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WHAT DOES MENTAL ILLNESS LOOK LIKE? Simple answer: it doesn't ❌

A lot of you know I hit rock bottom last year, in my worst mental state ever. Extremely malnourished, clinically depressed and frighteningly suicidal ☠️ The photo on the right was taken several days before my 5 month psychiatric hospital admission. Yes RIGHT. I remember this very day - I hadn't eaten since the previous night and the photo shoot took the whole day. I was light headed, shaky, paranoid about my looks, looming in depressive thoughts.....not the girl portrayed in the picture.
Now a year later, having began my mental health recovery and engaging in extensive treatment, I am in a much better place. I no longer have the urge to throw myself in front of traffic or starve myself to the point of death. However, my illnesses are not gone. In fact each day is a constant battle with the person I used to be and the person I want to be. The photo on the left was taken two days ago after a minor breakdown 💔 These occur when my internal conflict gets so much that I can no longer hold myself together 😫 My thoughts reassure me that they know best and will make things better, but they've only ever lead to further disaster. The hardest part is learning to distance yourself from your own thoughts. They're what make you YOU, but they've been manipulated by negative influences which only seek harm 👻 It takes tremendous strength to put aside your own personal beliefs and rather follow those of others', which is the essence of mental illness recovery 💪🏻
People think that mental illness is seen in how someone appears physically, be that severely underweight or covered in scars 🔪 or the way they act, talking to themselves or running around in tin foil hats 🙇🏻 This is NOT what mental illness looks like. In fact there's no clear image of it. Mental illness can be seen in what may first appear to be the average crowd, but the truth is you never really know what's going on inside someone else's head 💭 So be aware of the invisible illness which lives inside more of us than you really know. If you're suffering please reach out and seek help. Your thoughts are always valid ❤️ Post inspired by @selfloveliv

I always thought I would grow up to hate my Burn scars. At almost 10 years old having to accept I was going to be scarred for life was very intimidating. I went through stages of acceptance, sometimes it was hard and other times I was embarrassed to show them.
I was offered plastic surgery to reduce them or to 'fix' the damaged areas but after many years of contemplating it I turned 16 and no longer had the option through the children's hospital and I'm so glad I didn't take up the offer. I really thought about it but the one thing that stopped me was the fact that they are apart of my story and I didn't go through all that pain just to erase it. I felt as though these are my battle scars and I should be proud of them.
Over this mental health journey of mine I have also acquired scars, scars that I have been very ashamed of and will unfortunately wear for the rest of my life. After a long time being self conscience I have come to realise they are also battle scars and are in the same category as my burn scars... something I wear without shame because they tell a story and although it's not a pretty one it's one I've overcome.
I have been wanting and planning a cover up tattoo piece for my burns scars for years but am yet to decide if that is what I really want. I would love a beautiful artwork as I've seen many others do when it comes to scars but over the years I've formed a bond with my imperfections and I feel I would miss them deeply. I'M SO TORN ... but I certainly want a tattoo to decorate my scars or to cover them because it's so beautiful 😅🙄 Anyway... I just wanted to let you know it's okay if your story has marked your skin, it's okay to love and accept your scars and it's okay to feel insecure about them as well. One thing you should know is scars are beautiful... a scar means the wound has healed. Yes it may never heal the same way but that's life... we break and then we mend differently to the person we once were. Without change we never grow and instead of living with regret and anguish over the once raw wound we can mould ourselves into a imperfect scar that proudly says I'm healing and I've healed 💕✨🤘🏼

It's time to cut the bullshit ✂️
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I've been promoting myself as recovering and strong 💪🏻 and what not, to really hide the embarrassing 🙈 method with which I've been coping with my emotions: overeating. On the left is a photo of me from early last year. I was weight-restored, maintaining intake and all of my treatment team were happy with me. More importantly I was back to the weight pre-anorexia. However on the right is me now, almost 20kg bigger. This is not where my body should be. And yes body positivity and love ❤️ I'm learning to love this body, but what I'm conveniently avoiding is the 4am binges every morning, the 4 bowls of chocolate cereal for breakfast, the constant snacking, the traveling through 4 Macca's runs in one afternoon. My hunger never 🙅🏽 seems to be satisfied. And I wonder why I have been so disassociated for so long - the food is doing a great job of numbing me. The first step is finally admitting that my anorexia has definitely morphed into something else: binge eating. I know that falling back into anorexia's whims of 'I'll help you lose that weight' is not possible, I know I don't want to sabotage myself and I feel strong enough to fight that. But I need to accept that my struggles have changed, and treat myself accordingly. I need to cut ✂️ the bullshit and find some more beneficial and productive methods with which to deal with my emotions and my PTSD that is not this compulsive reliance on food. I hope I have all your support ❤️
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#mentalillness #ptsd #anorexia #anxiety #borderline #bpd #depression #edrecovery #recoveringaussies #bulimia #survivor #edwarrior #edfamily #edsoldier
#recovery #ed #anorexianervosa #2fab4ana #foodisfuel #realrecovery #prorecovery #bodyimage #bodypositivity #foodie #recoveryispossible #eddisorder #strongnotskinny #foodspo #foodporn

Wishing my gal @als_recovery the best of luck and sending buckets of love for her procedure tonight. Let's kick gastroparesis' butt (because mines playing up too 😩). Endless hugs and thinking of you every minute. See you soon Al, you brave babe x

#eatingdisorderrecovery #gastroparesis

Presenting Emmy's gluten free baked doughnuts that are really just doughnut-shaped cakes. 🍩

Reflecting back on this past month over a much needed and deserved brunch date for one ☁️💖

I honestly can't quite believe I made it through uni and my final exams in one piece. It has taken a huge toll on my body and I've been so unkind to myself, this last month especially. I have been studying non stop, isolating myself from the world, barely sleeping and asking my brain to work to it's absolute limits whilst running off very little food and nutrients. Yes, I've come out on the other side alive but I am beyond both physically and mentally exhausted 😪 This past weekend I've been trying to get back into my life and go out as usual, but what I've realised is I have a lot of resting and recuperating to do. My treatment team want me to have another hospital admission and gain weight before all of this gets out of control but I am going to try and do it myself. Determined for the next time I'd be in a mental health unit is as a nurse, not a patient 💪🏻 •
Thank you to each and every one of you who have stuck by me, sent me strength and positivity when I've needed it most. I know I've been very inactive - but from now on I will endeavour to start posting like I used to! Hope you're all well and hang in there 😘❤️

Dinner tonight was egg salad, potato salad + baked potato 🥚🍳🥒🥕🥔🍠 so today we had ward round, and I'd lost weight so we had to make increases in my meal plan 🙃 now I also have a special one to one nurse for meals outside of program because I haven't been having them 🙄 today my body image has been absolutely HORRIBLE 😣 I just feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, all this weight gain just makes me sick 😖 although there is a part of me that's happy for it, that I'm finally regaining my health. These two sides of my mind are always at war, but hopefully the tide turns in favour of the good thoughts 😇 it may be Monday, but in feeling relatively ok and I hope y'all are too. Also! I NEED SUGGESTIONS FOR A MEET UP!!!!! Anyone who wants to come is welcome, I just need to know the deets 😎

#shiveringtosweating 🏋🏽‍♀️🔹anorexia vs recovered 🔹dying vs living 🔹shivering vs sweating 🔹green tea infront of the heater vs beers with friends at the beach
🔹taking photos of food vs taking photos of friends 🔹exercising in my room and crying vs lifting heavy weights and smiling
🔹pinching my skin in anger vs pinching myself because i can't believe i'm living
🔹dreaming of food vs dreaming of my future
🔹hiding my sexuality vs accepting it 🔹hitting my parents vs hugging my parents 🔹staying at home alone vs going to parties
🔹crying over food that i ate vs crying over being grounded from coming home too late
🔹never going to school because i'd rather be in hospital vs never going to the hospital because i'd rather be at school 🔹following the recovery community vs following the lifting community 🔹food dairies vs poetry
🔹trips to the hospital for tube feeds vs trips to the hospital for broken bones from skating 🔹cleaning my room obsessively vs cleaning my room after being told too many times
🔹walking on a treadmill vs walking down isle at your wedding 🔹counting down the days till i die vs counting down till christmas
🔹running on the beach the day after i ate cake vs camping on the beach for my birthday
🔹surfing the web for food photos vs surfing waves at the beach 🔹losing weigh rapidly vs gaining weight slowly
🔹brain damage vs learning new things 🔹being told to enjoy life while you can vs being told to party less
🔹a heart beating 30 beats per minutes vs 50 beats per minute 🔹being cold in summer vs being cold in the woolworths freezer isle
choose wisely ❤ tag someone who needs to read this!

As the saying goes...
"You accept the love you think you deserve", so have I, been in jobs, degrees and relationships I thought were suitable for my perceived level of worthiness.
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Realising you deserve better is hard, and it usually takes time. Then once we do realise we deserve better, taking the leap into the unknown is even scarier. It's safer and more secure being with what we know, even if it is beating us down. But trust me, from someone who's been there a million of times and is finally adjusting her life to what she wants (instead of what she thinks she needs), I promise you that jump is worth it.
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You don't deserve to be unhappy. You don't deserve to be run down, overworked, disrespected, teased, neglected, abused, and left feeling lost and hopeless. You deserve to be in a workplace that makes you smile and makes you feel like you are making a difference. You deserve to be studying something you enjoy and are passionate about (even if it's something that has a low employment rate). You deserve to be in a relationship with somebody that loves you, spoils you, supports you, cheers for you, thinks of you and treats you with respect.
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You're better off being temporarily uncomfortable for a happier life, than permanently miserable in a "safe" option.

MOST RECENT

We did an activity to do with autumn leaves in group. I had a breakdown and one of the girls gave me this leaf with one of her beautiful haikus on it. All the girls in my group made me feel so loved ❤️ I was pretty embarrassed, I hate to cry in front of people and rarely cry outside my psychologists room. I have the most awful crying face that puffs up like a balloon the colour of this leaf with snot and tears everywhere. I was surprised the girls were hugging me not running in the opposite direction. I'm really struggling at the moment to be honest, I feel like I'm treading water and I don't know how much longer i can keep my head above the surface. I feel like I have the team here fooled, they all think I'm swimming with ease but they don't see how close I am to drowning. My disordered thoughts keep hijacking my brain and I don't know what's real and what's irrational. So tired of this battle. But somehow got to keep moving forward, even if I'm crawling along at little turtle steps.
#recovery #recoveringaussies #recoverywarrior #edrecovery #ed #eatingdisorderrecovery #eatingdisorder #anorexiarecovery #anorexia #anorexic #anarecovery #ana #anxietyrecovery #anxiety #gad #generalisedanxietydisorder #depressionrecovery #depression #mooddisorder #bpdrecovery #bpd #broken #letsopenupnotgiveup #struggling #strugglingbutsurviving #mentalillness #mentalhealth #edfamily #outpatient #assistancedogintraining

I don't know how to say this in a way that doesn't sound silly but sometimes I miss being severely mentally ill. I don't know if that makes me sick or wrong or insane, but when you are unwell for so long, it becomes normal. It's not necessarily enjoyable, but it's comfortable, it's safe. Unwell becomes who you are, what you are. It's an identity that defines you. And yet this temptation to remain sick, or to be sicker, it is full of only empty promises. There is nothing that being mentally unwell can offer that being healthy, alive and well can't. There is nothing your mental illness can give you that will ever outweigh what you will get from a life well lived. So whenever I feel the pull to fall back into familiar unhelpful patterns or find myself longing for the past, I remind myself that this is merely my mental illness trying again to pull me into its depths. And I know that I am stronger than that. And that a life in control of my mental illnesses is so much richer and more rewarding than a life being controlled by them. 📷 by @doodlebubbledesigns

I so thank full I allowed myself to gain weight. I'm so happy I didn't give up when restoring weight. I'm so proud of my body for not giving up when I tried so hard to destroy it. I'm so relieved that eating isn't hard anymore. I'm so blessed to have made it to where I am. I'm so grateful to be recovering. I'm so honoured to be helping people. I'm so fulfilled by just being alive and I'm so privileged to know so many legends that keep me strong and encouraged.. I always thought I would hate my recovery body and that I would forever curse at the fact I am who I am.
I have proven myself wrong and that has been the most motivating action I have taken through my recovery. So many beliefs I had about myself and my life are no longer and that... that is so rewarding.
Give yourself a chance, you'll be amazed what the end result can truly be.

Some sunshine and attempted smiles.
Stay strong today/tonight everyone because you're beautiful and I believe in you 💕
#edrecovery #eatingdisorderrecovery #edfamily #recovery #anarecovery #anorexiarecovery #recoveringaussies #smile #sunshine #positivevibes #girl #australiangirl #blonde #blueeyes #happy

ba na na

Creamy couscous topped with crispy baked tofu, pumpkin, zucchini and steamed cauliflower and kale 🌳

I'm a little sock obsessed and it's all thanks to @kmartaus. All 12 pairs for only $8 (other pair are on my feet)
Can't wait to mix it up with some different combinations, just like @katie.aspinall the ODD SOCK QUEEN🙌🏻👸🏼Never have I ever seen this gorgeous chick wear a matching pair in my life😂 let's all be odd together😁😘❤️
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#oddsocks#newsocks#sockhaul#edrecovery#recoveringaussies#recoveryisworthit#anorexia#anxiety#depression#ocd#cptsd#ptsd#selfcare#bulimia#hope#connection#arttherapy#sockart#keepwarm#shopatkmart#newfavourite#outpatient

Food intake has been crap today and caffeine has been crazy ~ 3 coffees and 2 cans of coke zero.
I look at my sister and I see her wasting away. I can't watch her do this. I need to get away from this family but I don't know how. Where to go? Or what to do.

Got news today that they want to keep me over the weekend because of some results they want me to continue doing a particular treatment 😅 going so bloody stir crazy and have felt really down the last few days but I'm hanging in there and riding the waves the best I can because it's got to be done to get me better and that is still what I want. I didn't come this far to only come this far 💪🏻
#inpatient #autoimmunedisease #goodpasturessyndrome #kidneydisease #borderlinepersonalitydisorder #bpd #bpdrecovery #eatingdisorder #ednos #anorexianervosa #bulimianervosa #anxiety #depression #recovery #recoveringaussies #edsoldier #edfamily #edfam #edwarrior #edfighter #shrecovery #staystrong #stayalive #alwayskeepfighting #insta

A box I crafted today in art therapy reused to store earrings.
#pretties #arttherapy

I think we are all pretty damn good at 'daring greatly' 💪 Being brave and afraid at every minute of the day... Started in my new role today, I was so nervous beforehand but I got through it and actually felt ok by the end of the day 😌 So much love to you all 💖 🌼

Inspired by @nickyyhelen Monday was #mermaidthighs for @omgkenzieee #selflovebootcamp and this it to remind you that not everything you see is reality. On the left I am arching my back and forcing my knees outwards, the middle is me standing naturally (I stand with locked knees and have tibial torsion which makes my legs bow out a little) and the third was my pushing my pelvis forward and bending my knees. This was the first time I had tried this and I shocked myself on how bloody easy it was to alter how my body came across on camera simply by playing with joint angles. #eatingdisorderrecovery #recoveringaussies #anorexia #anorexiarecovery #bulimia #ednos #osfed #eatingdisorder #edwarrior #edfighter #eatittobeatit #strongnotskinny #depression #anxiety #selfharm #selfharmrecovery #bpd #borderlinepersonalitydisorder #bpdrecovery #mentalillnessrecovery #mentalhealth #mentalillness

Wishing my gal @als_recovery the best of luck and sending buckets of love for her procedure tonight. Let's kick gastroparesis' butt (because mines playing up too 😩). Endless hugs and thinking of you every minute. See you soon Al, you brave babe x

#eatingdisorderrecovery #gastroparesis

bought lunch at uni to eat in the library as a treat for getting through my Italian oral exam regardless of how it went hahaha. It's my friends birthday tonight and we're going to a pub and I'll probably get a burger because they're like my favourite and they're 2 for 1 on Tuesday's but it's becoming a fearfood and I've been feeling so positive the past few days and don't want to lose that aaaaa

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