I have battled an eating disorder and depression off and on for many years, but I have been symptom-free with my eating disorder for over two years now. The four years prior to that were particularly difficult with the deaths of my mother and father, and then my father-in-law. On top of that, I had a number of quite serious health problems that left me out of shape, overweight and overwhelmed - and struggling with my eating and my mood.
|My first charms.|
As you can see on these knock-off beads, the silver colour wore off. The bracelet was quickly broken. Then repaired and broken again. But I kept these beads and eventually replaced them with the real deal.
Each week thereafter I would set a goal for the week, or month, and a charm to symbolize that goal. Reminding myself of that charm - that I really, really, REALLY wanted - kept me going. When I was feeling overwhelmed, the charm reminded me of the ONE thing I needed to focus on that week, whether it was making myself a lunch daily, practicing meditation, or writing in my Gratitude Journal. I didn't always meet my goal, but I didn't get the charm if I didn't complete my assignment.
After three months of recovery I rewarded myself with the Lucerne charm - a symbol of health and recovery. I had the words "Healthy" and "Happy" engraved on the two parts of the dangle, because the theme of what I came to call my "Lucerne Recovery Bracelet" was "I deserve to be healthy and happy!" An affirmation I still need to remember.
My recovery bracelet was my talisman, my worry beads, or my rosary. Each bead ended up having associated with it an expression or affirmation - a prayer, if you will. In the early days of my recovery I would often go through one bead at a time to remind me of my affirmations. When I felt the weight of it on my wrist, or touched it, I was reminded to think those positive thoughts. I now have a number of bracelets. Some challenges were much bigger than others, took quite a long time to accomplish, and ended up with a more expensive charm. But each charm still has an affirmation, a skill learned, or a goal accomplished.
It continues to be a struggle to stay healthy, and allow myself to be happy. Every day I choose the charm or bracelet I need to wear depending on what I may encounter or how I am feeling. Sometimes one charm will stand out as the right message for whatever situation I'm currently dealing with. Sometimes I have to go back to the basics, the things I know that I need to say or do to keep me on track. I continue to reward myself with Pandora charms, as I work on the life skills to stay healthy - in mind, body, and spirit. My charms continue to give me strength, and remind me of how far I've come and how much I have accomplished.