Tag Archives: college

Power Naps and 5-Minute Workouts

Saturday, I was feeling really sad.

Honestly, I’m not sure what was going on. Probably a mix of being tired, nervous for a play I was acting in that day, overwhelmed by schoolwork, and all the usual other college-related stressors.

One of my good friends asked if I was okay, and if I wanted to talk. I didn’t. I didn’t have anything that needed to be said, nothing was really wrong. When I realized that, I knew I needed to do something to shake the clouded feeling that had taken over me.

In my years of struggling with depression, I know that when you have the cloud feeling but nothing is wrong, the only way to fix it is to stop whatever it is you are doing and take a moment for yourself. You can try to power through the feeling, but it won’t go away. I promise.

Saturday, I stopped, took a 20 minute nap, then woke my body up right after with one of the videos from the 5-Minute Workout Anywhere series (click for link–they’re pretty funny).

After doing those two things, which only took a half hour of my day, I was feeling exponentially better. Good, even! Excited! Ready to continue with everything I needed to do!

Yes, doing those two things took a half hour from what I had been planning on doing. But I know the increased productivity and happiness that came from my nap and “workout” were absolutely worth that half hour.

For me, Saturday was a good reminder that taking care of yourself is worth every minute.

Easier said than done? Yes, of course. But I am going to try.

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I like to pretend…

“I guess I like to pretend I don’t have this problem.”

I’ll be studying abroad in Hungary in the fall, and was discussing logistics about it during my psychiatry check-in this morning. I was feeling really good and comfortable with the plan we were working out–we figured out how I will get my prescriptions–but then she said to me:

“Yes. But what will you do if you are all the way in Eastern Europe on your own and you become symptomatic again?”

Oh.

I have no clue how, but that concept had completely slipped my mind. I had literally given no thought to what I would do if I was abroad and wasn’t okay anymore. I guess I like to pretend I don’t have this problem.

Even with my disordered eating habits, I have been doing so much better this year than ever before in my adult life. I feel so stable, so good, so in control of myself right now. I take my meds when I wake up, I go to nutrition and counseling check-ups, exercise, write in my diary, keep my food logs– I’ve found a self-care routine that’s working.

For the first time in my adult life, I know what it feels like to not live in constant fear of my illness.

I know I am so blessed and lucky to be able to say that. I never thought I would. But my appointment today gave me the necessary reminder that I will always, always have this part of me.

I will never outgrow my mental illness.

I will never be cured of my mental illness.

My mental illness will always be a part of who I am, and something I will always carry with me– even as far away as Hungary.

I’ve already had six years to try to reconcile myself with my illness, and even so, I’m still trying not to be angry about it.

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Food Logs

I am doing a lot better. From the beginning of this semester, I met with our college nutritionist every week for about a month, then every other week, and have now “graduated” to once a month.

I have been keeping a food log this entire time, recording specifics of what I eat as well as my feelings and reactions to food. It makes nutrition appointments really easy– every meeting we start out by looking at my log. She can see what I consumed and how I felt about it in “real-time.” There’s no forgetting what happened since the last appointment, and no hiding certain meals/lack of meals.

My food log is helping me transition my obsession with food from an unhealthy restriction of what I will allow myself to put into my body towards a healthy awareness of what I am eating and why.

I have been using my food log as a crutch–but honestly I think that’s okay. In the beginning, I needed it. I needed my food log to give me something to obsess over as I tried to increase my food intake. Now I just like it. Sometimes I even forget to log, and that doesn’t bother me anymore. That’s one of the ways I know I’m doing better. But I like having someplace to reflect on food and notice how my emotions impact what I eat. My log is helping me to enjoy food again.

For anyone who has kept a food log: Were you forced to use it? Was it helpful? Do you continue to use it?

One of my recent food log reflections:
I have really not been concerned much with food, exercise, and weight recently. I feel happy and calm and comfortable with my body. I have accomplished one of my goals– to feel less anxiety surrounding food. It is still there sometimes, it still exists, but I feel that I now have enough knowledge about myself and healthy eating habits as well as tools to be okay. I fear that this might not be the case tomorrow or next week or in six months, but I can deal with that when it happens. My food choices and habits are definitely different now than ‘before,’ but I think that it okay. I think I am okay.

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My Food Log

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I wish I could tell you how much you’ve hurt me.

What do you do when the person you normally trust with things suddenly becomes the problem? When the person you love most becomes the person you need help dealing with?

It happens over and over. For me, two of the big ones:

Breaking up with my boyfriend.
My first reaction was to call him and tell him some jerk guy broke my heart. Then I remembered that it was him.

My anorexic best friend.
I usually talk to her about everything. She knows all my secrets and I know hers. But now, just looking at her makes me feel sick. It makes me so sad and it makes me feel angry. Angry at the world, angry at her parents, angry at everyone who has ever hurt her– now they’ve hurt me, too.

Time heals. With those two, my best friend is in recovery and we’re now as close as ever before. With my ex, we don’t talk anymore, but I’m okay with that. I’ve moved on.

But how long does it take to heal? And what do you do in the meantime?

This past weekend another relationship has broken for me. To simplify a complicated situation, I spent a very long night taking care of a very drunk best friend. She is okay, but it took more out of me both physically and mentally than I had. I’ve now shut down and am trying to recover and find my life again. I’m really hurt by the way things happened, and I’m really angry.

I hate being angry with her– I still love her so much. But right now I am not okay.

I have other friends who I’m talking to. I am taking care of myself. Everything will heal in time.

How long will it take? What do I need to do? I’m an impatient person.

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Food Goals

My nutrition appointment actually went really well! I like our school’s nutritionist a lot. I talked to her for an hour about my history, where I am right now eating-wise, and where I want to be:

I have struggled with depression/suicide/self-injury/etc. I am restricting. I want to be able to eat without feeling overwhelmed.

I liked talking to her because I never felt like she was judging me. It is so refreshing to be in a safe space like that– where you can admit that you self-harm, take meds, aren’t eating … and the other person doesn’t stare at you like you’re a sick puppy. She asks what has helped me cope in the past, and how can we apply those methods to this new problem?

We came up with three goals for me to work on this week. They are easy. Right now she is not asking me to change the way I eat my meals, which I appreciate because honestly I don’t think I am capable of that at this point. My big goal is basically to stop being hungry all the time. I want to do that. I think I can.

My three nutrition goals for this week:

  1. Snacks. I am adding in 2 snacks to my regular 3 meals. One at 3pm and one at 9:30pm. Something that has helped me cope with stress in the past is having a very specific schedule that includes self-care on it (eat, shower, go to the gym, watch TV). I am able to follow my self-care schedule, even though I struggle to do those things otherwise.
  2. Challenge Day. Right now, my eating involves obsessive pre-planning of all my meals. I look at the menus for our dining halls before I go, and decide what and how much of it I will eat. I might plan all three of my meals for a day the night before. I don’t like doing it, either– it stresses me out. I want to stop. I am attempting to have one challenge day this week where I don’t look at the menus or pre-plan my meal.
  3. Read. She gave me a reading list of some books relating to disordered eating and body image. The one she recommended to me was Eating in the Light of the Moon. I’ve started it– it’s about women reclaiming their feminine body and improving their relationship with food. As a women’s college & gender studies student, I’m not sure how I feel about the whole femininity thing, but I’ll give it a shot. I take all of these mental illness books “with salt” anyway.
    Has anyone read it? What do you think?

So far this week, I have been doing pretty well. I am taking my snacks, and eating them, and it’s nice not feeling hungry. I have more energy.

However, I wasn’t as good today: It’s 5:00, and I’m really hungry. I have a headache and my stomach hurts because I haven’t eaten enough. I missed my afternoon snack because I forgot to put it in my backpack when I left this morning (I’m still trying to get used to having nutrition goals), so I haven’t eaten anything in 5 hours. And even so I can’t make myself eat.

This just proves to me how important my scheduled meals and snacks are right now. One would think I would be able to eat my snack now since I missed it, but my brain won’t let me. It’s not 3:30. I physically cannot do it, even though choosing not to do it (as if it’s a choice) is making me feel sick.

But, overall, I feel positive about where I am emotionally right now.

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“…loved your baby feet.”

I have not been doing well.

Depression-wise, I’m fine. I’m not depressed. But my disordered eating has taken itself to a new level.

I’ve now lost 15 pounds since a year ago this time, and I’ve stopped eating enough food. I eat small meals, and close to nothing in between. I’m not eating enough, I know I’m not eating enough, I’m always trying to convince myself I’m not hungry–but I don’t want to stop. I want to keep losing weight.

As I said in an earlier post, the idea of disordered eating is nothing new to me. I have writings and journal entries from the past 2-3 years about my struggles with food:

I told her that what I wanted most for my birthday was to be able to eat my birthday cake without feeling sick, nauseous, and guilty for doing so.

Before I can fall asleep, I have to make a mental list of everything I ate that day.

I can’t look at anyone without judging if I think they’re thinner than me or about my size, and then spending time deciding if I’m okay with that.

But I have hit a new low now. I am still very much within a healthy weight range for my height, but I now weigh less than I did in high school, even when I was an athlete.

My best friend from high school suffers from anorexia. I talk to her about everything, and when I told her how I am doing eating-wise, she made me promise her I would go see our school’s nutritionist. I have an appointment, and I don’t want it, but I’ll keep it for her.

 I think I don’t know how not to be emotionally sick.

As a side-note, one of my friends showed me Mary Lambert the other day.
I really connect with her poem Body Love.

“Love your body like your mother loved your baby feet.”

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