“Staying Active in Our Own Recovery”

Like a close friend whom we want to be helpful to, we need to be there for ourselves and continue to cover our bases as our recovery continues. We can do this by staying “plugged-in” to our program of recovery. As our recovery continues and we live symptom-free we will no doubt begin to feel better than we ever have before. It is crucial that we do not become passive in our recovery despite the positive side-effects that our program has done for us. We will need to continue to do the things that are working for us and stay active in our own recovery. This may sound like a bit of a drag. After all do we really need to do these things for the rest of our lives to have a successful recovery? We will surely find that the things we do for our program will become second-nature and we will begin to seek the spiritual growth that they bring us more and more. Our program will become less of a task and more of a lifestyle as we begin to reap the rewards of a healthy spiritual lifestyle. Of course problems will arise in or lives and we may become discouraged, but using our program of action we will hurtle our obstacles and they will become less and less important on our path to recovery. The notion of resorting back to our disordered behaviors will become more and more a fleeting and distant thought the longer we stay active in recovery. The message here is to keep on keeping on, rain or shine, everyday. It isn’t a task that HAS to be done but it is an approach to our journey through life that offers us a better, happier and healthier way than we had before our recovery. Just for today let’s change our perspective on the work that successful recovery demands and see this work as a proven formula for the journey of spiritual growth. Fight the good fight just for today!

“Divorcing Ourselves from Resentment, Fear and Anger”

In recovery it is imperative that we experience peace and positivity. Negative emotions and feelings are what keep us sick. So how do we let go or “get over” the things that bother us and make us resentful, agitated or scared? We can make a great start by understanding that other people are sick too and that nobody is perfect. It is inevitable that people, places and things will bother us in one way or another in our day-to-day lives. While we cannot control these people, places or things we can control ourselves and how we react. When we are mistreated by someone we have to pause and reflect on the fact that they are projecting their own spiritual sickness that makes them feel that they need to act in a way that has hurt us. It is also unlikely that by retaliating with our own anger or frustration they will suddenly realize how they were wrong in doing what they did. Instead we can show them love even when they don’t deserve it because we know better and we realize that they are sick and need help. When someone is angry they are projecting their fear that lies deep within them. They are afraid of either loosing something they already have or not getting something that they want and they lash out using the anger emotion in an attempt to gain some control over the situation. So just for today let’s let go of the negative emotions and replace them with tolerance, understanding and acceptance of the people, places and things in our lives

Support in Recovery

Recovery cannot be successful without a support network of friends who are either in recovery or are supportive of our recovery. We will experience times in our recovery when it won’t feel worth it and we will want to give up. When we experience negative feelings it is crucial that we share our feelings with friends who will understand our struggles and be there for us. A trusted friend of mine once told me that in recovery “if you don’t share your bad feelings with someone your trouble is double”. Meaning that holding in negative emotions and trying to deal with them alone won’t work for us, it will lead us back to old behaviors as a means of coping with the stress. We have to be open and honest with our friends in recovery if we want to receive help for our problems that are sure to come up, even in recovery. When you can talk about your problems to a person who truly understands where you’re coming from, you will feel the strength of true friendship. Your new connections with your friends in recovery will be a constant source of strength and encouragement to see you through the tough times and they will be your friends to celebrate and share your happiness with in the good times. How do we build a network of trusted friends in recovery? Simple, be there for someone else when they need someone to talk to. Reach out to find other people who are also serious about their recovery and offer your friendship to grow with them in recovery. Most of all love yourself and these around you and you will begin to be an attractive friend for the people around you to trust in and to love. Instead of sitting and waiting for friends to come our way we need to be that person for someone else and reach out to others who need a friend and show compassion and love towards all no matter what.

“Stop Being the Victim”

There are probably 1,000 things each day that we can justify our self-pity or point out the faults in others in the way that they treated us. It’s not that we make these things us, people will surely mistreat us at times because no one is perfect, in fact most people are far from perfect and they make mistakes every day. It is okay for the people in our lives to mess-up, we have to cut people a break and most importantly of all cut ourselves a break and let go of the expectation that we should never be mistreated. This thinking will only lead us into resentment for the people around us. When someone is angry at us we have to take a moment and see that they are acting out of fear and they need to experience love and understanding if they are to get better. Anger stems from fear- fear of economic insecurity, social status… etc. Basically we fear that we will lose something we have or thast we will not get something we want because we have made our serenity and happiness contingent on that something we are afraid to not have. When our happiness is contingent only on God and on our relationship with ourselves then no outside issue can disturb it. If we can love ourselves then we can truly begin to love others and not in a co-dependent way. So just for today let’s show the people in our lives unconditional love and in the face of anger, fear and resentment use love to grab hold of the fear and negativity and lay them to rest today.

Insight-Oriented Therapy

   Insight-oriented psychotherapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on developing an understanding of the interanl processes inside oneself. Understanding one’s past relationship connections and how they enter into the here and now, in terms of one’s thoughts/beliefs, felings, and behaviors, is the essence of insight-oriented therapy.

This approach occurs during intimate conversation – between client and others (typically, a therapist trained in this approach), client and self, and client and God/Higher Power. Although “it can be distressing for a person to reveal thoughts and feelings that he or she may experience as embarrassing or shameful” there are great emotional benefits to be had in doing so. The University of Toronto Counseling and Psychological Services states that “insight-oriented psychotherapy can be effective for many clinical conditions including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders and some personality disorders.” It is our belief that in talking out more uncomfortable memories and thoughts, you can make progress in discovering the root issues that have caused the emotional distress both in the past and currently.

Although this approach sounds simple enough it can be very difficult, if not impossible for some clients to reveal their honest troubles to both themselves and their therapists. This approach can only be effective if the client is able to get completely honest with his or her therapist so that the emotional healing process can begin. Insight-oriented psychotherapy, as a practice, relies on the “belief that psychiatric symptoms and patterns of behavior, are partially determined by unconscious forces related to a patient’s early life experience.” We find that clients (especially with ED) have internalized events in their early lifetime and these events subconsciously affect their everyday living and emotional security. In this particular method of therapy the patient “is encouraged to speak as freely as possible while the therapist listens in an empathetic way, paying attention to the felling component of the material including any discomfort or anxiety that the patient experiences.” So it is through an honest and open dialogue that the therapist can help the client to identify underlying issues that may be causing him or her to experience emotional distress. (“Insight-Oriented Psychotherapy”, University of Toronto Counseling and Psychological Services)

When developing insight, it is typically common to experience it in an “a-ha!” or “lightbulb” moment. Many times in my practice, clients typically state, “I’ve never thought of it that way.” When having an insightful mement, it is usually felt by the client as having a “mental shift” that yields a more empowering position in the relationship or situation with which they have been struggling.

Although insight-oriented therapy does not necessarily provide a “cure-all” for eating disordered behaviors, this type of learning, in conjunction with others, can help a client to rationally stop doing a behavior once they understand it. This, ultimately, leads to healing and freedom from the behavior.

“Why Can’t You Just EAT?!?”

That’s what many people say about eating disorders when they don’t understand the problem. I’ve had a friend (in the media) “suggest” that he just “buy them a bunch of Dunkin Donuts.” Those of us who have been personally affected by eating disorders just want to scream at them and let them know that it’s pointless to be told to “just eat something” or “don’t throw up!”

I like to help those who don’t really understand the eating disorder mindset this way: think of something that you have done for a long time, to help you deal with your stress.  Is that having a beer or two? Sitting in front of the TV to relax? Smoking?  Even something healthy, like exercise?

Now, I’d like for you to stop doing that thing:  You have 3 days (or 5 days) to stop.  GO!

This is exactly what people with eating disorders are expected to do when they are placed in a hospital setting.  Many times, insurance companies will only allow them 2-3 days at a time, even if they are struggling significantly and need more long-term care.  I’ve even had clients who struggle with bulimia be denied for inpatient treatment because they don’t meet the “weight criteria” – for those who understand eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa is the only eating disorder that has a weight criteria, not Bulimia Nervosa.

These are but a few of the many significant issues that those with eating disorders face when trying to get treatment.  This is why the Manna Fund exists – to help those who have life-threatening eating disorders obtain treatment when they otherwise could not.

We would love to put each of the 25+ applicants (per quarter) who need such care into treatment – and, God willing, we will someday.  At this point in time, we are asking for small, monthly contributions to help maintain Manna Fund, as well as large, corporate donations to help put these individuals in treatment today.

Remember – just as those with other medical issues didn’t “ask for it”, people with eating disorders don’t either.  There are no easy cures for those with eating disorders.  However, your financial gift, regardless of how small, can help support someone get that very intensive, expensive treatment that can save their life!

Welcome to Talk It Out!

We are thrilled that you are taking “Talk It Out” for a spin!  This is where you can spend time writing out your thoughts, exploring underlying issues, and expressing yourself…in other words, “Talk it OUT!”  We understand that you may feel a lot of shame, pain, and other uncomfortable feelings that are difficult to share, and we want you to have a “safe space” to express yourself.

There are various ways to express yourself within this page.  Starting at the top left, there’s a “Postcards” icon where you can create visual pictures.  This is used with the “Whiteboard” icon. You may upload your own photos or draw your own.  Once you have created your image, you may save the postcard, save the images you have uploaded, and choose what to do with them.  Creating the postcards is done on the whiteboard application, which has many different features for creation – the possibilities are endless!

Have a need to connect with others? We have created, inside of our “Chat Room” the ability to join different conversations around eating disorders!  As a person with an eating disorder, a loved one of someone with an eating disorder, or someone who’s curious, we have provider-led “Tables” for you to access and join in on the discussion.  All questions and responses are moderated and filtered through the table leader.

Finally, inside the “Safe Space” is a clock.  This Recovery Clock is designed to help you track your eating disordered recovery time.  You can start, pause, and restart your clock to help you understand your recovery process!

We also have other “pieces” to the Safe Space that we are working on for more information and accuracy for your recovery for future release.  So stay in recovery and keep on going, even when you feel you can’t!  YOU are worth it!

A note from the developers…

Hi.  Genie here.

I wanted to thank you for exploring our new concept in helping those with eating disorders and their loved ones gain access to care when they otherwise cannot.  I’m extremely excited and hopeful that this new website will be a “go to” for anyone affected by an eating disorder.

However, while we are “under construction”, please send any feedback that you have to us:  We would love to hear your thoughts on how we can improve the site!