Tuesday, 01 September 2015

"Art Therapy" (By: Kristin F.)

In the past couple of years, I have explored all kinds of self discovery. Sometimes it feels selfish, spending so much time working on ME. But, it's also important to realize that you (and me) have an impact on the world. Your impact starts with you, who you are on the inside, your inner-being's health-emotional, spiritual, psychological. If you ignore this, you miss out on the beauty of self-reflection. Each of us were made to be unique individuals, everyone is different, each bringing distinctive qualities. The more you understand about you, the more clarity of self you have, the more you get to share with others.

I have been in therapy for about 4 years now. Life changing, for sure. Helping me think through the way I process the world, how I find myself within it, and how I interact with others. Coupled with that one on one therapy, I have done eating disorder support groups, and spiritual recovery groups. All impactful. Two years ago, I did equine therapy. That was pretty amazing. I learned so much about how I care for others, through a HORSE. I learned what I shy away from naturally (direct confrontation), I learned what I take head on (nurturing another being), I learned what I expect (to instantly connect with others-impossible with a horse as trust is the foundation of intimacy with a horse...and with people). I learned what intimidated me, what frustrated me, what felt innate to me. All through...a horse.

My current therapy exploration is art therapy. Believe me, my artistic abilities...are quite limited.  I went into this 8 week group with a timid mindset. I hadn't touched anything within the realm of art in about 15 years. I mean, my art is writing. Not creating necessarily. The group is with other women who have all struggled with an eating disorder. It is meant to help us express ourselves in a new way and learn something about ourselves through different mediums. In the first session I had to get over the fact that I felt like I was 10 years old again, scribbling away with bright colors, making shapes and objects that kind of looked like...blobs. Ha! But art therapy helps you realize your personal approach-how you do ANYTHING is how you do everything. It's all process focused, so your end creation isn't really the point (blob or not), it's about how you went about it.

Two weeks ago, we created boats that represented our 'self' and then anchors that represented what grounds us. We then were supposed to create an affirmation about the ability of our boats to navigate life and an affirmation about our anchor and how it is associated with a place in our body.  I covered my boat in various colored tissue paper, representing layers of my self. My affirmation for the boat was 'Layers help create depth and strength of self. I will not let my layers weigh me down.' My anchor was a heart, as love of self and others is what grounds me. My affirmation there was 'love is my anchor, I feel loved when am close to my loved ones. I feel love deep in my soul, in my heart. I feel anchored when I am accepting of myself and love who I was created to be.'

Last week, our session was about exploring new materials and expressing our mind/body/spirit connection and then thinking about how we represented our mental/emotional, physical, and spiritual selves and how they interact. Immediately I wanted to show that each are interconnected, overlapping with one another..really feeding off each other. So, I created a sort of venn diagram. Each circle representing a piece of me. The mind a calm, but strong blue, the body a bright yellow, gold as the body is a temple, the spirit a warm peach, sweet and kind. The area they all intersect a green, representing a natural self, the connection to nature that my body feels at its innermost being. It was a great exploration, and it helped me remember that it is important to keep the awareness that our bodies are not just what we see in the mirror-they are SO much more. Our bodies are a gift. 

About the Author

Kristin is originally from North Carolina but has lived in Nashville, TN for the past three years and now calls it home. Upon going to college in Virginia, Kristin fell victim to bulimia and struggled with her eating disorder for six years. Two years ago, she confessed to her family (who were unaware of her struggle), that she needed help. Through outpatient treatment, under the care of her beloved therapist, caring nutritionist, compassionate doctor, and countless support groups through EDCT, Kristin was able to overcome her bulimia and find peace in her recovery. The openness and vulnerability that Kristin experienced within the support groups allowed her to relate with others and overcome the intense loneliness that was a result of her eating disorder. She is extremely sensitive to these issues, as she knows ED is always lingering around the corner. She hopes that her story of finally standing up to ED can help others. Lastly, Kristin has found that animals are a wonderful vehicle in recovery, as they allow for unconditional love, no matter your size. She recently adopted a pug named Rora who brings her great joy.

Posted on 09/01/2015 11:36 AM by Kristin F.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

"Adjusting to Change" (By: Amanda Moulchin)

We have all had to go through something that has made us feel uncomfortable or have been forced to try something new in order to gain experience. Experience is something that you get when things didn’t go the way you wanted them to go.  Change can also be conquering your fears, chasing your dreams, reaching new goals, or something out of the ordinary. One of the best feelings in the world is probably achieving a goal that I have set for myself. I also have so many dreams that I wish to accomplish and I am slowly, but surely, getting closer!

Having an eating disorder sort of formed into my daily routine and what my life revolved around; when it came time to go into recovery, I was not ready for change at all and I would try to avoid anything that would be helpful to me as much as possible. Everything that I was to do to get better was different than what I was used to and honestly, it took me a couple of years to break out of the routine I was used to and become more versatile to change.

The struggles that I went through for years and the nights when my mom would check on me in the middle of the night were all experiences that I did not want. Looking back those experiences, including many more, from my eating disorder have made me who I am today. I have become so open about my eating disorder so that others may become more aware and those who seek help aren’t afraid to ask.

As I look back to the lowest point of my eating disorder, I remember that I would always remind myself that tomorrow is a new day and a new chance to try.

I couldn’t have gone through so many drastic changes without the help of my family and friends. The amount of encouragement and support that I had and have is such a great amount!

Encouragement, support, and love are one of the best things you can give someone who is going through any type of change. And if you are ever feeling down or at a low point, just remember that what you are going through will pass, and with that passing you will have gained experience.

About the Author

Amanda Moulchin is a graduate student at Valparaiso University for School Psychology. Amanda struggled with anorexia nervosa for 10 years, she is now very open about her eating disorder and is always looking to spread awareness to others.  Amanda is Kappa Kappa Gamma alum. Amanda has recently adopted a havanese/schnauzer pup to join her in Valparaiso! 


Posted on 08/18/2015 12:10 PM by Amanda Moulchin

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