Inspiration when you are in the doldrums


Sometimes you feel down and dull for days or longer, having a sense of what you should be doing but no longer caring.  Your energy is low. You feel you've lost your way.

This inevitable zone of the human condition can catch you at any time in your life and in any stage of recovery. Great literature, art, myth and story can reach through your lonely fog to remind you of your choices.  Happily I've discovered this wonderful site, Myths-Dreams-Symbols, that can inspire you during your dark times.

I watched the video on the home page that shows you the hero's (or heroine's) journey as depicted in film.  Watch it and see if you can recognize the stage you are in on your own heroic path.

Make no mistake, before, during or after recovery work, we all are challenged by the hero's path. We always have complacency we don't want to leave. We always have self doubts about our capabilities.  We always fall short and need to learn and grow to develop more skills, strength, awareness, compassion and wisdom. We always meet surprise.  We always are confronted in some way with unfinished business that must be resolved. And we always have the potential to develop greater vision to see new worlds, regardless of whether we travel afar or remain in one place geographically.

We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world....Joseph Campbell

Where are you on your heroic journey?

Are you oblivious?

Are you postponing?

Are you hiding?

Are you preparing?

Or....are you on the true soul journey of your life?


P.S. The above questions and the stages of the hero's journey are wonderful journal questions.


Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and agan.....Joseph Campbell


Thank you, Jerry Gifford creator of the Myths-Dreams-Symbols, for showing me your wonderful site.


0 # I think I am preparing. There are severamylifex2 2012-06-10 21:29
I think I am preparing. There are several areas of my life that I am not happy job, my finances, some relationships. However, despite this, my attitude is improving. I am able to stress less and be more grateful for what I do have. When I was starving myself all the time, I couldn't appreciate my children well, I couldn't appreciate the beauty of a gorgeous day, I had no energy for anything.
But now I am able to think more clearly. Deal with issues with less anxiety. Appreciate and find beauty in things I never would have before.
I am also trying to deal with relationships that I have problems with. I am especially trying this with my mom.
0 # Great news, Tracy. It's pretty wonderfupinkjoanna 2012-06-11 09:13
Great news, Tracy. It's pretty wonderful to discover that when you allow yourself food to nourish your body you also allow your heart, mind and soul nourishment too.

I'm glad to hear that you have a new appreciation for your children and for the beauty of a gorgeous day. All that nourished you and....equips you for even more. :-)

Sounds like relationships are next. They can be nourishing too.
0 # And I really do feel what I wrote. My cmylifex2 2012-06-11 10:39
And I really do feel what I wrote. My challenge is daily as I battle the voices in my head that tell me not to eat. Today, I find myself bargaining with the voices to cut back my food just enough so I don't get to the point where my brain doesn't's like I want to have it both ways. I know that's not possible...but I want to stay "better", so that is why I say heart is in the right place..I am just working on my head. I have to remind myself of how much better I feel when I eat. I have to read the posts I write when I am doing better so that I can see how I got there. One thing I am also working on is staying in the present. I am trying not to worry about anything past today. It does provide me with some anxiety release to do this. But it has taken practice. I am also asking for help, both with babysitting so that I can get respite, and with getting more therapy services for my little one. I am reaching out to see what I can do to make things better for her, instead of being the cranky, bitchy :sad: mother I was when I didn't eat. So preparing has been a process.
0 # I'm at a place where I feel like thingsshh 2012-06-12 00:42
I'm at a place where I feel like things are beginning to start picking up again on my journey. I have come to realise that the journey isn't just one long smooth ride into recovery and a glorious sunset of happily ever afters, but that learning to take the downs as well as the ups, and acknowledging that they are part of the ride too, is important.

I feel as though I am just starting to move away from a series of modifications, I suppose they are preparations in a way. I am alone again with my girls, yet still good friends with my husband and at peace knowing that he is getting the help that he needs, I have cut my mother out of my life completely now, which isn't what I wanted and that is still a source of heartache, but I realise it is the only way I can deal with someone who is still so hurtful and damaging to myself and the people close to me - it is necessary for me to move forwards.I am also building bridges and trying to improve a relationship that was difficult because of the impact of a third party, and I feel comforted knowing that my true friends are still my true friends and a great source of mutual support.
And I guess the two biggest things for me, aside from relationships, has been that throughout my recent struggles I have managed to do two things, that I have never done is to reveal my vulnerability to others, which I was shocked to discover didn't drive them away or make me unpalatable or "too needy", if anything it has brought me closer to them, and the other is to ask for help and support without feeling like it is wrong, and like I am a burden, and like I am not justified in asking for it.

And so onwards and upwards I go...and for the first time in months, I see my eating starting to improve, I feel calmer inside, and can catch hold of a glimmer of that warm, loving, happy place that I haven't seen for such a long time.
0 # I think i might be postponing and hidingPTC 2012-06-12 14:32
I think i might be postponing and hiding!! Not quite sure.

My T told me today that she's done "fighting" with me and this ED. She said I can stay at this weight, because I'm "Clearly not willing to gain any weight" and we will talk about other things. She said that's she's tired of fighting me. I get it, I would be too. She can't change me if I don't want to do anything to change. So, we'll see what happens.
0 # PTC, well, the weight isn't the real imylifex2 2012-06-12 18:57
well, the weight isn't the real issue anyway, right? So in my opinion she shouldn't be focusing all her energy into trying to convince you to change how you eat or view your body. Instead, like my therapist, I think a better approach (atleast for me) is to talk about issues that cause me to feel that I need to use food as a control over a very chaotic past. That is kind of a back door to getting me to realize how things come together. Sometimes I don't see the connection until later in the day after a session. I think you do want to change...I think we all here want to change or we wouldn't be reaching out for support. But wanting to change and being ready to change are two different things. When I get to feeling ingrained in my eating disordered thinking, I begin thinking about what is going on in my life at that moment..then I backtrack to where THAT feeling came from...everything has a beginning. Every event in our lives impacts us in either a negative or postive way. Some things are so negative that they are traumatic. Those are the things that I think my therapist wants to work on so that we can move into the WHYS of my eating disorder. Then as we work thru the whys we can focus on ways to move past them and focus on the present and use other methods to continue to help me recover. Many of these are the things Joanna has in her book. It has been a great "co-tool" for me. I think we all have ups and downs..I hope you can find a way to find some ups.
0 # Shh, I wanted to tell you that I enjoyemylifex2 2012-06-12 19:02
I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your post. I feel we are very similar in many ways. I appreciate your honesty and how you share both your good days and your bad days. I am encouraged to hear you are doing better at this time. Yes, being vulnerable is risky,but it does free up a lot of isolation once we realize that people aren't going to leave us just because we are humans with needs. Sounds like you have worked thru a very difficult time in your life, and are doing well. I am proud of you. I hope that you can continue to have this hopeful outlook.
0 # Hey Tracy, The only reason she's sortPTC 2012-06-14 13:49
Hey Tracy,

The only reason she's sort of focusing on my weight is because she says I'm underweight and that if I lose any more weight it will compromise our work together. I see her again tomorrow, we'll see how that goes.
0 # yeah, PTC , I re-read my post and it wasmylifex2 2012-06-14 16:06
yeah, PTC , I re-read my post and it was totally out of line. What works for me and my therapist isn't necessarily what works for you. I am sure your therapist knows what she is doing and I apologize for assuming she could be doing better. Sorry :-)
0 # Tracy, I didn't think it wasn't out of lPTC 2012-06-14 18:24
Tracy, I didn't think it wasn't out of line at all.
0 # :) It's more me trying to remind myselfmylifex2 2012-06-15 08:36
:-) It's more me trying to remind myself to stop trying to fix other people and focus on myself. There is a difference between supporting others and trying to fix them. But thanks for helping me feel better.
0 # I'm definitely discovering my true soul'Lauren 2012-06-16 17:40
I'm definitely discovering my true soul's journey and am so grateful for that. For so long in my eating disorder recovery I was searching, seeking, longing and wondering what the heck I was here for!

I'm finally in a place where I feel good about what I'm doing. So true, we are all on our own journeys, learning, growing, stretching and expanding and I don't think we are ever really done with those healing journeys...great post! :-)

0 # Sometimes I lose total faith in the recoJan 2012-06-16 17:53
Sometimes I lose total faith in the recovery journey - I find it so hard to remain stable. Having identified my triggers as overwhelm, i feel at a loss of how to learn to handle these overpowering emotions - Whats depressing me most is that the overwhelm is from really great things that are happening in my life- And i see now with the help of my therapist that not only do I have difficulty assimilating these emotions but because these are new feelings to me my body /mind goes into shock, disbelief and then it gets stuck there- hiding away and consequently the good feelings passed- Does anyone have any suggestions to help me with this ? it's so unpleasant!!
0 # Dear Jan, You sound to me like you arpinkjoanna 2012-06-16 22:23
Dear Jan,

You sound to me like you are making real progress. Your post shows greater awareness than you've had in the past. Before awareness good things come into your life and, without knowing you are barricaded, you don't take them in. With greater awareness you recognize good things coming into your life and you recognize that you don't take them in.

This is the beginning of a major turn. When you feel rejected, alone, unqualified, unworthy, left out you now know that it could well be that you are not taking in the good that is offered to you from the world and from your own inner riches.

It's painful to be aware of this, but it means progress and opportunity to put your energy where you really need it.

Yes, this awareness is unpleasant. But..... and it's so hard for people to understand this...the fact that you can feel and tolerate the unpleasant means that you are tolerating feelings more. The more you can tolerate feelings the less you need your eating disorder.

I'm so glad you wrote.

warmest regards and respect for your journey,

0 # Joanna, thank you this makes a lot of seJan 2012-06-17 02:13
Joanna, thank you this makes a lot of sense you helped me turn my feelings around to something more positive! :-) Yes it's hard to tolerate the feelings but this has given me some hope that am going in the right direction!

Thanks again

0 # Glad to hear this Jan. Feeling anythingpinkjoanna 2012-06-17 12:29
Glad to hear this Jan. Feeling anything, good or bad, is a win in eating disorder recovery.

Laura R
0 # I think I'm doing a little better at tolLaura R 2012-06-17 17:08
I think I'm doing a little better at tolerating my big feelings as at the same time the there's the familiar voice inside me that says "danger danger something really bad is happening" I'm starting to hear another a part of me that says, "oh this is a big feeling and I don't like it but I don't think I'm going to die". I admitted this to my therapist on Friday and we both smiled for a minute but then I had big fear that something bad was going to happen and I felt all needy and distressed. A voice inside me kept saying over and over, "don't leave me". For some reason I was sure that my therapist was going to somehow leave me. I wanted to be that little kid who wraps her arms around an adult's legs and doesn't let go until the adult agrees to stay. Then of course I had to leave him because the session was over. I must have some core belief that if I'm more OK then all help gets taken away.
0 # I am very aware of my need to be saved amylifex2 2012-06-17 20:41
I am very aware of my need to be saved and rescued. I understand it when you say you fear that help will go away if you suddenly become "ok". For me that feeling comes from not being heard as a child when bad things were happening. I feel that part of me, that child, has never really grown up. I have come a ways in working thru these types of feelings. I think everyone needs to feel taken care of at times. It takes courage to do this life thing on your own.
0 # Yes I think the same also - is it aboutJan 2012-06-18 04:31
Yes I think the same also - is it about feeling safe/not feeling safe do you think ? that voice that says don't leave me and to suddenly say or try to say we feel ok in the world one day yet the next day we dont thats what I experience- - This is were it gets difficult to understand and accept and lots of confusion comes in, we feel great one minute then flat the next. Joanna mentions something in her book about not having enough experiences to work on prior to and during our recovery to uphold new successes. This possibly refers to this stage were in addition to not having enough experiences we dont also feel strong or confident enough to trust these new feelings/actions to yet be able to build on them feel safe to trust our new experiences- just wondering if this resonates with you all too- As Joanna mentioned above - Awareness is KEY - I really resonate with this - we are all becoming aware of these areas and that alone is new and positive right?

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