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A word on ‘Clean Eating’.

I recently read a few articles about clean eating. This is one of those topics that I feel very strongly about, a couple of people very close to me have struggled with eating disorders for a very long time, and I also have had issues with being anemic and iron deficient for pretty much the majority of my life, and being a chicken-only indulgent vegetarian since I was only young. In recent years, and especially since having a baby, I have really struggled with my weight, and being healthy.

Since the whole ‘clean eating’ trend came around, I have always been very critical about the hype concerning the trend and it’s not something I would ever follow myself. The diet itself has always seemed very restrictive and lacking in basic nutrition that we, as humans, need to function. For instance, and I know from hearing things from clean eaters in my life and seeing enough clean eaters on social media, that the majority of the lifestyle seems to consist of a salad (with no dressing), and vegetables.

‘Clean eating’ often means cutting out vital nutrients that we need to feed our bodies, such as protein, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, the list goes on. It is impossible to get your body all of the nutrients and vitamins it needs through an extremely restricted diet. And this can lead to so many problems, including but not limited to, iron deficiency, extreme weight lose, fatigue, and bone health.

A certain someone, let’s call them Alex, in my life follows the clean eating trend extremely religiously.  I’ve often been around Alex, for a long period of time, and been astounded as to how little they really do eat. Is a handful of steamed veggies for dinner enough to sustain us? Is some avocado on gluten free toast without butter enough to sustain us? Is a couple of almonds enough to sustain us?

Ever since we have been young, it has been drilled into us that the key to having a healthy body and lifestyle is through a balanced and healthy diet. Is a few dried leaves and a kale smoothie healthy for us in the long run?

Unsurprisingly (and using Alex as an example) a number of health issues have arose. Chronic fatigue and lack of energy and focus, anemia and a vitamin D deficiency, and depression to name a few. But still, clean eating itself is never to blame.

The part that really gets to me, is that if Alex, for example, did not label such a diet as ‘clean eating’, would they be categorised as having an eating disorder? Where is the line between ‘clean eating’ and an eating disorder? And by drawing that line, would the glorification of ‘clean eating’ end?

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advice · anxiety · biploar disorder · depression · life · mental health · mental illness · motivation · my story · self help · series · Uncategorized · writing

Reaching out for help.

My dad recently spoke to me about an old family friend of ours, who has two daughters a few years younger than myself. I was never particularly close to them, though we were often thrown together by default as a result of our parents getting together regularly. Don’t get me wrong, they were nice enough girls, but I was at the angsty stage of the early teens and they were both younger.

Anyway, fast forward to now, and my dad has told me that his friends two daughters are going through a very rough time, one of them has an eating disorder that has caused her to be hospitalised several times and the other is self harming and has attempted suicide. I haven’t seen either of these girls for several years now, and I remember them to be carefree, happy kids. It breaks my heart that they are both suffering with mental illness.

My dad has told me that our family friend has asked me if I would have a talk with his daughters. I was a little taken aback being asked this, even though our two families go back a long time, having never been close to his daughters I wasn’t sure it was my place to talk to them. I mean, I have been through a lot of stuff in my life, and I’ve been to some really dark places and luckily I made it out the other side.

But I’m still a bit afraid to talk to them. What if I say the wrong thing? What if it makes them feel worse? What if they just don’t want to listen?

But on the other hand, what if I really could help these girls? I am in no ways a professional or qualified to give any advice or anything like that, but it might help them to know that they aren’t alone and that there’s someone, other than their parents, who care for them and who are there for them and who they can confide in, no strings attached?

I’m not sure. What would you guys do?

anxiety · biploar disorder · daily prompts · depression · life · mental health · mental illness · my story · self help · series · Uncategorized · writing

Daily prompt: Bottle.

My entire life I have watched people drown their sorrows in drink, or drink to be merry, or merely to pass the time. Growing up, I always swore that I would never turn into one of those people. I hated the effect alcohol had on your body and your mind. I hated the smell of it, on your breath, on your clothes. I had watched alcohol fill people with anger, sadness, confusion, laziness, depression, and hurt. I swore I would never be one of those people.

And yet, in my mid teens, I ended up turning to the bottle. In my own depression and despair, I turned to the one thing I had always despised. And I drowned myself in it. My friends would jokingly say that I was an alcoholic, but in reality, I probably wasn’t far from it. I had a secret stash of bottles of whatever I could get my hands on, whatever I could afford. I drank almost every day, I showed up at school more than once still drunk. I would host parties at my house every single weekend, and all night long, and I would get so black out drunk that most of those years are still a drunken haze or poorly put together memories and accounts from other people of my behaviour.

Looking back, I know that I had gotten to a terribly dark place, which caused me to reach for the bottle. It took me a long time to get back on track and sort myself out, and nowadays I rarely drink and when I do, I know my limits and stick to the odd one or two.

life · love · mental health · motivation · my story · relationships · self help · series · Uncategorized · writing

Relationships, beginning, middle and end.

In light of a horrible situation one of my closest friends has found herself in recently, I decided that I needed to write, or at least vent, about relationships, their complications and the way that things end.

A close friend of mine has recently got out of a long term relationship. She had been engaged for a few months, and had just moved to start a new life with her significant other, had thrown herself completely into planning the wedding, and was looking for a house with said person. They appeared to have it all planned out. And I use the word appeared very deliberately.

You know the saying, that nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors? I had never given it as much thought as I do now. For behind the excitement of their new life together, making plans and whatnot, things were not so great after all. In a matter of weeks, their strong relationship and happiness all but disappeared.

Which leads me to the question, why do people cheat? And most importantly, why do people become so unhappy in their relationship, in themselves, that it leads them to have a complete and utter breakdown? I, for one, have learned that relationships, no matter how happy or content you are, are never straight forward, and have their ups and downs. But what leads people to change so completely? What leads people to abandon and sabotage their relationship so wholeheartedly, so crudely, or cruelly?

So why do people cheat? Is it because they are unsatisfied with their own partner? Is it a cycle that they have gotten themselves into in the past? Is it a cry out for help, or some way of hurting their significant other, or an attempt to push them away? Or is it simply because they have become attracted to another and succumb to the temptation?

I believe that people do cheat for different reasons. But my question is why? What sort of change, or emotion, or belief, leads someone to be unfaithful? How can someone who has taken it upon themselves to be in a committed relationship suddenly abandon it in favour of another?

If you are not happy in your relationship, for whatever reason, why do people feel the need to cheat, rather than end said relationship, or breaking it off with their partner? As someone who has been cheated on in the past, this has really hit home for me. It’s so hard watching someone close to you be hurt by a person they have loved, by a person they have welcomed into their family, by a person they have wanted to spend the rest of their life with.

anxiety · biploar disorder · daily prompts · depression · life · mental health · mental illness · my story · poetry · series · Uncategorized · writing

Distant.

When did you become so distant?
When did your eyes become empty, so devoid of feeling, so
unwilling,
unyielding?
When did you harden your heart,
and your mind?
Or build walls to keep yourself
In
and outside, out?
When did you isolate and repress
each memory, each caress?
When did you cast aside each whisper or promise?
When did you chose not to listen
or love?
When did you stray?
When did I lose you?
When did you lose yourself?
When?
When did you become distant?

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/distant/”>Distant</a&gt;

 

anxiety · biploar disorder · depression · life · mental health · mental illness · motivation · my story · self help · series · Uncategorized · writing

Anxiety pt1

Lots of people who struggle with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues feel as though they have felt this way for a long time, or cannot remember feeling any other way. It’s often hard to pinpoint when it began or how it even started.

Personally, I vividly remember being 8 years old, lying in bed one night and experiencing a terrible panic attack that would lead to many more throughout the years.

In my young brain, I had absolutely no idea what was happening, why I was feeling this way or how to explain it. I remember waking up one night with a feeling of intense fear, and I couldn’t breathe. It felt as though my throat had closed up, or that there was something large and obstructive lodged there, stopping any air getting through. I recall lying in my purple pajamas gasping for air and thinking that I was going to suffocate and die.

These attacks happened periodically over the next few weeks and months. I kept quiet about it though, for even in my 8 year old brain I knew that what was happening to me was not normal, and I was afraid that as a child, nobody would take me seriously. I likened it to the period of time when I was convinced that there was an Ancient Egyptian mummy in my wardrobe, using it as a sarcophagus and plotting to get me in the night as I slept. I had confessed my fears to my parents and both had assured me that I was being ridiculous, and that there was nothing there. I didn’t want to be made to feel foolish again.

And so I silently suffered for years with panic attacks in the dark of the night. These reached a peak when I was around 11, and my parents told myself and my younger brother that we would be moving. Not only moving house, but moving countries! This created a renewed sense of anxiety and helplessness within me. Not only was the prospect of moving incredibly daunting, but I would be leaving all of my family and friends behind to start a new life with my parents and brother in a strange new place.

Again, I remember being told not to worry and not to be silly, and that we were headed on a great-and-not-scary-at-all-adventure. But on the inside I was terrified. My internalised fear brought on an entirely new onslaught of anxiety and panic attacks that would usually happen at night. I would go to bed every night dreading the moment that I would wake, unable to move and unable to breathe.

I definitely believe that this was the start or at least the first manifestation of what I would learn at age 15 as generalised anxiety disorder and later at age 17 as bipolar disorder. I firmly believe that this is something that I have carried with me for most if not all of my life.

Anxiety, depression, and mental illnesses are a huge burden that affect so many different people for different reasons, and at different points of their life. Whatever age or stage of your life, whatever your situation, IT IS OKAY to ask for help. Too many of us feel afraid to reach out, and end up suffering in silence. Please, if you’re reading this, stay strong. If you’ve stuck with me for this long, don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t be afraid to say you’re not okay. And don’t be afraid to share your story. Thanks for reading.