I have suffered with an eating disorder for 25 years. This is my path through recovery.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Living LargeToday I read a Lenten devotion at Writings from the Wilderness that struck home for me in a BIG LEAGUE way. It should be clear to you all that I possess a highly addictive personality, which explains part of my eating disorder. I am very, very thankful to God that I have never been offered any kind of drugs and that I don't really like the taste of alcohol because I know what my path would have been, otherwise.
Even without drugs or alcohol, I know that the god of my life is pleasure. I have no idea how long it has been thus, but it's been for many years. I procrastinate on tasks I don't want to do in that "ostrich" sort of way - if I don't see it, it ain't there and I don't gotta deal with it. Stupid, yes; short-sighted, certainly, but I don't believe I'm the only one with my head in the sand.
Where has this pursuit of pleasure led me? To a sedentary life in front of a TV or computer; a life in which I do not feel fulfilled, with no husband or children (the deepest desires of my heart), a job that's just a paycheck and a house that's always messy because I can't be bothered to get up off my rump and do anything about it. And did I mention that as of Wednesday I weigh more than I ever have at any other point in my life?
I struggle on a daily basis to change my life. I have discovered a technique that is becoming an invaluable tool in my box. Whatever decision I need to make - what I'm having for lunch, whether I should wear my seatbelt, anything - as I'm making that choice, I speak my choice out loud.
Example One: "I'm going to have chicken salad for lunch today because it fits my food plan and I am NOT going to have the cheesy artichoke casserole, even though that's what I would prefer."
In this case, it is easier for me to stick to the choice because I have spoken it out loud which reinforces it for me. I try to do this in advance (and out of the hearing of those who would call the mental hospital).
Example Two: "I am choosing not to wear my seatbelt today because I don't feel like it. Besides, I am only going three miles to work and it's highly unlikely that I will have an accident on the way."
Put that way, it sounds rather absurd, doesn't it? Especially considering that I have HAD an accident on the way to work.... Putting it in this kind of language makes it easier for me to make the choice to do the right thing.
No, this is not an easy method. First, I have to be aware that I'm making a decision at the moment, second, I am a weak human being and I still face the temptations to go against my better judgment, but speaking and hearing it out loud means that I cannot pretend any longer that I'm not making a decision. I cannot stick my head back in the sand.
Even though recognizing the decision points is tough in the beginning, I know that with practice I will be able to spot them more readily and the more I practice good choices, the easier it will be to make one the next time.
Empowerment Some time back, I came up with a statement that I felt defined empowerment for me: "I think true empowerment (feministically or otherwise) is liking what you like and doing what you feel is right in any situation, and not merely in reaction to someone else's decisions, choices or approval. In other words - true empowerment is being and liking yourself."
I sent that around to some friends and got a response from my nutritionist: "I agree with your thought. The only thought I would add is something deep about knowing what is right-having an ongoing source of counsel and knowledge to learn and challenge yourself in this regard. Because I believe empowerment is also about truth, which can be very difficult to determine, both in the greater world and for oneself."
I agreed with her. So - incorporating her comments into my original thought, my definition of empowerment:
True empowerment (feministically or otherwise) is liking what you like and knowing and doing what is right in God's eyes in any situation, not merely reacting to another's decisions, choices or approval. It means having an ongoing source of counsel and knowledge from which to learn and challenge yourself in regard to Biblical Truth.
In other words - true empowerment is being and liking yourself, and it is about seeking and acting on God's Truth, which can be very difficult to determine for our human minds, both in the greater world and for oneself.
It Ain't Easy Bein' GreenGreen is not my best color, yet I seem to be willing to wear it regularly. Jealousy does NOT become me. I have a friend - I'll call him Eric - whose behavior toward me has changed, and not for the better. Suddenly when we're in public, he's yakking with the "cool" girls and barely acknowledges anything I say. In private he'll talk with me about things, but when the others are around, he courts their attention and ignores me. Oh, he'll make a brief comment if I address him, but beyond that I might as well not exist.
It makes me really ache inside. I do not deserve to be treated this way, and I know that I have done nothing to warrant any kind of poor treatment from him. I have never spoken ill of him or said anything unkind to or about him. Not once. It hurts because he's supposed to be my friend.
If I say anything to him, I'll get pegged as jealous and needy, and right now I could not stand that. I'm extremely angry because I feel like my hands are tied and I don't know how to rectify the situation to my own satisfaction. At this point, I almost don't care if I hurt his feelings - that's how hurt I am.
Why do I allow other people's treatment of me to color how I view and treat myself? I won't stand up and say anything because I'm afraid of looking petty and insecure. And of course there's the chance that he's not even aware of what he's doing.
In the meantime, I'll be trying to rescind the green eyes from the monster and put them back in my own head where they belong.
My Favorite GameMotivation is as difficult for me as heavy lifting for other people. I can't seem to find my way out of the morass at times. I wish I could. Procrastination is the name of my favorite game of self-sabotage. I've been playing it since I was a kid, and I've nearly perfected it.
I do not do those things which I know I need to do if they are unpleasant tasks. I have a pair of refrigerators sitting in my kitchen right now, one waiting to be cleaned, the other waiting to be emptied. I don't suppose the dishrag fairy is going to come along anytime soon to wash the new fridge so I can transfer over my food, but it's something I hate doing, so I'm simply avoiding the task. Even writing this post is a clear avoidance mechanism.
I chose to go ahead and write, though, in the hopes that maybe putting my thoughts down here will help me find a way through the labyrinth that is my mind. The guilt that comes from NOT doing what I need to do, even coupled with the satisfaction of a job well done and complete, is insufficient motivation for me to get up and go do it.
At most I do these jobs in chunks. I wish I understood why they prey on my mind so much. Is my entire life merely the pursuit of some kind of pleasure? I hope not, but I rather fear it is, and that makes me sad. I don't know how to change that.