Addiction

What are you addicted to? 

Is there anything you can’t help but regulate or monitor? Or is there something you couldn’t see your life without because you enjoy doing it so much? I think we all have traits that others could define as characteristics of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder): a pattern of thoughts or behaviors that are almost ritual-like. I was addicted to and obsessed with monitoring my calories and pursuing my dream thin body, no matter what it takes, regardless of the consequences.

 

Ironically, I currently work as a drug recovery worker, helping people to overcome their addiction to drugs and alcohol. I advise people on how to get over their addictions by encouraging motivation, identifying triggers and coping strategies, and outlining the benefits of changing their life. But, as I said previously if they don’t want to change for themselves, they are never going to. I see it every day in front of me. People ignore the consequences of their behaviors and focus on what they see as the positives, regardless of how short-term they are.

 

I was exactly the same. I didn’t even believe I had a problem and was in complete denial. You get so caught up in your behaviors that justify the goal that you fail to see what everyone else around you can see and ignore the negative impacts the ‘means’ are having on your wellbeing. You have retrained your thoughts to believe what you are telling them and suddenly any other needs are thrown out of the window. You haven’t even reached ambivalence yet because you haven’t accepted there is an issue to argue over. If I didn’t enjoy doing what I was doing (to a point) I would never have done it. To get pleasure out of doing something to yourself that is in reality so toxic is hard to imagine to an outsider. But to yourself, you deem your actions as rewarding. But what is so rewarding about this never-ending cycle of deceit and denial?

 

If you have accepted there’s an issue with something in your life and ambivalence has kicked in then you’ll know it’s time to change. Find something far more rewarding. Do something amazing. I want to use my experiences and my journey of change to help motivate others to do the same, no matter what they are facing, by inspiring hope and positivity. You are capable of whatever you believe. Don’t let your addictions take you away from you.

Amy Whittle

My name is Amy, I’m 22, and I’ve been living with an eating disorder on and off for 9 years. A few months ago I was finally honest about it with my loved ones. I am now on my challenging journey through recovery and have started an online blog to help aid me along the way and hopefully provide some positivity and motivation for others who are going through a similar thing.

What Do You See In The Mirror?

If you think about it, when we look in a mirror we see a reflection of ourselves, so do we actually ever see our true image, as others who look at us do?

It’s like when you walk into a room and you feel as though every person is staring at you, so naturally, your anxiety is through the roof. You might believe every person in the room is watching you, judging, as you become more and more uncomfortable. But in reality, when it’s you gazing across the room, do you actually ever judge or even notice every person that walks in?

When I look in the mirror I’m not sure what I really see. I can’t stare at my reflection for too long because I start to pick out all the bits that I don’t like and I have to step away before the negativity floods in. This is something that I am working on every day and trying to change. I have even started standing in front of a mirror and smiling every morning for a few minutes.

It might sound ridiculous, but give it a try!

I often laugh at how ridiculous I must look. As the weeks have gone on, I am starting to smile back at myself and really mean it. After all, how can we expect anyone else to love us if we don’t really love ourselves?

Why do so many of us avoid mirrors and photos? Why do we prefer a certain angle or a certain side for a photo to be taken on? Is it because society has created a demand for the perfect angle, the perfect selfie, or the perfect filter?

Why do we criticise and compare ourselves to other people? This is a habit I am trying to break myself, as I can’t help but judge my self-worth on other people’s appearance as they walk into a room or they pop up on my social media feed. I feel self-awareness is important because it instills uniqueness and prevents following the crowd and trying to blend in. I’ve often heard myself saying ‘how can someone lack so much self-awareness?’ but now I realize that I have expressed my opinion in the completely wrong context. Just because you believe someone may lack self-awareness does not mean that they do. Perhaps they are just so confident and content with themselves and their personality that they don’t care about other people’s opinions and don’t spend their life worrying what others might think. Perhaps then, it is those that we believe to lack self-awareness that has, in reality, concurred it, as they live their lives in complete contempt.

Perhaps it is also those that we feel stand out that can look confidently in the mirror each day, smiling back at their reflection, truly happy with their existence in the world and truly proud of who they are.

Amy Whittle

My name is Amy, I’m 22, and I’ve been living with an eating disorder on and off for 9 years. A few months ago I was finally honest about it with my loved ones. I am now on my challenging journey through recovery and have started an online blog to help aid me along the way and hopefully provide some positivity and motivation for others who are going through a similar thing.

Assess Your Motivations

You want to change something about yourself or something in your life.

So… why haven’t you done it yet?

Why hasn’t it happened?

Ask yourself why. Do you have any motivations? Or do your motivations not feel important enough to pursue the change?

If I asked myself 6 months ago, or a year ago (or at any time whilst I was in denial about EDNOS), I would have said that my main motivation in life was be thin and stay thin. After all, I thought that being thin was the route of my happiness. But at what cost? By damaging my mentality and wellbeing? Just because somebody appears to look healthy, or happy for that matter, it doesn’t mean that they are. If you are happy with every aspect of your life within your control then you, my friend, have won your inner battle and faced your fears. If you are sat questioning why you aren’t, then ask yourself whether you’ve allowed ambivalence to steal your power for too long. Why are you afraid to make the change?

Think of something in your life that you aren’t completely happy with. Make a list of what motivates you to change it. Now write down all the reasons why you haven’t started to make that change yet. Are the reasons listed in front of you actually good, or are they simply just excuses? What are you afraid of? Something in your brain is telling you what might happen, what might go wrong, how it’s not possible. Stop listening to ambivalence and take note of what you could be faced with, what you can overcome, how you will pursue it. It is possible.

If I ask myself what motivates me to get over this eating disorder I could say several things. My partner is the main one – I don’t want to lie to him anymore or cause him any more upset. Our relationship is better than ever. I don’t want my hair to fall out again now it’s started to repair itself. I want children at some point and considering I now don’t seem to have periods and have been recently diagnosed with polycystic ovaries (PCOS), I realize how important it is to keep my body healthy.

I could go on, but my list would still be missing one significant thing at the top. ME. You can’t change yourself for anyone or anything but yourself, no matter how important the other factors may seem. You have to want to do it for YOU. Yes all the other motivators are an important part of the change but ultimately, if you don’t actually want to do something, you’re never going to do it and it will never change. You must be driven from within. I will learn to defeat ambivalence and I will change.

It’s hard to picture a new way of life when giving into your ambivalence is all you’ve known for so long. I’m still coming to terms with it myself. But aren’t we stronger than that doubtful voice muttering inside our head? Think about it…what do you really have to lose? There is so much more out there if you open yourself up to the possibility of something new. Make a new list of what you WILL achieve with change. Happiness is only the very start of it.

Amy Whittle

My name is Amy, I’m 22, and I’ve been living with an eating disorder on and off for 9 years. A few months ago I was finally honest about it with my loved ones. I am now on my challenging journey through recovery and have started an online blog to help aid me along the way and hopefully provide some positivity and motivation for others who are going through a similar thing.

Start By Being Honest

An obvious title, right?

Sorry to say it, but as scary as it may seem right now, being honest with yourself is the hardest yet most essential part of recovery.

Some of you reading this probably aren’t even sure what you need to be honest about yet. But by asking yourself that very question you may be one step closer than you realize to changing your life for the better.

Take a minute. Why did you click on this? Perhaps you can relate to me, are interested in my other posts, or are wondering where to go next. I never searched for anything eating disorder related until after I spoke out to my loved ones and accepted I ‘might’ have a problem.

Once I had, I found out so much more about myself that I’d never before taken notice of. I have started to recognize what it is saying and I am learning to overlook its negative thoughts and replace them with my own feelings of love, positivity, and happiness. I will be honest and say yes I am ambivalent about facing my disorder, but I know it’s because I’m scared to face my fears. That is how I know I’m still learning to recover. After all, anyone can give advice, but we all know the hardest advice to take is your own.

So you’ve started to read this and have opened yourself up to the idea that you might have a problem, you might need support, you might want to change. Trust in yourself. You know it’s time to be honest. If you haven’t yet said whatever it is out loud, then say it now…

Hard isn’t it. Do you hear that ambivalence shouting out? ‘What problem’. ‘What eating disorder’. You’ve become the master of deceit, a liar by default, and all because of what? You’ve listened to it for too long. All this covering up has become exhausting. I don’t want to trick myself anymore and I don’t want to produce anymore lies. Don’t rob yourself of your true identity. Don’t con everyone around you that you aren’t suffering. It’s okay to be human…we all have our hang-ups.

If you don’t feel ready yet to share your story with someone you trust, then for now just respect yourself enough to be open and honest about what’s really going on.

Write it down. Say it out loud. You are not alone.

It’s time to take back control, instill your inner power, and begin your journey of happiness. A whole new world of excitement, love, and laughter is out there waiting for you.

Amy Whittle

My name is Amy, I’m 22, and I’ve been living with an eating disorder on and off for 9 years. A few months ago I was finally honest about it with my loved ones. I am now on my challenging journey through recovery and have started an online blog to help aid me along the way and hopefully provide some positivity and motivation for others who are going through a similar thing.

The Unsocial Reality of ‘Social’ Media

What’s actually social about ‘social’ media?

Sitting behind a screen and flicking through other people’s lives is far from ‘social’, and if you’re anything like me, I feel far from sociable after a fair few scrolls.

Another night of half watching TV whilst numbingly swiping through my Instagram and Facebook feed and I’m wondering why I’m feeling low all curled up in bed on an evening…again.

It’s taken me a long time to realize there is a pattern establishing here, but tonight, as I’m reflecting more on my thoughts and feelings, I’m 99% sure that I’ve seen a skinny girl in an amazing dress and that has triggered my current pit of despair.  Oh yes, there she is. Wow, and another angle.

Either consciously or subconsciously I’ve probably done this more times than I can even remember and I know I’m likely not the only one. You can’t help but compare yourself to these people online. Whether it’s a mate, or a celeb, or simply someone you haven’t seen since school, for some reason we feel the need to follow their life publicised via social media. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising these people for uploading body shots. Hey, who doesn’t enjoy posting the odd selfie? But it is this readily available platform for comparison and self-criticism that enables individuals’ body image and self-esteem to plummet day-in-day-out. It’s a force of habit. I don’t even flick through these ‘stories’ out of interest, (the art of scrolling seems to have become second nature), so why am I letting it impact on my self-esteem and body image so much?

I’ve decided to help myself on my journey of recovery. I’m putting down my phone and I’m banning myself from the torture of scrolling through endless feeds every night. I need to take back control of my emotions and start accepting that if I can’t stop comparing myself to every other girl out there then how am I ever meant to accept myself for who I am. We should embrace individuality and learn to love ourselves for ourselves. I should be able to appreciate other peoples’ attractiveness without feeling threatened. I should be able to walk into a bar, confident with my appearance, without feeling intimidated by every other girl in sight. Stop comparing your ‘likes’ to hers. What the hell does a pixelated number count for anyway? Your thoughts are what makes you, and with the right set of positive ones, you might just start to recognize how amazing you really do look today, and every other day for that matter!

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Whittle

My name is Amy, I’m 22, and I’ve been living with an eating disorder on and off for 9 years. A few months ago I was finally honest about it with my loved ones. I am now on my challenging journey through recovery and have started an online blog to help aid me along the way and hopefully provide some positivity and motivation for others who are going through a similar thing.