The Effects of Social Media

I’m not like everyone else. I never will be. You could say that’s a good thing. That makes me unique. And many times I feel the same way. But then there are times, that I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. At a social event for instance – You’ll see others drinking and staying up late. You’ll find me with water in the corner, ready to turn in by nine. I wasn’t always like that, but as I find myself I realize I’m most comfortable that way. I’m a homebody. I love my animals, my safe space, the people I’m closest to. I’m simple – I’m not about presentation or what others think. What you see is what you get. Like I said – sometimes I love this about me. But other times, I find myself asking “why can’t I fit in?” I try and then feel extremely unsettled because it doesn’t align with me. Have you ever felt this way?

I’m sure we all have at one point in our lives – but truth is – there is no one right way to be. Me drinking water isn’t better than others drinking alcohol – it just is every individual being an individual. So why do I feel like others are superior to me or doing the “cool” thing? What makes that the right thing in my mind?

The closest answer I have to that question is the increased use of social media, accompanied by low self esteem. Recently I watched a documentary on Netflix entitled “The Social Dilemma”. In that documentary, they argue that with the rise of social media, people have become more depressed because they envision life a certain way. With pictures of what seems like the perfect life and filters to distort what we really look like, it is hard to convince yourself that life isn’t always perfect or one way.

We are conditioned to think we need to fit in with this image, but what does it mean to fit in? Get married, have babies, have the perfect body, and job? This is not everyone’s path…and trying to fit in with this stereotype will only force yourself out of alignment.

In the end, how is that the right thing to be doing?

I have being doing some soul searching and this is what I have discovered – at the end of the day, we aren’t meant to conform to anything. We are meant to find like-minded people to do life with. Social media depicts only a small snapshot of a person’s overall life – and that snapshot is not everyone’s path. There is no right way to do life. It’s about finding your tribe – the people that will lift you up and help you develop into your best self.  You will not always be everyone’s cup of tea and that is okay. Embrace who you are, follow only those that lift you up….and do not let yourself think you are less than what someone else portrays themselves to be.

Social media can be a great thing – but do not let it determine who you are and what you stand for.

#socialmedia #selfesteem #depressed #life #encouragement #inspiration #keepgoing

The Power of Addiction

“One of the hardest lessons I learned was that I was worth recovery.”

Demi Lovato

The term addiction is not a one size fits all kind of term, which is why many people need multiple rounds of treatment in order to truly begin sobriety.

For some, their addiction may be to a chemical or drug. This would be considered a substance dependence.

For others, their addiction may be gambling or eating. This would be a behavioral addiction.

Either way, addiction at its root is defined as “is a psychological and physical inability to stop consuming a chemical, drug, activity, or substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm.” *

Those who are caught in the midst of addiction struggle on a daily basis with overcoming the demons that got them there in the first place. Most people start voluntarily, but each time it becomes harder and harder to overcome the physical and mental pull addiction has. Self-control slowly diminishes as the person tries to “medicate” their body. The power of addiction is so strong that it is a leading cause of death in our country.

Addiction is like that friend you wish you never had. It gave you what you thought you wanted and then began to take everything from you.

The key to recovery is wanting it, and wanting it more than your addiction. Sometimes that can take years. Or other times, one addiction can manifest into another.

I am one of those people who struggle with an addictive personality. While I might recover from one addiction, I often find another to take its place – especially in times of distress.

The addictive pattern started in the form of cutting when I was a young 13 years old. I thought if I could take that pain I was feeling and put it somewhere else like in a physical wound, it would make more sense to me. This distorted thinking lasted for a while. Working with a therapist, I was able to stop and found other healthy ways to manage my stress.

However, shortly after, while trying to loss a few pounds, I got stuck in that addictive mindset again and a full blown eating disorder shortly followed.

Each time I tried to recover from one addiction, another one set in. Many people do not know the full extent I suffered because I have never disclosed it.

If I were to map out my addictions, it would look something like this:
13 yrs old – Cutting
16 yrs old – Anorexia
18 yrs old – Bulimia
21 yrs old – Drinking
28 yrs old – Physical Self-Harm and Pills
29 yrs old – Binge Eating

Looking back at this timeline, it is disturbing for me. It makes me feel horrible, which is generally what most recovering addicts feel while in recovery. It is almost like a cycle. The guilt can be consuming, which makes you want to go back to what soothed you.

The key is positive and factual self-talk – reminding yourself that the future is a blank slate and that you are in control. Yes, it might be an everyday struggle for a while – and it is definitely easier said than done. But, just like in real life – boundaries can be set.

You need to know you are worth recovery. You are worth a life beyond addiction. While this can be a hard fact to digest, saying it outloud and matter of fact, can actually fight those inner demons telling you “you are worthless.”

The power of addiction will always try to pull the person back into its cycle. It is a long journey, but it is not hopeless. A lot of organizations can help. If you or someone you know is struggling, please know help is available.


*Medical News Today, “What is Addiction?”

#addiction #recovery #addictionrecovery #sobriety #love #mentalhealth #sober #soberlife #depression #addict #rehab #wedorecover #anxiety #recoveryispossible #soberliving #motivation #alcoholism #mentalhealthawareness #onedayatatime #alcoholicsanonymous #addicted #aa #addictionawareness #drugs #healing #support #steps #therapy #health #bhfyp

How Your Core-Conflict Shapes Your Identity

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”

William James

One of the coolest things about being a human being is that we are each unique due to our various experiences and circumstances. These layers of influences have shaped our beliefs whether we realize it or not, and have created the person we are today.

This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. While we use our values to have a positive impact on the world, we also have limiting beliefs about ourselves that we have formed from an early age. The negative beliefs, while we try to repress them, are actually working subconsciously throughout our everyday life.

While on a coaching call the other night, my friend pointed out to me that I had a pattern – a pattern that was influenced by something called a “core-conflict”. We began talking it out and I realized that everytime I thought I wasn’t going to succeed in something, I gave up. I wouldn’t let myself completely fail. By doing that, I never let myself completely succeed in something because I stopped anytime a bump in the road came. The road to success is often very bumpy. As Rachel Hollis says, you have to let yourself “fail forward” many times in order to achieve the very thing you want. Success is not linear, but rather a curvy line.

When I realized this talking to my coach, it angered me. I began to think of all the things I quit prematurely – – multiple sports, swimming, acting, singing, piano lessons, and dance. I asked her, “Well I just don’t understand…when did I start feeling ‘not good enough’? What was the turning point and why did I feel like I needed to protect myself?”

Her response – “Your core-conflict is often shaped by an event in your childhood (sometime between the ages of two and six) and then continues to fester over time. The good thing is you can rewrite your story. You just have to face it head on.”

I think back and it’s amazing to see how that core-conflict of mine negatively affected my identity and how I went about doing things. To be completely honest and transparent – there have been many times even recently when I thought “what’s the point of my blog and what’s the point of Arbonne – I’m not really helping anyone anyway.” Even though this is not completely true, it “feels” true and it feels safe to take the easy way out. “I can’t fail this way” is what I tell myself. But, in reality the only way I do fail is by quitting.

I know in my heart that God has a huge purpose for me. As I sit here writing this, I know that if I were to continue down this path of self-destruction, my potential would not be met and the people I want to help will never be helped. I have learned I need to trust myself, as I begin to rewrite my story. Trust what I know to be true, and allow those bumps in the road to happen.

According to the Law of Attraction (which I have discussed in my blog before), what you send out into the universe is what you get back. In other words, “believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create that fact.” So if I am to rewrite my story and send positivity out into the world, I must first start by abandoning my core-conflict and allowing myself to feel the emotions connected with failure. By doing that, I will have to practice seeing these experiences as opportunities to practice mindfulness and self-development rather than times that I am “not good enough”.

Whatever your core-conflict is, I challenge you to do some self-reflecting as well. It will hurt to uncover the past and it will be challenging to relearn a new truth about yourself. But I guarantee you it will be worth it. Your purpose is just waiting for you to discover.


#healing #love #meditation #selflove #health #wellness #selfcare #yoga #energy #mentalhealth #spirituality #spiritual #mindfulness #peace #crystals #nature #reiki #motivation #life #inspiration #spiritualawakening #loveyourself #awakening #recovery #anxiety #therapy #positivevibes #energyhealing #consciousness #bhfyp #coreconflict #fear depression

Judgement – Who is Judging Who

“People will judge you no matter what you do. So you might as well do what you want.”

Unknown

Raise your hand if you ever remember feeling “judged” for something you did, a comment you said, or a decision you made? 🙋‍♀️

I think it is safe to say, we have all been there.

Sometimes these judgements are real and other times they are stories we make up in our own heads. Fact – human beings are judgemental creatures. But, remember, their base of judgement is rooted from how they view the world. It has nothing to do with you.

Each human is different, made up of their own experiences and values that tell them how the world should be. That does not mean everything they believe is correct. If we constantly worry about how others will perceive us, we will STOP ourselves from becoming the very person we were meant to become. Opportunities that could open up the world for us will never blossom because we didn’t even allow ourselves to open the door.

Here’s the truth – 75% of the time, the judgements we feel are thoughts we made up and told ourselves to believe. I say that because EVERYONE is worried about being judged – to the point where they are mainly thinking about how others are perceiving them. They are not worried about you as much as you feel like they are.

We spend hours criticizing ourselves, when they spend – what – like a second thinking about us regarding something that has no truth attached to it?

It is easy to get paralyzed with fear in hopes of fitting in or being accepted by others. But here’s the catch – others do not get to define who we are; WE define who we are.

Yes, I’m weird. I’m quirky. I’m a Philly Sports phanatic, not girly girl. I am a homebody who loves her fur babies, and I am definitely not a partier. I enjoy board games and being at the beach. I love helping people and I believe that I am here for a bigger purpose than just me. Not all these statements I like about myself, but I am learning to accept them because that is who God made me to be.

People will always have opinions and that is their right. But YOU get to decide how YOU show up each and every day. Are you going to hold yourself back because of your perceived opinion or others’ perceived opinions? Or are you going to push through and show others what’s possible when you just go for it and be you?

Show them what it means to be you. Live your life on your terms. Don’t let other opinions define who you are. Then start a ripple effect – try your best to judge people a little less because you know what it is like to feel judged yourself.

I guarantee you will inspire people without even knowing about it. So go out, BE BOLD, BE YOU.


#judgement #keepgoing #motivation #holistic #mentalhealth #fear #anxiety #depression #strength #courage #strong #inspiration #health #healthymind

Anniversary of My Suicide Attempt

The semicolon project: my life could have stopped, but I continued on.

Exactly seventeen years ago, I attempted to take my own life. I don’t talk about it much because I don’t like to remember that day or the events after it. In actuality, I think part of my psyche has blocked it from my memory because I only remember bits and pieces.

I was thirteen. I remember the pain I felt; deep, intense, hopeless. I felt alone. Yet, when I went into the inpatient/outpatient programs, everyone just looked at me and said “You don’t belong here.” It wasn’t out of malice, even though it may sound like it. All the other teenagers around me had severely broken childhoods and families that really did not give a damn. And there I was – with two parents who loved me and who tried to give me the best life possible. It pains me to think of it because the guilt I felt was tremendous. “I didn’t deserve to feel pain”, I thought.

But the truth? Everyone is entitled to their emotions. We cannot compare circumstances. It does no good and it does not solve the problem.

While I did not have a broken family, I had a severe chemical imbalance – most of which I contribute to getting my menstrual cycle early. My body was developing fast, but my surroundings were not and my brain was still one of a thirteen-year-old. I would get conflicted as to how I should be feeling and what I actually was feeling.

In addition, the meds I was put on for my depression and anxiety were not handled properly. The doctor started me off on a high dose and then did not monitor it. My parents did not know any better. After all, they trusted the doctor.

To this day, I remember my dad’s face when he found out I overdosed on pain medication. I stayed home that day because I needed a mental break from school. I felt so alone with my feelings that I just broke – I grabbed the bottle without thinking and continued to shove the pills down my throat. My dad knew I did something. He kept asking, “What did you do? What did you do?” I don’t remember what tipped him off honestly, but he knew. I was honest. Then he called 911.

The cops showed up with an ambulance. I was so scared. I was crying. “I’m fine! I’m sorry. I won’t do it again. Please don’t take me away.” I just wanted them to go away.

Once at the hospital, they pumped my stomach full of charcoal. I met with some doctors who I tried to convince “I WAS FINE”. But since I had made an attempt, I had to be inpatient for a couple days.

Those days were filled with the scariest moments I had seen yet being only thirteen. I was trying to understand my emotions, while also be frightened into seeing the worst of the worst situations. To give you an idea – someone smashed their head through a glass panel on a door in an attempt to end their life.

I wouldn’t understand this experience until much later in life. I never wanted to end my life. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to understand my feelings and how to feel better.

Since I refused to deal with it, those emotions just fostered into an eating disorder three years later. I used food as a cop out to control the emotions I felt were out of control.

Now almost two decades later, I have completely done a 180. I’m so glad I failed that day because I had so much to accomplish that God was planning for me. I look at my struggles with mental health as a time that made me stronger and more understanding. I am now able to help others with my story and encourage them to keep fighting. It is no walk in the park; it takes time, dedication, continual therapy, and patience. BUT IT IS SO WORTH IT. I truly believe we were each created for something special. Sometimes it takes others longer to find it and that’s okay. We each bloom at our own time.

When you feel at your lowest, remember me as an example to keep fighting. You have no idea what God has in store for you and whose life you will one day impact. I’m in your corner.

If you or something you know is suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Help is available.


#mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #depression #selfcare #selflove #mentalillness #love #therapy #health #wellness #mentalhealthmatters #motivation #mindfulness #recovery #healing #ptsd #fitness #psychology #bipolar #wellbeing #life #loveyourself #inspiration #meditation #positivevibes #happiness #trauma #support #bhfyp

The Untold Story: My Battle With Depression, Body Image, and Food

“Real hope combined with real action has always pulled me through difficult times. Real hope combined with doing nothing has never pulled me through.”

― Jenni Schaefer, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life

This is a story that almost came to an end many times over the last two decades. The person that you are looking at to your left has battled disordered eating since she was thirteen years old. What started out as trying to lose a few pounds turned into a full blown eating disorder by the time she was sixteen. There were many tears, doctor visits, breakdowns, and therapy sessions — BUT this is no longer a tragic story anymore and it is time to share it. While it is a long story, I hope you bare with me and follow along. It is important to know the different phases of my life to understand where it lead.

I had an amazing childhood, one that others dream of. I grew up with a brother (who was close in age) and had two amazing parents who would have given their lives to make sure ours were perfect.

Everything was pretty normal up until the time I was ten years old. The month after I turned the “double digits”, I got my first menstrual cycle. It wasn’t a big deal at first. I was now officially part of womanhood! Or at least that’s what my mom told me. It wasn’t until my body started changing faster than those around me that it really started to affect me. I was a fourth grader, who was 5’3 with growing boobs and hips – while the other girls in my grade were flat chested and didn’t have to worry about wearing a bra. To give you a gist of how embarrassing it was, other girls would snap my bra straps to make notice of my growing change.

I also noticed that, not only was I physically more mature, I was maturing mentally faster as well. It began to feel like there was no where I fit in.

Then fifth grade came – the year that changed everything. I had my first heartbreak. And while that seems absolutely silly now, it really tore me up mentally at the time because it was just another thing I found “wrong” with me.

I began to separate from all my friends. As seventh grade came, I would hide in the bathrooms in the mornings and cry because I felt so alone. No one seemed to even notice.

I finally broke down to my dad that I needed help. I was so sad, and I felt so bad about it because at the time I could not put the pieces together. He and my mom made a psychiatrist appointment and I was put on my first antidepressant. Except, the psychiatrist was not a very good one – he started me out on a high dose of Effexor, which as a 13-year-old was way too much for my body.

It was a January day in 2003, I told my dad I needed a mental day from school. I ended up grabbing a hand full of Aleve and shoving it down my throat. I didn’t want to live anymore; I felt so alone. Long story short, I spent some time in the hospital, got taken off Effexor, and was put on about twenty different meds in the course of the next three years to try to help my depression.

In those three years, the meds caused me to gain a lot of weight. I began feeling even worse about myself. To try to lose some of the weight I gained, I began doing pilates everyday; nothing obsessive just enough to combat the weight gain.

The pilates worked and I had lost most of the weight I gained. As a result, I was starting to get comments about how good I looked. That was the most damaging thing anyone could have said to me. Why? Because it told me that I was noticed when I was thinner.

This is when I began to restrict what I ate. By the time I was a junior, I would go to the library everyday during lunch so I wouldn’t have to be around food. I wouldn’t eat in the morning and would play around with my food at night so my parents wouldn’t notice something was wrong. That routine only worked for so long. Once I hit a certain weight, they knew something was wrong.

There were many fights at the dinner table. Many tears, and quite a bit of yelling. “Why can’t you just eat?” I don’t know, why couldn’t I just eat? The truth? it wasn’t about food anymore – it was about control.

When everything felt out of control, I knew the one thing I could control was what I put in my mouth. And I wasn’t giving in.

I ended up inpatient at Renfew in Philadelphia and then continued outpatient treatment for months after.

It was now my senior year of High School. As it was coming to a close, I chose a college close to me so that I could continue the treatment I needed for my eating disorder. However come August of that year (a month before school was supposed to start), I was at my lowest weight ever and the doctor now wanted me to go back inpatient. I made the choice to go to school. I wasn’t going to lose that too.

Once in college, I began to gain a little of the weight back. I found an amazing college counselor and attended eating disorder groups fairly frequently. I thought I finally had it under control.

Then 1.5 years later, my dad passed away. I did the only thing I knew how – restrict. A couple months later, I was back in the hospital. I had contracted MRSA and the bacteria quickly moved into my bloodstream. While in the hospital, they did a bunch of bloodwork finding my iron and potassium levels extremely low. The doctor turned to me and said “If you don’t start changing your life, you are going to die.”

Over the next ten years, I have fought to have a better relationship with food. Just like a recovering alcoholic, you can consider yourself recovered and still have thoughts that you know aren’t healthy or beneficial.

More about my nutritional journey will be in another post – but for now, I want to share my biggest take away. Food is not the enemy. Negative thoughts were and continue to be the enemy. When I didn’t eat, I allowed the negative thoughts to tell me I was empowered. And when I did choose to eat, I wasn’t eating to feed my body and to nourish myself. I was eating to fill a hole inside of me created by those negative thoughts. That hole can only be filled with self-love and affirmations.

If you struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating, I encourage you to fight those negative thoughts and challenge yourself to see what is really going on behind the self-destructive behavior. I needed to love myself and know I am exactly who God made me to be. I needed to find my inner strength and purpose.

The secret to beating an eating disorder, or any addiction for that matter, is the desire – the desire to find something BIGGER and more IMPORTANT than your self-destructive behaviors. Because, yes…while these behaviors become our outlet and our “friend”, it takes more than it gives and ultimately it can take your life.

You are so much more than what your mind is telling you. Recovery is possible and life is waiting for you. xoxo


#edrecovery #eatingdisorderrecovery #recovery #anorexiarecovery #anorexia #eatingdisorder #mentalhealth #edfighter #edwarrior #anarecovery #bulimiarecovery #anorexianervosarecovery #recoveryispossible #ed #intuitiveeating #bulimia #recoveryisworthit #recoverywin #food #selflove #anorexianervosa #mentalhealthawareness #haes #edfam #recoverywarrior #anorexiafighter #fearfood #bodypositive #foodfreedom #bhfyp #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #anxiety #depression #selfcare #love #selflove #health #mentalillness #therapy #recovery #motivation #wellness #mindfulness #healing #ptsd #mentalhealthmatters #fitness #wellbeing #loveyourself #psychology #life #meditation #happiness #worldmentalhealthday #suicideprevention #endthestigma #inspiration #positivity

The Holidays Without a Loved One

“Those we love never truly leave us. There are things death cannot touch.”Jack Thorne

Rewind time back to 2010 – the year my dad died and the first set of holidays without him by our side. Each day that passed was challenging, let alone a group of holidays which seemed so empty. My dad was a staple of the these special family days, especially Christmas. Some of the things I remember are the massive breakfasts he would make Christmas morning, as well as him setting up the video recorder the night before to tape us unwrapping each of our gifts.

These are memories that will never fade. Cancer cannot take these memories from me, like it took my dad. But, sometimes these memories, can hurt and be debilitating because they are just that – memories. I cannot go hug my dad Christmas morning and thank him for everything he has done. And this – no matter how many years go by – is still hard to overcome. The emptiness never fully goes away. It is just something you learn to manage.

It took years to get here but now I try to picture my dad here at Christmas, just in a different form. I see him sitting in the living room with a huge smile on his face watching us with joy. While we cannot communicate or hold each other, he nods to us acknowledging his presence. He is now an angel that overlooks us, keeping us safe and together. He would be so proud of how far we have all come.

If you know someone who has lost a loved one this year, check on them – call them, send them a letter, text them a simple “love you!” message. Most likely they are not okay. It takes years to learn how to manage that emptiness.

If you are the one who lost someone, whether it was this year or not, it is important to acknowledge how you feel and then do something about it. Celebrate your loved one in a way that will be healing to you. I went to visit my dad’s grave and I also wrote letters to him. Maybe you make a special ornament or you plant a tree in their honor. Whatever it is, make it memorable and don’t be afraid to say you need support. It is okay to hurt, just don’t let it consume you. Your loved one would not want that for you.

#loss #lossofaparent #christmas #grief #loss #griefsupport #griefjourney #griefandloss #griefquotes #grieving #mentalhealth #love #childloss #depression #stillborn #lifeafterloss #death #bereavement #anxiety #support #selfcare #griefsucks #griefawareness #healing #griefwork #bhfyp