Your body is your friend who's there for you 100% of the time.
- Category: Self-Help
What if you really don't know where you are? *pix
Eating disorders block emotions and create distorted thinking. If you read recovery books, are in therapy or go to support groups or 12-step meetings you've heard this.
But what does this actually mean in your experience? You can't feel what you don't feel. You can't think clearly and realistically if your thinking is distorted.
You also know that control issues play a big role in the life of a person with an eating disorder. But if your emotions are limited and your thinking is distorted then your control issues may be unknown to you. You may feel your need to be in charge is not because you want power but because you believe your position is accurate and the best of all possible choices.
This situation is creates the foundation for cascading personal disasters. How can you give up your position based on lack of emotion and lack of good judgment if you don't know that's what's going on?
You have a constant, ever present friend who can help you accurately sort out this dillema. Your body is always there and always tells the truth.
You can deny fire with your feelings and your mind, but put your hand in the fire and your skin will blister regardless of what you think or feel.
Distorted thinking and blocked emotions can lead you to believe that your body is an "it" separate from who you are. But that thinking doesn't make what you think true.
You can block emotional responses and realistic thinking to convince yourself that a dangerous person is your friend. But you will have anxiety attacks (heart palpitations and shortness of breath) when you are in danger. The hairs on the back of your neck with stand up. Your body is talking to you and telling you a truth your mind and emotions cannot detect.
You've heard that it's important to love your body. This is why. If you treat your body with care and respect your body senses your body will guide you to an honest appreciation of your experience.
Your eating disorder is in place to stop that education and personal empowerment. If you block your body's experience, punish it, push it into unnatural states and ignore your body's physical protest then you miss the communications from your body that tell you the truth of your life.
If you feel what you think you can't feel and see the reality of your experience, you might not like it. If you stay aware of your emotions and stay aware of your clear thinking you might have to take disruptive action that changes your life, your relationships and what you believe supports your existence.
Life Changes in Recovey
- People leave abusive relationships.
- People go back to school.
- They get degrees and jobs that give them a better life.
- They move to places where they can afford to live and find honest ways to improve their income.
- They befriend their children.
- They tend to their own health.
- They use their hearts and minds to bring joy to their lives.
- They stop allowing others to drain personal energy.
- They use their own energy to build what is valuable and important to them.
- They recognize and embrace love.
You can't do this if you don't feel what you feel or see reality or if you punish your body.
Can you stop punishing your body and allow yourself to be born into your authentic self where you feel what you feel and see what you see?
If you can you are on your way to discovering what you really do think and what your genuine choices are to give you a better life.
Give your friend a chance.
See part 2 of this article stimulated by the comments below.
21 May 2013
Artist Dale Schoonover and Kim Schoonover
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.
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I read this blog post earlier today and wrote a response that I decided not to post because I needed to get a bit more clarity on my feelings about it before I posted, as I'd been kind of processing it as I was typing and it was long and rambling. It was about struggling with No6 because of shame and the prejudice shown towards severely overweight people in healthcare settings, where being severely overweight seems to get you the label of lazy and unwilling to try to help yourself, and a resentment of why should we try to help you when you won't even help yourself.
Since then though, I've found myself drawn into debates on FB, something that seems to be happening quite frequently at the moment - and I don't like it, and to be fair I don't fully understand it either. I've reflected upon it a little bit, and realised that I think it's to do with being properly in recovery again, I'm wondering whether these posts that I respond to and get drawn into debates around, are things that when I'm using ED behaviours, I just use food to numb out the feelings and desire to respond, or I'm already so numb from numbing other things out that I don't feel the need to respond when I see them.
This in turn has made me look at what it is I'm feeling the need to respond to. In general it seems to be posts that lack tolerance or are overly judgemental. (about religion, culture, picking on individuals' weaknesses etc), and it's when it's a good friend rather than an outer circle friend or acquaintance. I can just overlook it when it's someone I don't have that much interaction with.
But I'm finding that I'm really struggling to convey my point too, and that it will end up with several people challenging me. I think I'm actually being very clear in conveying my point really, and trying not to seem preachy or holier than thou, and admitting that I'm not faultless either. I think because people don't think that way, that they either don't grasp, or don't want to grasp what I'm saying. But then I'm questioning if that's the case and they are so blinkered (aswell as intolerant/judgemental of whatever it is), do I really want them as my friends?
And I can't answer that - some of the people/scenarios we can get to a point and say "okay, let's agree to disagree on this" and the debateis over, relationship in tact - everything's fine, but with some I'm not so sure. It's like should I be developing my tolerance for our differences more, or should I be accepting that the differences are too large, too conflicting? And is it right to say something that challenges or opposes their view in the first place, or should I be more mindful that most people post things on FB looking for agreement and affirmation and if I can't give them that maybe I shouldn't say anything a all (but then that kind of takes me back to asking whether they're the types of people I want as friends again).
The fact that my view is always the minority view, and rarely gets any support, really makes me feel like maybe I need a new set of friends, but I'm not sure where I get them from and don't want to be friendless in the meantime.
This is hard!
Hi PTC, hope you're okay? I think I've had my ED for along time too (about 30 years), but what I've realised is that every time I go through a relapse/near relapse - recovery cycle, I learn something new and develop a greater understanding of it ...I hope one day I'll have learned enough to be able to keep myself in recovery and manage any relapse situations so well that true relapse can be averted or short-lived.
I'm relieved this evening to have had one friend contact me to say that she was sorry for taking my comments the wrong way and overreacting, and saying that she's just stressed and under a lot of pressure at the moment; another friend contacted me to say that he'd put the seemingly out of character offensive status on his FB and upheld it in our debate to play devils advocate and find out his friends' true thoughts on the matter; 2 people thanked myself and another friend for holding an interesting, civilised debate (we agreed to disagree); someone contacted me to say that they'd spent a few days mulling over something I'd written in a debate and realised that there was a lot of truth and sense in it and had done a complete U-turn on a decision she'd made as a result; and I messaged a friend to say that I realised she probably wanted my support rather than my views yesterday.
I'm now feeling quite drained from the whole experience, but relieved that my friends are pretty much who I thought they were, and I'm pretty much who I thought I was too. I'm guessing that the recent events in Paris have probably had a more far-reaching impact on us than most of us realise.
So now I'm just back to finding number 6 on the list a challenge.
First of all, this is a very powerful post, and quite timely for me. I have been in the above scenerio many times. Right now, though, I KNOW that my position is not accurate and the best choice. I'm struggling partly because I know I'm not making the best choices. I'm just deathly afraid to make the right choices. The right choices will make me gain weight secondary to how I've lost it. It's simple biology. I'm not going into detail for obvious reasons, but knowing that I know I'm making the wrong decisions actually makes me feel worse.
I will admit that my thinking is distorted right now. I acknowledge that if I were to make the healthy decision that eventually I would get on track. But what I have to go through to get on track scares me because I know that I will gain weight immediately and will have to wait for my body to accept the healthy changes to eventually even out. I hope this makes sense.
Its amazing and scary how a person can go from working a solid recovery to being on the fast track to irreversible damage to ones body. Eating disordered thinking is very sneaky. I think sometimes that it's not just about trying not to have an eating disorder. It's not that easy. If you don't have a safety net in place, if you don't have some modicum of a sturdy self worth, then it's so easy to get off track.
If you let the world define your worth or if you hide behind your eating disorder because you are so damn scared of your past and so scared to make changes because making changes hurts sometimes, then you are bound to have confusion and distorted thoughts.
Its interesting how joanna spoke of the body as an "it". That's exactly how I think of my body most of the time. Like it's a separate extension of my brain and my heart. I think that is what causes the cloudy thinking- the dissiciation. it makes it easier to stay ingrained in unhealthy ED patterns if I treat it separate. Because I know what's rIght and what's wrong. I know what I should do. Keeping my body separate cuts down on the guilt of the wrong decisions I am making. I don't know. Perhaps I'm making no sense. I realize that I'm punishing my body for the things that were done to it. I'm seriously trying to work this out in therapy. But stuff is so painful right now. I can't begin to explain how painful. So I tell myself that it doesn't matter. It's less about control right now than about just not wanting to take up space and be vulnerable to getting hurt again.
Or maybe be it IS all about control and I just can't see it???
Tracy - I can totally understand that feeling of dismay when you had been doing so well in recovery and suddenly you realise you've relapsed, and must've been travelling down that relapse road for quite some time without even being aware of it ....it's such a horrible disheartening feeling.
I also get the thing about feeling like your body is a separate thing to your self too. I am happy to own my inner, but don't feel connected to my exterior very often. Sometimes when I work hard at it I start to gain a little acceptance, but following a relapse it becomes pushed away and disowned again.
I never made the connection before, but I'm realising that I connect with my inner self because it is a constant, consistent thing that is always there for me, whilst my outer changes a lot and drastic changes often happen over quite short periods of time.... through therapy I've learned to trust my inner self - it is like the consistent parent, the "secure base" as John Bowlby would call it, that I never had but really needed; whilst my outer body is like the unpredictable parent or later partner, where there was no consistency, and you never knew what you were going to get. I guess that means that if I can place myself in a stable environment with stable people/relationships that I know I can trust, then maybe I will find a stable outer body that I can trust and connect with too.