You Can Help Make a Change

Hello my fellow EDwarriors and all the lovely humans who are still following my blog even with my major neglect towards posting. It means a lot to still have this support so I thank you!

This is a super important post and I need your help so please read it all!

We only have a little over a month until NEDA week! AKA a very important week dedicated to spreading as much awareness on eating disorders and helping people gain a stronger understanding of this serious illness!

That being said, I am being pretty ambitious this year and I am working on 2 major projects/campaigns to increase awareness.

My goal with these projects is to put a face to the disease; to get people to understand that their son/daughter/wife/husband/neighbor/etc could be silently struggling from this disease. Anorexia is the deadliest mental illness and if we increase awareness/understanding we can work to decrease the rate of mortality and support those suffering from getting to that point.

I am making a generalization, but our society is a little naive when it comes to eating disorders.

Our words and actions have a lot of power and we throw around negativity like its confetti- and just like confetti, the negativity spreads everywhere and never really gets completely picked up. Many of the things we say/do today are unhealthy behaviors or triggers associated with EDs. Gaining knowledge on eating disorders will help to prevent us from spreading this idea that we are inadequate.

I work with kids and I see too many little girls and boys already hating the soul that live inside their skin. Between the pressures of schoolwork, to activities, to needing to build a perfect resume to get acknowledged by colleges; the expectations put in place are obscene. Childhood is not supposed to be a job.

We can so easily alter our body now through surgeries that we are becoming strangers. We are forgetting that everybody and EVERY BODY is beautiful because we are being told that there is something wrong with the way we look.

That is why NEDA week is so important. That is why I am working so hard to make sure our voices are heard- so we can learn to love ourselves again and support those in need.

If you want to be apart of one of my projects I would absolutely love it. The more people involved, the more people it will reach.

I am compiling a video using footage of those impacted by EDs. Whether you suffer with one or you know someone who suffers, I would love to hear your voice. Tell me how this impacted your life, or why you chose recovery. Tell me something you want everyone to know about EDs.

If this is something that interests you, please contact me at liveliv_EDrecovery@aol.com for more information on this project and for the guidelines for the clips.

I have set up a gofundme as well and all the money raised is going to National Eating Disorder Assoications so we can provide resources to those who need it. In the link you can read more about the campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/eating-disorder-awareness

Thank you for the continuous support and PLEASE SHARE this post so we can get as many people as possible involved.

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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.

Weight Restoration

Being weight restored is a good thing. It is a sign of progress and healing. It is a sign that my body is being fed and I am getting healthy again. Weight restoration is a great thing…but to me, it still feels like one of the worst things ever.

A couple days ago I finally hit the number that I am supposed to be at. I have not seen this number range in about 6 months; so seeing myself back in this range definitely hit me a little too hard.

My first instinct was that everything I did was wrong. That eating what I have been eating is bad for me. I kept telling myself I need to eat less now. I need to work out more. I CANNOT let myself gain more weight.

But then I started to realize that if I keep eating normally I will not continuously gain weight. I am getting to the point where I can maintain a healthy weight, which is good. Heck, its great.

However, dealing with the new number range and being weight restored is still a tough mental battle. I need to let myself know that just because my weight is healthy that it does not make me a failure. It makes me a fighter. It makes me a survivor. I am destroying Ana bite by bite.

When these bad thoughts and ED behaviors come to mind, its when I really need to practice what I learned during inpatient, therapy, treatments, groups, ect. I notice myself getting mean sometimes to people around me. I do not mean to say or act the way I do. It feels like it is Ana inside me trying to pull out any string to fight.

Yesterday Ana tried to convince me to not eat when I got upset over something. However, I realized the only person who is affected by this is ME!!! Hurting myself more does not fix anything! Nor does hurting other people. So while I am going through this rough stage of being weight restored I am going to focus on the things I love.

I am going to spend more time free writing, running, and being with kids. I will enjoy  walking my dog, listening to music, working on my mindfulness wall. I have these healthy ways to combat the negativity and this is what I need to be doing. Feel free to ask me to spend time with you to do any of this stuff. I may not want to talk much, but I will always enjoy the company.

I have gained weight, but that is not what I need to focus on. I need to focus on the other things I have gained. I have gained life back, friendships, and happiness. I have gained hope and energy.I have gained the strength to liv[e].

Fear Food Friday

Wow. It has not been long, but my summer is off to a crazy start. Between juggling close to 40 hours of work a week, 3 online summer classes, focusing on recovery, and keeping up with blogging I am finding myself completely exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, I love the busy lifestyle, but man…I could use a day of sleep.

I did not get to post yesterday about my fear food Friday, but I still did it. One of my ED fighter friends suggested that I make my fear food for the week to be Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. So that is exactly what I did. But that is not all. Today I challenged myself AGAIN by ordering something different at a restaurant I go to often. I always get my “safe” order, but today I got a sandwich (and if you read one of my first articles you might remember how I feel about bread…)

So first on Friday came the ice cream. I was getting mad at myself during the day because I was feeling the symptoms of restricting. I kept feeling like I would pass out which is NOT OKAY. My anorexia cannot affect my job performance so I need to be feeding my body for both the kids and myself.

I went to a pool party later that night and I brought my ice cream with me. So not only was I eating a fear food, I was doing it with friends and wearing a bathing suit. Sure I totally felt like my stomach was blowing up as I scooped in the bites, but after awhile, I was having too much fun to care that I ate some peanut butter cup ice cream (although, I did read the nutritional values) Sure it is not something I will buy often, but it is nice to treat myself. Besides, ice cream tastes pretty good on a 90 degree day.

Overall I would say the ice cream was pretty easy.

Next came my egg salad sandwich (on gluten free bread of course.) challenging to order, but by the time it came I wolfed it down. I took off some of the bread though so I only really had one slice (baby steps.) I was super hungry, but that was also my first meal of the day and I worked two hours before I went. Again something I need to work on—acknowledging the fact that if I am going out to eat later than I do not restrict to compensate. I need to eat normally consistently!

I have an urge to workout right now, but I am trying to fight it. Only because I know that it is Ana that wants to workout right now to make up for the calories.

Overall the challenge foods went really well. I am feeling pretty good today as I write this. I have had some ups and downs this past week, but I can honestly say that I am starting to feel more powerful over Ana (as long as the stupid scale is not around.) Although, I think I came up with a prettttttty good idea for me to break up with the scale. Stay tuned.

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Fear Food Friday- Reese’s

I decided I needed to challenge myself even more, so from this point on, every Friday I will eat something that scares me.

The first time I did a fear food challenge for my blog was with gluten free bread. And guess what? I eventually ate all the bread and the coolest part?? IM STILL ALIVE! Amazing! I can eat food and not gain 9859034853pounds. I can eat food and it won’t kill me!

I had not challenged myself since then. I had an occasional cup of ice cream, but other than that I stuck to what made me feel safe.

SO flashback to me at CVS Wednesday.

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I turned to my bff and said “hey take my picture I need to blog this.” I was really not nervous here. It was kind of a rash decision to buy the chocolate. The dude was waiting for me to give him my debit card, but something inside me said that this is what I need to do. I need the chocolate. Anxiety level at this moment: 1.5/10.

The candy had been sitting in my fridge for a few days and I honestly hoped my mom would accidentally eat it so I wouldn’t have to. She did not eat it. So my anxiety level is at a 4.

Thursday night I drank with some friends so on Friday I was not wanting to eat this candy. I drank my calories yesterday. I needed to cleanse.

I really wasn’t too excited for this. I spent more time taking pictures of myself with the candy bar than eating it, but hey oh well. I had to make sure that post 6 mile walk/run sweaty Liv looked decent enough.

Reese’s used to be my FAVORITE. I want to enjoy them again. Anxiety level 6/10

So once I finally decided the lighting in my pictures was right I went back to the main point of my mission. I tried to think of excuses to avoid eating it. I looked at the packaging to see if I was allergic to it all of a sudden, but there was no way out. I committed to this.

I will just eat one I reassured myself with my anxiety level reaching a 7. I looked at my dog sitting next to me for support and he looked so excited to eat this piece of peanut butter and chocolate. It helped me realize that food is not my enemy. So I took a bite. And guess what? I ate BOTH of them and IT WAS SO DELICIOUS.

Wow! I am still alive, my clothes still fit, and I REALLY enjoyed eating the candy. Overall happiness experience? 10/10.

Any ideas for next Fridays fear food? Leave a comment and let me know!

I Think (insert relation) Has An Eating Disorder

I cannot speak for everyone on this because this is strictly just my opinion. I am NOT an expert so please do not assume what I am saying will work for everyone. Also if you enjoy this post please share this with others. You never know who it could help. 

We never know for certain what someone else is going through. This is a challenging part of life. When someone we care about is hurting we want to do anything to take the pain away. We say things like, “I know how you feel.” But do we really? How can we feel the pain for someone else when we have no idea what their inner demons are like.

It is no different when it comes to eating disorders. People need to understand that EDs are not a phase. It is not a diet or a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders are a serious disease.

Eating disorders affects more people than most of us are aware. Your neighbor, friend, child, the person you sit next to every morning on the train could all be suffering and not even be aware of it. Those fighting with an ED do not know how disordered their relationship with food truly is- and that is what makes this so dangerous.

Only a trained professional should diagnose someone with an ED, but that does not mean you cannot intervene and help this person get the attention he or she needs.

Before you intervene, it is important to ask yourself why. Why do you think this person may have an eating disorder? If your response is “because they just LOOK anorexic” maybe reevaluate and think about more behaviors/symptoms. SKINNY DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL EATING DISORDER.

Maybe you notice at meals they push their food around the plate or always try to avoid eating in public. Maybe they go to the bathroom immediately after meals or you see them working out constantly. Overeating or eating in secret. Obsession with numbers, wearing baggy clothes, becoming less social. Always cold and tired and losing motivation to do things that used to bring so much joy. These are the things to look for- not just the size of the body.

If you notice these behaviors it is important to take action. I try to think back to when I first got help. I had teachers in high school invite me to eat lunch with them. My friends would try to get me to go out with them. No one forced me to eat- it was just encouraged. Sometimes the best way to help someone is to get them to realize on their own that a problem exists. Granted it is much easier said than done, but I was the one who eventually realized that I needed to seek treatment the first time I really began to struggle. Having coaches limit my playing time in games and close friends casually asking me if everything was alright began to help me realize something was wrong.

Sometimes it is okay to be assertive. Sometimes the person suffering may need this more intense wake up call. During relapses I certainly received some lectures that at the time made me so angry. But now I look back and I am so thankful it happened. They may be “mad” at you during that time, but it doesn’t last; soon they will be immensely thankful. I put mad in quotations because it is not your friend that is mad- it is the eating disorder. You acknowledge she exists and she is not ready to lose control.

Eating disorders are a touchy subject, but there is not nearly enough awareness on them. Early intervention can save so many lives. So if you think someone may be struggling try and get them to talk to a professional. Do whatever it takes to get them to be aware that they are sick. It is so important. It is life altering.

He or she may be upset with you at the time, but I would rather have a friend be angry with me for acknowledging they had a problem than dead because the eating disorder won.