A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

My Pandora journey of recovery - how it all began

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.
I began my journey of recovery on December 5, 2011, with the intention of rewarding myself with a Pandora bracelet and charms. I bought myself a Pandora knock-off bracelet for $5 and a number of $2 charms. I took it one day at a time and got a cheap bead every day for the first week that I was able to manage my eating (symptom-free meaning no bingeing, purging, or restricting). 
Each day in my first week presented something that I learned and could represent with a charm, reminding me of something specific that I struggled with or what helped on that particular day. I then got a bead each week, until the end of one month of recovery, until I finally earned a "real" bead, my first authentic Pandora charm - and the bracelet to put it on!

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.



  1. Hi Sheila. I was wondering where you took your bracelet to get engraved?? My email Is khall57595@troy.edu

  2. Hi Sheila,

    Your blog entries are really lovely. I have only had a chance to read a few but it is so strong of you to share all that you have been through. It's so great to hear you've done so well over the last few years and great that you know you need to talk about it to stay happy and healthy. A lot of people wouldn't and I commend you for that.

    Thank you for letting me into your world and telling me about this blog of yours. You should truly be proud of what you have achieved and I think it's gorgeous that you use Pandora to symbolise all the positive steps you have made. Thank you again for letting me have some insight into your world x