adolescences. When we were not in groups or doing some form of therapy we were all sitting at the table coloring intricate pictures and talking about whatever came to mind. Honestly, my best conversations were during EDP. I really got into playing this game called speed with this one super cool chick. I got prettttty intense with it. Like almost to the point where I was afraid the nurses would mark down that I was doing a behavior or something.

We all had such different backgrounds, yet together we worked together perfectly. It wasn’t until a few days later that our lovely Anna joined the group. We would all stay up (till like 9:30!!!!) and color and read and we helped each other get through meals. Hannah was always quick with the jokes, Anna always had the positive outlook, and Ellie has this laugh that just makes everyone smile. We came up with pickup lines with our EDP ~language~ and had some interesting encounters from other units since we were on the other side of Chemical Dependency Unit and sometimes the doors didn’t shut all the way. We were able to make each other laugh, make the sucky times less sucky, and pick each other up when we noticed one falling into a behavior.

Side note: I also had the best roommate ever. We were an unlikely pair to be friends, but I think about her everyday. We both discharged on the same day and I wonder how she is doing constantly. I really miss her and I hope she will reach out to me soon.

I did not want to go inpatient at all, but when it was time to leave Linden Oaks, I was so upset because I was not ready to leave my new friends behind. I had no idea when I would see them again. These were the girls I could show my true self with. There are no limits with them—this is what true friendship looks like. Who else celebrates a poop as much as we did in EDP?  It was only about 5 days, but once I left I could not picture my life without them. Being inpatient was a blessing in disguise because it graced me with the presence of three of the strongest women I will ever know.

Luckily, Hannah, Ellie, Anna, and I keep in touch. We talk everyday and I was actually just talking to them when I got inspired to write this. I never really know how to show affection properly or how to let someone know just how much they mean to me. But Anna, Hannah, Ellie, if you guys are reading this, you mean so much more to me than you could ever imagine. You all are a huge factor in my recovery and I love you so much more than you could ever imagine. I will always be there for you and we will always be edp sisters and edwarriors together.

Sometimes, when something seems like the end, it really is just the beginning…

Ambitions

So why am I up blogging right now at 4:45 am? Yesterday depression won. Yesterday my depression had me sleeping for over 16 hours. So now I am feeling pretty awake and motivated.

I want to talk about my ambitions-my motives.

Why I blog, what I want my life to be one day.

I blog for myself honestly. That probably sounds selfish, but the original idea of this was for me to be held accountable. Writing has always helped me control the thoughts. However, there have been times were I wanted to stop blogging. I continue to blog because of my readers. I just hope to inspire someone and ease them with recovery.

I will be blunt in posts and never hide my emotions, but that’s how recovery goes. 

I don’t blog for attention, or to get “blog famous” for it. This is for ME- and also, now for my wonderful readers who encourage me when I’m feeling low.

So now that that has been addressed, lemme fill ya in on how I picture my life.

I used to say I would be dead before 25 and I would beg anorexia to just take me sooner. Now, not so much. Now I want to LIVe for a long time 😉

I choose recovery so I can be a(n)…

  • Teacher who is able to interact with my kids and teach them to love each other and themselves 
  • Mother who is strong and unconditionally loved by my future family. To teach my kids how to love who they are
  • Wife who can enjoy date nights and go on fun vacations without worrying about calories. 
  • Inspiration who travels to schools and shares my story. I want to motivate other people to recover and to have someone look at me and say, “wow, Liv came over all of that, I can too.”

But most importantly I choose recovery so I can LIVE

I want to be healthy to…

  • Travel
  • Be an au pair
  • Sky dive
  • Go cliff diving
  • Explore a cave
  • Go in a hot air balloon
  • Visit Alaska
  • Teach yoga
  • Teach abroad
  • Zip line and white water raft in Costa Rica again
  • BE HAPPY

my list is endless and I will do whatever it takes to do as many adventures that I can.

Everything Ends Eventually

EndEverything ends

Essentially we are born, we suffer, have some happiness, and then die.

We fall in love, create families, and have friends supporting you the whole way.

A lot of great things happen, but the bad tends to outweigh the good.

Remember that fight you had with your old “best friend?” I bet you only think of the nasty things that ended the friendship and never think about the vacations together or the ridiculous inside jokes.

Certain happiness is constant, but most of the time, happiness doesn’t last.

Life screws you over.

Life isn’t the best sometimes.

We have to deal with tough shit.

Not everyone we meet in life will like you 

Life really is just not fair

However, things need to end so something better can begin.

My life is chaos right now. I’m trying to figure out where my happiness is. Is it within my sorority? My job? Where is my passion?

I want to start focusing on making me happy and removing the things that hinder me from achieving nirvana. 

I give my best effort even if I am not a feeling emotionally strong enough, but often lack appreciation for it. Maybe that’s a sign that staying with that isn’t healthy.

I want to feel like I belong

I really just want to feel loved

I know that one day I will have a beautiful baby and she will be my light in the world.

I know that things may seem like the end of the world- but they will get better.

I know these things, but I do not cope with them well. Anxiety attacks, black outs, self harm, medication, idealization, disassociation, starvation- that’s how I handle tough situations.

I have the skills to handle rough situations better, I just need to use them.

I crave love

I crave attention 

I crave recognition

I crave the idea of having lifelong friends

All of this is possible, I just have to fix the way my brain is working.

Things end so other things begin. Something that ends may feel like the end of the world but it could lead to so so so much more happiness 

Glamorizations 

Too many articles and websites promote anorexia as a lifestyle. They show pictures of beautiful women with a stick thin body. The girls in these pictures are “happy” because they are skinny.

Basically the message is, “if you want to be skinny, anorexia is for you!”

They GLAMORIZE anorexia- a disease that almost took my life away.

So, to these websites I’m going to give you  a warning label to include about all the things I deal with as a result of my anorexia:

Side effects:

  • Lose weight–fact losing weight is a SYMPTOM ofanorexia 
  • Extremely low blood pressure
  • Loss of desire to do anything
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Severe dehydration 
  • Very low pulse (mine goes as low as 34 before I black out)
  • Constantly cold
  • Depressed and anxious
  • Isolated
  • Loss of period
  • Growing a languno 
  • In some cases very fast heart beat
  • Severe depression and anxiety 
  • Have to relearn how to eat
  • Obsession with numbers 
  • Unable to participate in old things you loved
  • Fainting/ black out spells 
  • Certain organs stop working through purging and laxative abuse
  • Headaches, war in your mind and SO much more.

Basically anorexia destroys and ruins your life.

It’s not glamorous

It’s not a trend

It’s not a joke.

There are so many healthy alternatives to losing weight. So next time you want to starve yourself see if the side effects are worth it because as someone who has and still is dealing with this- it is not worth it. You cannot just become anorexic.

Snack of the week: Beltsander Brownie

So pretty much every night for the past 4 nights in a row I have been making this delicious protein brownie. It is so easy to make and it’s all healthy ingredients!

So here is what you need:

3/4 Protein powder (chocolate preferably)

1/4 Cocoa powder 

Tsp baking powder

Almond/soy milk to make a batter like texture 

Alight so that is all you need. Put all the ingredients in a mug, microwave for 90 seconds and BAM your taste buds will tingle.

It tastes like a brownie but it is so much better!

I spice mine up by adding mini chocolate chips in and melted peanut butter.

There are so many options… Have fun with it!

Let me know if you try and enjoy ☺️