Inhale. Hold. Release. This is a way to reboot your brain – well, it works for me.
The last 38 hours have been a bit rough – my anxiety and my body dysmorphia have been quite prominent today, which then leads to my depression, and other negative patterns of mine. Being aware of these tendencies is just the first step, and at certain times, it doesn’t make the journey any easier.
In days like these, where recovery is a stern, painful choice, I do a checklist. I remind myself that I am making the conscious choice to be kind to myself, to love myself and accept myself just the way I am.
I have gotten past the embarrassment of living in denial. Where I think I am done, for some reason I keep thinking that I won’t have to make those choices anymore, it will just be that way.
I like to think that one day all my negative habits will be replaced by loving thoughts and positive actions. A new attitude.
To think that this new attitude, where I no longer relapse, is just second nature is not at all impossible; though we have to learn to be realistic. I have focused my attention, my intention, my thoughts, my choices, and my actions to fifteen years of self-torture through my Eating Disorder.
I have to be aware that it will take more than a few months, and even years, to reach that goal. But for now, I remind myself of the daily choices I should make in order to be closer to my recovery-goal.
It’s not about what your body looks like, it’s about what it can do. Be grateful for your body.
When I say be more conscious about the choices I make, that also means being aware of certain patterns and triggers.
Body checking – I won’t disclose what I do or what body checking entails – is an issue that I still deal with daily, and as I am learning through my journey, one of the most difficult issues to correct. Why so?
Body checking is not exclusive to people with Eating Disorders, it is a behavior present in the majority of people, according to edinstitute.org. The difference lies in the perspective of the person that’s engaging in that behavior, someone with an Eating Disorder – male or female, it’s not a gender-based disorder – will not stop at merely a “conscious observation of the body’s shape.” After body checking, a train wreck of desperate emotion-driven anxiety is unleashed, and you allow it to take a hold of your day, of your life. I would give it the power to take complete control of my day, of my self-worth. For years I slaved myself to a ‘mirror test’, where if my body checking was somehow approved, I’d be somewhat happy and have somewhat of a good day. If, on the other hand – and at any point throughout my day – this mirror test failed, well, it just wouldn’t be pretty.
Again, being aware of the effect that body checking can have on me doesn’t make the journey any easier, it just reminds me that on days like these – where recovery starts to feel as a struggle, and I know it shouldn’t – that I have to focus my attention and be more aware of the choices I make, the thoughts I pay attention to, which ones I give power to.
When I catch myself body-checking, I remind myself that I love myself, and that love is not based on physical appearance. I choose to hug myself and fill myself with the high-vibrations that come with love, serenity, and positivity. Only then can I clear my mind and focus on my recovery, I remember the process, and I see the rewards of recognizing progress. By not sinking into old hurtful patterns, I can see how far I have come; by the same token, I am aware of how far I can, and still, want to go.
Counteract negativity – physically, mentally, spiritually.
At the risk of sounding redundant, being aware of the triggers that can set-off your Eating Disorder, is only the first step. Awareness must be followed by a response, in this case, the response is self-love, and counteracting negativity.
How do I start? Well, personally this is what has helped me so far. And I must admit that I am also blessed with an amazingly loving and understanding support system – shout-out to my amazing family and partner.
I started thinking in terms of action, to counteract negativity at a physical level.
[Dear Self] Next time you find yourself body checking, hug yourself. Next time you catch yourself body checking, make eye contact, smile at yourself.
Then I started thinking in terms of words, thoughts, my tone of voice, to counteract negativity at a mental level.
[Dear Self] Next time you catch yourself being negative and hurtful to yourself, stop and remember that I actually love myself. Next time you think a hurtful thought or say a negative word, stop and say it out-loud:
I love myself. I am worthy. My worth is not tied to my physical appearance. I choose to nurture and value my body, for it allows me to do all of the wonderful things I enjoy.
Dear body, thank you for that.
Finally, I started thinking in terms of vibration, and intention to counteract negativity at a spiritual level. When you realize that all the negative words we use are labels to an emotion, labels to an intention, you also realize that you are capable of changing them. You are capable and solely responsible, to consciously change those intentions.
Work towards consciously feeling the difference in the low vibrations of the anxiety, self-loathing, and depression of the choices that feed the Eating Disorder, versus the high vibrations of the warmth in the happiness of loving yourself.
[Dear Self] Next time you start to feel yourself being pulled towards those consuming low vibrations, consciously shift those vibrations, by the intention behind in both the words and actions you choose.
P.S. Since I’m giving credit where it’s due, I should add that my boyfriend has made this very point on spirituality. He also maintains that you should counteract negativity until you start seeing the positive as truth. Thanks, amore, it is just now starting to sink in.
If for some reason this is too overwhelming, and you still don’t know where to start, start here:
“When a negative thought enters your mind, think three positive ones. Train yourself to flip the script.” @Awaken5d – Instagram
I find it important to also share that if you stumble upon my blog and you find yourself in need of help, but you don’t know where to start, or where to look. Below you will find some links to websites that can offer insight on how/where to start.
I am also sharing the Neda helping line (800) 931-2237. As well as the suicide prevention hotline (800) 273-8255.
Remember. You always have a choice. You are worthy of being happy. And yes, it is about self-love.
An incurable passion for writing; a poet and storyteller at heart. I am a writer on the road.