There continues to be a stigma and unclear understandings about eat disorders and mental illness. Fortunately, more people are coming forward to discuss why it's so important that we try to understand and help those who are struggling each day.
One of these leaders is 18 year-old University of California, Santa Cruz student and Yoga Teacher, Maris Degener. Maris began her wellness journey as she was recovering from her eating disorder at a hospital. She was given the tools and assistance that she needed to help her body recover from her disorder, but she realized that the medical center didn't provide what she needed to help her mind heal.
Even though she's now a freshman in college, get ready to hear a great deal of insight from Maris on how we can discover self purpose, uncover happiness, and help change the stigma surrounding eating disorders and mental illness.
"They might not be able to understand that what's going through a person's mind doesn't represent the person, but the mental illness." - Maris Degener on why it's important to separate the person from their disorder.
"Mental illness as a whole is so difficult to treat because it's so unique to the individual. We're still not 100% certain about how exactly mental illness manifests in people." - Maris Degener
There are lot a of myths surrounding mental illness and we're still not quite sure what could be the cause of it. For some people it might be genetics or trauma or other life situations they experienced that create enough of an impact to affect their well-being.
There's a false belief that eating disorders come from a place of vanity. However, the root cause is so much deeper than that. Eating disorders and mental illness can come from a person working through their personal life issues. It might be their way to cope with trauma, feeling lost, or as a means to stay grounded when they feel out of control.
Here are some different ways to recognize the signs of an eating disorder.
The person is _____:
"Find whatever lights you up when other people are telling you that you should be doing something different with your life." - Maris Degener
Maris made a really great point about the predicted expectations that society has about life and happiness. We can go through these scenarios at different points throughout life, but the pressure can be at its strongest when we have all of this pressure to join extracurricular activities in order to get into college.
When we face so many expectations that other people have about OUR life, we can feel numb and shut out our emotions.
When we create our expectations and a life for ourselves, we find happiness. So go on and shred every idea that you had before about what it means to be a happy and successful person. Discover what you want out of this life and create your own path for yourself.
Shred the expectations that other people have for you life and start to feel YOUR emotions.
For Maris, she was a talented swimmer, but she didn't enjoy the sport or the competition. After recovering from her eating disorder, she began a new journey in which she was more open and honest with herself about what what she loves and what makes her happy.
At first, it was an uncomfortable feeling, but before she knew it, she felt free to follow her passion for yoga.
"I was torn because I wasn't sure if I was supposed to do things because I was passionate about them or was I supposed to do things because it was the right thing to do. So I was struggling with the traditional lack of identity, but I was also playing with this idea of what it meant to be authentic." - Maris Degener on trying to find her purpose during high school
Maris is an 18 year old certified yoga teacher specializing in the healing and restorative power of Vinyasa
Flow. With a past of overcoming eating disorders and mental illness, Maris is a recovering pessimist and
perfectionist who is now fearlessly authentic.
At the age of 13 she was diagnosed with a life-threatening eating disorder that led her on a journey to regain her mental and physical health. She now seeks to spread the healing powers of yoga, whole foods, and mindful living through her blog and teaching practice.
She has been featured by CNN health and across the media being spotlighted for her fearless authenticity and raising awareness of eating disorders and mental health.
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You read all the way to the bottom? That's what I call love!
I do the same thing for the people, things, and movements I care about as well.
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