The Gifts of Recovery

Rumi Quote

We tend to look at disorder and mental health issues as a negative thing. As something we would never wish upon anyone because of the suffering that it causes. And yes, that is true. In the midst of these issues it involves pain, isolation, and confusion. But I think there is something important to be said as to what you gain when you come out on the other side.

There are incredible gifts that come with recovery.

As I work through this process I continue to be struck with how grateful I am for what I am learning. You develop immense strength and fortitude, and gain a depth and understanding of yourself that most people don’t have to look at.

Recovery also requires a lot of courage. I don’t think most people understand the courage it takes to move through an eating disorder or any addictive behavior. We use these things as coping mechanisms for a reason and it is terrifying to begin to let them go and have faith that there is another way. 

I have come to realize that this path is such a huge part of who I am and how I have developed as a person. My life path and what I am interested in completely shifted because of it, and it has affected everything I have done since it came in and took over my life.

I have had to develop many skills to pull myself out of this and rewire negative habits that weren’t serving me. Although it has been very hard at times, I am beyond grateful that I have learned these tools.

It has given me such a fortitude and belief that I can handle anything that comes my way and will be ok no matter what happens.

Without difficulties and hardships how can we grow? I had one therapist who would continue to tell me to choose life when things got rough because on the other side she said my life would be much fuller.

Here are some of the gifts of recovery I have experienced along this path:

-       Self-awareness

-       Introspection

-       Emotional management

-       Mindfulness

-       Meditation

-       Depth and understanding of oneself

-       Insight into who you are and what is important to you

-       Spiritual practice

-       Self-respect

-       Strength of character

-       Individuality and thinking for oneself

-       Larger appreciation for life

-       Peace of mind

If you are in the midst of hard times or a difficult struggle, I hope this gives you hope to stay the course. Believe that things will get better – there truly are gifts in the healing.

Low Sugar, Gluten & Dairy Free Granola Recipe

Low Sugar Granola Recipe

Low Sugar Granola Recipe

There are some things that taste SO much better homemade than store bought, and once you’ve made them yourself it’s impossible to go back.

One of those things for me is: GRANOLA. Store-bought granola does not even come close to how delicious it is when you make it yourself. Another thing about store bought granola is that it is usually processed, made with lots of sugar, and shitty ingredients. If you look at the ingredient label it is loaded with sugar and the worst types of processed vegetable oils (not the good fats).

Plus when you make your own granola you make it EXACTLY how you like it – for me that is low sugar and low grain with lots of cinnamon, vanilla and coconut — and you know EXACTLY what you are putting in it.

I have followed a few different granola recipes and have finally perfected my own. My recipe is adapted from the Simple Gourmet Granola recipe on My New Roots. I lower the amount of maple syrup and sub some of the rolled oats for raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Oh, and I add lots of cinnamon and vanilla – because duh.

Here it is:

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)

1 cup raw almonds

1.5 cups unsweetened coconut fakes

1/4 cup maple syrup

4 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp sea salt 

Directions: 

1. Preheat over to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Put the nuts and seeds into a food processor and pulse until the nuts are chopped up, but still chunky enough to have texture in the granola.

3. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, whisk oil and maple syrup together.

4. In a large bowl combine oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt.

5. Pour oil and maple syrup mixture over dry ingredients and stir very well to coat.

6. Pour the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and spread in an even layer so the granola bakes evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir halfway through.

The Power of Sharing

The Power of Sharing

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has read my blog and started following my journey this year. In the past I had been so afraid to tell anyone about my issues or share what I was going through. I kept trying to keep it locked up inside which made me feel stifled and frustrated.

I first started writing this blog in secret – only telling my mom and cousin about it. Slowly my confidence and readership started growing, and I began to feel a sense of joy in writing.

I never imagined the healing that writing about my eating disorder and mental health struggles would bring me. Being honest and expressing my thoughts has been extremely cathartic and gratifying. I have a better understanding of who I am and what I am capable of, I can speak up for myself and set appropriate boundaries, and have improved difficult relationships from my past by being in a better place myself.

If you have anything you’re ashamed of or scared to share, try finding ways of letting it out and sharing in a safe way. Whether that is journaling, finding a mental health professional you can speak with, or confiding in someone that you know truly loves you, do it.

The way to break these stigmas is to be able to talk about them openly, and the power that sharing brings you is incredible. Just make sure it is with someone who is worthy of hearing your story.

Thank you to all of you who have been open, supportive and generous for listening to my story.

I am going to be starting a series where I allow people to share their ED stories here on my blog. You can share your name or simply share your initials with your story, the way I did at first with LG 🙂 More details soon to come! 

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone!

xx

LG

3 Easy Plant Based Recipes

Cooking is such a wonderful way of showing yourself some self love. Taking the time to make yourself a nourishing home cooked meal is such a gift and something we don’t make the time for very often.

I enjoy cooking and eating delicious meals but one thing I hate is spending hours in the kitchen and having tons of dishes to clean. Talk about not fun at all. For me simplicity and ease is key. If the recipe has more than ten ingredients - I get turned off.

Thats why these are 3 of my favorite go-to meals. They are easy to make, healthy, require little clean up, make great leftovers, and most importantly - delicious!

ALSO I have made these dishes for my brothers and father at home - aka meat loving men - and they enjoyed all of them. My dad even said I had to make him the curry again.

Hope you show yourself some self-love this holiday season and make yourself a home-cooked plant based meal!

Plant Based Recipe: Thai Yellow Curry —  Image from The Minimalist Baker

Plant Based Recipe: Thai Yellow Curry — Image from The Minimalist Baker

Thai Yellow Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry from the Minimalist Baker

All of the recipes I have made from the Minimalist Baker are very good. I love this one because the curry has great flavor, it warms your soul, and you make the entire thing in one pot so the clean up is as easy as it gets. This recipe is a favorite at my house.

Simple Mills Plant Based Pizza -  Image from Alison Wu @alison__wu

Simple Mills Plant Based Pizza - Image from Alison Wu @alison__wu

Simple Mills Pizza Dough

This pizza crust is delicious, healthy, and so easy to make. I usually like adding a pesto or marinara sauce, mushrooms, red onions and zucchini and then some vegan ricotta cheese from Kite Hill. Sometimes I will also sprinkle some Daiya Mozzarella Cheese :) Believe me - it is a great combination!

Plant Based Recipe: Chickpea & Zucchini Stew -  Image from People

Plant Based Recipe: Chickpea & Zucchini Stew - Image from People

Natalie Portman’s Chickpea & Zucchini Summer Stew

Ok confession — I did try this recipe because I am a big fan of Natalie Portman and wanted to try out one of her favorite recipes, but I am glad I did! This recipe is extremely easy to make and tastes amazing. I add a little bit of cumin and paprika when I make it myself for a more robust flavor. Serving this stew on top of rice with a squeeze of lemon is the way to go.

The Ultimate Matcha Review

Morning Matcha

My love of matcha is no surprise. I drink my matcha tonic every morning and enjoy it as an afternoon pick me up if I’m feeling tired.

If you want to know exactly how I make my morning matcha you can find the recipe here.  

How did I become so obsessed?

I’ve known about matcha for a while but I didn’t start drinking it religiously until a few months ago. I used to be a coffee drinker and was in the habit of drinking that every morning. The switch to matcha happened for two reasons:

  • I stared having strong reactions to coffee with the medication I was taking for anxiety. It would make my heart beat fast, make me extremely jittery and it was causing sleeplessness even if I drank it at 10am! I started noticing that when I didn’t have the coffee I would sleep really well and was much calmer. I know these are normal reactions to coffee but I had never experienced them before.

  • I discovered how to make a matcha elixir and that blew my mind. Before this I had only had matcha lattes at coffee shops and they aren’t that good compared to the tonics I started making myself. When you add collagen and coconut butter and adaptogens and all sorts of magical ingredients it really takes your matcha game to the next level.

So, needless to say, I now drink a lot of matcha and have done comprehensive research and experimentation on which matcha is my favorite. Here is a thorough review of all the matcha brands I have tried that takes into consideration quality, flavor, price points, and convenience so you can choose the one the best fit your needs.

Ippodo Matcha

Ippodo Tea

This is the best tasting, best quality matcha I have tried. In my opinion it blows the other matchas out of the water and hard to go back to other brands once you’ve had it. Ippodo Tea Company has been producing superior quality green tea in Kyoto Japan since 1717 — so basically they are masters at it.

They have a few different flavors of matcha: Rich, Balanced and Smooth.

I have tried the Rich and Smooth flavors, and, in my opinion, the difference between the two wasn’t extreme. The Rich was a little bit stronger and had more depth, the Smooth was a little lighter and smoother. The Smooth flavor is cheaper so that has become my go-to matcha.

Here are the prices for the largest size tin (40g): Rich — $46.99; Balanced — $39.99; Smooth — $32.99

Overall Thoughts: If you’re going to spend the money and invest in the best quality and tasting matcha — I would absolutely go with Ippodo.

DoMatcha Organic Matcha

DoMatcha

I found DoMatcha at Whole Foods when I wanted to see what matcha selection they had available. They had a large tin available or single serving packets that were sold individually. Having the ability to buy the single packets is incredibly convenient for travel or if you want to make sure you like it before investing in a larger quantity.

I bought a few of the single serving packets. This brand is more on the expensive side so I was grateful for the single packet alternative. The tin they had available at Whole Foods was the Summer Harvest 80g tin for $32.99.

This is the best matcha I have bought at a grocery store. I wouldn’t buy the larger tin because if I am spending that money I would buy the Ippodo tea, but it was good and the closest matcha I have found in terms of quality and taste to Ippodo.

Overall Thoughts: This was a great quality matcha and my second favorite in terms of taste that I have tried. Having the ability to buy it at Whole Foods and get single serving packets make this matcha brand extremely convenient. These single serving packets were my favorite for blending quality, great taste and convenience.

 

CapBeauty Matcha

CAP BEAUTY - The Neat Matcha Stick Box

 CAP BEAUTY sells a good quality, expensive ceremonial grade matcha that you can purchase in individual packets or a larger tin. I purchased the “The Neat Stick Box” so I could have those available as an easy travel option. When I tried them however I didn’t find the flavor that rich so I couldn’t really taste it in my matcha tonic. In order to get a stronger matcha flavor I had to use two of the packets or if you purchased the tin you would have to use an even larger amount which ends up making it more expensive.

You have to order CapBeauty online if you don’t live in LA or NYC.

 The 39g tin they have available online costs $36 and the Neat Stick Box costs $34 and comes with 15 packets.

Overall Thoughts: The Neat Sticks are convenient for traveling but I enjoyed the DoMatcha single serving packets better which I can easily buy at Whole Foods. If you’re going to spend the money on matcha I recommend Ippodo, or if you want to go the single serving packet I would recommend DoMatcha.

Pure Leaf Matcha

Pure Leaf Matcha

I was recently in Texas and forgot to pack my travel matcha – what was I thinking right? I don’t know what was wrong with me that morning – anyways all of this to say that I had to see what I could find at our local grocery store. I found this brand in the tea section and decided to give it a try. Pure Leaf is probably easier to find and more convenient if you don’t live in an area with a Whole Foods and you don’t want to spend a lot of money or order online. I saw that it is also sold at Target.

This ended up being my favorite of the matchas I found in Texas - it cost $7.99 for 12 packets, but I had to use two sleeves of matcha for each drink because the matcha just wasn’t rich enough for me. When I made my tonic with just one sleeve it was too light and not enough matcha flavor.

Overall Thoughts: This isn’t the matcha I would drink if I had my ultimate choice but it was the best one i could find in Texas at the local grocery store. I think it’s a good option for convenience, availability, and price point.

Navitas Organic Matcha Powder

Navitas Organics

This was another matcha brand that I found at the local grocery store in Texas in the health food section. I had high hopes for this one because it looks like it’s good quality but was disappointed. The flavor of this matcha was bitter and not smooth. I ended up using this one least.  

It cost $21.99 for a 3oz bag.

Overall Thoughts: It will probably be better used for cooking or something else but in terms of in a matcha drink the flavor isn’t good and makes your drink bitter.

Green Foods Corporation Organic Matcha

Green Foods Corportation — Organic Matcha Green Tea + Brown Rice Solids

This was the last matcha brand I found in the health food section of the grocery store in Texas. I was apprehensive about it right away because the ingredients weren’t pure matcha - it clearly says in the front that it also has brown rice solids. When I opened the jar the powder wasn’t a bright kelly green like matcha should be, but instead was a light muted green so I was expecting for the flavor of the matcha to not be pure. When I tried my matcha drink it didn’t have that rich matcha flavor but tasted more like the other ingredients in the drink. It was smoother than the Navitas brand but it wasn’t great matcha either.

Overall Thoughts: Better than the Navitas Organics matcha but still not great. If you’re buying matcha at the grocery store I would recommend Pure Leaf before this one or Navitas.

Well there you have it — a comprehensive review of my favorite matchas and some brands I have tried due to where I have been when traveling or a current circumstance. If you have a matcha brand you recommend I try let me know. Hope this is helpful for you when selecting which matcha best fits your needs!

How To Tune In

Intuition

In a previous post I wrote about the importance of being your own guru. In that post I question why we turn to others or value external sources as knowing what is best for us. I emphasize that we are the people who know best about what we need and we should start to trust ourselves the most when making personal decisions.  

After writing that post I realized that putting this into practice is much easier said than done.

It’s like when someone says you just have to be more confident and you’re like – yeah, of course I want to be more confident but HOW do I actually do that? I can’t just snap my fingers and then I’m more confident –  it is a hard thing to cultivate and there aren’t many places that actually break it down into actionable steps that you can take.

Many resources discuss tuning in, confidence, liking yourself, self-esteem, stuff like that – where they simply tell you to have more of it in your life without helping you learn how to acquire it, and these are things that are hard to develop.

In this post I wanted to share three things that I have done that help me tune in to myself so I can hear my own inner voice, figure out what feels right to me and then how I listen.

I hope some of these things are helpful for you as well in becoming more connected to your intuition. Here they are:

Pressing an imaginary turn off my brain button:

I know this sounds weird but it has really helped me. I am a person who was so in my head and relied so heavily on everything clicking and processing in my brain before I made decisions. I had to feel like I had mentally justified things before I could move forward. The problem with this is that our brains don’t always have our best interest and they can play games on us and drive us crazy.

I am starting to realize that our bodies are actually the true sources of wisdom. When you feel something in your gut or something just doesn’t sit right for you in your body that is extremely insightful and that is the wisdom you should follow.

I imagine a button on my brain and I press it off and then I focus my awareness down in to my body, mainly around my heart and center, and then I feel into there – I breathe into that space and tune in to how it feels. By turning off my brain and listening to what my body is telling me I am able to see what’s going on.

Feeling into my body:

Similar to the pressing off of my brain button, I do a body scan where I start at the top of my head and I slowly scan all the way down to my feet. I imagine a little golden ball or light moving all the way down and really feel into each body part. It is so cool when you can feel the smallest sensations in your hands or your heart beating. I love doing this body scan.

Pausing and checking in with myself throughout the day:

Whenever you have a few moments of down time check in with yourself. For example, when I am filling my car up with gas – instead of sitting in my car and looking at my phone, I stop and just do a little meditation. I have some quiet time where I have to wait, so I use it as an opportunity to tune into myself, focus on my breathe and ask myself how am I doing? How am I feeling? What’s going on with me right now? And then I breathe through it. I always feel so much better and relaxed. This helps prevent us from just going through auto-pilot and staying in an anxious or flustered mood. By checking in you can catch yourself and change your state of mind which can turn your whole day around.

Morning Routine

Morning Matcha

A calm, centered morning changes the entire course of your day. The past few months I have been committed to a daily morning routine and it is amazing to see the difference in how calm, grounded and at peace I am. I have been so positive and productive and just letting life flow. 

Things are happening without all the stress and anxiety of the past. My life has changed with a simple shift in being committed to a morning routine. You will see that it is quite extensive but for me it is SO worth it to wake up extra early to start my day with these wonderful practices.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • Meditation: First thing when I wake up for about 15-20 minutes, I tune into my breathe and check in with how I am feeling. I don’t follow any fancy meditation practice and don’t even listen to an app, I just set a timer and focus on breathing and really feeling present in my body. At the end I set an intention for the day.

  • Gratitude: I take a moment to say thank you for all of the things I have, my health and this new day. We have so much to be grateful for and it is a wonderful way to start the day remembering the positive things we have in our lives.

  • Matcha: Probably my favorite part! I turn on the tea kettle and start making my matcha and take my vitamins. You can find my matcha recipe in a previous blog post here.

    Note: At this point I still have not even looked at my phone - reducing our screen and technology time is huge for tuning into you and being calm and centered.

  • Tarot: Once my matcha is ready I connect with my intuition and pick a tarot card. I shuffle the cards and ask the question: “Universe/Angels what do you want me to know today?” Then I let my intuition guide me as to which card I should choose. I love this moment of connecting to my inner guide and seeing what message the universe has for me on this day.

  • Journal: Lastly I journal while I drink my matcha. I love writing and journaling first thing in the morning to see whats coming up for me and to get things out. It is an incredible way to clear my mind and have a better understanding of what I am feeling and where I am at that morning. I don’t have a specific prompt that I use - just starting to write stream of consciousness and see where it takes me. I usually write about 3-4 pages. I have modeled it after Morning Pages from The Artist Way.

I know that’s a lot, but like I said earlier, the space it puts me in for the entire day is SO worth it to me. It has made the biggest difference in feeling my best each day. Wishing everyone happy and peaceful mornings! 

The Importance of Hobbies

Hobbies & Activities

When we are little most of us have some sort of hobby or activity we do – like piano, soccer, ballet, basketball, girl scouts, chess, gymnastics. We are enrolled in something outside of school so we can learn and develop other skills.

These activities diversify our lives and bring us joy.

Some of us become really good at them and for others it is something that we simply enjoy. Even if we aren’t going to become a professional soccer player we still continue to participate because it’s fun, gets us out of the house, and it’s a way for us to be hanging out with friends.

These hobbies are good for us. When we are younger we have so many things we do simply for fun, but once we get older and start working we stop doing these activities.

We go to work, then to the gym or home, eat dinner, watch tv, go to sleep, and then start the day again. The days become so redundant and lacking of excitement. No wonder many people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.

I have noticed that when you stop having these activities in your life you feel like something is missing. I noticed that in mine. Before I started acting, I would wake up, go to a job that I didn’t like, was exhausted once I was done, and would either force myself to work out or meet up with a friend, then I would go home and be miserable because I did’t want to go to work the next day, try to numb myself out about it, go to sleep, wake up and do it all over again.

It wasn’t until I started adding in activities simply for the reason that they made me happy that things started to shift in a positive way. For me those activities were acting, singing, yoga and writing. These things made me so happy and started becoming what I looked forward to most in life. 

I also noticed the same thing happen for my brother. He had such an intense investment banking job in New York City. He isn’t very expressive but you could tell he was getting very burnt out. He has always loved house/electronic music so one Christmas we came up with the idea that he should learn how to DJ. We thought it would be a cool way for him to take his passion for music a step further. He started taking DJ classes and it was like his time in NYC changed. He was lit up by it and started finding ways that he could be more involved in the music community he loved. He started to participate by DJ’ing at events and venues. He would go home and work on his playlists for hours and lost track of time. He also played soccer for a men’s league and volunteered teaching kids’ soccer and all of these activities made his life more fun and enjoyable. They helped him have a fuller life.  

I have noticed how huge all of this is for feeling like your life is more than just your work. Like you are more than just your work.

When my younger brother graduated from college that was my biggest piece of advice to him: Have something fun you do outside of work. Keep up at least one hobby. It will be good for your soul. Whenever I speak with friends who seem to be burnt out I ask them if they are doing anything outside of their work that they enjoy and I stress the importance of having something.

Now I have so many activities and I make it a priority to follow my curiosities.

I recently started learning about Astrology and it is so fascinating and cool. There is so much we can learn and explore, it is a shame if we don’t. Life can be so rich if we let it and it helps us learn more about who we are and all the magical elements of life.

Sober Curious

Sober Curious

Alcohol. Why is it such a prevalent part of our society? Once you’re an adult most social events revolve around drinking and a night out without it seems unusual. Why has it become such a non-negotiable?

I have a complicated relationship with alcohol. It has caused me so many issues and exacerbated struggles I was already dealing with ever since it came into my life.

When I think back to my college years, post-college years, and then to the present, I can’t think of many positive things it has brought into my life, but I can think of all the sickness, stress, self-hatred and pain it has caused. So why, given all of that, did I keep drinking?  

Because I didn’t have any people around me who didn’t drink. The only people that I knew who were sober used to be alcoholics and that seemed like an extreme situation that didn’t apply to me. I didn’t want to seem like a lame downer or something. Basically, I wasn’t secure enough to do what I knew was best for me. Or to do something different. I wanted to fit in and seem normal, even though I hated drinking and everything that came along with it.

This past year I have started reevaluating my relationship with alcohol. I started digging deep into why do I drink when it always makes me feel like shit? How do I use alcohol and what do I use it for? And even larger, how do we as a society use it?

My alcohol story:

In college alcohol caused me a lot of stress because I would get drunk quicker than others and would find myself throwing up or asleep while everyone was dancing and just starting off their night. I was extremely sensitive to it, which to be honest probably had to do with the fact that I was still pretty deep in my eating disorder so I wasn’t eating enough to handle much alcohol in my system. Regardless, many college nights revolved around me trying to find the right balance of enjoying a night out without getting sick.

My post college years were when I started getting sick from alcohol in other ways. I wasn’t drinking enough to be throwing up, but the next day I would feel terrible. After drinking 1-2 glasses of wine I would wake up congested and unable to breathe, with a scratchy throat and a headache. It wasn’t a hangover headache though it was more like a sinus headache. I was experiencing allergy symptoms from alcohol with the worst of it being when I broke out in hives all over my arms after a night of drinking with a friend.

After the hive incident I got freaked out and stopped drinking for about six months. I did some research into the hives and learned that I had all the classic symptoms of alcohol intolerance. But after a while I got confident again and thought – maybe just a little bit won’t be so bad and slowly started drinking again.

Looking back at all of this I wonder why I continued to put up with this? Why would I continue drinking if it usually made me sick?

I think it stemmed from insecurity and wanting to seem normal, wanting to fit in. Basically, social anxiety. It is such a huge part of socializing in the world.

The Present:

This past year I have focused on my health and recovery. Part of that has involved being really honest with myself, learning what works for me and what is important to me. It has also involved starting to take anxiety and depression medication. And to be very honest – all of this has been amazing. I am feeling good and secure in who I am and am feeling healthier and stronger than I ever have before.  

But one thing that I have noticed that continually brings me down and gets in the way from me feeling my best is whenever I drink alcohol.

Last weekend I had dinner with some friends and had ONE glass of red wine and felt awful the next day. I hadn’t slept well, had a terrible headache, couldn’t breathe and felt extremely low. Even after I finished the glass of wine at dinner I felt really out of it and couldn’t fully concentrate or be present with my friends.

I saw my psychiatrist the next week and asked her about the effects of alcohol with the medicine and told her how dizzy and off I felt after having one glass of wine. She looked at me seriously and said –  you definitely should not be drinking alcohol with this medication because it makes alcohol hit you much harder so I am not surprised at all that you were woozy AND it causes the medication to not work, so basically the alcohol cancelled out the medication you took. So if you want the medication to work and have a positive effect on you, you will need to stop drinking.

That was the green light that I needed to tell me: STOP ALREADY.

I wish I could have stopped on my own. That I wouldn’t have needed something serious to finally make me stop but we all have our paths and if having an expert tell me it isn’t good for me is the thing I need to stop so be it.

What matters most to me after ALL of these years of therapy and mental health work is staying positive and learning how to take care of myself so I can live an empowered life.

Why do we do it?

I can’t be the only person who has such strong reactions to alcohol. For there to be a list of intolerances on WebMD there has to be a lot more people who feel these symptoms. And hangovers suck. Alcohol is basically poison that we are ingesting in large amounts even though it makes us feel terrible and destroys our liver, so why do we keep drinking?

I wrote a list of all the negative and positive things alcohol brings into my life, and surprise – the negative list was huge and there was nothing in the positive list. So then I changed the question to – why do I drink? And the list was filled with reasons that were based on insecurity and wanting to please others. The only reason that was semi-positive was that it was a treat after a long week, and I figured I could easily find a treat that doesn’t make me sick like a massage or pedicure.

Some people really like how it tastes, but if you’re drinking large quantities that is no longer coming from a place of enjoyment. If it is mainly coming from a place of bringing down the self-consciousness walls – why are we so uncomfortable in our skin that we can’t just show up? What is going on with us that we aren’t comfortable being around certain people if we don’t have our inhibitions down? Why can’t we just be at ease being ourselves and being seen? Nothing wrong with any of this but it is interesting to think about.

My next steps: Sober Curious

I am definitely taking a break from drinking now that I am on this medication. My main priority right now is to continue to make progress on my growth and recovery, and since alcohol doesn’t fit into that picture then it will need to go for the time being.

I would like to say that I am going to give up alcohol forever but I am already an extreme person, so being intense about it and saying I am never going to touch this again isn’t healthy for me. Instead of being black and white, it is healthy for me to be in the gray areas sometimes. So that is why instead of saying I am never drinking alcohol again from here on out – I am saying that I will be Sober Curious. Which means that I am going to take a break from alcohol for now and continue to see what works best for me and be curious about the role alcohol plays in my life and in our society.

*Some resources that can help - I haven’t read them yet but plan on reading both:

Sober Curious

This Naked Mind

The Recovery Diaries: Anxiety

Anxiety Quote

Anxiety is a very individual thing. I don’t claim to understand how it affects other people or what their experience is with it. I don’t know much about it outside of my own experience, which I didn’t realize was anxiety until I was told that what I was feeling wasn’t normal and then a psychiatrist diagnosed it as anxiety and depression.

I want to share a bit of my experience in case it helps others who are going through something similar get help or take steps in managing it. For me this is how it usually manifests itself: 

I am in one place trying to do something and I can’t stay focused on it because I keep getting worried about something that’s not happening at that moment.

I am either freaking out about something in the future or something that happened in the past. For example, say I am trying to read a book, I can’t focus on it because I can’t stop worrying and over thinking about what is going to happen the next day. I feel very restless about all the things I need to get done and want to make sure I plan and organize and think through everything I need to accomplish the next day. I go over things multiple times – to the point where there is nothing left to think about but I can’t not think about it. I end up feeling paralyzed and frustrated that I can’t get it out of my head and can’t do the thing I am trying to do in real time.  

Another scenario where anxiety manifests itself for me is around food and my eating disorder.

If I eat a food that I am not comfortable with –  either I think it isn’t healthy or what I should be eating I start ruminating and ruminating about it to the point that it makes me so uncomfortable and my skin is crawling. I can’t get over the fact that I ate it and am freaking out about it and all I want to do is purge. Just get it out of my system in some way because I can’t handle that I have eaten it and I don’t want to deal with these repercussions of not being able to get it out of my head. My life would be easier if I just threw it up and then I could move forward with my day thinking about anything else.  

For me the main characteristic of my anxiety is that I can’t let it go. I can’t shrug it off. No matter how hard I try, I lack the ability to shut the emotion down.

It feels like it keeps gnawing and gnawing at me until I feel like I am going crazy. I have taken sleeping pills to make myself pass out so it can just stop. It’s like a broken record on repeat and no matter how hard you try you can’t get it to stop.

Before I knew what it was I had no idea how to take care of myself through it so I had awful ways of coping: like I said, I would take sleeping pills to knock me out, I would drink, I would restrict my food so I wouldn’t have to deal with those food thoughts, or purge when I did eat the foods, I would numb with anything that I could. This was hard, and I am still surprised at how I functioned in life.

Now that I know what it is, and that I have a mental health support team, things are starting to change in a positive direction. I have been working on creating healthy ways of dealing with and working through it. Not only am I working to manage it better, I am working to find ways to alleviate the anxiety to begin with.

I am incorporating regular healthy habits: meditation, journaling, yoga, hiking. These things help shift my energy and get me out of my head.

I have also started to take medication because I have decided that if this could help me lead a more manageable and stable life then I wanted to give myself this help.

I have tried to manage everything by myself since I was 13 and I am starting to realize that maybe some of these issues are too big for me to handle on my own and that is ok. It doesn’t mean I am weak, it just means I could use a little extra support while I work on tackling these things and I can be more fully present in my life.

It is still pretty early in my medication journey but I feel like things are starting to ease up for me. I am actually starting to see the light at the end of tunnel and have hope that things can change. It’s not like I have some magic solution going on and everything is sunshine and flowers right now but I am taking it one day at a time, and hoping, like my dad says, that I will have more good days than bad days. Here’s to that.