Mental Health Monday: ABCs of Recovery

May 23, 2016

Good m☀️rning sunshines! I'm joining Julia for her weekly linkup before a busy start to the week. First off I have back-to-back appointments with my dietician and therapist then I'll head downtown for my second to last office visit. Crazycrazycrazy!

Let's pretend Dallas looks this lovely right now

Stole this idea from Foodiecology who originally got it from Lean, Clean & Brie. When I came across the post 2 months ago to the day, I thought it would be fun to create and share my own version. I decided to expand the list to encompass what has defined my recovery and ultimately helped me get to where I am today. I definitely can't and don't claim to be fully recovered (if such a thing exists) but I am getting there.  

**Disclaimer: Just wanted to note that these are my own tactics and based own my own experiences. As reiterated several times, recovery is extremely personal! It comes in all shapes and sizes so I honestly encourage you to find what works for you (or what doesn't). 

Without further ado, I present the ABCs of my recovery: 

A - Acceptance. The first step to anything really. 
B - Balance not only for the tangible composition of meals but also for finding balance between studying & relaxing, among the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual healths in my life. Recovery for me isn't necessarily just from my eating disorder but being in general better place wholistically. 


C - Community. There are too many names I could name but the online blogging world has allowed me to read others' journeys and feel less alone as I go through this. I have learned so so much more than I could have imagined from amazing, inspiring people. 
D - Diet. Or the lack thereof. According to Google, here is what diet (the noun) means: 

i. the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. 
ii. a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

Why do we always think of it as the latter and not the former? I'm trying to remove the word but it's so ubiquitous why not just change the definition of the word instead. 

E - Emotions. All the feels. Many use their eating disorders to avoid feeling negative emotions; however, doing so also suppresses feelings one may want to feel like happiness. Though it has been an emotional rollercoaster, it is liberating to feel my feelings even if this means random bouts of tears. 
F - FATS! Experimenting with and incorporating avocado, nuts, nut butters, oils into my "diet." Butter is still a fear food that I'm trying to challenge. Progress not perfection.

G - Growth. If I know anything for sure, it's that I am not the same person I was a year ago when I formally began my recovery. I have grown immensely. I've gained weight, gained awareness, friends among other things.
H - Hear. This one has a couple of meanings: a) Podcasts are awesome! b) Listen to what others have to say and take it to heart.  
I - Intake. For my weight restoration, my treatment team has prioritized upping my intake. I would underestimate serving sizes and would therefore restrict how much I was eating. I thought I had balance but in retrospect it was skewed. 
J - Journalling. Write words, write something, write anything. What matters is that I write without criticizing myself. Allow the thoughts to freely flutter onto pages.
K - Kaylee. Losing and discovering myself again. It's great to be able to focus on what I truly want to do, want to eat, want to want. 
L - Letting go -- of exercise, of pressure, of expectations, of control, of judgment, of perfectionism, of who I thought I was. 
M - Me time! Since I've talked about self-love so often, I think this one is self-explanatory.  

N - Nourish. Another double meaning for me: a) the physical and mental nourishment from food and stimulating activities and b) the weekly ED support meetings at my campus' general recovery center of this name 
O - Optimism. Look at the glass half full. It's really been about keep perspective throughout all of this. Attitudes, both good and bad, drastically change things. 

P - Protein particularly in the form of bars, powders, and shakes. In the beginning, I was completely against even the thought of having these. I detested it! Now, a year later, I crave protein bars and love baking (and shaking) with protein powder. 
Q - Quiet. Being content even when things are at a lull. Appreciating the discomfort of silence at times and sitting with my thoughts. 
R - Recovery Record App. I have various things to spur my recovery; I've tried maintaining a Diary Card. I was Meal Plan Exchange Worksheets. For a bit I was doing both simultaneously! It was honestly exhausting. The most beneficial so far has been this app. I track my meals without necessarily counting calories, write down my emotions and thoughts, and can link up with my treatment team. It is a process of trying new things and being alright with dropping those that don't benefit you. I know things will evidently change and right now this is what helps. 

S - Starches. In a strange way, eliminating the word carbohydrates from my vocabulary and thinking of bread, rice, pasta, etc. as starches instead has helped me. 
T - Trust in myself, in others, in the process, in a higher power. Allowing my body to crave what it wants and listening to said cravings. Believing that things will work out, that this phase is temporary. 
U - Understanding. Having said H, understand some comments aren't necessarily directed towards you though you may feel otherwise. Understand that your family and friends want the best for you but may not know the best way to help. Understand everything happens for a reason and this battle only makes you stronger in the long run.  
V - Vulnerability. (Brene Brown, ftw.) I previously viewed being raw as weakness. So it was and most definitely still is difficult for me to be vulnerable. Opening myself up to others as terrifying as that may be in the moment is the foundation of connection, which is what I like all humans craved. Vulnerability is necessary for feeling fulfilled. 
W - Wellness. I now have a better outlook on what it means to be healthy in terms of overall wellness. I used to be hyperfocused on "healthy." In my pursuit of ultimate physical health, I wasn't destroying only my body but also my mind. I have learned it's better to reverse the order of approach: improve the mental aspect and the physical will follow. 
X - X-amine (I tried... X is hard. 😩 ) I had to rethink what I thought I knew. Sometimes analyzing heavily causes me to doubt and get down on myself. I have improved at catching myself and reevaluating my headspace before anything else. There is also a loooooot of reflection time to think about who I was, who I am and who I want to be. 
Y - You do you. As Theodore Roosevelt said so aptly, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Recognizing that my wants/needs are not your wants/needs are not her wants/needs are not his wants/needs and so on and so forth. I choose to embrace my body's uniqueness!
Z - Zits. My face has been out of whack recently! As silly as this sounds, I am grateful as a sign that my hormonal levels are getting back to normal, or at least that's what I'm telling myself. 😉

What has helped you through your recovery?
Do you have any plans for this lovely Monday? 

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  1. Love this post and you with all my heart <3 so impressed with you figuring out something for x :P community, accepting myself and the bad things that happen in life, and journaling all helped me so much in recovery.

    1. AWWW Leah ♥♥♥ Thank you.
      X was definitely a struggle!

  2. Oh my gosh I love this!! My favorites are:

    Hear- I think in recovery we tend to get a lot of great advice from our doctors and therapists and friends but we often don't really HEAR it. We just smile and nod but we need to stop and really take in what they're saying. It's usually valuable and supportive and possibly even life-changing!

    Me-time- This has been a huge part of my recovery. It's such an exhausting, hard process that focusing on yourself is super important. It means saying no sometimes to plans or spending a Friday night by yourself practicing self care :)

    Zits- Seriously though haha. My whole life I've never had issues with my skin until now. Not the most fun thing but just another reason to keep getting better!

    Anyways, love this and so happy I found your blog!!

    1. Thank you, Amanda! I'm glad I discovered your blog too!
      SAME!!! My skin had been smooth & clear until the past year. It sucks but I'm trying to look on the bright side!

  3. Love this. I may have to borrow this idea for myself <3

    1. It was really fun! You should definitely give it a shot 😄

  4. LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Especially V- vulnerability. Once we learn to open up to the world *and* ourselves… that’s where the true progress lives. love love love love love this post so freaking much, Kaylee!

    1. Thank you sososo much Julia! This means a loooooot. ♥

  5. Losing and discovering myself again-> this is so true. In the midst of it all, I totally lost who I was. I really enjoyed the re-learning though!

    1. Definitely! I like that I can get to be picky with how I spend my time now hehe