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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.

 joanna@poppink.com

 

Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.

 

I think I have learned to stop giving so much of myself to others in what I call my 'external world' - it's still my natural reaction to say "yes" or "I'll help, tell me what you need me to do", only to find myself regretting it later but feeling like it's important I stay true to my word, so I have found ways of helping myself to deal with things, for example I often let my phone ring on to the voicemail even though I'm there and could answer it, because it allows me to find out why people want me and if it is to ask me do do something then it buys me the thinking space to figure out whether I really want to make that commitment before I speak to them; or I don't respond to group emails straight away, I wait and see if other people respond and offer to help, and then I can offer a part of myself, rather than all of myself. I have also learned that when I'm sitting listening to peoples' troubles and offering them a sympathetic ear, that it's okay for there to be a cut off point where I say "sorry, but I need to go in a few minutes" and steer things to a close - it not only means that I give up 40 mins of my day rather than 2 hours, it also seems to make them less dependent upon me in an ongoing way.

All the above is great, it has really helped me to feel more in control of my life, however where I struggle, is in what I call my 'internal world'. I still allow myself to feel like I need to be living up to other people's expectations, and what other people would think of me if they knew I still hadn't started or finished x, y or z, or that some rooms in my house aren't immaculately tidy, or that I can't afford to get the roof repaired, or that I chose to spend money on a vacation trip for my girls and myself rather than some cosmetic work on the outside of the house that could do with being done but is non-essential. It's those voices the ones that put pressure on me to be doing 101 things and get things finished ASAP, that tell me I'm useless and lazy when I don't - they're the ones I fight daily, that make every day a struggle unless I numb them out with ED behaviours. And it's like I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't - if I use my ED to numb it out, I spend my days engaging in ED behaviours and get nothing done, and if I don't I feel so overwhelmed by the enormity of what needs to be done, I just get paralysed by it, because it feels so huge and I've no idea where to start.

On a good day I can say "if other people think those things, so what, I don't care", I can look at the things I have achieved and feel proud of them, and most importantly I can think about the overwhelming list of things that needs doing and tell myself, just pick a couple of things, just commit 2 hours to this and 2 hours to that and it doesn't matter how far you get in those 2 hours, because gradually over a period of time those 2 hours will all stack up and you will get there. I know that for me, the key to coping is to break things into smaller tasks and to take the pressure off myself by reminding myself that every effort no matter how small is still a step closer to getting something done or finished. The hardest part is finding that positive outlook before I'm consumed by my ED or completely overwhelmed - some days I win, some days I lose.

 

 

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