Growing up I was always naturally thin. I never thought much of it because that was how I looked. Throughout elementary school the other kids would pick on me and call me names and that continued up until I graduated high school. I was really active the first couple years of high school so I stayed tiny that is until I went into treatment for depression. When I was released and put on the right medication, I started to gain some weight. This was a body I was not familiar with. I did not know how to navigate with the body I was living in. On top of that my depression and anxiety were still out of control. I was leaving class because I was having panic attacks, even though I did not know that is what was happening and I had just quit color guard because my mental health was so bad I physically and mentally couldn’t preform anymore so I had lost my one source of activity and interaction with my friends. I was isolated, disconnected and this is where my battle with food started.
I was not aware that I was not eating well because it was not intentional. It was a consequence of everything else. When I went to college, I still was in this headspace that I could not get out of. It felt like I was running in place. I would get home from class and lay in bed. I was also still struggling to feed myself. I would get to a point where I was shaking so much I could barley stand and that is the point where I would eat it was never before. I did not know that that was not okay. My roommates never commented on it or sat me down to tell me they were worried so I thought it was a normal way of living. I could not concentrate, I was not sleeping, I was foggy, I was irritable, and I was hungry all of the time. I was at a healthy weight so no doctor ever questioned me and neither did my friends or family. This went on until I was 25.
I started seeing a dietitian in 2020 before I got my gallbladder removed just to understand what to expect and how to eat afterwards since I was losing an organ that really aids your digestive system. I got through my surgery and my recovery well and I was in a place where I could eat without being in pain. However, in January of 2021, I felt myself starting to slip again but this time I caught it and I went back to my dietitian. She was rightfully concerned about the lack of food I was eating. We slowly began to peel away the different layers of this problem I had been unaware of. I hated the way I looked, I was so deep into diet culture beliefs, I had toxic messages coming from my family and the content I was consuming, and overall, my relationship with food was like the Titanic. I had hit the iceberg but unbeknownst to me I was going down and there was no lifeline. I did not know that I was creating a space for myself where it was almost impossible for me to eat without feeling guilt or shame. I was pushing myself to a place of hunger that if I took two steps, I thought I was going to faint.
This year my digestive issues started again after I had Covid. Was there an actual connection between the sudden onset of symptoms I hadn’t experienced in a long time and getting Covid I am not sure but it was a coincidence. I spent April to August or September seeing doctors and getting tests and procedures done in order to get to the bottom of what was happening. At this time, I was terrified to eat so I was not consuming the amount of food I should have been. I was sticking with my safe foods and scared to eat outside of that. My relationship with my body was going downhill quickly because I was bloated and absolutely miserable every day. I could hardly look in the mirror to brush my teeth or do my hair let alone look at my outfits for the day. I was living in leggings and sweatpants since that is all I could stand to wear. My depression and anxiety went into overdrive. I was not having a good time. Eventually, my dietitian realized that the trend in all of my food logs was dairy. I am lactose intolerant. It seemed so stupid to me at the time that dairy could have been the cause of my six-month long journey but low and behold it was. I went to a new doctor who put me on the right medication and I made the necessary changes to my diet. It made a world of a difference.
I have been working on my relationship with food and my body for about a year and a half now and I can confidently say this is the most content I have ever been in my body and with food in my entire life. I no longer see food as the enemy. I no longer look in the mirror and immediately start to pick myself apart until I am ready to hide myself away. I no longer question if people are judging me for what I am eating nor am I judging myself. Obviously, I still have my days where I am not feeling my best but I do not allow that feeling to dictate whether or not I deserve to eat that day. I am still fairly new to this mindset so there are still bumps in the road where one day I may wait to long to eat but I have come to hate the feeling of being hungry instead of it being my baseline. Now when I slip, I know how to save myself without sinking to the bottom. I have changed the types on content I consume, I moved in with someone who is also in recovery, and I have embraced the practice of intuitive eating. For the first time in a long time, I am living my life to the fullest physically, mentally, and nutritionally.
This week I have focused primarily on getting myself back on track when it comes to how I see myself. I am extremely hard on myself all of the time and I carry around immense amounts of guilt about everything. I spend more time telling myself that I’m stupid or that I’m useless or that I am a slacker. Logically I know these things are not true. I personally think that 8 times out of 10 I am one of the smartest people in the room. I am a college graduate and I am months away from getting my Masters degree. I was laid off in December, thanks Covid, and I know that has taken a toll on my self image because I haven’t found another job yet so the only thing I have to keep me busy is my school work. But my accomplishments or the state of the world is just not enough to quiet the voice in my head.
I went and saw my therapist yesterday, which I always recommend to anyone who is struggling, and it was one of those sessions that just was not long enough because I felt like we were on the brink of a breakthrough. Anyway, we talked a lot about me feeling like I do not deserve to be praised, which is ridiculous because we determined in another session that I seek validation from others. But with that being said I am very quick to brush off any compliment or praise from anyone. My professor is one of those people who loves to praise his students when they do good work but I can never bring myself to believe one word of it. Overall I think very little of myself.
So since I am on this journey of complete healing this is my first issue I need to address. I watched a video which was a video version of a podcast episode by Kalyn Nicholson called Radical self acceptance. The podcast is called Kalyn’s Coffee Talk. The video is 40 minutes and I took a lot of notes so I will just summarize the episode. Radical self acceptance is when you go above and beyond to accept not only yourself but the situations you are in. We cannot live in a state of mind where we tell ourselves that we will only accept ourselves once we lose weight, get a job, get into a relationship, or whatever else we can think of. We need to accept ourselves for who we are in the present and that means accepting everything that comes with it, flaws and all. She said we need to “surrender in a way that will allow you to be victorious” even if it is in a different way than we will expecting. She then used the analogy of play dough. Imagine someone just plopped a mound of play dough in front of you but you choose to only use half of it to put into your mold. Your problems, inner critic, shame, guilt, etc. is the the other half. No matter how much you reject it or try to ignore won’t change the fact that it is still going to be sitting on the table next to you.
Radically accepting yourself will make it easier to radically accept the truth about bigger issues, like a global pandemic. It is also very healing and extremely empowering when you are able to accept yourself and your situations. In these moments you are taking back the control you have given to your inner voice, You and your critic can work together as a team instead of you constantly being at war with yourself. She then used the example of the world ending, which I think is very appropriate because it does feel like that sometimes. She said that if you know for a fact that the world is going to end on Sunday you could do one of two things. You could either scramble and try to do everything in your power to try to prevent it or you can step back and say okay the world is going to end there is nothing I can do so how am I going to live my last couple days? Now radical self acceptance or radical acceptance in general does not mean you are throwing in the towel or giving up it means that you have accepted the truth of the matter and you will carry on in the only way you know how: fighting. Odds are if you knew the world was going to end you would not be concerned with how you look or how other people perceive you. You are going to live you last days like you have wanted to live your whole life.
She then went on to explain how we need to change the way we treat ourselves. If one of our loved ones spoke of themselves the way we talk to ourselves we would be really empathetic towards them and do everything in our power to help them so why aren’t we doing that for ourselves? It is never too late to make a fresh start and acknowledging when we are being mean and practicing this self acceptance can be that fresh start. We are not practicing this so we can change everything about ourselves this is an act that we learn to do because it allows us to accept that we are who we are and that is okay.
Happy February. It is officially my birthday month. I will be 26 years old on the 17th. I am not where I thought I would be in life by this time and it has taken a lot for me to accept that. The entire month of January was full of me stressing out about it. It was just one anxiety attack after another. I even stopped eating at one point because I could not deal with my feelings. I think it got to the point where I was consuming probably around 800 calories on a good day. Do you know how messed up you have to be to ignore all of your hunger cues and your body screaming at you to eat?
Anyway, I made a promise to myself that I am going to be kinder to myself this month and celebrate the fact that I have been blessed with the life I have. I have my family and my health and that is all that should matter. I know I am not where I want to be but I am where I am supposed to be at this point in time. Over the next few weeks I want to dedicate this blog to recording and writing about the things I am learning during my self love and self acceptance month. I want to talk about mental health, the steps I am taking to reach my goals, the books I am reading, the podcasts I am listening to, and anything else that can be used to aid in my journey.
I also think it will be fun to close out my posts with a song lyric or a quote that correlates with the post or with whatever I am feeling. So with that being said the first lyric is from Victoria Justice’s new song Treat Myself. ” I need to treat myself better I really can be so unkind I know that I deserve better if only you could hear what goes on inside my head. I wouldn’t say the things I do to anybody else so why’s it okay to say to myself? I need to treat myself better.”
I recently started watching Pretty Little Liars again. I watched all seven season on air and even went back and watched from the beginning a few times when it was on seasonal breaks. But something different happened this time around. I am halfway through season two but i have so many new questions that I did not have before and that were not answered when the series ended. During the Halloween episode in season two when Ali starts getting A texts I started wondering who was behind those. *Spoilers ahead* We know at the end of season two Mona is revealed to be A. All the girls start to come to terms with it especially Hanna but then they start all over again. I do not think that at that point it was Mona. In my opinion i think CeCe was the one who was sending her the texts. Ali and CeCe were friends and that was made clear. So odds are she knew the type of person Ali was and how she treated people. So there was no real reason why she wouldn’t have done that. But at some point Spencer’s evil twin, Mona, and the list of other people who were all involved at one point were recruited. Also how did Ali walked around without anyone noticing. She went to Hanna’s hospital room, she rescued Emily from the shed, and she pulled out all of them from the burning building. Why was that not plastered all over the papers? Dead girls don’t get around quietly in a small town. Another thing is who really killed Ian? It was said that Ali was the one who pushed him in the bell tower but then he disappeared. Was Melissa actually talking to Ian or was it someone else. Who shot him? The series ended without much of a wrap up. It is going on three years since the show ended and I still have so many questions. Those are just the ones I have so far in the rewatch. I’m sure more will come up as I go on.
Final thought: Where can I get a Caleb, Toby, or Ezra?
Demi Lovato has always been very outspoken about her struggles with drugs, alcohol, and her eating disorder. After being sober for six years Lovato relapsed and ending up in the hospital after overdosing in July of 2018. She went to rehab and almost two years later she is in the midst of making her much anticipated comeback. Her comeback started with her return to singing. She took the stage at the 2020 Grammy’s and poured her heart and soul her performance of Anyone, a song she wrote and recorded days before her overdose. That was followed by her amazing performance of the National Anthem at the 2020 Super Bowl on February 2nd.
On the heels of her announcement of her new single I love me she did an interview on the Ellen Show. She was very candid when speaking out being controlled by her old team. She detailed how before she would go on the Ellen Show all of the sugar would be removed so she couldn’t eat it. She also spoke about how the phone would be taken out of her hotel rooms so she couldn’t call room service and they would remove all of the fruit from her room because those foods contained too much sugar. She also said that her team never gave her a birthday cake and instead they would cut a watermelon into the shape of a cake and would put fat free whipped cream on it. She also talked about how she asked for help when she knew she was starting to spiral and her team did not help her and told her getting help would ruin everything for her as well as them. She also recalled how miserable she felt and did not understand why she was still sober when she was more miserable than she was when she was drinking. So one night she went out and there was alcohol and drugs and a couple months later she found herself in the hospital not knowing if she would survive let alone sing again. However, in classic Demi way she turned it into a lesson for not only herself but for her fans. She made it a point to tell everyone that the decisions and steps she made are why she is where she is and everyone is capable to get through anything and everything and that we all deserve to be loved just the way we are.
I wanted to write about this because Demi has always been a huge inspiration to me. She was getting out of rehab the first time at the same time I was starting my own spiral. I saw parts of myself in her and saw the strength and fight she had and that is all I wanted. When she overdosed I felt like I might lose my best friend even though I don’t know her. But I am so excited for what the future hold for her and what kind of music we are going to get. As Demi once said “Stay Strong.”
I was born in 1995 and if you would have told me by the time I was in my 20s I would be living my life in a world that was controlled by the internet, and how I felt about myself would be dictated by what I saw on my Facebook feed I would not have believed you. The closest I ever got to an internet addiction was WebKinz and Club Penguin. But today in 2019 we live in a world where people do not need cable because they have streaming services that have all of their shows. We live in a world where nobody goes to music stores and buys CD’s. The first social media platform that really took off was Myspace. People had a spot to express themselves and a spot to connect with their friends and other people. There was a handful of really successful artists who got their start on MySpace. Since then social media has turned into something nobody expected to happen. Suddenly there was sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that allowed you to connect with the entire world in the mid 2000’s You could reconnect with high school friends or family members that you may have lost contact with. There are musicians such as Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes that got their start on YouTube and Vine. There are others in this world who get paid and make their livings off of social media. YouTubers can make millions with brand deals and sponsorship’s. Their online platform can help them launch their own brands and even TV shows. These people can be best selling authors by just writing about their lives. Fans of musicians or any kind of influence can connect with them on Twitter. 30 years ago that was not even a concept that could have been processed.
However, just like with everything in this world there are pros and cons to everything. With increased communication and connectivity comes the possibility of harassment. Cyberbullying is a real thing and can be very detrimental to the victims. Their peers can hide behind their screen names and say whatever they want without any consequences. “Michael Hamm, a researcher from the University of Alberta conducted a study that showed the effects of social media on bullying. 23% of teens report being targeted and 15 percent said they’d bullied someone on social media. Teenagers can misuse social media platforms to spread rumors, share videos aimed at destroying reputations and to blackmail others.” (Simplilearn, 2019) The victims of these acts can go as far as to take their own lives because they do not see any other way to escape it. It can also take a toll on relationships. Friendships or any type of relationships can fail due to one person not being present in conversations due to being on their phones or one person can read something or see something on social media that can trigger fights. There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from the potential effects of social media. ” Use social media at certain scheduled times. Don’t let it interfere with your work, studies or offline relationships, if you have difficulty getting off social media, try productivity apps that limit your access to certain sites. If you have a serious addiction problem, seek professional help, use social media to research health issues, but always consult with your own doctor before taking any advice, and stay positive. Don’t waste time arguing with people online.” (DiRenzo, 2016)
My name is Amanda Wolf. This blog is going to contain a little bit of everything. I am very passionate about many different things. It will include posts about mental health and self care, music, beauty, and fashion.
I always talk to my friends about these topics but I have decided to post my thoughts on here so if someone else needs advice, are curious about beauty, fashion tips, or are in need of some music recommendations this can be your landing page.
I hope that you take the time to read and explore and stick around for awhile.