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Hiking and just living in a ‘flow’

Hi there! I hope you’re all having a good Thursday thus far and ready for a nice weekend ahead. Hopefully good weather in the forecast wherever you may happen to live, NH is looking like solid string of 80’s and sunshine this weekend – so that’s definitely beneficial for that vitamin D requirement. Can we just talk for a quick second about how it’s almost the third week of August and school starts in less than three weeks!?! Uhhhh. OK. Not sure how I feel about that, more to come on fall happenings later, but for now… I’m just leaving it with the fact that I am convinced time actually is moving faster and there are only 20 hours in a day. Plausible theory in my humble opinion. Thoughts?!

Onto hiking. It’s something I’ve enjoyed since a fairly young age. Being outdoors for me is insanely therapeutic, add in a mountain and I’m blissed out for days. Growing up my family went camping regularly (close to every weekend May-October) and even took some week-long trips. These always included kayaking, hiking, and general exploring. Having not been involved at all in the past few years, it’s safe to say my craving for some major outdoor time was high. Last weekend I had the chance to head up just north of Conway NH and hike Mt. Jackson with a good friend. The weather was phenomenal (sunny and 70’s), there weren’t a ton of people, and the hike itself was gorgeous.

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It was a weekend that helped me remember why I am doing the things I am doing. For me, hiking is both an escape from reality because you literally are in the middle of no-where climbing a mountain, but also a grounding. It takes me back to what I refer to as my ‘core being’ and gives my soul a hefty dose of excitement. There is just something freeing about being in nature, using nothing but your own two feet and energy, and setting out for a day of adventure. It’s an experience that I’m grateful I’m able to have and partially bummed that I haven’t taken the time over the past couple years to take day trips for myself. Definitely an eye-opening weekend in terms of balance, mental clarity, physical health, and future goals.

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The hike itself was awesome. Mt.Jackson is one of NH’s 4000 footers with a 360 view at the summit. From the trailhead the path is fairly windy, lots of roots, and some rocks – highly typical. About mid-way up the mountain the path takes a lot of corners, there are considerably more rocks and some rock scrambles, and even some down-hill areas (minor, but, in which my friend and I kept looking at each other like “really, this again?”…). The final bit leading to the summit was fairly short however a pretty steep rock section, but once you are up there boy the sights are so incredible and worth it. Hiking, for me, is a love-hate relationship. Starting off at the trailhead, I’m excited, inspired, and ready to have a great day. In the middle of the hike when I start to get a little tired and just want to get to the summit I find my mind will wander a lot, I’ll lose my focus a tad, and even get a little anxious to summit. When very close to the top, I usually find myself having bursts of energy because I want to finish so badly. Then finally, at the summit, I’m just purely inspired and full of joy. It’s a process. It’s a process which reminds me of life. Life will excite you and motivate you, but it will also tear you down and that is when you absolutely need to just KEEP GOING in order to reach your goals.

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Crow pose on the summit, had to do it. 😉 #meatheadyogi

Living in a flow… To me this is having the ability to go with the flow on a day to day basis. It’s not panicking about the little things but rather accepting them as they come. It’s not planning every single second of every single day which is something I fall victim to verrrrrrrrry easily (and often, to be honest). While I completely dig the concept of living in a flow, it’s not natural for me even as much as it would be a huge benefit for me. It’s a philosophy that I’m working hard on adopting but that feels so incredibly impossible because it is not what I am used to. However, I will say that I find the days when I’m less anxious and more focused on my goals – those are the days which are less intensely planned. They are the days which motivate me on keeping an effort going on living in a flow.

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “wasn’t she just talking about hiking? What does living in a flow have to do with hiking?!!”. Good question. I found that on my most recent hiking trip, while it was still amazing, I really tried to have it all planned out. This definitely removed a lot of the enjoyment from this trip because I was so wrapped up in my own mind and unable to fully accept and enjoy the moment at hand. With hiking being something that I grew up loving so much it really got me thinking about my life, my priorities, and my goals. This trip was definitely one that I needed, it helped ground me so that I could take a broader look at my life. Why do I feel it’s necessary to plan everything (and I mean everything) out? Why do I always need to be in control? Questions to ponder. Questions that I am still working on answering. I think a lot of it comes back to my childhood anxiety and that need to feel in control. I’ve been on this self-healing journey for a while now, and I’ve come miles, but still have miles to travel. And that is OK because as I like to say… progress is a process. You learn by living through hard times and working through them. Living in a flow, living true to your soul – it’s easier said than done especially when it’s the complete opposite of how most of my life has been played out to this point. But I’m not giving up.

 

You will either step forward into growth, or back into safety.” – Abraham Maslow

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MIA and staying on the better path

Hi there! It’s been quite some time since I’ve been active on here. Over the past month I kept considering posting but choose not to do so ultimately because I wasn’t mentally there. It’s been a rough few months and admittedly I fell into the trap with my recovery of thinking I had been solid for over a year, and therefore I was “fine” and completely solid. Nope, cracks still exist.

Over the last bit I’ve been trying to accept that those cracks still exist and that I am not perfect in my recovery and that by trying to be so I will end up falling back rather than keeping going on the better path. Maybe I’ll always have those things that get me, and honestly after 10 years I probably will. Many times people think someone with a mental illness is good after treatment. That could not be further from the truth in most cases. Sure, they are better. Sure, they are functioning with society. But it’s still there. It’s called an illness for a reason. It doesn’t just magically go away.

I am a hell of a lot more aware of myself and my actions now than I ever have been in my life. I’m motivated. I’m hitting goals. I’m stronger mentally. I’m stronger physically. I’m stronger emotionally. BUT I still have cracks.

I’m grateful that I’ve been able to re-focus myself and see that what I was doing was just spiraling me backwards. Maladaptive behaviors are my high. They are numbing. They make me not feel my feelings. They make every problem go away because I get so wrapped up and consumed inside myself. One thing that has taken me forever to take away from my experience is that living in that high isn’t living. It’s self-limiting. It’s dangerous. It’s not worth it. It’s the opposite of what I actually truly want to be doing.

That’s why it’s referred to as an addiction. It is.

But breaking that? breaking those habits. breaking the cycle… that is living. That is pursing life and goals and hope and healing. It’s better. It’s life.

Right now I’m extremely focused on filling those cracks. I’m not trying to make them go away, I know they will always be with me, but I’m trying to bury them deeper. At this point in my life I am actively letting go of my past because it no longer serves me anything but instead I now see it’s hurting me more than I ever was aware of.

Right now, I’m focusing on just living. After all, it’s life.

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Being committed to recovery means that

If there was one single tidbit of advice (ok, two) that I could give out to those struggling with an eating disorder pursing their recovery it would be… that recovery is being committed to yourself, to the pursuit of your health (mental, emotional, physical), to overcoming those demons and striving to thrive in life rather than destroy yourself. Second, you’re not a failure if you go backwards and you’re not a failure if you don’t go backwards.

When I was in treatment a few years ago the hardest part for me at first was committing to myself. Sure I was the one who made the phone call, I drove down by myself for my intake, I went to all the meetings and necessary steps to get into the program. But at that point I wasn’t fully there. I knew it was what I needed, but not fully what I wanted. It was what was going to hopefully save my life, but I needed to commit myself to doing so. While I was going to have the support, that support would mean nothing more than guidance and short term love if I weren’t able to continue on with the process afterwards and always. I think recovery is a life long process. Treatment, therapy, groups, support networks, ect. – they teach the necessary tools for self-care, respect, and healing. But they don’t do the work. Only when the person who is struggling is ready at the level where they can commit themselves to the pursuit of healing and self-care can the fullest recovery process begin to unfold.

It’s tricky. I’m not going to short-hand that and say that this process is easy by any means. It’s the hardest thing I ever did and continue to do. I cannot even begin to express the variations of recovery I have seen and I think that is an extremely important point as well – everyone’s version of full recovery is different. By the books I’m recovered. However, I don’t really tend to associate with that, I say I’m in remission. For me that’s what works. I think finding that way, whatever it is, to keep yourself on the good road is what ultimately counts rather than throwing a label on it.

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Another really big hurdle for me was one I hit once I was full heartedly sure that I wanted recovery for myself… keeping that mindset. Keeping that focus, that drive; the relentless desire to heal. Writing down a list of what being committed to my recovery meant for me helped a lot in staying on a positive road. Here’s what worked for me, maybe it’ll work for you or someone you know who is struggling, maybe it won’t. That’s ok.

  • Tuning in and listening to what my body tells me.
  • Accepting where I am, and accepting where I want to go.
  • Knowing that having temptations, urges, and triggers is normal. Realizing that I don’t have to give in to them. Accepting that if I do, it’s not an end all be all. It’s a stepping stone.
  • Remembering to always ask for help when needed, it isn’t a sign of weakness rather a sign of strength. To know that you need help shows strength and courage. It’s hard, but it’s something everyone needs at some point or another in life.
  • I will place my health and my wellbeing first. After all, I’m my number one. In the end, it’s me for me. This is the only body and the only life I will be given, it’s my duty to honor both of those.
  • That I will get enough sleep. Trust me, it helps.
  • That while I may want to [inert negative behavior here], I will try my hardest to not. Whether this means reaching out, journaling, taking a walk, ect.
  • Being completely honest with my support system. It’s for the best, no matter what. This was hard for me in the beginning. I didn’t want to be completely vulnerable. I held stuff back. I wanted things to seem better than they were. What really helped me though was when I just “gave in” and made myself an open book so to speak.
  • Doing everything in my power to take care of my body in terms of both physical and mental health. This may include:
    • seeking a treatment program, therapist, nutritionist, group-therapy, ect.
    • yoga
    • meditation
    • journaling
    • practicing mindfulness
    • spending quality time with friends and/or family

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There are so many more things I could list, endless really. Those are the main points which helped me on my journey to reach a place where I am thriving, living my life, and loving all that I’m doing. I want any of you who are going through this process to know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you. You will achieve recovery if that is what you want. You don’t need to want it at first, I don’t think that’s essential. I think knowing you need it is. Wanting comes after. It’s that whole pre-contemplation –> contemplation –> action concept.

“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.” – Nathan W. Morris

XO, S