Posts Tagged ‘Guest Bloggers’

How Coping With Another Diagnosis is a Big Deal in Recovery

Chocolate kisses and an apple shaped like hearts

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet.  She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on FacebookInstagram, and her blog.

Grief. We usually associate it with what happens when someone passes away, especially someone near and dear to us. It’s “normal” for people to grieve in that situation. We send cards. We call them up. We tell them how sorry we are to hear about their loss. We expect that they will need time off from work. We expect that they will cry and be sad. It’s a given. It’s grief after all.             

Did you know that grief can also show up when navigating a new health diagnosis during your eating disorder recovery journey?

I didn’t recognize this was the case until a recent appointment with my eating disorder dietitian. I’d been diagnosed with heart disease after a calcium CT scan in early February revealed that I have significant calcium built up in my left ventricle. This ventricle, if blocked with enough calcium build-up, can lead to a fatal heart attack since it’s the main artery. It’s why they call it the “widow maker.”

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Breaking the Silence

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

By Kirsten Kochheiser

I do not know if I remember how to speak. My voice still cracks, I still stutter. I think my heart broke alongside my throat. I miss the ways I could sway people. Now all I hear are disjointed sounds mimicking someone incompetent. I watched as my body grew and my emotions and soul shrunk. It’s hard to breathe now, without a throat to swallow the oxygen to fill parched lungs. Words won’t come out right, but I am learning, re-teaching myself how to speak.

My first ever therapy session went smoothly. She asked questions, I answered them, and that was that. Our second session did not go as well. I was quiet. Not the quiet type who does not speak loudly. No. I was the type of quiet that barely said two words. I was a closed book with a chain wrapped tightly around it, locked with an iron latch. She patiently waited while I learned how to shape my mouth into words. Over time, I began sharing more information but remained mostly silent.  

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Traditions

Acomputer with a letter resting on the keyboard

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet. She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on FacebookInstagram, and her blog.

A tradition of mine was started on August 13, 2017. That was about a week shy of when my daughter was heading off to college for the first time and moving away from home. It was also a little more than two months shy of my official eating disorder diagnosis.

At that time in my life, I was struggling with not only my eating disorder (unbeknownst to me at the time), but also underlying depression and anxiety. It was a time when I tried hard to find small bits of hope in the everyday of life yet would come up short many days due to the depression and loud eating disorder. That summer, I had been painfully counting down the days until my daughter would leave (as if my life would stop when she did), rather than counting up the hours I had with her in the present moment. I was finding all the things “wrong” rather than all the blessings I had. To say it was a tough time in my life is an understatement.

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Outgrowing Ed’s Clothes

Teresa Schmitz with shirt that says Beautiful Capable Worthy

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

While navigating her own recovery journey at The Emily Program, Teresa Schmitz discovered a hidden gift in being known as a great listener with a compassionate heart. Being earmarked as an IT Leader who was more into the people on her teams than the technology they were building, she realized her purpose was beyond her title. She connected the dots and soon realized her purpose was to help empower others. She pursued her dreams of becoming a coach and launched her own coaching business, My Best Self Yet.  She now helps women feel empowered to navigate the journey of loving themselves unconditionally. She also empowers others to know and use their character strengths in the In It Together group coaching program. Learn more about Teresa’s story and follow My Best Self Yet on FacebookInstagram, and her blog.

Self-love journeys are not easy. They cause you to reflect on your beliefs and challenge what society has taught you about your worth and your body.

About three months into my own self-love journey, I spent a few hours doing something that challenged some deeply rooted beliefs. As homework in between my weekly sessions, my therapist suggested that I part with clothes that no longer fit me. She told me it would set me free. I didn’t realize how emotional this would be when I decided to do it one Saturday afternoon.

I went through my closet and gathered up clothes that I’d been shaming myself with. These clothes had fit me only months before when I was on an appetite suppressant that resulted in weight loss. But they no longer fit me now. Former diet plans taught me to keep these clothes as a reminder of what I once could fit into and should aim to return to. Shaming was an everyday approach to getting into those clothes again (along with the next best diet). I thought it was what you did to love yourself. You kept the smaller clothes as a reminder, and you quickly got rid of ones that became too big. I spent hundreds of dollars on clothes in a short period of time. How could I part with the clothes I bought at a “normal”-size women’s clothing store? I thought.

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Redefining My Relationship with Food

A group of friends eating at a picnic table

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

This blog was submitted anonymously by a woman in eating disorder recovery.

For most of my life, I thought of food as the enemy. I actually used to say that it was my biggest weakness. It was like a drug I was supposed to avoid instead of something my body needed to live. If I ate only a certain amount or type of food, I was being good, but if I ate more than that limit or a “bad” food, I was being bad. The food made me bad (or so I thought), and therefore it was something I needed to fear or fight. Just like an enemy.

About two years ago, a therapist told me something that helped me finally move away from that thinking. I was working on challenging the idea of “good” foods vs. “bad” foods, and week after week, this therapist kept telling me that food is neutral. It still wasn’t clicking. I still couldn’t get away from the categories. And then she encouraged me to reframe it: to think less of the particular food—and whether it is “good” or “bad”—and to think about my relationship to it instead. Instead of thinking, “x food is bad,” she recommended that I say, “My relationship to x food could be improved.” Rewording it in this way helped me see that it was not the food that was the problem, but it was my relationship with the food that was.

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Recovery Conversations: A Q&A with Melanie Stephen 

Melanie Stephen

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. This story includes mention of self-harm. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Melanie Stephen is a wife and mother to two beautiful girls. She obtained her graduate degree in social work in 2020 and began pursuing a fulfilling career in the field of eating disorders. She has volunteered her time as a mentor and support group leader, while also working as an Inpatient Clinician for those struggling with eating disorders and co-occurring illnesses. She is pursuing a life that is full of adventures, opportunities, and possibilities that allows for self-growth, passion, authenticity, and genuineness.

Through her recovery, she has learned to be true to herself, scars and all, and to allow the world to see that it’s realistic to be perfectly imperfect. She has earned her certification as a Certified Eating Disorder Recovery Coach and Certified Eating Disorder Peer Mentor, as well as certification in Expressive Therapy. She also plans to continue advocating for the Eating Disorders Coalition and become a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. It is her deepest hope that with her personal and professional experiences, she will be able to help others in their journey to recovery and be free from disordered eating.  

Recovery Conversations is a question-and-answer series that features voices and stories of eating disorder recovery. Melanie Stephen joins us today to reflect on the “roller coaster ride” of her recovery and the lessons it has for others currently struggling.

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