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Positive Action, Self-Harm Prevention, and Recovery Club!

This is a space for VWers of all walks of life to come and share their experiences as We work toward recovery from self-destructive behaviours, such as eating disorders, substance abuse, and self-injury.
Of course, this thread can't replace the help of medical professionals, but I think a lot of Us would benefit from this little bit of therapy. YOU set goals for Yourself, share Your progress (and setbacks, when/if they happen), and We'll all be here to cheer You on!

This is also a place where You can come when You're tempted to do something self-destructive (like self-injure, binge/purge, get drunk, etc.) and You need some distraction. Even if no one else is online, come and vent and just type away/post pictures/whatever instead of engaging in harmful activity.

Don't be ashamed if You're struggling with meeting Your goals or keeping Yourself out of the cycle of self-harm.... We've all been there, and this isn't a place for judgment. But be ready for advice and maybe even some tough love--We want to see everyone through their struggles, but it's important that We all remain open to absolute honesty and constructive criticism.

So if You're new to this discussion, feel free to share some information about Yourself--however much/little You want--and tell Us what exactly You want to change. We'll help You set up some goals, p'raps give some advice on how to work on them, and cheer You on as You work toward self-betterment.


If anyone wants help with goal-setting, here's a nifty little model I learned a few years ago:
Click for more info

So if You want to gain weight, get in good shape, eat better, stop cutting, stop drinking, etc., think of how to set up a goal in this fashion, if it helps (and it often does)... Some of Our goals will be immeasurable or will be ongoing, making some of those steps not really applicable. It's good to make sure Your goals are specific, though, and that each step has an action plan.

I'm also thinking that in addition to Our own individual goals, We could have ongoing group activities or challenges... Whatever ideas Y'all have for fun stuff We could do, please share!


this weekend i want to do something nice for my mom, step mom, and gma for mother's day... i'm gonna bake some blueberry muffins and pb cookies...

i am going to bring the cookies to my step mom, even though me and my dad aren't really speaking... i'm gonna suck it up and take a little mental abuse to do something nice since my step mom didn't get the opportunity to have kids of her own and she deserves feeling special on mother's day...

even tho my mom is like a robot, i am going to visit her and try to engage her in normal conversation as well as put up with her random obsession with taking about the real wives of OC and other weird stuff...

i will visit my gma cause she is "my mom" to me... i will be nice to my gpa even though he has done so much to me that i can't forgive him for cause i know that will make my gma happy... i will also handmake a card for my gma cause i know how much she treasures that stuff...

this is just my personal goal for the weekend, to do nice and thoughtful things for others who have done so much for me... i'll fill ya in how it all goes


That's awesome, Amy!

when it comes to self-improvement, it's good to shift the focus sometimes to other people... Making gifts, spending time with people, etc.... it's nice for them, nice for Us, a win-win. I'm all about showing my appreciation and giving back to those who've been special to me for one reason or another. <3

Mother's day is really special to me, and even though I can't spend it with my own mom, there are plenty of other women I know who deserve some special recognition this weekend. So yeah, weekend goals.... I plan to clean up the kitchen a bit for James' mom, and make cards for her and James' grandma and aunt.


I just wanted to say that I love this thread! Great job, CW! :)


I wish I had some more time to spend here.  Life is insane right now.  I am starting yet ANOTHER new job on Monday and am scrambling with a very difficult financial situation. I have to make some tough decisions fast.  I have had so little time to sit down and write on the computer.  I do have one small goal for Saturday.  I have designated this day as a rest day to focus only on the day and living in the moment.  I am constantly focused on yesterday or the future.  Always worried.  My partner and I are going to go on a nice hike and the weather is forecast to be very nice.  so my goal is to really get out there and get fresh air and leave my worries at home. 

One long term goal for me that I think is doable right now would be to stop cutting my ankles.  I will have to work on a plan of action but it's a start. 

This is a great thread! We could certainly all use encouragement and inspiration.  I know for me my ideal vegan lifestyle would be a more compassionate way of living in ALL areas of my life.  How does one build up their self esteem? 

CW, you are awesome for taking the initiative to start something like this!  Thanks so much!


great short and long term goals NB! keep us updated :)

i hope everything settles down in your life soon <3


great short and long term goals NB! keep us updated :)

i hope everything settles down in your life soon <3

Thanks amymylove!  Funny but I am also making blueberry muffins for my Mom for Mothers Day (or actually the day after).  She has a gluten allergy so I am making a vegan rice flour version.  All I can say is I sure hope it turns out.  Your goals sound very thoughtful and kind.  What a sweet thing to do for your step Mom even though she doesnt have kids of her own.  I wish you the best! 


Good luck with the new job, NB! It's good that You're staying busy, and despite the added stress from Your workload and financial situation, I believe You can handle it. Your plans for tomorrow sound just perfect....take a breather, enjoy the day, and You'll be better equipped to face whatever challenges may arise next week.

Thank You all for the kind words and encouragement. <3
We're all in this together!


I had a rough winter, because I feel like running keeps me on track, but I hate hate HATE cold weather, so it really dampened my running. I feel like getting back into running a lot, things are improving. Running keeps my focused, gives me a goal. If I smoke or drink too much, running gets harder and I hate that, so it keeps me from relying on substances too much. I also haven't cut since I started running on a regular basis, about 3 years ago. This means so much to me, because I was completely at the mercy of my mind. Running allows me to work out my issues in a positive manner, although I'm not entirely convinced that my relationship with running is healthy. If I miss a day or I can only run 7 miles instead of 8 in a day, I beat myself up and start to feel guilty. It's getting better because I'm working on it, but I just wish I could strike a balance with something. I've replaced old habits with a new one, it's just that the new one is "healthy," but that doesn't mean it doesn't have any less control over my life.


Just a quick update then I am off to get ready for my first day at my new job.  Eek. 
I went on a seven mile hike Saturday (carrying a 15 lb backpack with food, water, binoculars, jacket etc).  I started out tired and wondered how on earth I was going to hike but somehow it got better and I actually enjoyed the day.  Being outdoors does give me energy.  I spent 8 hours outside, the longest since last Autumn.  It's been a long hard winter.  I saw lots of birds, a porcupine, a few deer, and lots of beautiful trees.  My partner and I had some connecting time which was good for us.  I wish I could say the rest of the weekend was good but that's for another time. 

I hope everyone was able to get some rest and accomplish their short term goals!  If not that's ok too.  Just keep on truckin!


Nb, I'm glad you had a good experience outside.

I had a psych appointment today and had my antidepressant dosage raised to help with the continuing urges to harm.


I hope it works out for you!  Sounds like you are really trying hard to overcome this.  It had to have taken a lot of courage to talk to your doctor about it and to get that extra help.  Hang in there!


That's really good to hear, danni. I've been reading about mindfulness and have started meditating myself.


Hey, sorry I've been absent for the past few days... busy times + pseudo-depressiveness* have kept me from the computer.

I'm glad to hear about Y'all's progress...

NB, what a wonderfully positive experience You had on Your hike! And as for whatever setbacks You've encountered last weekend, or any stress You'll encounter with the new job, just keep that phrase in mind... Keep on truckin!

Courth, I'm sorry You're still feeling those damn nasty urges, but hopefully the additional meds will help. Be really mindful of Your body and any side-effects You experience; too much of any of those things can really mess a person up. Keep up with the meditation, that'll be a really good supplement to Your recovery.

Danni, I'm glad that the desire to purge has been so diminished for You. The stress reduction and meditation really does pay off, eh? I should really try to incorporate more of that into my own life.... and Y'know, You bring up a great point about suffering. That's the one thing that's really kept me going through my bouts with depression--just knowing that it can't possibly last forever, knowing that I'll eventually get better.

* Since I had two of my wisdom teeth pulled last week, I've been weak and in pain, laid out and sleeping too damn much, and not eating nearly enough. I really tried to incorporate a good variety of foods into my mushy/soupy diet, but I still didn't really get enough... Then of course Mother's Day got me feeling all shitty, despite my best efforts to fight it, and I'm missing my mom and all that. It doesn't help that the 6th anniversary of her death is coming up in two weeks. ...All of those things combined have left me lying in bed most of the time and feeling really grumpy and antisocial.
If I let it, this could spiral down into a full-on depressive episode. So my personal goal is to fight this thing before it gets any worse. I'll do this by...
1.) Not letting myself sleep more than 8 hours at a time
2.) Staying active, moving around or exercising even when I feel like being a couch potato
3.) Eating enough... especially fresh fruits and veggies and necessary amounts of EFA's
4.) Creating Art! As long as I'm engaged in drawing or making things on a regular basis, I'm better able to fight off depression.



I've found that when I feel bad about my appearance it sometimes helps me to look in a mirror and find something I like about myself. Then I dress or put on makeup to accentuate whatever attribute it is.

It always makes me feel better when I compliment other people. I'm naturally shy and trying to overcome my anxiety of other people, so I try to compliment strangers when I'm out. It's hard, but sometimes it works.

I'm also trying to start an anthropology blog. I like it, but I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into written word. I also have a hard time doing that on essays, so I'm hoping it will help my essay anxiety. I haven't shown anybody my blog yet... But here it is:


Courth, those are some great self-esteem-boosting ideas!

oh, and I've bookmarked Your blog under my "good reads" folder. ;)b
Thank You for sharing!


Courth I like your blog!  What a great idea!  I too am very shy and also not only an introvert (which isnt a bad thing and in fact has fine qualities) but I have suffered with an avoidant personality disorder for years.  it is very easy for me to isolate and turn my feelings inwards against myself. 

So...I think a goal for me to work on is assertiveness.  I have been struggling with this for years and I need support with it.  Sometimes I cant even recognize if people are walking all over me or if I have the right to defend myself.  There have been times I was fortunate to have a friend or witness stick up for me on my behalf when someone crossed boundaries and I didnt realize it.  But I need to learn to recognize this myself and speak up for my needs.  I have been practicing this somewhat. 

For example I have been trying to find vegan, cruelty free hiking shoes/boots locally before I commit to ordering online with my odd shaped feet.  I went to a hiking store in town and they had cards in front of all the hiking shoes on display.  There were various descriptions on each card with a box next to them and vegan was one of the descriptions.  I found a shoe that was marked vegan although it looked suspiciiously like it was made from real suede/leather.  In doing research online for vegan brands of hiking or trail running shoes I hadnt seen this particular brand listed (patagonia drifter for the record).  But I asked to try them on.  they didnt have my size so planned to order them for me.  I went home and looked the shoe up online only to find they have nubuck leather in them (but the soles are ecofriendly).  I was so disappointed.  I didnt know how to confront or ask the store about it so I first emailed them.  I got no response.  The next day I called and no one answered so I left a voice mail.  Still no response.  I tried calling and leaving a message again. Still no response.  But instead of giving up I was persistant and called a third time and got an answer.  I explained what I had done and learned and the store clerk I talked to thanked me for pointing that out becuase she said those shoes were definitely not vegan!  Unfortunately they didnt have any that were.  I felt good for speaking up about it without getting too upset or letting it slide.  That was really hard.  Does anyone else struggle with being assertive?  Or dealing with hurt feelings? 

I know this is getting long but I wanted to share one more thing .  I had Mom over for a belated Mothers day on Monday and we had a great time!  I made her a spinach beet salad and buckwheat tabouli and the blueberry rice flour gluten free muffins (she has a gluten intolerance).  We talked about my veganism and she made an effort to try to understand it.  I showed her some of the books I have been reading.  We talked about old times, habits we share, all kinds of things, even spirituality.  I really felt like we connected and she loved my vegan food and overall it was just a very nice relaxing evening for the two of us.  I had kicked my boyfriend out for a while so I could have alone time with Mom. 

For so long the real me underneath was buried under my eating disorder but I feel her emerging a little more every day.  I thought part of me had died after my traumatic hysterectomy six years ago but I realize my spirit is still alive and kicking.  I have been letting her out more and more.  She is so fragile but when I feel strong and assertive and sure of myself she is able to let herself out more and shine.  Some days she hides and I get caught up in my head, in my little rituals and obsessions and isolation.  Maybe those times are ok too because I need that time to regroup and feel safe again.  My hope is to someday not need to hide myself at all. 


So, yesterday I did a full day of meditation at my local yoga studio. It was a Shambhala Level 1 training course called the Art of Being Human. The concept is that there is a basic goodness in everyone and everything...that there is no reason for a person to feel like they have to earn her/his life here on earth...and that although we may suffer, suffering isn't forever. :) It was great, except my butt hurt from sitting so long. This was kind of a big step for me. Since I was away from home all day long, I wasn't able to over-exercise at all and I was forced to eat in a public area around people. I felt rather uncomfortable, but I managed. Also, I haven't purged at all in weeks, and I am not thinking "I'm fat" quite so often. As a goal I would like to keep this progress up. So my goal list is:
-No purging/chewing and spitting
-Meditate for 30 minutes a day
-Try to exercise a little less per day
-Add 50 calories a day to my diet (which I intended on doing last time I posted, but never managed to do so...)


great goals danni... i'm really happy that things seem to be going well for you as i was worried... i think making it though uncomfortable situations is an awesome step... good job luv



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