Therapy Update and In Need of a Little Advice

I hope everyone is having a great week so far! I cannot believe that tomorrow is the first day of March, but I’m so glad because February is my least favorite month ever. How is it that the shortest month of the year always seems the longest?

Anyway, I’ve been saying for awhile that I wanted to do a quick update on how things are going with the therapist and dietitian I started seeing at the beginning of the month. I see the dietitian every other week (unfortunately, she is not covered by insurance), and she is absolutely wonderful. I had serious doubts about seeing a dietitian and didn’t know how much she would be able to help me, because I thought I already knew what I needed to do to gain weight. This may be true, but it has helped so much to have someone to support and guide me. She thinks that my diet is very well balanced, but that I was not eating quite enough to sustain a healthy weight. She is working with me to gradually up my intake so that I can gain weight and get out of the bad place I’m in.

I also like this dietitian a lot because I feel like she is very knowledgable, not only about eating disorders, but about other things as well. She seemed to know a lot about thyroid issues when I explained to her the problems I was having. She also specializes in gastrointestinal health. I’ve had stomach problems for years, and sadly, increasing my intake has only made them worse. She recognizes that the stomach pains I am having are an obstacle to me reaching a healthy weight, and she wants to help me get to the bottom of them. I really hope she can help me figure out what’s going on so that I can fix it.

While I really like my dietitian, the therapist I am seeing is a bit different. The dietitian actually recommended this therapist to me, and I’ve been seeing her once a week. She is a very nice person, however, in the four sessions I’ve had with her so far, I don’t feel like I’m making any progress whatsoever. In addition to issues surrounding my eating and body image, I was really hoping to get help for my OCD and anxiety that has been negatively affecting my life for years. I told her this in the first session, and so far, we haven’t addressed any of it. She has been focusing on the roots of my problems, and thinks that childhood trauma may have played a role. I explained to her that apart from a strained relationship with my dad (which is thankfully getting better), I had a great childhood. I feel like she isn’t really listening to my concerns.

I’ve just been leaving every session feeling frustrated, which is something that has never happened with a therapist in the past. I feel like I have reached rock bottom and finally realized that all of my issues (the eating disorder, OCD, and anxiety) are preventing me from living the life I want, and I want nothing more than to overcome them. I’m not sure what I expected from a therapist because I know that no doctor can “cure” me of my anxiety. I have to help myself. I guess I was just hoping that I’d find a therapist who could give me some tools to help myself overcome these issues.

I have another appointment with the therapist on Saturday, and I am not sure what to do. I am very shy and am afraid to tell her that I’ve been leaving our sessions frustrated. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I also do not want to keep wasting my parents’ money. I talked to my mom about it, and she actually emailed my dietitian last night explaining my concerns (I really wish she wouldn’t have done this though).

Sorry for ranting, but I guess I just need some advice. Should I try to tell the therapist that I want to work more on my anxiety and OCD? How can I do this without hurting her feelings? Or should I try to find another therapist altogether? Any advice you could give would be much appreciated!

Have a wonderful day, guys!

A Laid Back Weekend

Happy Monday! To some, a happy Monday might be an oxymoron, but I’ve always kind of liked Mondays. They are a fresh start to a new week!

Anyway, I wanted to post really quick and share some random thoughts and things from the weekend.

On Friday evening, my sisters and I watched the ABC News special on Robin Roberts who is a broadcaster on Good Morning America. For those of you who don’t know her story, she received a diagnosis of MDS earlier in 2012 and had a bone marrow transplant in order to save her life. She also fought breast cancer in 2007, which I was unaware of until I watched the ABC special. I also had no idea that shortly before receiving her bone marrow transplant, her mother (who she was very close to) passed away. But the thing that struck me the most while watching was her positive attitude. While she admitted to having rough days and feeling hopeless at times (which is totally expected), her overall optimism and positive outlook is truly inspiring. I am so glad that she was brave enough to share her story, and that my sisters and I happened to catch it while it was on TV.

Such a beautiful and strong woman!

Such a beautiful and strong woman!

What else did I do this weekend? I did some reading and finished a really good book, which I would highly recommend (especially if you are a dog lover). It’s called The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I have to say, this is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time! The end is so cute, but I don’t want to spoil it in case you want to read it.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

On Sunday (yesterday), my sister and Dad and I had dinner at my grandma and grandpa’s house. We had ravioli (which was delicious!) and just had fun talking and watching a bit of the Daytona 500. Afterwards, my sister and I visited my Nana. I love all of my grandparents, but am especially close to my Nana. Since both my parents worked when we were little, she helped raise my sisters and I. She is the sweetest and most kind person I know. I hope to be just like her when I am older!

Look at these cute little things my Nana picked up at the store for us! The monkey and bear are solar powered and sway back and forth when you put them in the window...so adorable!!!

Look at these cute little things my Nana picked up at the store for us! The monkey and bear are solar powered and sway back and forth when you put them in the window…so adorable!!!

I also went grocery shopping this weekend, and just about flipped when I saw the new Chobani flavors at the store! And they were 10/$10, which made it even better! I tried the banana Chobani this morning in a yogurt bowl, and it did not disappoint!

Banana Cho

I also met with my dietitian and therapist this weekend, and I want to do an update on that, but I think I’ll do it in another post because I don’t want to make this one too long. I also have a small dilema that I’m hoping maybe you can give me some advice on. But I’ll save that for later this week! I hope you all have a great Monday!

What did you do this weekend? Do you prefer laid back weekends, or would you rather have a lot of things planned?

Recent Eats and a Turkey Meatloaf Recipe

Good morning! First off, I want to thank everyone who commented on my last post. I know my last few posts have been a bit personal, but it feels really nice to write out my feelings, and more importantly, hear what you have to say! It’s just my nature to be shy and private about how I am feeling, but I am glad I decided to be more open and honest on this blog. I just hope you guys don’t mind my sappy posts too much 🙂

I don’t have anything sentimental to share today, just some food pictures I have had on my camera for a few weeks now! And I also have a recipe for turkey meatloaf, but I’ll save that for the end of the post. So get ready for some picture overload…

Brealfasts have been typical yogurt bowls like this one.

Brealfasts have been typical yogurt bowls like this one.

I don't think I'll ever get tired of this breakfast!

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this breakfast!

Chicken sandwich leftover from lunch at a cafe! (like my cool plate?)

Chicken sandwich leftover from lunch at a cafe! (like my cool plate?)

Panko breaded chicken breast, roasted potatoes, and green beans! Oh and ketchup, of course.

Panko breaded chicken breast, roasted potatoes, and green beans! Oh and ketchup, of course.

Frozen yogurt from Costco. It's never too cold out for ice cream/frozen yogurt!

Frozen yogurt from Costco. It’s never too cold out for ice cream/frozen yogurt!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been making dinner a lot, to help my dad out and also just because I love cooking! Last night, I decided to make a turkey meatloaf, served with homemade mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts. My dad was a bit skeptical of a “turkey” meatloaf instead of the traditional one made with beef. He ended up really enjoying it! My sister didn’t even realize it was made with turkey until I told her. So I would say this recipe is a winner! This is actually my mom’s recipe, and if you’re looking for a good turkey meatloaf recipe, I recommend giving this one a try!

Turkey Meatloaf

Mom’s Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients

– 2 lbs ground turkey (I used 85% lean – I find it works better if the meat has at least some fat)

-1 c. oatmeal

-1 c. milk

-2 eggs

-1T Worcestershire Sauce

-1.5t salt

-1/4t black pepper

-1/4t dried Sage

-1/2t dried mustard

-1 packet liption onion soup mix OR 1/2 onion, finely chopped and sauteed until soft

For the topping:

1/2c ketchup, 2T yellow mustard, 2T brown sugar (Mix all ingredients together)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl, except those used for the topping. In a greased baking dish, form the meat mixture into a loaf size (about 5 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high). Or you can do what I did, and place most of the mixture into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan, and make a “mini” meatloaf in another pan with the extra meat mixture. Bake for about an hour and a half. When the meatloaf has about a half hour left to bake, brush the ketchup mixture on top of the meatloaf, and continue baking until the internal temperature has reached at least 170 degrees. And voila! You have a delicious dinner! The leftovers are just as good the next day too 🙂

That’s all I have for now. I have another dietitian appointment tomorrow, and I hope to do an update about that since I haven’t talked about it much. I hope you all have a great day!!!

 

Self Love This Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Ok, so I admit that I’ve always had a kind of bitter attitude towards Valentine’s Day. Sure, the red and pink heart decorations and candies are cute, but I’ve never seen the point. If you really love someone, you should celebrate that every single day, not one day out of the year.

I think that my attitude towards the holiday has something to do with the fact that I’ve never had a Valentine. As embarassing as this is to admit, I have never had a boyfriend. I’m 21 years old, and never kissed a guy, been on a date, or even been asked out. I used to feel really terrible about this. I felt like everyone around me was in a relationship and that I’d never been in one because I was ugly, boring, and just unworthy of someone else’s love. I worried that I would never be in a relationship, never get married, and never have a family.

But recently, I have come to a sort of realization, if you will. Maybe the reason I’ve never had a boyfriend is because I still haven’t learned to love myself. They say that you have to love yourself before you can let others love you, and I’m beginning to see that maybe that really is true.

selflovequotes

For years, I was entrenched in my eating disorder. I pushed people away, including my family and the few friends I had in high school. I refused to trust anyone or let anyone in my life. And to be honest, I was much too busy obsessing over food to even think about dating or having any kind of relationship. I was caught in a vicious cycle of self-loathing, self- destruction, and self-hate. I hated myself too much to let anyone else love or care about me.

Fortunately, I am doing everything I can to get myself out of that cycle. I want to learn how to love myself. I want to be able to look in the mirror and love my body, even if it isn’t perfect. But more importantly, I want to be proud of the person I am inside. I know it is going to take some time before I can honestly say that I love myself and actually believe it, but I am hopeful that I will get there. And I think that only then will I be able to let someone else love me.

I Love Me

So for Valentine’s Day 2013, I am going to focus on self-love. I am going to practice being kind and gentle to myself instead of criticizing every mistake I make. Instead of feeling down and out about not having a Valentine again this year, I’m going to keep reminding myself that once I learn to love myself, everything else will fall into place as it is meant to be.

I hope you all have a great day! And remember, do something kind for yourself today. Even if it’s something simple like painting your nails, buying yourself some flowers, or cooking your favorite meal, you are worth it!

I painted my nails the other day, which is something I rarely do because it bugs me when they chip! But my sister showed me this new technique called "water marbling"...you can find Youtube videos if you want to try it!

I painted my nails the other day, which is something I rarely do because it bugs me when they chip! But my sister showed me this new technique called “water marbling”…you can find Youtube videos if you want to try it!

Erasing the Stigma of Eating Disorders

As many of you may already know, February is National Eating Disorder Awareness Month. I’ve always liked the idea of dedicating certain months or periods of time for the awareness of certain illnesses. I think it’s a good reminder, and helps spread knowledge to the general public. Luckily, I think our society today is much more aware of mental illness today than it was even thirty or forty years ago. Back then, far less was known about mental illnesses like eating disorders, and the stigma attached to mental disorders was even stronger than it is today. Despite the progress that has been made, I think society still has a far way to go before we can say that the stigma of mental disorders is totally eradicated.

Eating disorder awareness ribbon

Just last week, I was in the grocery store when I ran into one of our neighbors who I hadn’t seen in awhile. After saying hello, she asked me why I wasn’t at college and what I was doing back home. After panicking for a minute, I replied that I had to take a medical leave for the semester to deal with some thyroid issues. Now while that wasn’t a complete lie, that’s really not the entire reason I took time off. I mainly did to start recovery for an eating disorder. But I didn’t want to tell her that. Why? For the same reason it was difficult for me to tell my doctors about my eating disordered past. For the same reason I’ve tried so hard to hide it from family and those around me. For the same reason I waited so long to start this blog. I’ve tried to hide the fact that I am dealing with an eating disorder because I am ashamed. I worry about the stigma that’s attached to them. I worry that people will think I am foolish, self-absorbed, and that I chose to have this. I worry about people judging me.

While I don’t believe that eating disorders are something to be proud of, I don’t think those suffering from them should feel ashamed. Eating disorders are just like any other illness. Was I ashamed to tell my neighbor about my thyroid condition? No, not at all. Would I be ashamed if I had some other disease, like diabetes? No, I probably wouldn’t. And there is really no reason that I should feel embarassed to admit that I am and have struggled with an eating disorder.

I think eating disorders, and all other mental disorders for that matter, are so difficult to comprehend unless you (or a loved one) has struggled with it. And I think this is where some of the stigma comes in. I know that for me personally, it is difficult to understand certain mental disorders. For example, I never truly understood panic disorder until my sister started having panic attacks, and I saw firsthand how truly debilitating they can be. While I still don’t fully understand them, I am slowly learning that it’s okay to not understand. The important thing is that we be understandING. It’s important for us all to do our best to be non-judgemental and compassionate towards everyone, as difficult as that can be sometimes. But I think if we can do that, the stigma of mental illness can be erased, or at least drastically diminished.

I hope that wasn’t too much of a rant, but it’s something that has been on my mind for awhile now. What are your thoughts on the stigma of mental illnesses? I would love to hear what you have to say!

Even More Motivation

Happy Wednesday! I really enjoy reading everyone’s WIAW posts every week, but I have yet to join in. I’m not too good with getting pictures of my food, and I am not sure that I’d be able to snap pictures of all my meals and snacks without my family thinking I was a little crazy. Actually, my dad doesn’t even know about my blog, and I’m not sure I want to tell him just yet. I may participate in WIAW in the future, but for now, I think I’ll just enjoy reading everyone else’s posts!

On Monday, I checked in with my doctor. I just switched over to her about two years ago (I really didn’t trust the doctor I had before her), and I absolutely love her. She is so sweet and is just a really good doctor overall. Anyway, I mentioned my thyroid problem in my last post, so I wanted to give a brief update on that. I wasn’t supposed to meet with the endocrinologist until the beginning of March, but after my doctor made a phone call on Monday, they were able to fit me in that afternoon. I guess my doctor really wanted me to see the specialist ASAP.

The endocrinologist and his assistant were both excellent. They explained all of my test results and were very thorough with answering all of my questions. Apparently, my thyroid is just all over the place. The first blood test I had indicated an overactive thyroid, while the results of a scan I had back in January indicated an underactive thyroid. They did another blood test on Monday, and that time, my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was within the normal range. I was relieved, but so completely confused. How could my thyroid levels be changing so much?!?!

Though I feel ashamed of my eating disorder past, I was completely honest with the doctors about what I am going through. Luckily, they were very understanding and I felt comfortable telling them about it. After giving them a detailed explanation of my situation, both the endocrinolgist and his assistant agreed that the eating disorder could very well be the cause of my thyroid being out of whack. They explained to me how the eating disorder and my low body weight could possibly be screwing up the way my body produces and uses the hormones that are responsible for healthy thyroid functioning. They said that if I am able to get my weight back up to a healthy place AND KEEP IT THERE, there is a good chance that my thyroid may sort itself out. They want me to come back and check in sometime this summer, and then go from there.

Knowing that this eating disorder is really damaging my body makes me upset, but it also just motivates me even more to get back to a healthy place. I am hoping and praying that once I do get to a healthy weight, that my thyroid will sort itself out. I feel so awful and even stupid for neglecting my health for so long. I just hope that my body forgives me after all I’ve put it through. Though it was hard hearing that my low weight is affecting my body, it’s exacltly what I needed to hear to motivate me even more, and I am so thankful for that. I am also so thankful for my wonderful doctor, as well as the two wonderful endocrinologists I saw on Monday. As much as I have distrusted doctors in the past, I now know that there truly are caring and compassionate medical professionals out there.

Sorry for the long (and probably boring) post. I just wanted to post this update. Thanks for reading if you did, and have a great rest of the week!