Food and unhealthy eating habits

I’ve got an interesting relationship with food.

Sometimes when I’m stressed or overwhelmed, I’ll eat EVERYTHING in sight.

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Sometimes when I’m upset or sad, I won’t touch food for days.

Sometimes when I’m at my lowest, I’ll purge everything that I’ve eaten.

The beginning of this blog happened during one such food fast.

My heart had been broken (once again) by an ex. I spent a whole day not eating anything. I just drank a lot of water when my stomach grumbled, because I felt so nauseous I couldn’t eat.

This pattern continued for the next few days, though I broke my fast by snacking on the occasional cookie or apple.

I felt empty and hollow.

I have such a love for food. I love trying new things and eating all sorts of cuisine. So many of my best childhood memories involve the kitchen and delicious food.

Food has become a great way to celebrate. In college, after major accomplishments, like surviving finals week or landing that internship, my friends and I would celebrate with getting a bite to eat somewhere special.

Somehow along the way, my relationship with food got dangerously intertwined with my mental health.

Depending on how mentally unbalanced I am, I will either not be able to eat or not be able to stop eating. While the height of my struggle with eating disorders was with bulimia one particular summer in high school, I still struggle with it to this day.

I’ve tried to keep a food diary using a site called myfitnesstracker.com in order to count calories to ensure that I’m not getting too much or too little. It’s one way I try to keep myself accountable for what I’m eating and not let myself slip too far one way.

When I find myself struggling to keep up with that, I found that opening up about those struggles to my close friends helped a lot. I would check in with them to make sure I was eating healthy and they would encourage me to treat my body properly.

This summer I have struggled with that greatly as my depression has settled on my heavily. I can’t tell you of a single day over the summer where I had three full healthy meals.

And it’s a cyclical system because not eating well means I have no energy which means I can’t get anything accomplished which means I feel bad about myself.

I need to find a way to bring myself back to a healthy relationship with food; where I view it not as a reward nor as an indulgence.

~ Kayla

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Link Round-Up [2.24.17]

J.E.R.M. – a new mental health acronym

Talking Mental Health with Josh Sundquist | 100 Days, 100 Days – YouTube

Journal, exercise, reading and meditation. Those four words are the corner stone of Josh Sundquist’s daily mental health routine. In this video Josh talks about his struggle with cancer, losing his leg and how he stays motivated.

You have a beautiful body

Beautiful Body (Natalie Poetry) – Salome Hein, Youtube

I’ve always found such beauty in poetry and I love finding spoken word and slam poetry that resonates. I love this piece because of the rhythm and the repetition of the words “you have a beautiful body” repeat and crescendo until a little part of me couldn’t help but believe that yes, I do have a beautiful body.

“I will repeat these words until I am no longer reluctant
Until these words are a given
Until they are no longer foreign in my mouth”

You don’t have to be skinny to live your life happy

I’m not skinny anymore – Nanalew, Youtube

Shawna talks about the pressure and stress of gaining weight as a youtuber and touches on the idea of positive and negative body stress.

“Your worth is not in your weight, your worth is not in a number.”

Body shaming is powerful and devastating

After a fairly lovely first date with a guy I’d met on OkCupid, I received one of the most unbelievable phone calls of my life.

He had just dropped me off at my apartment, only to call me 15 minutes later on the phone.

He started off the conversation saying that he really liked me, but before things went any further, he wanted to ask me something to see what I thought.

He asked me if I would be willing to lose weight to be with him.

I was flabbergasted, mortified and completely caught off guard.

It didn’t help that I’ve struggled with body image and weight issues in the past. I’ve battled with an eating disorder. It didn’t help that during one of the multiple breakups with my ex, he told me that he no longer felt physically attracted to me and wanted me to lose weight. It didn’t help that this was coming from basically a complete stranger who I’d only talked to for a week and had just met in person for the first time.

woman-1326707_1920.jpgIronically just the day before, I vividly remember looking at my body in the mirror and being happy and confident in what I saw. This one phone call, this one question from a virtual stranger was enough to rob me of all that confidence and self-love I had so painstakingly built.

He tried to justify it by saying that he himself was working on losing weight and getting in shape himself. But what right did that give him to ask me to do the same?

I’m ashamed to say I didn’t call him out on the spot. That confrontation didn’t happen until later, after I had cried myself to sleep and spent a full two days not eating.

Sadly, body shaming is a thing that I’ve realized I’ve grown up with.

I’m 4’11” and weight 125 pounds. I feel perfectly average in my body shape. I don’t think I appear to be a person who people would think would be subject to weight shaming. But I am. It happens to people of all shapes and sizes.

For about as long as I can remember, I’ve had family members comment on my body. My mom in particular was harsh about it and had no problem calling me fat to my face or telling me I shouldn’t eat as much.

As a result I go through periods where I eat nothing for days or I throw up what I’ve eaten.

It’s taken a long time for me to heal, and I’m still in the process of healing.

I’m working on wanting to change my body because I want to, not because some boy asked me to or because someone else commented on my appearance.

I still don’t have the confidence in myself that I wish I had. There will be days where I’ll look at my body in the mirror and really embrace it, but those days are still few and far in between.

I’ve been trying to surround myself in more body positive people. One of my favorites is YouTuber and musician Meghan Tonjes.

Her video response to the “Dear Fat People” video shows the extent that negative comments can have on a person. In her video LIFE IS TOO SHORT. WEAR A CROP TOP. she talks about embracing her body despite what people might think.

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On days where I feel my worst and my most hideous, I often turn to her videos and words for inspiration and motivation to love my body as it is.

And I’ve found that important, to surround myself with body positive people who will lift me up and encourage me no matter how I look. And every day I battle to give their words more power over me than the words of those who have torn me down in the past.

You are beautiful. Love yourself.

~ Kayla

6 tips for dating with depression

Dating is complicated enough without adding depression into the mix. Here are some tips for keeping your mental health in check while in the dating world.

1. Put yourself first

While meeting new people and dating can seem like an exciting way to take your mind off your problems, it’s important to make sure you are ready to take that step. Never forget to take care of yourself first before getting involved in a relationship.

2. Be sure you’re dating for the right reasons

Relationships can give us a lot of positive feelings of being loved, desired and successful. But it’s important to not enter into a relationship solely to acquire that reassurance.

3. Create a support system

Dating is difficult. Try to find friends who are also in the dating scene so you can share stories and offer support to each other.

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4. Don’t force it

There are some weeks where your depression will be worse than other weeks. It’s important to not push yourself during these bad times. Acknowledge that you might need to take a break for yourself, but don’t view that as a setback or a failure. Everyone needs time to themselves to recharge and recuperate.

5. Find the right time to tell your partner

Depression and other mental health issues are very personal subjects. While they do play a big part in a person’s life, it’s important not to feel pressured to reveal your struggles too early. While it’s important to be honest with your partner, it’s also important for your mental health that you feel safe. So be sure you get to a stage where you trust them to react in a way that is positive and supportive. But don’t keep it a secret if things are getting serious because your partner does deserve to know.

6. Understand the effect your depression might have on your relationship and sex life

intimacy 1.jpgBeing depressed effects people differently. It’s important to discuss with your partner how it effects you so they can understand what role it may play in your relationship and what they can do to support you.

Being depressed may lower your libido and decrease the pleasure you feel from sex. Be sure to talk to your partner about this so they are aware of the issue and so it doesn’t cause a rift in your relationship.

The mental and emotional toll of unhealthy dating

I was a “late bloomer” and didn’t really start dating until my junior year of college.

I haven’t had too many successful relationships in the few years since then.

As luck and life would have it, I was never interested in the guys that actually wanted to be in committed relationships with me. I was either prematurely scared away or just missing some spark in the relationship.

I’ve always ended up falling for boys who didn’t want to commit and all those rejections  eventually led me to wonder what was wrong with me.

I had an ex boyfriend that made me feel like “the crazy girlfriend” for wanting things as simple as being treated nicely, spending time together, going out and doing different things, celebrating anniversaries and birthdays. What made it worse was then seeing him do all those things for the girl he dated after me. It meant that it wasn’t that he just would never do those things, it meant that he just didn’t want to do them with me, because I wasn’t worth it to him, because I wasn’t enough or right for him.

That relationship left me feeling so small and worthless and unloveable. There were countless moments where we hurt each other, and many of those moments have done immeasurable damage to me. While a part of me will always care for him because he was my first love, I have to admit that the relationship was terribly emotionally abusive.

So much of my social anxiety where I’m worried about being unwanted and being a unburden stems from experiences in that relationship. It demolished my self confidence and self worth and even now I’m still trying to recover from that damage every day.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 3.55.44 PM.pngIt’s taken more than a year of on-and-off messiness from our last real big break up for me to really admit that we wouldn’t be happy together. And it’s still taking me time to admit that it wasn’t anyone’s fault that the relationship didn’t work out. It’s failure doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. Sometimes people don’t work together and there’s nothing wrong with that. And sometimes people just aren’t good for each other.

It’s been hard watching all of my friends get into serious relationships and find the people they’re meant to be with while I’ve been all alone. It’s been hard facing big life challenges and changes and decisions without someone there right by my side to support me.

But I’ve finally admitted to myself that being with the wrong person for the sake of not being alone is a hundred times worse than being alone. I have the emotional and mental scars to prove that.

~ Kayla

Link Round-Up [2.10.17]

What is bipolar disorder?

What is bipolar disorder? – Helen M. Farrell – Ted-Ed, YouTube

This six-minute video gives a brief explanation into what bipolar disorder is and how it affects people.

“About one to three percent of adults experience the broad range of symptoms that indicate bipolar disorder”

Therapy chat

Chattin’ about therapy with Tessa Violet – doddlevloggle, YouTube

I’ve long been fans of YouTube creators Tessa and Dodie. I’ve mainly known them through their music, but lately they’ve been opening up about their mental health struggles.

Here they talk about their experiences with therapy, such as the difficulties to find the right therapist and the stigmas associated with going to therapy.

Not every kind of therapy will work for you

Therapy Didn’t Work – Nanalew, YouTube

In this video, another one of my favorite YouTube creators discusses her struggles with finding the right therapist and the right kind of therapy that worked for her.

 

 

 

 

Searching for “home”

I think what I’m really truly searching for right now is “home.”

I mean, who isn’t, right?

When I google the word “home” the first thing that pops up is Google maps and the address of my parents’ house. It made me laugh a little bit because that house no longer feels like home.

[And yes, I did that very clichéd thing and googled “home” to try and give you all a definition of it, as if you don’t already know.]

At least, it’s not the home I belong in, not anymore.

Google also tells me that home is “a place where one lives permanently.” I suppose that’s not really the definition of “home” that I’m looking for either. I’m young enough where I wouldn’t mind moving around, seeing the world. I’m not quite ready to settle down. Get stability, yes. But settle down, no.

I guess the home I’m looking for is more about belonging, about purpose. It’s more about a feeling in your bones than a label of permanence. It’s about the life that you get from the air that you breathe or the energy you feel from the people around you.

Perhaps I’m talking nonsense now. Perhaps I’m feeding into that irresistible idea that if I could only find that city, that place where I’m supposed to be, then, then I could be happy. A beautiful notion, of stumbling upon that cluster of roads and buildings that will give you meaning but also a foolish one – because no matter how far I travel, if I go all the way to the other coast or even dare to go further, my problems will follow me. A new city isn’t golden ticket to new found happiness, it won’t erase my emotional baggage.

Oh but wouldn’t it be great to trade in these same old tired streets for another set? A louder set, a busier set, hell even a dirtier set perhaps. To trade in the cactuses and mesquite trees for skyscrapers or pine trees.

I’ve never realized how unsettled I was to not have a “home.” It was such a comfort that I took for granted when I had it.

People say that “home is where the heart it.” Well my heart is spread all across the world. In Arizona, in the Philippines, in California, in New Jersey and in Nebraska – the places where all the people who hold my heart are. So where do I really belong, where is my home if my heart is spread so thin?

I suppose the answer is that I have to start making a home for myself. But I think for me, most of all, home is the people. And I have yet to find my people in this next stage of life, in this post-college adventure.

I’m turning 24 in just a few days and for some reason that age feels so heavy. 24 feels like an age where one should know what they want in life and be well on their way to achieving that.

Perhaps I’m just experiencing my “quarter-life crisis” a bit early.

So I hope in 2017 I find a “home.” Maybe not the idealized version I’m picturing in my head, but I hope I’m brave enough to find a new “home” this year.

~ Kayla

 

 

January Favorites

I know, I know.

I’m jumping on that youtuber vlogger/beauty blogger thing of posting a monthly favorites post.

But here are some of the things that I’ve used this month that have helped me with self-care. I’d love to hear with your favorites are!

Candles

I’ve taken to closing my nights by lighting a few candles as I’m getting ready for bed. It’s so relaxing and calming and cozy.

For years I was the type of person that rarely burned candles because I didn’t want to waste them. But now I think it’s definitely worth it.

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These are the candles I’ve been using lately:

  • Radiant Red Maple – Bath and Bodyworks – smells like fall and warmth
  • Mahogany Teakwood – Bath and Bodyworks – my friends and I call this the ‘hot man candle’ because it smells like a sexy man
  • Apple Orchard – Ashland – I picked up these two Ashland candles on a whim at a CVS and I’m so glad I did. They smell great, set a nice relaxing mood and were pretty cheap.
  • Vanilla – Ashland – classic vanilla but not overpoweringly sweet, this candle is almost all burned up

Baths

It’s been ages since I’ve lived somewhere with an actual bathtub. I’ve always been more of a shower person but this past month I’ve been taking tons of baths. I’ll fill up the tub, perch my laptop on a nearby stand and throw on a show or podcast as I soak and let my muscles relax.

I think I’ll have to up my game by throwing in some bath bombs next.

Magazines

A few weeks ago I got an alert that my saved up miles with an airline were about to expire. I didn’t have any trips planned but the airline did offer me the option of cashing in my points for magazines.

So far I’ve gotten copies of Entertainment Weekly, Vogue and New York Magazine and I love them. I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to physically read articles as opposed to scrolling through them online. Plus, magazines are displayed and designed in a way that the internet hasn’t been able to replicate yet.

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Photography

My big Christmas present this year was a DSLR camera. I’ve had a blast taking pictures, and this new creative outlet has really been amazing at lifting my spirits.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – Jenny Lawson

book1.jpgI’ve written about this before but it was a weird and hilarious memoir that touches on some mental health issues.

Lawson’s writing won’t be for everyone, it’s ramble-y and full of non-sequiturs, but if you can get past that, it can be quite charming.

It offers some pretty honest yet funny insights onto eating disorders, anxiety, miscarriage and depression.

The Crown, The West Wing

After all the attention The Crown received at the Golden Globes, I finally decided to watch the series after it had been sitting on my watch list for months. It’s amazing to watch a young Queen Elizabeth II find her feet as a ruler and to watch the struggle for power in the royal palace. Claire Foy has an subtle yet excellent performance of the young, unsure yet strong queen. Personally I found her husband Prince Philip, played by Matt Smith, to be

With the crazy political atmosphere in the United States, I’ve been delving into a re-watch of The West Wing in a form of escapism. Sorkin’s fast paced dialogue and wit make the show so entertaining and there is such great discussion about policies relating to gay marriage, radical Islamists and gun control. One of the standout episodes I watched was season 2’s “The Stackhouse Filibuster” where a senator delays a vote because he wants more funding and attention towards autism research added onto a bill.

The Depression Report: the build up of hope makes me fear the let down

I can’t even begin to describe the adrenaline rushes I have felt this week.

On Wednesday I got an email from an old mentor about a summer internship opportunity.

In a couple of months it’ll be two years since I’ve graduated from college so most internships and fellowships don’t apply to me, so my heart started racing when I saw I actually did qualify for this one.

My heart started trying to beat out of my chest when I saw the details. A summer in New York, housing arranged, travel covered plus a paid internship.

It’s perfect.

And I want it. Badly.

So the race to fill out the application began. I pulled up my resume, picked out some work examples, hunted for references and then finally got to work on an essay.

I don’t think I’ve ever been more nervous or excited writing an essay.

The idea of this opportunity has me fired up.

But it’s also got me scared.

Because what if I don’t get it?

I’ve gone into situations similar to this before, where I’ll find an amazing position that sounds like my dream job and I’ll go into it feeling confident… only to fail terribly. I’m scared because I can already feel myself putting all my hopes and dreams and wishes and whatever else into this application, into this one program.

I’m afraid I’ll be devastated if it doesn’t happen.

I finally feel like I’m nearing a place where I’m ready to get back out there and resume my career and my life. The timing is perfect.

I’m hoping that the universe is smiling down on me and that things will work out for a change.

This is my fourth depression report. I am fired up and hopeful but also a little petrified. A lot petrified. Trying to stay positive without setting my expectations too high. Everyone wish me luck!

~ Kayla

Related: CONSUMED BY MY CAREER

Link Round-Up [2.3.17]

What’s the leading cause of disability worldwide? Believe it or not, it’s depression

Mental Illness and the Global Health Agenda – Joanne Silberner, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Aid money to low or middle-income countries often focuses on physical illness and overlook the problems caused by mental illness. In this journalism project by reporter Joanne Silberner, she follows one psychiatrist’s work to change that.

Wait, kids can be depressed too?

Could physical activity protect children from depression? –  Catharine Paddock, Medical News Today

Yup. It’s estimated that around 5 percent of kids and adolescents have depression A new study from researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and NTNU Social Research found that children who are physically active are less likely to be depressed.

We Need Therapy

Always Open: We Need Therapy – #15, Rooster Teeth 

Rooster Teeth’s podcast Always Open usually features hilarious or embarrassing topics revolving around sex and growing up as an adult. But this edition of the podcast features special guest Kati Morton, a licensed marriage and family therapist and Youtuber. Rooster Teeth employees Barbara Dunkelman, Blaine Gibson and Mariel Salcedo join her to answer a handful of user submitted questions while sharing their own experiences with mental health issues.

*Bonus video featuring Barb, Mariel and Kati: