Self-Help, Miracles, Addiction and Freedom – My 2019 Reading List

Something that I really got into towards the end of last year was reading. Reading used to be a form of escapism for me as a child, I’d read and read and read until I ran out of books then it would be back to the library for more! As the story goes, I grew older and social media became much more prevalent, and although my love for reading never died, it sort of took a bit of a time out.

Fast forward to the end of last year, I ordered “Spirit Junkie” by Gabrielle Bernstein off a recommendation from a friend, and as soon as I picked it up it reignited that flame of passion for reading all over again.

When I was younger I loved story books: the imagination it brought out in me, the twists and turns, the deep emotional connect I felt to certain characters and feeling like I could turn a page and be transported into a whole new world.

Reading has become a form of escapism again, but not so much in an ‘away with the fairies’ sense, more of reading about spirituality, healing and connect – allowing me to envision a better life and strengthening a new mindset for myself.

“Overcoming Binge Eating” Christopher Fairburn

Before reading “Spirit Junkie”, I actually read “Overcoming Binge Eating” by Christopher Fairburn and although I don’t have a binge eating disorder, it was recommended by my eating disorder psychologist so I read it and found a lot of my recovery to be based around what was written in that book. I also got a lot of coping mechanisms from it, as well as it being the most logical way of understanding your own individual eating disorder and recovery.


“Add More -Ing To Your Life”, “May Cause Miracles”, “Miracles Now”, “Judgement Detox” and “The Universe Has Your Back” Gabrielle Bernstein

On my reading list I have of course got the rest of Gabrielle Bernstein’s publications! I find her style of writing super relatable and easy going. She tackles massive issues and tricky life changes but makes it all sound so easy (because it is)! I would definitely recommend her for those starting out on a new spiritual journey to happiness and miracles!


“The Untethered Soul” and “The Surrender Experiment” Michael A Singer

Searching to find out who you really are? In “The Untethered Soul” – which I am very excited to read – expect to reach into your inner depths, focussing on meditation, energies flowing and gaining confidence in yourself. These two books are on my list for that exact reason. Once I have found more about inner peace, I want to learn how to practice it, how to engage myself and open my life up more for positive change and ultimate inner freedom and happiness.


“The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle

Eckart Tolle…wow, just simply wow! If you are yet to come across any of his work I’d firmly recommend watching his interviews on YouTube and just listen to him speak. This book covers how to truly live in the moment, something that I have partially learned already thanks to watching some of his work online.

It was in fact Eckhart Tolle’s work that gave me the initial kick up the bum to surrender myself and to reach in for inner, true happiness and contentment.

I couldn’t recommend a spiritual teacher enough, so I am really excited to get my teeth stuck in to this book!


“The Atlas of Happiness” Helen Russell

I came across this book by chance it it just looks super sweet! Little pockets of happiness from all over the world to help you learn inner happiness in a fun and spontaneous way. Learn how different cultures and countries in a light-hearted and uplifting manner! I’ll definitely be ordering this one next as it seems like the perfect bite-sized early morning/late night/waiting for your coffee to brew kind of read.


“Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions” Russell Brand

Again, recommended by a friend, I am excited to get sunk into this one! Having an eating disorder, for me, came with a whole host of bad habits that formed into addictions in what felt like a blink of an eye. Now that I’m working so hard not only on my recovery but on my spiritual freedom, these addictions now feel out of place but I can’t just pick them up and put them in the bin (if only!).

I absolutely adore Russell Brand and I find his journey to sobriety really inspiring, so this is up at the top of my list too!

His next book “Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped” is out at the end of this month too so I’m very curious as to how the two link together.


“Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness and Making Miracles” Marianne Williamson

I’ve wanted to read some of Marianne’s work since discovering Gabrielle Bernstein, as I know a lot of her work is inspired by Williamson’s. I think that this book will be my perfect companion on my spiritual journey.


“Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and other lies) Scarlett Curtis

First of all, I absolutely adore Scarlett Curtis. This book has been on my reading list since it came out! Scarlett curated this book with writings from 52 inspirational women who were posed with the question “what does the F word mean to you?” in order to gauge exactly what being a woman means to them. I’m intrigued to see the results but mostly to open my eyes to different women’s stances on feminism. A friend said the book was hilarious and hard hitting all in one go, so I am super interested! Again, another early morning book I think, with snippets to easily draw in to.


If I’m totally honest, I can only see this list getting longer, so I better get reading pretty sharpish if I want to get through these initial ones! I’d originally said a book a month but I’m going to be running out of months soon…

However, on that note, any book recommendations?!

I am living for self-help books at the moment in case that wasn’t obvious, but anything light-hearted, funny and empowering is also appreciated!

What books are you reading at the moment?

All my love,

Maddie x

Advertisements

wishes for 2019

I’m not a fan of resolutions for the New Year, so instead this year I’m putting out my best wishes for myself out into the universe!

2018 was a bit of a wild ride and I was all over the place. I will always remember 2018 as the year that I lost myself but discovered a happier version of myself which I need to bring into 2019 to work on some more, as I’ve really only scratched the surface.


Continue on my road to recovery…

Completing my treatment for my eating disorder was one of the highlights of my 2018. Accepting and reaching out for help was something that I put off for ten years, so accomplishing something that I was so scared of is truly miraculous for me!

Just because I have completed my treatment doesn’t mean that I am recovered. Recovery is something that I will have to choose every single day for the rest of my life. So for 2019 I want to take it one day at a time, having the strength to choose recovery every new day.

Recovery is so much more than me printing off my relapse prevention plan and sticking it to every wall in my apartment. Recovery is a full mindset, and it requires strength and faith to get through. This is going to be one of my biggest challenges, of course, but I really want to be able to look back and say “I am so proud of what I have chose”.


Eradicate bad habits…

They are so easy to form, so easy to quit, then so easy to run back to on a bad day. I have one too many bad habits to list, but acknowledging that they exist in my life and that they negatively impact me is the start of saying goodbye to them!

For the first time in my life I am actually ready to give them all away. I am excited for a life that doesn’t revolve around my bad habits, and for existence that is positively impacted by new, good habits.


Get strong…

I spent the last month of 2018 focusing of strengthening my mental wellbeing, but in 2019 I want to focus more on my physical strength.

I loved going to the gym last year but had to stop due to weight loss, so this time around I’m going to focus more on my strength in the gym, rather than how long I can run on the treadmill for before feeling like I’m going to pass out.

My eating disorder took all of my physical strength, and through recovery I have been given a taste of what my strength could be. I have so much more energy now and I want to do something with it!


Finish my degree…

This one is a big one for me. I spent my whole first term weighing on the thought that I should’ve deferred my final year to have been able to fully focus on my recovery. I ultimately decided against this though, and threw myself into my final year of study – which I regret so much!

But I chose to stay on this path for a reason, so now I have accepted that, I am going to place all my faith in myself and get this degree!


Stick to my routines…

I recently realised how important it is to have routine, so I created both a morning and evening routine to follow each day. It is super simple and nothing too crazy so that I know I will be able to follow it daily no issues, but it will drastically improve my quality of life!


Read more…

I have a reading list of 11 books, although I’m tempted to bring it up to 12 so that it equates to one book a month. My current read is Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein and I am officially hooked. The other books on my list follow similar suit; self-discovery, spirituality, miracles and personal freedom.


Be grateful…

This is something that I have never struggled with, I am an over-grateful person if anything! But sometimes it is hard to see the good in every day, especially when your thoughts are plagued with bad ones. Daily gratitude lists and weekly reflections will be my way forward this year!


Be happy and positive…

Through all of these things, I should be happy by default really! It sounds so simple but that is because it is. After years of battling depression, addictive thoughts and trying to shut down an eating disorder, I have finally come to the realisation that my happiness comes from within, so that is really what I will be working on this year.

Here is to 2019; the year of miracles, self love, choosing recovery and moving forward in my happiness!


Do you have any wishes for your year ahead? I’d love to hear them!

Lots of love,

Maddie x

Relapsing During Recovery 

TW: Eating disorder recovery, relapse and mental health. Specifically focusing on restriction relapse. No weight / calorie numbers will be in this post.

 

  I’ve been seeing a wonderful doctor at an incredible eating disorder clinic for the past few months. Over the past month I have been sticking to a very strict eating schedule to try and help me get into the swing of standard eating patterns and slowly reintroducing food to my day to day life.

I saw my doctor last Friday who was, albeit frustrated that my weight is still declining, really proud of me for sticking to my new schedule. In all honesty, I found the schedule easy because of who I am as a person. It wasn’t the eating that was easy, but the timekeeping was.

Knowing that I had free range over what I ate and portion sizes made it a lot easier for me. He was keen for me to start increasing portion sizes as we are currently on a two week gap from seeing each other again, and was concerned that my weight would plummet further.

During the conversation, I was feeling really positive about this next step! However, a couple of days ago I had a total breakdown, up until then I had been sticking religiously to my eating schedule.

The issue with this was that we hadn’t discussed what to do in that moment, if I did relapse. I came to the conclusion that I just wasn’t hungry, but that isn’t a good enough excuse not to eat whilst going through such an intense recovery process. I felt like a failure, the thought of eating consumed my mind for hours and hours, so much so that I was 3 hours off the time on my schedule. I honestly didn’t know what to do.

For my eating disorder, I have learned through recovery, it is self destructive to restrict in the way that I do, however in that moment I felt that if I did eat anything, then it would result in further, different self destructive behaviours.

After hours of deliberating, I turned to beatED, the leading eating disorder charity in the UK. I’ve never used their services before, but I felt like I was in such despair and in a really tricky and stressful situation. I was connected to a lovely woman on the live chat within a minute and it was the most helpful, and calming situation I could’ve wished for in that moment.

I explained my dilemma, and just had a full blown negative rant to be honest! The woman asked me more questions and we had an honest chat about everything, my recovery so far, my support system and what the charity could do for me. After around 40 minutes my head had stopped spinning and I felt like I could make a clear, informed and calm discussion as to what to do in that moment.

I made an informed decision to skip the meal, and although I was initially riddled with the feeling of guilt, reading back over my conversation with the lovely lady at Beat, I knew that in that instance, I had made the correct decision for my wellbeing and immediate health.

I never expected recovery to be easy, but after riding a semi positive wave, I was upset to have relapsed during my recovery.

But knowing that tomorrow will always be a new day is a very comforting thought.

Recovery isn’t a sprint, it’s a bloody long marathon, a tough one at that, and I am really proud of myself for even accepting help after years and years of the eating disorder taking over every single aspect of my life. 

It’s going to be a long road, and I feel like I’m starting all over again and the past few months of hard work were all for nothing, but know in reality that that isn’t the case.

I’m armed with knowledge to over power & combat my eating disorder, and I’m excited to pick up the pieces and give it another go.

If anyone is struggling, or wants to support a loved one going through a tough time with an eating disorder, I couldn’t recommend beatED enough! It’s an incredibly supportive and kind community that I feel lucky to have at my finger tips.
Much love,

Journaling Maddie xxx

23before23 #4: Keeping a Food Diary

Okay, *big breath* I am going to be talking about my personal eating habits, and eating disorders mainly focusing on EDNOS / atypical eating, and although this won’t go into any graphic detail, I just wanted to give a heads up before anyone who could potentially be triggered or affected continued reading.

Ok cool let’s go!

Having struggled with my eating, and continuing to do so, I’ve always been told and felt conflicting things about food diaries. Around Christmas time I was asked by a doctor to keep a food diary, and I did! In fact, I have kept it every day since.

Keeping a food diary, particularly for someone with an eating disorder can be a really difficult step to take. Personally for me, every time I logged in any food I would get an instant pang of guilt, if anything, keeping a food diary made me feel like the pages were almost judging me, and I felt as though I needed to alter what I was eating to feel okay when I wrote down what I had consumed.

I totally understand that everyone is different, and every eating disorder is different too! Some people keep food diaries to make meal plans, as a way of altering their diet for the better which I think is so cool! However for myself, a person with an atypical eating disorder, I found (at first) keeping a food diary quite triggering and distressing.

Don’t get me wrong, over time it just became second nature to write down my intake, but in all honesty I don’t think it ever got easier, just felt like ‘one of those things’ that I just got on with!

I am in the very early, confusing and delicate days of recovery, if you are familiar with atypical eating disorders, I am sure you understand the emotional and mental rollercoaster that comes along with recovery.

I can’t remember a time where I didn’t have an eating disorder, speaking with my therapist we have whittled it down to a few sources that could have caused it to spike and present itself over the past thirteen years, but I do believe that it is something consumed my brain for my whole life.

Trying to go into the next few months of therapy with an open mind, I am also being more open to the dreaded food diary! I’ve been given a much clearer way of wording it rather than writing literally “i ate x y z today”. Now I am encouraged to write down every sip of water, a piece of chewing gum, a meal, or whatever it may be, and how each of those make me feel. I found this pretty intense an idea at first, but in reality, it is exactly what I needed. If I feel guilty, I can write it down and let it out, rather than letting it consume my brain.

Whilst I am sure the future for me in my recovery will be challenging, I am feeling positive, at least for now. With recovery, there are a million ups and downs, being pulled back to shoot forward, to taking several steps back, and running leaps and bounds in the direction of recovery.

It is super scary, I’m honestly terrified, however, I have managed to keep a food diary for over 6 months nearly and that in itself is a massive achievement for me and my eating disorder!! My ultimate goal is to not focus on controlling myself emotionally over food, but to have control over my disordered eating.

Writing about this is a very freeing, if not horrifying experience. I definitely do want to write more about atypical eating disorders in the future, but maybe in a few months time when hopefully I will have a clearer understanding of it myself, particularly my own eating disorder that has controlled me for over such a long time.

All the best,

Journaling Maddie xxxxx