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My 30th birthday…

Published 14 March, 2013 by ladyem83

…was perfect.  It was a wonderful compilation of everything I love.  There is a reason I have emboldened and italicized that pronoun and it will become evident subsequently.

In the meantime, however, excuse my indulgence as I relive my weekend by recounting it here.

I came downstairs to the birthday scene of my childhood:  the ‘Happy Birthday’ banner  (now somewhat crumpled as it’s just about as old as I am!) was draped across the chimney breast in the dining room; and cards and presents were presented on the dining room table.  Even as I child, I was never one to dive in and start ripping open the paper; my brother always did that!  I preferred, and still do, to stand back and take in the scene.  I look at every detail and see the thought that’s gone into it and I feel its warmth.  The fact that Mum dug out from the depths of some drawer the old birthday banner touched me so much.

Breakfast with Mum was Marmite on toast (our staple breakfast choice) and Moet (she knows me well!).  I popped my first Champagne cork with no breakages- but I did give a little yelp of excitement!

The rest of the day was spent driving to Aberdeen as we were spending a long weekend with my brother and his girlfriend.

On arrival, after hugs, my brother asked whether we fancied a cuppa or popping into the dining room.  Given that the door to the dining room was covered with a huge banner saying, “THE PARTY IS HERE!”, the decision was not a difficult one to make!

I opened the door, peaked inside, gasped and flung the door open as I stepped in!  Balloons! Birthday banners! A table filled with party food…and an exquisitely decorated birthday cake along side a bottle of equally exquisite Champagne!

We popped party poppers, we yelped when the balloons got too close to the light fitting and spontaneously exploded, we laughed, we took silly photos, we chatted; we were a family and I was an active part of this wonderful family unit.

The rest of the weekend was the same.  It was our family together, with the addition of an extra special member (my brother’s girlfriend who makes the special threesome of Mum, my brother and me, an equally special foursome).

My brother took us on a wild goose chase through Aberdeen to find the harbour because he wanted to see the boats.  Under normal weather conditions, this would not be an issue for me, or his girlfriend, but- oh my gosh, it was blowing a bloomin’ gale and freezing cold!  Nevertheless, I am (somewhat) glad that I saw the harbour, as it was breathtaking.  The white horses were fiercely dancing atop the excitable  waves and the sea was dotted with tankers and ships.  With my hood pulled up and feeling grumpy at my biting cheeks, even I could not help but be moved by the sheer strength exerted by the forces of nature which I saw before me.

That evening we put our glad rags on and dined out and it was lovely!

I said it repeatedly over the weekend, and I’ll say it again;  it was truly a wonderfully unforgettable birthday.

Dangling Carrots

Published 20 November, 2012 by ladyem83

Excuse me the indulgence of a further post today.

My last post, ‘A Game of Patience’ explains what the last few days have been like; dark and lonely.

I’ve spent the last hour or so searching for scientific research articles to explain this disease.  What am I looking for; a cure, a step-by-step guide to recovery?  I want to understand the beast that lurks in the dark places in my mind and continues to torment me.  I thought that I was Ana but that’s not the case.

Just as a group of haywire cells divide and form a malignant tumour which invades an otherwise healthy body, a part of my brain malfunctioned on some level and anorexia developed and forced its way into my mind.   The degrees to which I invited it, permitted its presence and colluded with it are something that only I can try to work out.  However, Carrie Arnold’s book, ‘Decoding Anorexia’ is now on my Amazon wish list is a research guide!

It’s different now, I don’t want to be Ana’s victim.  I have chosen not to follow Ana’s ways and yet she’s still hanging on.

However, despite her persistence, I want to let her know and those who read this and perhaps are fighting a similar battle, that our small victories must not be overlooked:

I eat. I even eat chocolate, cashew nuts and…haggis!  Not in one sitting, not frequently and not in great amounts but I know that I can!

I recognise when I’m hungry and I’m generally not afraid to feed my body.

I can leap in the air!  This formed part of one of my exercise DVDs and only a few months ago I didn’t have the strength to jump up.

I wear clothes, I fill them out.  Clothes no longer hang from me.  Yes, this scares me but I will continue to tell myself that it is healthy.

I can read.  My ability to concentrate has returned and I can  now sit and read a book without rereading the same paragraph several times.

I have a growing sense of myself again.  I haven’t got it all back and I don’t like that I lost it along the way but I am finding myself again.

I can run!  I have to be in the mood but my legs feel strong and I feel energy running through them.

I laugh, I feel, I enjoy. Undeniably the most precious and which should never, ever be taken for granted.

So, although when Ana hits me, she hits me hard, I must not overlook where I am now.  I must not forget how far I’ve come.  This is why I have to keep going.

These and many others are the carrots being dangled in front of me and this recovering anorexic is hungry for them all!

 

The Inner Dialogue

Published 11 November, 2012 by ladyem83

Wake up.

Emma:  It’s breakfast time.  Am I hungry? Should I have something to eat?  Breakfast is a normal thing to have.  Do I need it?  If I do have something to eat what should I have?  Toast or porridge?  Which is better?  If I have toast then how much?  If I have toast then I’ll have jam or Flora on it too.  What about the fat and sugar?  How do I calculate those calories?  Or maybe I should have porridge.  But if I have porridge should I put some chopped apple in?  I like that but I don’t need it.  What do I feel like eating?  I don’t know.  Do I feel hungry?  I don’t know.  I can feel something in my tummy but is that hunger or greed?  Should I feel hungry now?  If I’m not hungry and I eat breakfast then what does that make me; greedy, weak, fat?

Makes toast and a cup of tea.

Emma:  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  I’m not sure I want it.

Takes a bite.

Emma:  I love Marmite on toast! But what’s it doing to me?

Ana:  You’ve given in again.  Why are you eating this when I told you that you don’t need it?!  Getting pleasure from eating is weak and only leads to bad things.  You’ll get fat, and weak and disgusting.  Remember how it used to be, remember how strong you felt with those pangs of hunger in your tummy.   You were stronger than everyone else because you felt them but didn’t give in to them.  That was good!  You’ve been giving in this week so much but no more.   I want to test your strength.  I know you can do it.  You deserve to be punished for what you’ve done.  You should bake your fruit cake.  I know you love the moist, brandy infused fruit and the warming taste of cinnamon and mixed spice.  I was there when you ate it last week.  You enjoyed it.  That’s not the way.  That food is dirty and dead.  It does nothing but infect your body with fat and sugar.  See how your face is ballooning, see how your stomach is swelling, even your wrists, your fingers, your feet.  Fat is getting everywhere and all because you listened to other people instead of me.  They want to you to be vulnerable.  They want you to be like them, they don’t want to see you exhibiting the willpower they can never have.  So you’ll bake the cake but you won’t eat a single crumb.  You may want it but you don’t need it.  I promise you that if you don’t eat the cake, I’ll make you happier than food could ever make you.  I’ll make your body look beautifully lean again.  Your arms will be slim, the contour of your shoulders will be sleek.  That’s what you want.  That will make you happy again.  Being strong makes you happy.  You don’t need to eat those things.  They won’t make you happy.  You have nothing without me.  You are nothing without me but weak, fallible.

Emma:  But what about these words:   ‘I can promise that while you might have been lighter in February, you didn’t look healthy. The pleasure from food isn’t one to run from. Your body needs food. If you give Ana these wins, you’re getting her one step closer to her ultimate goal – to take you away from everyone who loves you. She will kill you. Food is your ammunition and you need to fight with everything you’ve got.’ I think there’s truth in these words.  Remember February, Em.  Remember how your eyes had no life, remember catching the reflection of yourself in the mirror and seeing the shape of the Scream mask.  Remember how you shivered with cold all the time.  You haven’t had a bath for 10 months because you can’t get comfortable on the hard surface.  You haven’t had a meal out with the girls, or spent a full weekend with them for months.  You used to love your weekends with the girls, long lunches with a bottle of wine then getting glammed up and going out for a late dinner and drinks.  You loved walking down the street with them.  Remember how proud you felt to be part of that three-strong friendship group.   Now when you look at them all you see is two wonderful, beautiful shining stars who don’t deserve to be dragged down by your presence.  They’re everything you want to be.  They’re happy, they have loving partners, they’re building lives you dreamed of having.  Do I deserve to have that?  Is it even possible for me to have that?  I don’t think it’s meant for me.  I believe those things happen to other people.  I’ve learnt that.   I’ve learnt that they’re the good ones, they deserve the love of someone else.  I’m the one who fails, makes poor judgments.  People have shown that I don’t matter to them, they saw me as nothing more than a pawn in their game; disposable and unimportant.  So it’s best that I don’t get involved, that I stay on the periphery where it’s safe.

But then I re-read those words above.

In chess a pawn can be promoted to any other piece of its player’s choosing if it reaches the opponent’s side of the board.

I was never a victim.  I never let myself be walked over.  I always found a way to play to my voice, to do what was good for me and what I knew to be true.

I’m getting angry; really, really angry.

Why am I letting the effects of those two people ruin me?  Why am I allowing Ana to beat me down?  Why do I believe that I don’t deserve to have the things I dreamed of having as a little girl?  Why don’t I deserve to be happy?  Why do I believe that I am not enough, not good enough?

If I walk back into Ana’s arms, I will never find the answers to those questions.  I will only continue to believe their mantra.

‘Permission is the paradox that gives control.’  By allowing myself to be free, to be forgiven, to be myself, to accept myself, to like myself, to be proud of myself, I regain control.  I am allowing Ana to control me now.  All I need to do is allow myself to control me.

I’m so very very tired.  I’m so fed up of so much of my time being consumed by the endless circles of discussion going on in my head.  The constant questions, fears, arguments, tears.

But I have always worked hard to get the things I want.  This is another thing I have to work hard at.  This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge and the stakes have never been higher.  But could there really be a better goal to work towards than a happy life?

I Just Want To Be Happy

Published 21 October, 2012 by ladyem83

I haven’t cried in months.  I don’t know why, I just haven’t been able to.

Today, however, I was moved to tears by the words heading this post:

I just want to be happy.

They were said in a message to me by someone I don’t know and with whom I’m only in contact with via twitter; but they touched me so profoundly.

How many of us want a bigger house, new clothes, the latest gadget, more money, a better pension?  I used to want those things too and, of course, still do. However, I know their relative worth because they are now set in the context of my deepest desire:  to be happy.  I’ll have that over and above anything else.

Happiness to me means a quiet mind.  I so crave the peace that simple inner contentment brings.  I’ve been fortunate that I have felt it in the past so I know it  is possible.

My mind now is awash with a million conflicting thoughts and emotions constantly zapping around vying for dominance.  I feel constantly confused and unsure.  I don’t know which thoughts are real.  On very rare occasions something tugs deep inside me and I feel a twinge of the old me and I know that’s real.  But on a daily basis, I’m walking around with the thickest of fogs clouding my mind.

I’ve been to the darkest of places; places that were icy cold with a toxic air that sucked the very life out of me.  I don’t want to go back there.

The only thing that keeps me going now is the the fear of falling into that abyss again.  Every day, to varying degrees, is a battle.  I may not be taking big steps forward, I may be shuffling along at a snail’s pace and some days I’m standing still.  But, I’m not going backwards.  I never want to go backwards.  I never want to seek ‘comfort’ in Ana’s deathly vice like grip.

I just want to be happy.  I just want a quiet mind.

The only way for me to get that is to keep slogging away.  It’s to rebuild a healthy body and with that a healthy mind.  It’s to accept myself for all that I am and forget about whatever I’m not.  It’s to end the routine of self-torture and simply let myself be who I am in the moment that I’m in.

When I achieve that, and I say ‘when’ because I do not want to live in this fog forever, I will never ever take it for granted.  I will know how precious it is, I will cherish every peaceful moment and know that the trying moments will pass because I am strong enough to see my way through them.

To the young lady whose words inspired this post, please dig deep inside you and do everything you can to slowly walk back from the edge of the abyss.  Happiness doesn’t live there.  You won’t be walking alone, I’m walking that path with you and you have the people around you who love and care for you.

Stepping Off My High Horse & Off The Edge Of A Cliff…

Published 16 October, 2012 by ladyem83

I’ve given my therapists a hard time over the last few months.  I consider myself to be a relatively intelligent individual who is in tune with her thoughts (the good and bad) and can effectively communicate them.

I know my underlying issues which I have taken to extreme lengths and which have resulted in  my depression and anorexia.   I have wanted to address these issues with my psychiatric team.  I am an all or nothing person.  When I commit to something I give it my best and I give it my all.  So, you can imagine my frustration when the professionals tell me that I am not ‘cognitively able‘ to deal with such issues at this moment due to my low weight.  I could not (and to a degree still now) do not accept this.

How dare they claim that my cognitive function is impaired by my low weight.  To counter their ‘ridiculous’ claims I got numerous textbooks from the library and studied the science behind diet and nutrition.   I studied the various psychological theories and their respective practitioners.   I’d play them at their own game.  I’d show them that they didn’t know what they had when they were dealing with me.   I’d show them that I can take on whatever they’ve got to throw at me.  I can talk about the things that are eating me up inside without it pushing me over the edge!

….or can I?

When it comes to my life, be it buying a car, considering my financial situation, my mental health, the first thing I do is research.  I want to be able to talk to on some kind of par with the people involved.  I don’t presume to be an armchair expert in any of their fields, but I use my research to give me a basic  grounding, so that I can question and try to understand at a deeper level.

My dietitian once asked whether I would expect a client to come to me for legal advice and then proceed to tell me that they have already consulted the Law of Property Act.  Truth be told, I’d take my hat off to them and give them an understanding nod of respect!

Notwithstanding the incredibly arrogant tone emanating from the above paragraphs , I am the first to admit when I don’t know something. I am the first to ask a question when I don’t understand.  I am not ashamed if I haven’t grasped something or don’t know it.  I am receptive to and respectful of other people’s views, knowledge and experience.  I don’t know it all, but I thought I do know myself!

So, when I read the following in a psychology article (please see the link at the foot of this post for the complete article) I could do nothing but hold my hands up and very quickly clamber down from my high horse:

The emboldened words are those which particularly struck a chord with me.

The italicized words are my comments.

Starvation study shows that recovery from anorexia is possible only by regaining weight

Anorexia is a physical illness of starvation
Published on November 23, 2010 by Dr Emily T. Troscianko in A Hunger Artist

There is one finding about anorexia which seems to me more crucial to treating it successfully than anything else.  It is a counterintuitive insight, but one that seems – like all the best facts – completely obvious when once one knows it.  It is this: that for the anorexic, gaining weight is the prerequisite for mental recovery, rather than vice versa.  Put another way: you can’t make an anorexic want to put on weight until he or she has begun to do so.  Put yet another way: the mind may make the body sick, but only the body can help the mind be well again.

The above  has been the mantra of my various therapists for months.  My argument has been that it is a vicious circle; my underlying issues are preventing me from eating freely, if we don’t straighten them out, how can I feed my body?! 

***

Christopher Fairburn’s Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders(2008: Chapter 11) describes how some of the effects of being underweight (i.e. having a BMI below 17.5) contribute to maintain the eating disorder: being preoccupied with food and eating, becoming socially withdrawn and losing interest in other things. Becoming indecisive, feeling a heightened need for routine and predictability, and feeling heightened sensations of fullness after eating, all help create vicious circles in which the only way to avoid mental or physical discomfort in the short term is by keeping on starving, but the only way to escape these problems in the long term is to regain weight.  He also emphasises that while sufferers of anorexia will be convinced that their present state reflects their personality, in fact their personality is masked by the effects of being underweight and that their own personality will only emerge again if weight is regained.  Anorexics sometimes fear that they will stop being ‘special’, or stop knowing who they are, if they regain weight, but of course there is nothing special about being severely underweight, and ‘who one is’ is irrelevant: one is simply the same as everyone else who is severely underweight, just like the brave men who participated in the Starvation Study. One’s true character remains hidden when the body is starved, to be rediscovered by starting to eat again. 

Point noted.  Effecting that point is the challenge.

The two facts of key importance to the sufferer of anorexia who is aware of the bleakness of the way in which he or she is living but cannot resolve to change are as follows:

1.      If you regain weight, not only the physical effects of your current state – being constantly cold and weak, sleeping and concentrating poorly, bad hair and skin – will disappear, but so will the ways in which you currently think and feel.  Your body is starved, and your character and your thoughts are dominated by this starvation, and will cease to be so once you allow yourself to regain weight.

2.      There is no point in waiting for the magical moment at which you decide, once and for all, that you want to start eating more again, or to regain weight.  Your starved state is making you unable to think flexibly enough to fully comprehend the possibility of eating or living differently, or even the possibility of wanting to think about and enjoy things other than food; it has hidden from you who you really are, and made you believe you are nothing but the anorexia; it is making the smallest piece of food feel like too much.  For these reasons you will never truly want to recover, but you have to seize all your feelings of despair, desperation, hope, recklessness, and curiosity in order to make yourself plunge into that first day and first meal of recovery.  As long as you keep yourself going, keep eating, through the first difficult weeks, it will get easier and easier.

(Source:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hunger-artist/201011/starvation-study-shows-recovery-anorexia-is-possible-only-regaining-weight )

I was so incredibly struck by this when I read it and again today reading it.  It is so true.

My current BMI is still below 17.5.

I think I have overcome most of my issues with food.  Not so.  When my depression hit me badly a couple of days ago I denied myself lunch.  I sat in a cafe with an apple cut into chunks on a plate whilst my two best friends tucked into their delicious looking lunches that I so wanted.

This afternoon travelling into town I felt hungry.  I thought I’d have a yoghurt but decided against it because I wanted to have a latte in Starbucks. I felt hunger but denied myself.  My head told me that I was just being weak if I ate something.  I didn’t need it, the latte would be sufficient and was a treat in itself.

How to break this mindset?  It seems the only thing for it is to switch to auto-pilot.  To just eat; not think, feel, question, consider, challenge, delay, or barter.

EAT.

And that’s where this overthinking, control freak falls down.  The prospect fills me with terror and utter confusion.  I am careful, I plan, I make safe, considered decisions.  You’re asking me to approach the edge of a cliff and keep walking in the hope that somehow a path will emerge before me and I won’t fall.  I’m not stupid! If I walk off that cliff I will free fall faster than Felix Baumgartner and my landing will be decidedly more messy.

I keep myself measured so that I don’t fall apart.  I can’t let myself go.

I don’t believe anything will catch me if I step off that cliff edge.

For all my efforts and thinking I have moved forward I have only increased my comfort zone ever so slightly and I remain utterly rigid within that zone.

Until I throw caution to the wind and embrace flexibility I am going to remain in this so-called comfort zone that is in fact a straight jacket.

I need to act.

I don’t know whether I can.

 

Finding My Voice

Published 12 October, 2012 by ladyem83

Depression, my ‘black dog’ is a mysterious, unfathomable, organic creature.  It’s a shape-shifter.  From day to day, even moment to moment it changes its form and alters my state of mind.  It pulls my strings and plays with me.  It makes me feel hopeless and numb, then it allows me to feel empowered and elated.  Then it seemingly leaves me feeling flat.  What it doesn’t let me feel, however, is me.  

So, instead, I have learnt to become grateful for the days when I feel flat.  I hate the dark days, and the moments or days filled with elation are deceptively high; I don’t trust them.

Monday was flat.  Tuesday was dark. Wednesday was brighter. Thursday was a little brighter still and, today, there’s a glimmer of me.  I felt her yesterday evening.   I’d been occupying myself all afternoon trying to resist the pull of my gremlin’s voice. I was swinging from the flat baseline to feelings of empowerment and back again.  A voice told me that I could manage my gremlin, I could play with him but be strong enough not to give in to him totally.

But, then something told me otherwise.  That something was me. My black dog and my gremlin were colluding with each other.  They have become master ventriloquists and their voices are frighteningly convincing; they sound like me but their message is dangerous.

So, I sat still.  I continued to read my book (and re-read the pages and passages where my mind had wondered for the umpteenth time as it tuned into my gremlin’s voice).

Mum arrived home late and I told her the way I’d been feeling the last couple of days.  I like being honest with her. Even now, I expect her to be disappointed with me and somewhat ashamed of me because, essentially, I am; or at least I’m ashamed of the characteristics  that my black dog and my gremlin play out in me .  Mum never, ever judges me.  She listens and acknowledges.  She points out the possible pathways to further improvement and she commends the steps and/or the truths I’ve discovered so far.  She gives strength to my emerging voice.

I spend all day on my own with my thoughts, my black dog’s thoughts and my gremlin’s thoughts.  By the end of the day when Mum arrives home I’m exhausted from all the mental to-ing and fro-ing.  So, everyday (more or less) for the last 10 months I’ve looked forward to the evening when I would numb them all into submission.  It has been bliss.  I would feel the wave wash over me and the voices would be silenced.  What was left was banal and I gave in to its calming, wonderful simplicity.

But, I’d wake feeling guilty.  I’d wake knowing that all I’d done was temporarily gag the mouths of my black dog, my gremlin and, most worryingly, myself.  The numbness wasn’t selective and I favoured drowning out all the voices.

I realised that the longer I continued with this destructive practice, the weaker my voice would get.  I was worried that I would start to forget it.

Something had to change.

So, for the last two days I have heard and cowered from the growls and vicious barks of my black dog.  I have wrestled with the devilishly teasing, tempting, coercing voice of my gremlin.  I have not handed myself over to them, however (despite wanting to at times).  They have been noisily occupying my mind so I have gone for walks, I have even gone for a run (!). I have cleaned, I have read.  I have even just sat and listened to their raucous chatter .

Today, they are still there; I know they are.  This evening will be a test for me.  I will write about it this afternoon, or later.  However, the fact that for the last two days I haven’t played ball with them makes me start to believe that I don’t have to.  I have the strength to say no, I don’t want to play the game and nothing truly bad will come from that.  

Ok, I acknowledge that I’m writing this on an ‘up’ day.   But I believe it is important for me to take everything I can out of these moments.  It is important that if I hear my voice that I listen to it and praise it because, when the down days come I need to know that they will not stay forever.  I need to know that my voice is still inside me and that I have had the strength in the past to overcome or simply live through the dark moments.

When I hear that voice that I know to be mine, when I feel the feelings of old Em again, I cling on to them for dear life.  I am not ashamed to say that I liked old Em! Old Em doesn’t deserve to be cowering in a dark corner with a black dog and a gremlin nipping away at her.  They deserve to be kept in the dog house!

This week has been another learning curve.

Rules, Rules, Rules

Published 8 October, 2012 by ladyem83

Whether consciously or not,  I’ve always adhered to a set of rules which I’ve imposed on myself.   I touched on this briefly in my post, ‘Breaking The Routine and Going With The Flow, however, over the last year and particularly when I fell into Ana’s tight grip, I have added to these rules and become imprisoned by them.  Abiding by them has become such an engrained part of my life that departing from them, or even bending them, causes me so much inner torment and confusion.

My CPN asked me to consider the rules which I live by and the effect they have on my life.  So here’s my Rule Book.  I need to see it in black and white.  I need to consider the true worth of each rule.

Rule #1 – I must always be active.  Being still is lazy and indulgent.

Rule #2 – I must make sure that those around me are happy. I must look after them.

Rule # 3 – I must be ensure that everything I do is to my standard of ‘perfection’.  ‘That’ll do’, isn’t acceptable.  Nothing is ever totally right, I need always to learn how to better what I do.  I cannot settle for anything less.

Rule # 4 – I cannot treat myself unless I have done something to deserve it.

Rule#5 – I must achieve the goals I set myself.

Rule #6 – I must please others.

Rule #7 – I define myself by the goals that I achieve.

Rule#8 – I must adhere to every plan that I set ahead of myself.

Some of these rules have been engrained in me since I was young, others have developed latterly and others I have taken to extreme lengths only recently as depression and anorexia took over.

I don’t doubt that there are also numerous other rules  to which I unconsciously adhere.

These rules gave me a sense of security.  When I was younger I had no self-confidence, so ensuring that I got full marks on each test, passed my exams, got a good career meant that I was worth something.  It gave me a means against which to measure myself and my value.

When I qualified as a solicitor, those regular benchmarks disappeared and I felt lost.  I had nothing against which I could measure myself; so I started to loose my self-confidence and my self-esteem.

As this happened my fixation on the other rules grew.  If a test couldn’t tell me how good I am then I needed to go into overdrive in all other areas of my life.  I needed to ensure that I was the best person I could be for other people.  Whether it was friendships or relationships, it was those other people who mattered more than I did.  I lost my identity by trying to be the person I thought other people wanted me to be.  This manifested itself not only in my behaviour but even the way I dressed changed.

My Rule Book engulfed me.

So now it’s time to re-write the Rule Book.  In fact, let’s throw it out!  I don’t want my life to be governed by rules.  I want to govern my life.   Of course, this doesn’t mean that I will lower my standards.  I believe in being the best I can be.  I believe in learning and growing.  I believe in being a loyal and supportive daughter, sister and friend.  These are my values.  Values are important; they help to define a person’s character.

How could I ever  fully experience my life, and thereby become the rounded person I want to be, if I am forbidden from stepping outside of certain fixed parameters?

As long as I remain true to my values then I don’t need rules to govern my every action and thought.  I can explore, learn, try, fail, succeed…live!

I don’t expect that I will be able to throw the Rule Book out today but I’ll close it and put it on the shelf.  The only question I need to ask myself is whether I’m being true to what I believe in.  If the answer is yes, then I’m free to do it!

Do you have a Rule Book?  

Solitude, Reading and Tea

Lovingly updated by an odd History-loving bookworm

Healthy is happy.

Fighting anorexia for my life back.

A day at a time

"A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step"

drfullerstherapytips

Therapy Tips to Self Improve & Feel Better About Your Life

Balancing the Fs

my journey to balance Food Fitness Fun and Finances

Make-Up & Mirtazapine

The crazy girl's guide to life...

The life of a Daddy with mental illness.

Being a Dad is hard. Being a Dad with mental illness is even harder. This is my life laid bare for you all to read.

Nut Job is my middle name

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself"

Individual Thought Patterns

A Single Mum's Journey to Medical School

natpopsponders

The ponderings of Natpops

eatingasapathtoyoga

Savoring yoga & intuitive eating. Come join the journey.

Baking as Therapy

Recipes, musings and ideas- plus ' how to' tutorials

Natpops Mental Health Blog

A WordPress.com site

Lisa's Dreams

Where little dreams turn big

Living with Lightness

Holistic Health Coaching ~ Nourishing Yourself Inside & Out

Who Would Have Thought The Tiny Courageous?

Thoughts from the mind of a tiny man waging an unseen war.

The Dawn Report

Dawn O'Porter

Stuck In Scared

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself"