Friday, December 21, 2012

Week 8: backsliding and feeling mad

At least one day this week I skipped more than one meal. 

The chapter I'm on in my workbook talks about discovering the emotional roots of my particular eating disorder. I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with my brain, as far as neuro-chemicals go; that is to say, I am reasonably certain that my disorder is entirely behavioral, though I may be genetically predisposed to obsessive behaviors. My workbook asks to consider what was going on in my life when my symptoms first appeared (around age 12), and the thing that stands out most in my mind is the desire to hide.

I spent a lot of time alone in my room with the door closed. When my symptoms popped up throughout the last 15 years, I will inevitably retreat into my room and spend all of my time alone. I also associate thinness with being better able to "fit in"*, and my genetic predisposition toward obsessiveness kicks in and says that I am an all or nothing kind of gal, but because my mother battled anorexia I had to be better than her** and said that I'd give binge/purge a try instead of straight up refusal to eat. I thought it would make me thin. I thought it could make me disappear.

That's just some backstory. It doesn't bother me so much now. I'm pretty sure I no longer want to disappear. When I wanted that, I paradoxically wanted recognition: I wanted to be loved, valued, seen in high esteem -- all things which are the complete opposite of wanting to disappear. And they're still things that I seek, but I think I can go after them in more effective and healthier ways.

I have beef with a few people who have, (intentionally or otherwise), made me feel unimportant or broken. This is probably reasonable, but I wish I could get it out of my head. I wish that I could overcome the lingering feelings of un-importance, (occasionally dis-importance***). I wish I could overcome the dis-importance I give myself, and if I focused on that the sting even of being intentionally hurt that way by others would disappear. 

What I'm learning is that I can unlearn disordered eating, (it being behavioral, rather than symptomatic of something requiring medication), and relearn how to prioritize my own needs without giving myself a complex about selfishness or whatever bullshit I've told myself in the past. But, I'm pretty sure I need therapy to really accomplish that*', because I don't know how to make heads or tails of any of this information. 

Right now I'm okay. I'm not mad (American) for not being able to keep with my plan this week. I feel mad (British) because I have all these thoughts still jumping around in my head about my relative value, about feeling beautiful, about dealing with the words of others*'', about wanting to pirate around with sexy people; about wanting to punch someone very specifically in the balls*'''. I feel mad because it feels like David Bowie hijacked my brain.

But... I think most of the time, I'm not as angry, or sad, or lonely, or mad (British). My heart is on healing and heading forward, not staying trapped in the past, neither remote nor recent.

*An unfortunate pun...
**Distortion: competitiveness; having a different eating disorder doesn't make me better than my mother; having a different eating disorder from her meant that it was harder for people in my family to recognize
***"dis-importance" being intentional
*'Not that I've even called the therapists my doctor recommended
*''Encouraging and discouraging
*'''I can play sadist too

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