Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The ED Mindset

I've been brewing up this post for a couple of weeks now.

Mwa ha ha ha.

I say this because, well, it's a long ride to try to understand the mindset, emotions, and thoughts of an eating disorder. Really, the best way you'd probably ever understand is if you are a professional in this particular field, have a friend or loved one that has been through it, or you yourself have been through it.

Even then it's pretty hard to explain.

Therefore I have decided to create another "series" of posts. A person with an ED has such a complex mind, a bazillion emotions running through their head, and another bazillion thoughts, problems, conflicts, etc. jumbling up their brain. It's like a conundrum of thoughts and emotions.

I will break this up into parts, and I have drawn a diagram picture for your convenience.

First, healthy thinking.

It's a lovely drawing, isn't it? I've broken this mindset up into 6 parts. Everyone is different, but I'm pretty sure that this is the general idea of what a teenage girl thinks about during the day. Starting from the bottom left and going counter-clockwise to the middle is: school and grades, family and friends, diet, exercise, the, ahem, opposite sex, and miscellaneous stuff (i.e. hobbies).

There are a lot of factors that could change the behavior, moods, and thoughts of a teenage girl, but we're pretending that these aren't taking effect at the current moment.

Diet and exercise should only be one small part of our day. We should eat 5 to 6 times a day, and the recommended amount of physical activity is at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. Again, we're all different.

However, going through puberty, hormones raging, entering different grades, and body changes can cause this mindset to shift. Girls start obsessing about what they look like, not out of vanity, but out of insecurity. They start dieting, trying to lose weight, and ultimately end up with low self esteem.

Some girls take this too far, and depending on the circumstances, develop this mindset:

  Apparently this girl sees her reflection as clothed....

Exercise, body, and food.

That's pretty much aaallll an ED mindset thinks about. You don't have room for family and friends, hobbies - anything. All day every day is your ED.

It makes you selfish, and it makes you feel like a crazy person. I kid you not. You feel like you're going crazy. Not the crazy as in, there's voices in your head, but there kind of is. You believe lies about yourself, lies that you're fat, ugly, and not worthy.

These problems take up too much time with an ED. They are consuming and powerful. So if you know anyone with an ED, they aren't selfish, mean, bitter, depressed, sad, and vain - that's not them. Their characteristics just get overshadowed by thoughts and feelings.


It's quite a jumble of emotions.

Throughout my recovery, there have been many, many layers that had to be "peeled" and dealt with. It takes a long time, patience, and motivation. It's never ever easy.

I'm *this close* to being completely and fully recovered, and there has been not one easy moment. There have most definitely been moments where there isn't an ED thought in my mind, and those are totally freeing. I've gushed about my successes, and how hard I had to work to get there.

I've had to change the way I think. Change those three overbearing thoughts, hurricane of emotions, and thought processes.

A lot of the time, I thought about what I would do in the past. Like, "What would the old Jessica do?" But really, it wasn't until I started thinking "in the now" that I started progressing. Rather than going to a restaurant and thinking, "What would I have gotten before ED?" I think, "What do I want right now?" If it's salmon and vegetables, so be it. If it's pasta and bread sticks, that's okay too. There are so many variables that can change our preferences day to day.

Same with exercise. I loved running. But, you know, it's a lot of strenuous physical activity, and a trigger for me. Hopefully one day I'll be able to do it again, but for now I have to find other stuff I like. Swimming. Biking. Walking. Heck, even Just Dance.

I'm in a different exercise mindset right now - before it was all about losing weight and burning calories. Now, after 2. years. of sitting on my butt, I love moving. Not fidgeting around, tapping my feet, twiddling my thumbs, constantly moving - just movement. It makes me happy to go on a walk on a beautiful day, to stretch out my incredibly tight legs (I never have been and never will be flexible), biking on a trail.

Productivity makes me feel awesome as well. I will deliberately let my room get dirty just so I can clean it up the next day. Is that weird? Didn't think so. I make a ton of check-lists, and I feel so accomplished when everything is checked off. :)

But, again, I like relaxing. I have days where I do nothing but watch television, eat, and take naps (and drink coffee). Those days are pretty awesome.

Breaking free of the ED mindset is long (loooonnngggg), but it's totally worth it in the long run. I love feeling healthy, and feeling like my body is useful. I don't really feel trapped inside my body anymore, having to sit around and get to a healthy weight before I can do anything. It rocks.

There will be more on this subject in later posts...I'll try not to repeat anything. :)

Have a terrific Tuesday!

No comments:

Post a Comment