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Bell Let’s Talk – What Is It? Why Is It Important?

what is bell let's talk? Why is it important? #bellletstalk www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Bell Let’s Talk is an annual event and campaign that began in September, 2010, that Bell started to try to raise awareness about mental illness, reduce stigma and encourage people to talk about mental illness. For every use of their hashtag on specific social media platforms, making phone calls and texting, or other interactions, they will donate 5¢  to fund mental illness research and services in the country of Canada. Bell is the largest company to step in, speak out about mental illness and create a movement for the community.

In 2015, they increased their campaign to 2020, where they commit to donating up to 10 million dollars in regards to mental illness. On January 27, 2016, Bell donated over 6 million dollars based on the near 126 million long distance and mobile phone calls, texts, tweets and Facebook shares. Currently, Bell’s total donations stand at 79,919,178.55$ as of 2016.

Hopefully, this year, we can exponentially increase the funding, have open discussions about mental illness, and end the stigma.


How can you help this year?

All day, Bell will donate 5¢ to mental health initiatives for every:
• Text message sent by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Mobile and long distance call made by Bell and Bell Aliant customers
• Tweet and Instagram post using #BellLetsTalk
• View of the official Bell Let’s Talk Day video on Facebook
• Snap using the official Bell Let’s Talk Snapchat filter

(Join the event on Facebook: Bell Let’s Talk Day Event)


Why is this such a phenomenal movement?

Mental illness has always had a stigma cloud that followed it, where people aren’t entirely understanding or compassionate towards others because of their illnesses. It is often a topic for jokes and put downs, where the joke is at someone’s emotional expense. Though the stigma has reduced over the years, thanks to Bell Let’s Talk and other mental health movements, it isn’t gone. People with mental illness are still being degraded, disrespected, turned away by doctors, deemed unworthy of medical attention and completely ignored by the public.

When the conversation is closed, people bottle up their emotions and feel that their feelings are not valid. The further this happens, the more individuals isolate themselves and feel embarrassed to open up, the more suicides continue to happen. No one truly wants to die; they are hoping their pain will stop.

The majority of society acts as if mental illness isn’t a part of their everyday life, when 1 in 5 Canadians struggles with some form of mental illness. These people are in your life, in your schools, at your work, on the streets, in hospitals, in your home, in your family, in your social groups… They are your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your aunts, your uncles, your friends, your enemies, your acquaintances, strangers… They are everywhere, living normal lives, with not so normal symptoms. Mental illness is THAT common.

A large majority assumes that the mentally ill can only be categorized by schizophrenics, psychotics, and those with bipolar. Those conditions are very hard to live with, accompanied by delusions, voices and uncontrollable emotional levels (and should not be stigmatized), but are not the only ones. Mental illness is much more. It’s depression, anxiety, personality disorders, variations of eating disorders, variations of body-focused repetitive behaviours, and many other, rather uncommon categorizations. It is possible that you may have a mental illness without being aware of it. Mental illness does not make you “crazy” or “psycho”.

It’s time that we, as a society, open up the conversation for mental health, learn about the different conditions and how they affect people, and urge to reduce the stigma in our everyday lives.

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Understanding Self Harm; What Is It?

understanding self-harm; what is it?, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

Self-harm is the act of self-mutilation, where an individual purposefully harms themselves in hopes to alleviate stress, emotional pain, trauma, depressive feelings or find control. A large number of self-harmers are approaching or are in adolescence; using these methods to cope with new emotions, mental illnesses and overwhelming situations, though many are adults or progress into adulthood with these maladaptive coping skills. Some self-harm for short periods of time or in crisis, whilst others may become fully addicted or may not know that they are self-harming because the method isn’t widely known.

Self-mutilation is not a suicide attempt; it is a maladaptive coping strategy to find control in out-of-control situations and can be replaced by healthy ones. The individual self-harming is struggling and needs professional help. They may use a combination of self-harming methods.


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Cutting. Cutting is the most well-known self-harming coping mechanism and has been widespread on the internet over the last few years. It is the most heard of the bunch.

Most adolescents turn to cutting to cope with dysfunctional families, bullying, trauma, schooling and overwhelming feelings, though adults do also partake in this method. The act of cutting releases endorphins to the brain to deal with the emotional and physical pain, giving the cutter a high. It’s an exciting rush, followed by a sense of relief from what’s bothering them.

Cutting is often assumed as suicidal behaviour when, in actuality, it’s a very common way people cope with issues. The blood and mutilation factor frightens caregivers who feel they may have to bring their child to the hospital for an attempt, which is not a necessity.

It is important that, if the cutter chooses to continue, they use clean materials and clean their wounds to avoid infection and STD transmittal (as it can be deadly). They must monitor themselves; if they cut too deep, they need to request medical attention, as an excessive loss of blood can kill them.

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Burning. Burning is frequently used in combination with cutting. The individual takes a hot object and holds it to their skin until it cools down and a wound is formed. Some may use hot baths or tap water instead, which may not leave a mark, but is as serious. These burn wounds may bubble up and “pop”, oozing a liquid; it is important for the person self-harming to monitor this wound and ensure bacteria doesn’t contaminate.

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Scratching/Pinching. Someone may choose to scratch at their skin until blood surfaces for a quick sense of relief. This could be an occasional thing, develop into dermatillomania or be dermatillomania.

Dermatillomania (Excoriation Disorder or Skin Picking Disorder) is when the individual has an incessant need to scratch and pick at “imperfections” resulting in worsened bumps, wounds, acne or infection. This disorder can be combated through therapy and extreme efforts, but is not always noticed by the one doing it.

There is a difference between choosing to do it, and having a disorder. Someone with dermatillomania will scratch or pick during anxious or tense situations, but may not notice, while someone who is picking occasionally is constantly doing it on purpose. It must be monitored as the occasional behaviour can evolve into a disorder as they grow unaware of their actions, and lean on picking to cope. It becomes second nature.

Wound Interference. This ties in with dermatillomania and skin picking. The individual repeatedly picks at scabs which result in either blood or scars.

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Hair Pulling. Hair pulling is because of a disorder called trichotillomania; a compulsive desire to pull out ones hair. The puller may notice bald patches from continuous pulling, self-esteem issues, and hair follicle changes (hairs growing in curly, thin or odd colours). Constantly pulling out one’s hair can increase anxiety, and affect their confidence, usually accompanied by depression. They may find flaws in specific hairs and feel that they do not belong, resulting in pulling it out.

Trich falls under the same umbrella as dermatillomania, (Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviour/BFRB) and is not always intentional. With over exposure to pulling, they become dependent on it and may not notice themselves acting out, and can be so severe that they pull in their sleep.

Photo: © Europen Parliament/P.Naj-Oleari
pietro.naj-oleari@europarl.europa.eu

Drugs/Alcohol. Substance abuse starts off as using drugs and alcohol to cope. Someone may reach for a bottle when they are upset to “lose themselves”. With repetitive use, they will become heavily addicted and full-fledged alcoholics or drug addicts.

Their body will be tolerant of the substance and require higher doses for the same effect, develop a psychological and physical dependency where they may not be able to function without it as their body and mind experience withdrawal, and addiction. Addiction is the compulsive need for the substance and effort required to avoid or reduce usage.

Depending on the substance, risks include:

  • STDs from needles and injectors
  • Irregular heart rate or heart failure
  • Infertility
  • Lung damage
  • Memory loss
  • Periods of psychosis and disconnection from self
  • Seizures
  • Organ failure
  • Irritability, anxiety, jumpiness, sweating and shaking
  • Violence
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

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Hitting. Hitting involves violence towards oneself, where the individual hits and punches themselves for relief. This can result in bruises and painful areas.

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Disordered Eating Behaviours. Disordered eating is a common gateway to eating disorders. They feel they have lost control when it comes to food or their body, finding flaws in their figure or eating patterns. There are heavy influences in media and they could turn to Pro Anorexia Websites for tips on weight loss. Disordered eating can be controlled and restrictive (anorexia), strictly healthy foods only (othorexia), use of laxatives and vomiting after binging (bulimia), over eating (binge eating) and other, personalized methods.

This behaviour must be heavily monitored as a traumatic change in diet can remove years off their life, become extreme with no way back or fatal. They must seek out medical attention and learn not to use food to cope. The recovery process is not short and may take years; it’s best to catch and treat it early.


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“Suicide Attempts” (Testing the Grounds). These types of suicidal behaviours are parasuicidal, meaning it is suicidal in its nature, but suicide wasn’t the intent. This is very common with individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder as they experience chronic suicidal feelings and use this to cope. They do not wish to die, but to control an out-of-control situation. Facing death but not dying can be satisfying to some.


Remember: Self-harm is used to gain control in out-of-control situations. It isn’t use to get back at or punish anybody.

Self-mutilation should be avoided, discouraged and discussed in therapy. Overcoming self-harm will take time, but can be done when trauma, pain and other factors are discussed, and healthier coping mechanisms are implemented. When an urge arises, they should consider journaling, going for a walk, drawing, calling a friend, etc. Constant denial to these urges will improve their quality of life, as they ween off of their need.

Relapse is inevitable, but self-mutilation can be conquered.

If you are a worried guardian or friend, do not demean them. It may not seem logical to you, but it is necessary you open the conversation, lend an ear once in a while, and tell them that it is acceptable to talk about self-harm. If you use it against them, they will lean on the behaviour more, and could hurt themselves further. Don’t overreact, don’t under react. Finding a balance can be complicated, but worth it. They are dealing with a serious problem and need your support.

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11 Ways to Maintain Employment with Mental Illness

11 ways to maintain employment with mental illness, www.slothspedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery, recovery

Balancing the world of employment with our never ending mental illness is a feat to conquer. Many of us have been fired or have had to quit because of our illness; whether we landed in hospital, had a suicide attempt, or just plain burned out. We have to apply techniques to keep our motors going and complete a hard days work.

It will never be easy, but it can be done when we apply these 10 simple techniques.


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Notes. Mental illness can take the better of us and sometimes, our memory goes with our health. To keep on top of our work, it is beneficial to take notes of all the important information or procedures you need to follow. On shift, bring the notebook with you to refer to it and take notes. Use colours, stickers, drawings or tabs; anything to have it appealing and stimulating for you.

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Honesty. Try to keep open communication with your employer. You don’t need to disclose your diagnosis or provide any information you aren’t comfortable with sharing, but you can state that you have medical issues with appointments. If you have scars and are comfortable with showing them, tell them in advance and proceed to wearing short sleeves. It will be important for your employer to be aware of your need for medical attention (whether you state mental or physical is your choice) and dates or appointments, as they can try to be understanding and accommodate accordingly.

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Allow Mistakes. We disservice ourselves by not allowing mistakes, and when we make them, we crash and burn. A mistake is not a portrayal of your character and it does not invalidate your capability as an employee or human being. You cannot beat yourself up over mistakes, because everybody makes them. They’re natural and are a part of the learning experience. Floors and counters can be cleaned, orders and items can be returned and people are understanding. Let them happen, and have fun with them.

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Consistent Therapy. Attending therapy consistently will help you regulate emotions and anxieties, especially around the job itself. It will be useful to have that third party available to brainstorm ways to improve your work environment and performance. Any troubles that may be weighing you down at work could also be alleviated through talking.

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Self-Care. It is important to put yourself first. Do you need a coffee or tea to calm down before work? Bring a mug. Are your feet sore? Take a warm bubble bath. Is your brain on overdrive? Watch a corny comedy. The smallest actions can keep you relaxed before work, and reward you after work. 

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Goals. Human beings are goal oriented creatures; we thrive on success. The smaller the goal, the quicker we achieve, the happier we will be. Set daily goals that are easy to achieve, like attaining hygiene, eating well, and arriving at work 10 minutes early. These goals, especially accomplished before a shift, can help the shift go smoother. It will boost confidence and production level.

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One Task At A Time. Mental illness can throw us in overdrive, hoping from one task to the next without thought. We forget our previous task and leave a mess for someone else to clean up. If you were working in a restaurant, for example, and you were cleaning tables as someone walked in; don’t drop the rag. Finish the task as it is a short one, tell the customer that you will be with them and possibly crack a joke to amuse them during the short wait. There are priorities in the workplace, but tasks that are short can come first. If you are doing inventory though, do not leave the customer waiting until you are done. Prioritize, and take it one step at a time.

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Work From Home. If the social aspect of the workplace is weighing you down, opt for working from home. There are many jobs available through online companies where do not need to interact with people face to face or through phone calls. You could try market research, customer service through emails or even freelance transcriptions.

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Self-Employment. Why not try to be your own boss and start up something new and exciting? Self-employment allows you to be in charge and open up a business for yourself, on your own terms. Photography, writing, art, business; the world is yours. The issue with self-employment is that it does take time and money before ever making a dollar; it is a slow process with no guarantees. It can start exciting, and end with you feeling drained and exhausted. The trick with self-employment is learning business, marketing, discipline and persistence. You will have to work another job until any income can be made.

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It’s Not The Be All, End All. Don’t depend your life success on this one job. It is likely that this will not be your last job, and that if you do get fired or need to quit, it wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t the job or career choice for you. If you lose employment, try to get back up and start looking again. You are capable, you are valid for employment and you have value to a company out there.

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Recovery. The best way to maintain employment is to commit to recovery. Recovery will build up your confidence, help break bad coping habits and teach you self-understanding. It is an all around the clock job itself, but will be rewarding if you commit to it. You will inevitably see improvement in your workplace, yourself and your happiness.


Ultimately, your highest levels of success will come from doing a job you love, but if that isn’t an option, you have to stay persistent and take care of yourself.

Someone with mental illness can be successful in the workplace. You have to believe in yourself, build your confidence and focus on maintenance. Be the best that you can be.

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How to Explain Your Borderline

kids talking, how to explain borderline to someone new, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com

Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental illness that will never be easy to explain. It’s got curves and edges that aren’t easily described, nor simply comprehensed. We often hear of the people who think mental illness is a joke, that those diagnosed with one are lazy, etc, and sometimes, we refuse to discuss it because of that fear of stigma. Being judged for having a mental illness is never a walk in the park, it can be very complicated. When it comes to explaining BPD, multiply that difficulty by a thousand and give the situation acid.

BPD is a complex disorder, and no two individuals diagnosed are the same. We may share similar behaviours and thoughts, but we will never be identical. That’s why it isn’t fair to base our condition on someone else, or in this case, have them base our disorder one someone else.

If they’ve never heard or been exposed to Borderline, it clears up that hurdle, but you may run into people who believe the stigma. But, with the right words and explanation, even they can grow to understand and appreciate the hardships of BPD individuals, mainly yourself.


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How do you tell someone new?

You want to start the discussion with a warning. Assuming that this person is now vital in your everyday life, you want to assure that what you are about to tell them is very complicated, but that you care about them, and want them on board. The other party must be in a relatively positive mood.

If they are not ready or in the right mood (angry, upset, etc), DO NOT START THE CONVERSATION.

I have a disorder. When you are sure they are well, be straight forward and honest. State that you have a disorder and that it is a mental illness. State approximately when you found out, and how you felt when you heard the news.

Borderline is… Explain the disorder and your experience living with it.

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But why am I telling you this? You are telling this individual because they are getting personally involved in your life and they matter to you. You want them to understand your conditions and be a supportive partner in your recovery and your battles.

Mood swings. There must be a reason that you are telling this individual and it must be due to their involvement in your life. It is important to state that you experience mood swings and periods of instability, and that they can be triggered by their behaviour or statements. Assure that it is not their fault, though you struggle with emotion control.

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My extra behaviours. What are your symptoms? Do you dissociate more than react? Do you threaten and manipulate instead of taking a breather. Do you self harm when you are upset? Do you have black and white thinking, or are you in a gray area? Do you struggle with suicidal thoughts? Do you have any other mental illnesses that tie in with BPD (eating disorders, bipolar, depression, anxiety, paranoia, etc)? Clarify what you would need if you fall on a maladaptive coping strategy.

The Good. Explain the benefits that this disorder may bring you. We feel emotions so deeply, thus we are passionate people. We love with all of our hearts, we chase our dreams (and continue even when we fail) and we understand global hardships because we connect easily with others’ struggles.

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I can recover. You must assure anyone you confront about this condition that you can recover. If you are not in the recovery stages, state that it is possible but you just aren’t there yet. If you are in recovery, state the things that you are doing to continuously get better (groups, therapy, every day activities, mood management, etc). Guarantee them that it will take a lot of time and an enormous amount of perseverance. If you are comfortable with stating it, and are underage, you can mention that the disorder may die out for some individuals because it was mainly brought on by puberty and adolescent emotions.

Last statements. Borderline is never an easy disorder to live with. It can be beautiful and harshly ugly. One day, we may love them to the end of the Earth, they may be disowned the next, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t love them. Our actions do not speak for us, especially during an episode. Ask that if the relationship becomes rocky, that they take the time to comprehend that you may have had an episode or are experiencing struggles, or may be reliving trauma.

Tips: 

  • Be vulnerable.
  • Provide detail, but not enough in the case that they are not understanding and become angry.
  • Only confide in them if you are sure in advance that they will not use it against you.

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Example:

 

 

I have a disorder. It’s called Borderline Personality Disorder, and it affects me every single day of my life. It is a mental illness that I got diagnosed with 4 years ago, when I was only 14. 

Borderline is… a disorder focused on behaviours and coping mechanisms, as well as uncontrollable emotions. It primarily births from abandonment during childhood, along with repeated trauma, and enforces bad coping behaviours later on. It is very hard to maintain stable relationships, and we can become frantic and over emotional. We struggle with poor self esteem and body image, and practice maladaptive coping strategies. It is very common for us to threaten suicide and practice non-fatal suicidal behaviours. 

But why am I telling you this? You need to know because I value our relationship, and I want you to be aware of my Mood swings. They are present when I experience extreme emotions and don’t know how to cope with them. I will need your support and understanding in times of need or episode.

My extra behaviours include self harm, repetitive suicidal tendencies and some black and white thinking. At times, my other disorders shine, like my anorexia and my PTSD. Though I struggle through this, it is important that I know you are there for me, that you love me, and be reminded that I can get through it.

The good of having been diagnosed is that I now understand myself a little bit better, and I know why I react in the ways that I do. I’ve learned that I’m quite passionate in art and music, and won’t let anybody get in my way.

I can recover and have been in recovery for 2 years now. It is a slow process but I attend therapy weekly, even when I don’t want to. I use rubber bands instead of razor blades when my emotions overwhelm me, and I attend a Dialectic Behavioural Therapy group twice a month.

My last statements to you are that I struggle on a daily basis, and I may be unkind, but my love and care for you is real and more profound than my mood swings. I want you apart of my recovery and support system because you matter in my life, and inspire me to get better.


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It will not be an easy topic to confront with anyone, but by discussing it and being raw with someone, it can truly open their eyes to your life and struggles. Being honest is the only way to be acknowledged and earning the support of yet another important patron in your recovery.

 

 

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The 8 Wonders of Pro Anorexia Websites

sloth speed recovery, proana, pro anorexia, eating disorder, thin commandments, proana websites,

Pro Anorexia (Pro Ana) is a secret society of individuals who condone anorexia. They may not condone it for other individuals, but ultimately, they are encouraging, worsening or potentially starting eating disorders for themselves and millions of women and men around the world. They support and follow “Ana” rules and tips on a regular basis in a strive for the thinnest, most frail body to feed their mental illnesses and eating disorders.

They will sacrifice their well being, the rest of their confidence and their body to be thin, to be what they deem beautiful. Body parts with pertruding bones and concave skin are worshiped and glorified, and are what every woman should strive for, according to these websites. Without being thin, beauty is far beyond your grasps. Not to mention, it encourages community, friendships, self-discipline and beauty, and working hard to achieve that standard.

So, how can Pro Ana websites really be all that bad

 


1. Being thin is a gateway to a lifelong friendship with Ana!

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Those who turn to Pro Ana websites are often those with a plummeting self-esteem, in search of a solution. They may initially be hit with the thought that thin = beautiful, and achieving beauty is a few pounds away! They are turning to Pro Ana to resolve self-consciousness and seek validation of themselves, within themselves.

Someone in the early stages of their eating disorder or progressing within it may be flung full force into this community and the support around them. Mentally ill individuals are supporting each other to act out unhealthy behaviours, without the interruption of conscious decision for future benefit. In these acts, they may find themselves feeling euphoric and will pursue the behaviours until they can no longer reverse the effects.

In summary, exposure to the images, quotes and support of the community, one, especially adolescent, may find a home for themselves where they feel they can express, destroy and cope with themselves. They may be determining the beginning of a lifelong eating disorder!

2. You will be living in a fairy tale of beauty!

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In the evolution of this disorder, you may find yourself losing touch with reality. Suddenly, you are aware of more “flaws” within yourself that weren’t apparent before, and aren’t exactly realistically accurate.

Those actions that were once choice no longer are choice, they become habitual or ritual in your life, without the ability to cease them. In the process, you may find yourself wanting to stop, with no avail. Conscious decision is no longer within your hands, and you have Pro Ana communities to thank for your slow walk on death row.

The consistent restriction of nutrition will starve you of the abilities of your brain, causing great difficulty in everyday tasks, and seeing things for what they really are. Reality will no longer be in your grasps.

3. The tips, tricks, advice and exercises are very successful!

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The websites and communities promote tips to lose extra weight and get through fasts in succession, all while reducing hunger tendencies. Many of these tidbits are successful and trick the human body into refusing food, worsening the eating disorder and spiral the obsession with food, weight and control. The continuous practice of these behaviours inevitably lead to all the awful physical symptoms of eating disorders, and the last one, which is death.

4. YOUR life is YOUR business! Privacy above all else!

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A good portion of advice offered within communities are ways to conceal behaviours and preserve the on going nature of the eating disorder. It offers in house tricks to convince loved ones that you are eating food and keeping it down, even if you aren’t. It ruins relationships, trust and will rob you of your life. It distances the ones who care, and alters their mind into believing that you are well, ceasing them from providing you help out of your self-destructive hell.

5. A community will stand by you to lose that extra flab! You will never be alone!

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A flow of constant individuals supporting your weight loss will cloud the negative nature of your eating disorder. The positive reinforcement that is continuous convinces your mind that this is okay, that this is natural, healthy and an intelligent decision. You will be assured by the dozens that you will be happy when you are skinny, but you won’t. Everyone involved in Pro Ana or who has an eating disorder is mentally ill and their perceptions are skewed because of it. Their support and comments are a reflection of their own spiral and loss of control.

But at the end of the day, you will always feel alone with yourself, your laptop, and your spiraling sickness.

6. There are many benefits of extreme weight loss!

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Beauty is pain, right? That is true in the case of anorexia and bulimia. You will be so happy you lost those five extra pounds when you stare yourself back in the mirror, witnessing the clumps of hair falling from your scalp, and transferring as peach fuzz on your otherwise smooth skin. Your teeth will yellow, weaken and rot with the various attempts of rising food from your stomach up into the toilet bowl. You will constantly feel weak, tired and faint on a daily basis, becoming deficient and anemic. You will grow anxious in the confines of your bedroom, begging to leave but also to remain enclosed. Unhappiness and depression will become your closest friend, as you push away any human being that tries to get close. Your friends will insist you leave the house, but you know that safety is within those walls, and that the world only offers fat, your biggest fear. And when you finally choose to recover, eating will be the hardest decision you will have ever made.

In those moments, you will not be grateful for the hell you went through.

7. Comparing yourself to others is a good pastime! 

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The constant bombardment of images of overly thin women from your Pro Ana peers will convince you to compare yourself to any woman who walks by you. The thinner women will be the death of you, and you will perceive thicker women as thinner than you. You will find aesthetic “beauty” in passerbys, measuring yourself up to size, trying to conclude how many more pounds are in your vicinity to lose.

If being out and about isn’t enough, try having the community sharing their inner torment and self-destruction with you constantly. The images will become pornographic to you, bringing you euphoria aside of great shame. Suddenly, each individual struggling with an eating disorder is nothing but a number. Goal weight after goal weight, up to an ultimate goal weight, decorated by the digits that define their height, age and body mass index. Your peers will post images of their dying, decaying bodies, and you will ogle them, defining which aspects are your favourite. You may even advise them to lose more!

8. Being thin and not eating are signs of true willpower and success! You can never be too thin!

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With extreme dieting and overuse of these abundant behaviours will lead to death. Being thin and “beautiful” will be the only thing you lived for, and it will have not been a good life. Death will be ugly, painful and agonizing, and as much as you will wish to the heavens for it to cease, you have been taken control of. You are no longer at the steering wheel, and this car is going full force into a fiery crash!

An eating disorder is a constant battle, day in and day out, with ourselves and our bodies, which we cannot escape. It is life or death, and may not seem worth fighting, but it truly is. At the end of an eating disorder is recovery, happiness, well being and a HELL OF A LOT of good food! You may have spent hours, days or years surfing these websites, trying to find where you fit in the world, when none of that was necessary. You were physically fine, healthy and most likely happy!

But now, as hard as it is, it’s time for recovery. It’s time to delete the heaps of images saved on your phone or on your laptop, delete your search history, delete Pro Ana songs, and kill what’s been eating you!


If you or anyone you know is consulting pro ana blogs or websites, please seek help from a professional or call a help line. Recovery is possible.

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My Recovery Wake Up Call (Featuring S.K. Bosak from Borderline Mama)

sloth speed recovery borderline mama www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com www.borderlinemama.wordpress.com my recovery wake up call

With the challenges of everyday life, it is easy to dismiss and forget about our inner troubles. Sometimes a life altering event is the kick we need to wake up to the reality of our illness. Mustering our own inner strengths and all of our courage, we may all see an end to the torment. We must be resilient, and brave. Only then, do we truly start our journey to recover from BPD.

Sloth Speed Recovery has partnered with S.K. Bosak from Borderline Mama to bring you our two incredible stories of self-discovery and journey into recovery.


S.K. Bosak:

I was diagnosed with BPD during my stay in rehab. As a result of all the medicine I had to take, I couldn’t really concentrate on anything and I didn’t feel like myself. I never thought about my diagnosis, but my doctor never went into detail about BPD either. So I just viewed the illness as the cause of my emotional pain and left it at that.

When I was discharged from rehab, I was a fragile mess. I wasn’t ready to go out and live my life, so my parents encouraged me to study from home while I had monthly therapy sessions. It was a lonely ordeal and I hated it. Within a year, I completely forgot about having BPD. My medication made me feel numb, so my therapy sessions weren’t really much help. But I wanted to get back on my feet so I could escape my isolation.

Things started to change when I came off my medication. I began to feel my emotions again. I was able to think more clearly, and remembered my diagnosis. I did a little research on BPD, and finally understood that the illness was why I couldn’t control my emotions and why I behaved the way I did. But I wasn’t ready to recover yet. As a result, my BPD symptoms flared up as I fought to be free from my loneliness.

When I met my SO, I left the country to go and live with him. My BPD symptoms were badly out of control, but I finally wanted to recover. I didn’t like how it made me behave around him. But ended up focusing on our relationship instead on recovery. It was only after I became pregnant, I started focusing on recovery. I didn’t want to be a bad mother.

After our daughter was born, I made a promise to her. I promised to fight my illness so I could be a wonderful mother. My daughter is my motivation to recover.

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Sloth Speed Recovery:

My wake up call was my own self destruction. Nothing was particularly done to me, but I was messing my life up.20160320_14585256861027

I was first homeless a month after my 16th birthday, wanting to get away from home after being physically violent with my family and having the police called on me several times. I was out of control and would use violence to express my inner torment, which turned my family against me. I was partnered with a company that would help me leave home when I turned 16.

I met a boy in the homeless shelter who took my world by storm. I laid my eyes on him and he swept me off my feet. Every interaction we had was lovely, comedic and romantic, until he really hurt me. Within one week of us officially being a couple, he cheated on me. I wanted to die; I wanted the pain to stop. I remember laying on the beach, hoping the waves would drag me in and I could drown. But I was stupid and continued my relationship with him.

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A few months passed and I found out he cheated AGAIN with a girl who was 4 years younger than him and with another girl who woke up, terrorized, to find his hand in her pants.

8 months passed. I had been living with him for 5 months, we had been scrapping pennies, and we did everything together. We were sexually involved with other couples and had rules around that. The night of June 30th, 2015, I went to my friend’s house after a week of suicidal thoughts and pill popping. We went to her boyfriend’s house, and I just wasn’t in my right mind. There had been sexual tension between the 3 of us, with my boyfriend refusing to have sex with them. My boyfriend at the time was with his friends and wouldn’t answer my calls about me feeling aroused and having desire to play with them. Stupidly, I engaged in some sexual activities with them and told him what happened. He was displeased with me, with reason.

Upon my return the next morning, he was furious, and though we led a deviant lifestyle, he had no right to hit me. I was slapped across the face, bringing me to the ground, and received a kick in the lungs. I stopped breathing and ran to the bathroom. (To be clear, I had had physical altercations with him. I did try to attack him once when I was drunk, and smacked him when he had a bottle of pills I was going to OD with).

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It was mid October. Our relationship was falling apart and I was utterly depressed, practically never leaving our bedroom and skipping at least one day a week of school. I was terrified about the result of breaking up with him, and in response, chose to down alcohol with sleeping pills during a Halloween party my roommates were hosting. I was ill with one of my roommates asking me what I did and he put me to bed. Upon my boyfriend’s arrival, my roommates harassed him about what I had done. I was unconscious. He came into the room, kissed me, and LEFT to go party. May I repeat that he LEFT his suicidal girlfriend in bed after an overdose mixed with alcohol. I was asleep for 14 hours that night, and though I’m lucky I woke up, it wasn’t for sure that I was going to.

He left me there, without care that our bed could’ve been my death bed.

About a week passed, and I told my school social worker about the time he hit me and she urged I leave him. That night, I came home and insisted we go one break. We discussed rules and he said he would remain faithful, but that I could see other people. Well, he ended up cheating on me again. I packed my things and left the day it happened.

I enrolled in the Out of Control program in my hospital for DBT and CBT, and was broken. I tried so hard to recover but I was destroyed.

Barely two months passed, placing us in December. I had just celebrated Christmas with my family, and an argument broke out. Well, apparently I shoved my mother and next thing I knew, I was homeless again.

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I moved to Toronto with the help of my current boyfriend into a youth shelter. I was in a city I didn’t know, with people I didn’t know, trying to get on my feet. I enrolled in a new school, started seeing a youth worker, had a school social worker, and worked at a restaurant. I was getting on my feet, but I was miserable and terrified.

I lived there for practically 4 months, witnessing fights with knives and fists, theft, had schizophrenic roommates, sexual harassment and STDs. I decided to patch things up with my mother, begging her to pick me up and take me back home. I needed my family back and I couldn’t live like that anymore.

My mom forced me to re-enroll in the Out Of Control Program, I chose to start working on my recovery and managing my emotions, I graduated high school, joined an employment program, started this blog and I’ve started my own secret project (coming soon!). I have not displayed violent behaviours since December, my self harm is farther and fewer in between, and I am in control of myself and my emotions.

I still have a ways to go with my recovery, but I’m almost there. Everyday is a battle and my BPD really gets to me sometimes, but I understand now how much talent and what capabilities I possess. Recovery is a lifetime lifestyle, and I’m going to get there. So can you.


What was or will be your wake up call?

4

9 Things You Need to Understand About Borderline Personality Disorder

9 things you need to understand about borderline personality disorder bpd www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com sloth speed recovery

It is necessary to state that not all diagnosed BPD patients are the same. Most statements will resonate with the majority of diagnosed individuals, but not all. Every experience differs, and all of our pasts and paths are diverse. These are very common and basic statements about the disorder.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder, otherwise known as BPD, is a serious mental illness characterized by the inability to regulate emotions. Some common traits or symptoms borderline-personality-disorderinclude:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Unstable interpersonal relationships (with idealization and devaluation)
  • Identity disturbance and low perception of self-worth
  • Impulsive behaviours (risky sex, drugs, overspending, etc)
  • Self harm and suicidal tendencies
  • Reactive and difficulty controlling emotions, especially anger
  • Emptiness
  • Paranoia and disassociation

Borderline Personality Disorder has acquired plenty of negative connotations over the years, with some mental health professionals reluctant to treat it based on the intensity of the patient’s threats, reactions and, sometimes, lack of desire to get better. Some people who have associated with individuals diagnosed with BPD may not understand and, within discussions regarding the topic, furthering the stigma.

As diagnosed BPD individuals, we are not perceived positively. People tend to avoid us because of our intense emotions and emotional episodes. As much as we may try to explain ourselves, we are often misunderstood  or not taken seriously. We may desperately try to express our distress to you, without knowing how to go about it. Some of us don’t quite understand our disorder yet and may not know that our explosive or sensitive reactions are distinguished in this disorder, thus having no capabilities to explain ourselves to you.

Explaining our behaviours by stating we have Borderline Personality Disorder is an explanation, not an excuse.


I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me

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We find it very complicated to be in a stable relationship, seeing as our life patterns demonstrate someone loving us, remaining for a while and then abandoning us. We push and shove in response to our overwhelming emotions, trying to abandon you before you are able to abandon us. We constantly fear being left by the ones we love and we find it more beneficial to our emotional stability if we do it first. We convince ourselves that the blame cannot be put on us, even though we recall our behaviour later on and blame ourselves for causing you to leave.

We cannot live with you or without you, and it is a constant battle in our minds. We try to deduct whether it’s more beneficial to have you in our lives or not. At times, we think we have our mind made up, until we realize we want the opposite minutes later.

Think of the old concept introduced to kindergartners; “boys bully you because they like you.” (Extremely sexist, but wait for it.) BPD can sometimes make us act like those little boys. We do not have the means to express our affection to you, nor do we comprehend it, thus we violently lash out. We get the most violent with the ones we love and appreciate the most. It’s awful to say, but if we are treating you like this, we probably love you very, very much. We blame you for the potency of our emotions, and being loved is out ultimate fear. In response, subconsciously, we will cuss and push you away until you leave.

 

 

Emotional Instability, Intensities and Outbursts

A main symptom of the disorder is emotional instability and mood swings. As much as we may try to control our emotions, they always seem just past arms’ length. We go from ecstatic to depressed in moments, and it can leave us utterly exhausted. We struggle with the maintenance of any particular long term emotion; contentment can last a few hours and it can be followed by exaggerated anger.

In response to the ferocious mental storm, we violently react with outbursts and painful statements. We can become physically abusive as well as emotional and mental, trying to spike you with similar pain that we feel. Our outbursts can be brief or elongated, lasting up to a few hours. The extreme emotional implications can even lead us to self harm or a suicide attempt.

 

Sensitivity and Overreacting

It is no secret that we are on the more sensitive side of the spectrum of people. A comment you make that someone else could  disregard or be caught off guard can drive us into a frenzy. Our sensitivity is heightened along with our emotions and, though what we are hurt by may seem silly to you, it is very real and traumatizing to us. There are events and situations that we will not forget because of their extreme sensitivity content and the overload we felt.

An empty comment can be spun out of context with our skewed perception of reality, assuming you’ve observed a trait in us you don’t like, or we aren’t attractive enough, etc. and even if what we heard is not what you had said or what you intended, we create our own reality to make it true.

In retort, we may lash out or bawl, taking an extreme stance, and though it may seem like overreacting, it is valid to us and comprehensible. We felt so hurt by something and our only ability to cope is to lose it in one way or another.You may perceive it as unnecessary but it is our process for coping and we require love and support. In these times, we are in need of an apology and comfort from you.

 

Boredom and Emptiness

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Borderline is often unstable, with periods of highs and lows, and some switching quickly between the two. It keeps us very busy, I’m sure you can imagine. We are so encompassed in this constant whirlwind that, when it calms down, suddenly we are hit with boredom.

Boredom often gets misinterpreted in our minds as depression or sadness, and can evidently lead to self harm and suicidal behaviours. The stillness leads our thoughts in a negative direction, and the self-deprecating notions become repeated in our minds, woven one over the other. (“You’re useless.”, “You’re lazy”, “You never stop wasting your time.”) When nothing is going on and we are chaos free, we are unsure as to what we should do with ourselves, and we can sense a great deal of emptiness and dissatisfaction. Without being kept busy with a hobby, we misinterpret the boredom and the intensity escalates until we lose control and have an episode. We want to have that time and those feelings filled with activities that work our minds and keep our thought process busy. Without occupying the thought process, we can quickly become consumed by our own self hatred and low self esteem.

 

Relationship Struggles

The inability to maintain a stable relationship is very common. These relationships can be family oriented, friendships and romantic or sexual relationships.

A thing to remember is the sensitivities and intensities felt by an individual diagnosed with BPD; any comment made gets held to heart, whether it’s kind or mean. Your opinion is held at high standard and can make or break the individual’s day/week/month/year.

Being in a relationship, we often assume we will be left, being a common pattern we have been exposed to. We assume it is a life pattern that will always follow us, and instead of riding the waves, small or large with you, we subconsciously push you away and leave you before you can leave us. In our mind, it is a way to break the pattern; “you can’t leave me if I’ve already left you”. Any stillness in the relationship is perceived as boring and can somehow be misinterpreted by you not meeting our needs or not understanding us, or even not loving us enough. We have not been exposed to much relax and thus, do not have much experience with coping with it, but we do know chaos and roller coasters. In our inability to cope, we will take you for that ride down the slope.

We desperately want to have a happy relationship but we are not always in control, and to be loved. We face episodes where our mouthes and emotions completely disconnect from our morality and usual conversations. We do not want to hurt you, but we are terrified of being loved. It’s a foreign concept in our minds. We try to keep ourselves together but we loosen at the seams and become explosive. And at times, in our angry episodes, we want you angry too, because then we aren’t alone and you, too, are taking the roller coaster ride with us.

Despite the chaos and rides we will take you on, and as silly as it may sound, we do it because we love you.

 

Skewed Perception of Reality

Though reality is altered from one person to the next, most people are still living within the facts or slight exaggeration of them. With BPD, our reality is concentrated on emotions and fears. For example, if we are scared you will abandon us, we will act as if it is current and live in that chaos. Or, let’s say we feel ugly, we may assume that our loved ones believe it and torment ourselves to not feel this way. And if our fears aren’t real enough, we create them and make them reality.

Our perception of reality is often skewed and can confuse our surroundings. Though we may not be psychotics, we may have delusions and paranoia. They may not be the commonly known heard voices as seen in schizophrenics and patients with psychosis, but they alter our sense of reality and fog the facts.

Our assumptions can go from being just that and escalate to being “reality” as we associate clues and events to our prejudged conclusion. All of our clues, though inaccurate or unrelated, soon become the full reason or description for a situation.

A misheard sentence from your mouth can make us frantic; you may claim you said one thing but we heard another, and it wasn’t a good thing. Suddenly, we believe it; we have proof and evidence that it is all true and you meant what we thought we heard.

 

Identity Crises

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We lose touch with who we are in the process of understanding our disorder, mental illness and wanting to be someone entirely different. We may label ourselves as BEING the disorder or change from one type of person to the next. We act like chameleons and study our peers to be accepted and wanted by them. We perceive fitting in as a sense of validation and self worth. Some individuals will be entirely different when they are at home, compared to work, compared to with a romantic partner. We study and dictate what we want to put on show for specific people, trying to find a way to integrate and not be left.

We discern our being as unlovable, dictated by the demonstrations in our past, and we cannot imagine anybody loving us for our true selves, not to mention the chaos that is this disorder. We will hide behind as many masks and in as many costumes so that you may not break that barrier and unleash us out of our comfort zone. We would prefer putting our best traits on display.

 

Self Harm, Suicide and Threats

A common lead to diagnosis is self harm and suicidal tendencies. Many adolescents get diagnosed before they are deemed able to be diagnosed because of this, mixed with unstable teenage emotions that worsen in stages of puberty.

Self harm is our expression of the overwhelming emotions that overtake our bodies and minds. It is our way of physically creating our pain; painting it out, if you will. Self mutilation is not just the act of cutting, it also includes:

  • Burning
  • Starvation/Bingeing/Purging (Disordered Eating behaviours)
  • Scratching
  • Suicide attempts
  • Overdoses
  • Illegal and recreational drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Trichotillomania/Dermatillomania (and other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours)
  • Etc.

Some of us do it to feel alive, others for control, on impulse, or to scare. (Whether a person is doing it to scare or for any other reason, it is still valid and still dictates a problem, just a different type of problem. In the end, it is still self mutilation, which is unleashing physical pain onto ourselves to cope with emotions.)

It is important to not judge the individual for this expression. It is a maladpative coping strategy and eventually grows to be addictive, as the acts release endorphins, tricking our brains. For the time being, it does work. It isn’t healthy, nor is it worth it, but the individual may have not come to that realization yet. Without desire to recover, it is still recognized as functional by the one self mutilating. Prying and trying to stop the behaviour can worsen the outcome, leading them into intense emotions where they feel they may have to do it again to find release.

Trying to be understanding and supportive, offering positive coping strategies,  hobbiesroutine and helping to create a coping kit with them can guide them on the right path. It will take a lot of time, but the diagnosed BPD patient must eventually learn to self regulate and should be granted years for this process.

Though we may not be trying to kill ourselves by using these negative coping strategies, they can have negative repercussions. The beahviours can become quite severe and may require medical attention, which is important to seek out when needed. The emotions we feel can escalate drastically, requiring us to get stitches or getting our stomach’s pumped, and should be supervised. It is important to ensure all wounds are kept clean and are covered to avoid STDs and other blood transmitted diseases.

Suicide attempts and threats should be taken very seriously, but it is very crucial to note that mental health professionals prefer to avoid hospitalizations for us and so, we can be left on our own. Many of us do not properly use hospital stays properly, often getting involved in other people’s problems or becoming aggressive with staff, feeling the assistance is unhelpful, and disrupting other people’s stays. It is a very sad truth, and we may be turned away when requesting to be hospitalized for these reasons. (It is also very important to recognize that being turned away can spiral emotions downwards, and skewing their perception of reality. They may think “Well, if they don’t think I’m suicidal enough, I’ll prove it.”, and this can be a very dangerous thought process. Ultimately, it is preferred to avoid trying to get hospitalized, which will lessen the trauma.)

The threats can be made to express great deal of distress and serious desire to take one’s life, and it can also be to scare and receive sympathy from loved ones and medical attention. The emotions are intense, and we may threat when they have escalated passed our capacity of withholding them. To us, it is very real. We truly believe we are ready to take our own lives, and though it may be a threat and we may not fully act upon it, our feelings are serious and can lead to the act if overwhelmed.

They will need extra support and will require professional attention from a counselor or therapist who is knowledgeable in  Borderline. Offer support, do not fall into stigma and try to be understanding of the chaos.

 

It is a Disorder but we are NOT Hopeless

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Though this is a long lasting disorder, we CAN recover. The recovery path consists of self regulation and understanding. We must practice mindfulness and positive coping strategies to keep ourselves in line. We are not entirely in control of the behaviours; they are just learned patterns. The treatment of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy will offer us the tools to acquire that content and stable life.

A popular choice for those who cannot afford, nor find a professional or service that specializes in DBT can look into the Out of Control; DBT CBT Workbook, which offers diagrams, activities and simple explanations to many, if not all, common Borderline Personality Disorder behaviours. The tools must be continuously practiced, or relapse is inevitable to occur.

Many will give up on us, but I can assure you that if you stick around to watch us get better, you will not regret it. One day, we will know peace, stability and even happiness, as long as we work hard at it.