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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week!

Today marks the start of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week! From February 25th- March 5th we can try to commit to being happy with ourselves and our bodies the way they are, not the way we think they are supposed to be. Instead of trying to fit into a box, we can appreciate the utility of our bodies, the way they function to keep us living. The amazing strength we have. The unique beauty each of us posses. We are all amazing!

Today, I thank my body. But, I also thank myself. Because for a long time I hated nearly everything about my body. The things I focused on we small details of perceived perfection I wanted so desperately to achieve. Yet, no matter how much I forced my body to change, no matter how unkind I was to myself, using food and weight as my weapon, I did not grow to love my body any more. I grew to hate it more, to see my flaws as being bigger, more unmanageable, more important and glaringly obvious to everyone. How exhausting it was to fight a battle for years against myself and food, a battle I had no idea was impossible to win.
So, I thank my body and myself. Because today I am a person who has recovered from an eating disorder, and it is such an incredible thing to say!

Even if you have never suffered from an eating disorder or known someone who has, this week is important. We all face stigma, shame and “rules” about our bodies, beauty, and standards. Isn’t it an exhausting ride to be stuck on?
So, instead of trying to fit into some arbitrary ideal of beauty, which doesn’t truly exist, lets love ourselves. Lets love our bodies, even the parts we sometimes hide. Because our bodies love us, they are for us, they do everything in their power to take care of us. Lets thank our bodies with some well deserved love, and reap the benefits!

If you are concerned you or someone you care about might be struggling with eating or with their body image in some way, help them out by suggesting they take a screening and offer your support. Help is out there. Recovery exists. Here is the link to a free and confidential screening that you or someone you know can take online, click here.

For even more resources on Eating disorders, check out our map or go to “resources” and click “support by topic”

If you have ever struggled with an eating disorder, how are you doing these days? If you have found recovery, what helped you?
If you have never struggled with an eating disorder, in what ways do you struggle with your body? In what ways do you love your body?

World Friendship Day

Hey guys! Today is world friendship day!!

What are you doing to celebrate? Do you have a best friend? A ton of close friends? Do you want to make friends?

I met my best friend when I was 11, at a brand new school. Two of my classmates became my lifeline for years of pain, and they stood by me through many storms. I barely talk to them any longer- not to any fault of their own. This last storm pushed me deep into a cave of isolation and convinced me that I was truly alone- and I pushed EVERYONE away.

I get so sad when I think about it. It wasn’t just THEIR friendship I lost, it was their family, who felt like my own as well.

But, I get to e grateful for over ten years of amazing love and support from two incredible people, and several others that came into my life along the way.

I struggle to make friends, sometimes I want more, and other times, the idea of being alone with someone seems so unnatural and scary and uncomfortable that I convince myself otherwise very quickly.

So, how about you guys? Hug your friends and thank them for being there! Today is the day to realize how good our friends are to us, and how much they TRULY mean!

National Disability Awareness Day 2018

Hi guys! Today (July 16th, 2018) is National Disability Awareness Day.
Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes; they affect people in a multitude of ways, and can be invisible or obvious.

The most difficult thing that I faced when being labeled as ‘disabled’ was my perception of my self and my ability. I had spent a great deal of my youth with large aspirations and goals, and believed I was capable of achieving them- however being told that I was unable to do certain things convinced me, I was truly incapable of “normalcy”. Now, in recovery, I am beginning to see myself in another light, I’m making friends with myself and the person I want to be, and I feel closer to happiness than I have in years. I’m grateful for the gift of self-reflection and the strength and will to change. And without the years I spent believing I was “less-than”, I would not have the incredible sense of empathy that I am so grateful to be able to use in my life.

If you or someone you love lives with a disability- today is your day. Recognize the strength you posses, congratulate yourself for the strides you make, and know you are capable and worthy of anything and everything.

What is the most difficult part of having a disability? What are you grateful? Has your disability given you any gifts?

My Definition

My quest to find mental health and stability has stretched over a period of years and years and years. I have no secret to happiness. I have not yet discovered all there is to know about my mental health.

And I think that’s the point.  

We are each on our own separate journeys that are made up of unique twists and turns. We all have faults. We all make mistakes. But what’s important is that we

push forward.

We keep going. We soldier on.

It was not an easy feat to come to terms with the fact that I live with a mental illness. It was not easy for me to first accept that my brain functioned in a different way than the “normal” teen. And it was not easy for me to accept that I live with my mental illness- my mental illness does not define me and it does not consume me.

That is a tough pill to swallow. (No pun intended. Okay, maybe a little pun intended.)

It is really, really, REALLY hard to accept who you are every single day of your life. I admire those who can and do. I admire those who have worked so hard to bring light to the fact that we are all different, we are all unique, we are all beautiful.

I have spent many days under the covers, not wanting to be a real person because I couldn’t accept who I was. I couldn’t accept that my mental illness was something I needed to learn to live with. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want to deal with it. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have just been born “normal” – without this looming black cloud that I will never be able to get rid of.

I have come to a point in my life where I have realized that I am a person living with a mental illness. My Anxiety and my Depression do not define me. I am not Olivia, mentally ill. I am not Olivia, anxious. I am not Olivia, depressed.

I am Olivia, dancer.
I am Olivia, cat mom.
I am Olivia, teacher.
I am Olivia, sister, daughter, granddaughter, girlfriend, cousin, friend.

I am so much more than who I thought I was doomed to be because of my mental illnesses.

Today, I encourage you to look at yourself in the mirror, and be kind to you. You deserve kindness and compassion. And you deserve to know this: no one gets to decide your feelings. They are yours. They are real. They are valid.

You are valid.

You are not your mental illness.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Hi everybody! It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness Week!


So lets have an important conversation about a Eating disorders, which affects at least 30 million people in the United States. Yeah, 30 million men, women, boys, and girls. You don’t have to look or act a certain way to have an eating disorder, you don’t have to be a teenager, a girl, or look “sick”. Many people suffer silently with eating disorders; and I’m not just talking about anorexia and bulimia. Binge Eating Disorder (BED), Night-Eating Syndrome, Diabulimia, Orthorexia, Purging Disorder, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), PICA, Eating Disorders Not otherwise specified (EDNOS), and Rumination Disorder are some of the types of eating disorders. And they’re all serious. Every 62 minutes someone with an eating disorder dies, that’s one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness, and ANYONE with an eating disorder can die.

But, help is out there. And people just like you get better. Every day, people  chose life, and begin their lifelong journey to recovery. Some days are hard, and some are great. But recovery is always worth it.

When I found out I was pregnant, I began my journey to recovery. Some days its a fight, but I know that I will never let my daughter see or hear me be hateful towards my body or anybody elses.

If you or anyone you know needs help with their eating disorder, click here to check out the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) website.

Free film screening April 25th

Please join us on April 25th in Wethersfield at 10am for a film screening of “Healing Voices”, a documentary on mental health featuring stories of recovery from people of all walks of life.

To register and get more info, click the link below!

http://www.abhct.com/Forms/Form.asp?FormID=132

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