The Deadly Disorder

The Deadly Disorder

An eating disorder will turn you into a monster before slowly killing you

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You will not develop it by choice, keep it under control, use it to your advantage like a diet, and get the body you want. You will be absorbed by it, it will control your thoughts and actions, it will ruin your health, and turn you into something you never wanted to be. It is not a trend or a habit you can pick up and then quit when you feel like it.

It's not convenient. It's horrifying.

You see all these images online of girls in cute leggings and boys in skinny jeans. You think, when I'm skinny, I'll be able to pull that off. You forget that with the thigh gap comes dizziness and fainting and bruises. You think it won't happen to you. You think if you keep eating your vegetables it won't matter that you're only eating two servings a day. It still matters.

Restricting will make you nervous and jumpy. Binging will make your stomach hurt. Trying to purge will make your throat ache. You'll end up regretting every decision you make regarding food, no matter what direction you try to go in. Repeating the cycle won't make you feel better. When purging fails, exercising on an empty stomach will leave you embarrassed at the gym, because you're cold-sweating and lost your balance on the treadmill.

When you get to the point you can't exercise anymore because a flight of stairs exhausts you, it won't be fun or pretty. Wanting to die because you set goals you'll never accomplish isn't cute or glamorous. This is why I worry when people say things like "I wish I could just forget to eat", or they think disordered eating is some measure of willpower. It doesn't make you stronger. No one is going to applaud your determination.

The only trophy an eating disorder is going to win for you is your coffin.

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Why You Actually Don't Want To Be Prescribed Adderall

ADD isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
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As I'm writing this, I can feel my concentration slipping. Noises have become enticing, I feel distanced from my phone, and every time someone walks by me in the library, I turn around seeing if it's someone I know. My extended-release Adderall is starting to wear off and my brain is starting to relax back to its natural state. My ADD is climbing out from underneath the blanket of focus I had for 10 hours today.

ADD is not all that it's cracked up to be. Sure, we get prescribed the precious Adderall so many people want, but at what cost? Let me put this in context for you. You know when you're at the library and there's a one really, really loud girl talking on the phone? You know the one. The girl that, for some reason, thinks it's OK to have a full-fledged conversation with her mom about her boyfriend in the middle of the quiet section. The girl that's talking so loud that it's all you can think about, occupying all of your focus. Well, that's what every single person in the room is like when you have ADD.

Distractions that are easy to ignore to someone without ADD are intensified and, instead of focusing on the task at hand, I'm listening to the girl three seats down from me eat her barbecue kettle chips. When you have ADD, it's not just schoolwork you can't focus on. You can't focus on anything. I tried to watch a foreign film one time without my medicine, and I forgot to pay attention to the subtitles. I realized about halfway through the movie that I had no idea what was going on.

What almost everyone that asks me for my Adderall doesn't understand is that I take Adderall to focus how you would normally. When you take my Adderall you feel like you can solve the world's problems. You can bang out an entire project in one night. You can cram for an entire exam fueled by this surge of motivation that seems super-hero-like.

You take my Adderall and ask me, “Is this how you feel all the time?" And, unfortunately, my answer is no. I'll never feel like a limitless mastermind. When I take Adderall, I become a normal human being. I can finish a normal amount of work, in a normal amount of time.

My brain works in two modes: on Adderall, and off Adderall. On Adderall, I'm attentive, motivated and energetic. Off Adderall, I can barely get up the motivation and focus to clean my room or send an email. And it's frustrating. I'm frustrated with my lack of drive. I'm frustrated that this is how my brain operates. Scattered, spastic and very, very unorganized. There's nothing desirable about not being able to finish a sentence because you lost thought mid-way through.

The worst thing that you can say to anyone with ADD is, “I think I should start taking Adderall." Having ADD isn't a free pass to get super-pills, having ADD means you have a disability. I take Adderall because I have a disability, and it wasn't a choice I had a say in. I was tested for ADD my freshman year of college.

My parents were skeptical because they didn't know exactly what ADD was. To them, the kids with ADD were the bad kids in school that caused a scene and were constantly sent out of class. Not an above average student in her first year at a university. I went to a counselor and, after I was diagnosed with ADD, told me with a straight mouth, “Marissa this is something you're going to have to take for the rest of your life."

When the late-night assignments and cramming for the tests are over, and we're all out in the real world, I'm still going to be taking Adderall. When I'm raising a family and have to take the right kid to the right place for soccer practice, I'm still going be taking Adderall. And when I'm trying to remember the numbers they just said for bingo at my nursing home, I'm still going to be taking Adderall.

So you tell me you're jealous that I get prescribed Adderall? Don't be. I'm jealous that you can drink a cup a coffee and motivate yourself once you lose focus. I'm jealous that the success of your day doesn't depend on whether or not you took a pill that morning. The idea of waking up and performing a full day without my medicine is foreign to me.

My brain works in two modes, and I don't know which one is the right one. I don't know which mode is the one the big man upstairs wants me to operate in. So before you say you want to be prescribed to Adderall, ask yourself if you need and want to operate in two different modes.

Ask yourself if you want to rely on medicine to make your entire life work. If I had a choice, I would choose coffee like the rest of the world.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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There Are Some Key Things To Remember When Trying To Counteract A Panic Attack

For the random attacks that seem to always come at the worst times of the day.

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Let me add in a disclaimer first and foremost by mentioning that I am no professional and that everyone experiences anxiety and panic attacks very differently. These are just a few of the techniques I have found over the years that have worked for my random attacks that seem to always come at the worst times of the day.

The easiest way I can explain what type of anxiety I have is describing it has something situational. This means that I can get very easily triggered by either event that is currently happening, or my mind likes to convince me that a situation is ten times worse than what it actually is. So if you or someone you know seems to experience their attacks in a similar way, I hope these techniques are useful in overcoming them when they come to you in the worst part of your day.

The first technique that I like to use is what I refer to as grounding. Since most of my attacks come due to specific events happening, I like to establish my surroundings while focusing on my breathing. For example, taking a step back and focusing on little things such as each singular sound around me, things I eat today, and even facial features of the people around me seem to help a lot. I would assume this is a way to distract my mind from the attack and with how weird it is, it often does the trick.

Another technique I have found useful I tend to practice when attacks come in cases where I have been thinking about something way too much. This is most likely the result of insecurities or just worry about failure in general, so to counteract those thoughts, I think about people and hobbies. I make a list of all the people that care about me in my head and remind myself of all of my favorite hobbies. Remembering that you are loved and cared for is a great way to counteract dark thoughts that creep into anxiety attacks, so try to keep them in your mind even in the darkest of times. Hobbies are a good distraction from negative thoughts and ideas, so surrounding yourself with music, art, outdoors, or whatever else makes your heart happy is highly important to your state of mind.

The last technique that I have found the most helpful is always having someone just a phone call away. This is sometimes the most difficult technique to practice, especially when you are already buried deep into an attack of some kind. You feel like a nuisance to anyone at that moment, but try to push past those negative thoughts. Friends and family are always going to be there for you when you need them most, especially when you only surround yourself with positive individuals. Talking about what you are going through in some cases can not only make the attack go away faster but allow all your worries to be uplifted, even if it's only for a few minutes.

I hope that if you or someone you know that finds these three techniques useful will practice them whenever you need them most. Even if you experience anxiety and or panic attacks and do not find these specific techniques useful for your situation, don't be afraid to experiment and find the tools that are the most beneficial for you and your needs.

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