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Confession: sometimes I'm afraid of complete eating disorder (ED) recovery. What does this mean exactly? It's hard to articulate, but there is a small (albeit influential and persistent) voice in the back of my head that warns me not to lose the ED behaviors I relied on for so long. As irrational as this might sound, I feel a sense of comfort and reassurance in knowing I can re-access the eating disorder anytime I need it.
When you are the victim of verbal abuse, making decisions and navigating everyday activities can be overwhelming. I have noticed that when my anxiety levels climb due to external stressors, my brain and body want to shut down. Then, I would return to my old coping skills from when I suffered abuse by giving up, abstaining from fighting against any opposition, and retreating internally. 
It's one thing to tell someone you've hurt yourself accidentally. But what do you say when you hurt yourself on purpose? What's the best way to tell someone you self-harm—and who should you tell first?
When talking about schizophrenia, we must remember that everyone has a different experience with the illness. Some people live with few or no symptoms, while others live with significant symptoms. I had one period in my life where I lived symptom-free for almost a decade. During that time, I held a full-time job, completed training programs, was involved in hobbies, and was more independent than at any other period in my life. I haven't had a day entirely symptom-free in the past ten years.
My birthday is coming up this week, and I've been writing and reflecting to prepare for it. When I reflect on my last year, so much change has happened, but those changes aren't visible from the outside. This is the reality of going through recovery from eating disorders like binge eating disorder (BED). There are so many emotions, habits, thought patterns, and behaviors to change, and these massive internal changes aren't easy to see from the outside. 
In our society, people are shamed for not having a positive outlook. In fact, I just read a comment on LinkedIn that said, "Maintaining a positive outlook, ALWAYS, is so very important. Always look for that silver lining. Trust me, in the end, everything is exactly where it should be." And that sums up how many people feel about a positive outlook: it's critical, and something's wrong with you and your line of thinking if you don't have a positive outlook.
No matter how much someone covets mental illness recovery, some part of it feels scary. My struggles with mental health started when I was very young, and there were years and years where I was desperate for recovery—but I was also terrified of it. From what I’ve seen, my experience and feelings are not uncommon, so I wanted to take a closer look at that.
"Snap Out of It!" is honored to have spoken with Saskia Lightburn-Ritchie, the Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of My Cheshire Without Abuse (My CWA). Saskia lives with bipolar disorder, and she is proving every day that it's possible to be successful even with a serious mental illness.
Recently, a report by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that every adult under 65 be screened for anxiety by their primary care doctors (family doctors). When I first saw the headline, my initial response was, "Well, that's stupid. You go to the doctor when you're sick, and people know when they're sick." But, upon second thought, I realized this was wrong. Screening for anxiety in general doctor's appointments does make sense.
Self-harm is not avant-garde. Depression is not mysterious. I know these two statements to be facts, so why do some forms of media want us to believe otherwise? On the one hand, maybe I should be grateful. Grateful that topics such as suicide are even portrayed on television or in movies. Why, then, is the predominant emotion, not gratitude but sheer anger? (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)

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A very lost boyfriend
Thanks, this article helped putting some things in perspective, but I'm still at a loss. I'm pretty convinced my girlfriend has bipolar, but she's never been diagnosed. A lot of symptoms match, but not all of them.
I'll tell my story, hoping someone will be able to tell me their thoughts or give some advice.

I’m 41. I’ve been with my girlfriend for about a year. It took a while for the relationship to take off, because she’s been through an insane amount of trauma throughout her life, and over the past few years especially: her dad (undiagnosed bipolar) took his life, she got divorced, her highly successful career fell apart, and other heavy stuff.
She rebuilt herself as a highly independent woman, taking care of her two children and a new business she started (which she’s very passionate about but it’s not generating enough income thus far which is super scary), and was really not looking for anything serious. Nevertheless, love found us, and it was so special and right, that my patience paid off. We’ve lived an insane amount of stuff over our time together. We became partners, best friends, I developed an amazing relationship with her kids, and things between us were generally amazing. Except that at times, it would still come up that it wasn’t the life she had planned (she left an unhappy marriage that made her feel trapped, and she wanted to be a solo, independent woman), and every so often she would say that she can’t give me what I want (proper commitment). But things would always get better, and everything just felt right.
She's also often in a dark, sad place and feels desperate with a total lack of motivation or taste for life, but she’s a generally functional person (she has to, for her kids), so she would always manage to stand up again after a really bad day, and be active. So it's never the 'two weeks in bed completely paralyzed' kind of situation that I often read about, which has me wondering.

We had a terrible phase in the spring, she broke up with me, and we were apart for about 6 weeks. She said and did some things that were super hurtful, and I was a complete, utter mess (had to take xanax for the first time in my life).
She was having a huge manic episode, so she was very confident in what she was doing, no second thoughts. Again, she’s never been diagnosed, but so many things made it a textbook case of bipolar mania (poor judgement, hypersexuality, recklessness with her money, heightened productivity, etc.).
Through a series of circumstances, things eventually improved, and we had a perfect few months after that.

The past month however, took a huge toll on us. Some things (outside of our couple) highly triggered her, she felt she had to focus more on the kids and the business, and there was a communication breakdown, while communicating had always been one of our fortes.
Now she dumped me again, saying she can’t give me what I want, can’t be faithful (a desire for promiscuity/an open relationship seems to be a recurring thing during these phases), needs to be alone and focus on herself, the kids and the business, etc. There are other signs of mania (heightened productivity, irritability, raging - even though that never gets insane: she's not a violent person, and we normally have a positive, loving dynamic). It's been a lot of ghosting, with no willingness for dialogue. I feel invisible.

I don’t know how to deal with this. I would accept it and let it go, if what we had (minus these phases) wasn’t so rare and special. Believe me, I’m not delusional, what we have at our core really is all that. I’m hearing all this crap now, whereas only a few weeks back, all I was hearing was, I’m a gift, I’m perfect for her, she’s committed to me, we’re better together, my presence is awesome for the kids, etc.

It seems like she’s punishing herself, and is unable to love herself and to be kind to herself (she told me 'it's way too late for me to be kind to myself). She feels that she can’t give. But that’s completely at odds with how everything looks when things are normal. I’m scared that since this is the second such episode in 4 months, it could be more permanent than the one in the spring. Like, even if she comes out of the mania…she would feel discouraged, or would simply prefer to get over it and move on, convincing herself that she's meant to be alone.
Now she's saying she's good and optimistic, but isn't really reaching out. Other than saying she misses me too, she's saying the space is good for her.

So I'm trying to understand what's going on, and besides some super heavy trauma she's been through and some boundary issues, so many things seem to match with bipolar: phases where she's obsessed with being productive, skewed judgment and paranoia, opinions about us changing radically, symptoms of hypersexiaulity and a strong desire for independence, a sense of feeling great which seems temporary, and irritability. And then, the underlying feeling of sadness and despair, pessimism, and lack of joy or motivation, even though none of that is necessarily obvious on the surface.

Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated!
Cheryl Wozny
Hello, Gillian Bevis-King, I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog. I am sorry that you are dealing with an extremely stressful situation. You are correct that your mental and physical health should always be safe. I encourage you to visit our resources page https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources for more information about hotlines and agencies that could possibly aid you with your healing and find a resolution. Remember that you are never alone, and there is always someone who you can talk to when you do not feel safe.
Cheryl Wozny
Hello, I am Cheryl Wozny, author of the Verbal Abuse in Relationships blog. I want to thank you for reaching out for help. It takes a lot of courage to do that. I am sorry that you are facing abuse, and I encourage you to try exploring our resources page https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources for hotlines and agencies that can help you. Although I do not know what area you reside in, this page has resources all over the world. If you need immediate assistance, you can also text the word HOME to 741741 and be in contact with someone who can provide some help. I am glad you are making the decision to find help for yourself, you are never alone in your journey.
Adrienne Lessie
I can attest to having phone anxiety, it makes it impossible for me to do my customer reservice job because I dread talking to someone who may be unpleasant and I get thrown off on how to navigate that negative reaction. Thank you for writing an article like this!
Emma Parten
Hi Eleni, I didn't originally write this blog post, but I'm currently the author of the blog and I want to say I empathize with what you've been through. It's so difficult to tell the truth about eating disorders, so thank you for sharing your personal story. With all you have gone through, it is clear to me how strong you are today.
I don't have any experience with Phentermine, so I cannot advise you on where to go for that. I hope you will continue to read the blog as a reminder to yourself that you are not alone. Everyone's recovery journey is different, but I believe it helps to remind yourself that you are not alone and that you are so much more than your eating habits. Your eating disorder is not who you are, even though it feels that way much of the time.
Take good care and I'd love to hear from you more in the future.