Putting things into perspective (TW: mention of self injury & eating disorder)

Last night was one of those nights; you know, those moments where it seems life is merely perpetual boredom and just not sufficient. Coming from someone who acknowledges that life is precious and beautiful and of infinite worth, this really messed me up. Part of me wanted this feeling to go away and change things in my life to make it more purposeful. The other part? It thought, Meh. Why should I even care? It had a complete lack of motivation (really problematic and the enemy of those with mental illness). Thankfully, J had ridiculously wise words and sage advice- I believe he said something along the lines of: It’s hard to see the point in things and even want to change anything, but when you get that first happy moment, it’ll change everything and inspire you to keep on bettering yourself. Goodness, is he some sort of therapeutic wizard? So even though I still feel sort of lethargic, a little spark in my ignited. It’s that minuscule but magical spark within all of us that ignites when we need it most; the tiny but forever-burning fire which fuels our spirit and mind. It made my mind drift back to my stay in the hospital, and some of the many invaluable things I learned there.

I was placed in the SIRS/ED program at Alexian Brothers (Self Injury Rehabilitation Whatever-the-S-stands-for and Eating Disorders). There I met many incredible and wondrous individuals who I will forever thank for their help and keep in my heart always. Not just those who helped support me and my new healthy perspective, but those that were so tremendously far gone that I was scared into never being one of them. It had heartbreaking moments: the 12 year-old girl that was so withered away and fragile that on family visit day her parents would hold her in their arms as if she were an infant. She was so small, and I’m sure her demons have stunted her growth by now. It hurt seeing that and still brings tears to my eyes- I hope that some day she will look in the mirror and recognize who she really was: a survivor of disease, a loving big sister and daughter, and a precious, sweet girl with a quiet voice that was braver and stronger than most. There was the teen girl who had a swirl of strawberry- blond on her head, who (while being weaned off of medication) writhed and screamed on the floor, sobbing for “more pills please, just to take the pain away”. And then there was the eighty or ninety year-old woman with the beautiful big smile and kind face, who I’m sure had been battling eating disorders and self-harm her whole life. These things scared the fucking shit out of me, and rightfully so. I think about these people a lot, imagining them healthy and recovered, back with those who loved them.

One of the things you had to do a lot at Alexian was fill out paperwork. Paperwork about if you ate, how you felt, what your goal was, if you had any urges to harm yourself, if you had anything you wanted to talk about, etc. We filled out paperwork after every single meal and snack, and during “lessons” where speakers or teachers would come in and give a small lecture about taking good care of yourself. I still have a few of these plastered up on my wall, to remind me of those times. As annoying as it was, it really helped put things in perspective, so I thought this would be something to help both you and I regain some composure and hopefully a more positive mindset.

I want you to list/say…

10 things you like or love about yourself (5 physical and 5 personality/characteristics).

Your mood on a scale of 0-10+ (0 being perfectly happy and well, ten and up being suicidal).

10 things you are looking forward to this summer or year.

Your small goal for the day.

Your big goal for the day.

5 people who inspire you.

10 things you are grateful for/make you happy.

& lastly, if you are not feeling on a level of 0 (and really, who is?) come up with at least 3 possible solutions for your problems.

This has been pretty long already so I’m going to end it here. I might make another shorter post listing and explaining my answers, but this is craaazy long so I’ll halt for now. Feel free to list your own answers, my friends. And know that even when you feel numb or whatever-feeling, all it takes is a little bit of perspective.


2 thoughts on “Putting things into perspective (TW: mention of self injury & eating disorder)

  1. When you teeter on the edge of the precipice, it is often difficult to locate the spark to keep us moving, but keep moving we must. J’s advice is right on the money–when you get a taste of even one moment of happiness, you need to figure out a way to hold out for more.

    I am glad that your time at Alexian, has allowed you to grow and develop and gain the perspective you need to continue on your journey to health.

    Great ideas for working towards a more positive mindset. I used to keep a gratitude journal. It is probably something that I would benefit from using once again.

    Hope tomorrow is a better day for you!


    • Thank you very much Lisa. Sometimes the smartest things pop out of his mouth. Gratitude journals are very nice, but sometimes I don’t have time or patience to take out a notebook and write it out. For times like that I have a free app. on my phone that is a gratitude list. It also shows an inspiring quote every day. It’s very handy!

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