"How-To" Series: Getting Through Difficult Situations
In this edition of Recovery By Meghan’s “How-To” series, I will let you know how I am getting through some of the difficult situations I am experiencing here in treatment.
Sometimes, before we can move on to accepting a certain challenge or difficulty, we must first learn to tolerate. Tolerate the anxiety, tolerate the discomfort. This is very true in eating disorder recovery. Before I can accept my body changes, or accept my weight increases, I must learn to at least tolerate the process. Later on, I will work on acceptance, but tolerating always comes first.
How do I tolerate? I haven’t mastered this yet. There are many days where everything I am going through feels quite intolerable, actually. But, I am keeping in mind something that my doctor in New York once told me. He said I need to be a “reminding machine” for myself.
Now, I know that sounds a little frivolous. But quite honestly, there is absolutely nothing that is working better right now than ME talking MYSELF through difficult situations. I can get all the reassurance I want from others, but in eating disorder recovery, no one can really “fix” what is going on in our heads. So, I am working on being a reminding machine for myself.
What does this look like? Whenever I have a negative thought about my weight, or my body, or the plate in front of me, I challenge the negative thought with a reminder.
Here are some examples:
“This is way too much food” becomes “Food is the fuel you will need to feel better”.
“You are disgusting for gaining weight” becomes “Weight gain is necessary for you to live the life you want”.
“Your arms and legs are getting big” becomes “Getting stronger will allow you to accomplish all of your goals”.
Reminding myself of why I’m fighting and why I’m doing all of these difficult things is constant work. I feel like it is never quiet in my head - there is constant back and forth between the irrational eating disorder thoughts and the rational reminders that I give myself. It makes it difficult to relax because there is always some kind of banter going on in my mind. But whenever I start to doubt or question the food I am eating, or the weight I am gaining, I act as a reminding machine. And to tell you the truth, it has been really helpful.
The next time you are in a difficult situation, try talking to yourself. Act as your own reminding machine. What would you say to a friend? Turn that dialogue inwards and say it to yourself. Talk yourself through the anxiety and the pain and the sadness. Your voice will carry you through. The process won’t be flawless, but I can honestly say giving myself constant reminders has been helpful thus far.
Let me know how it goes!
Check out my previous “How-To” post here: