Monday, February 06, 2006

Some insight

Someone posted this on a bulletin board and OMG, it makes so much sense!

"I'm really learning something the last few days about me eating/weight obsession. Before I share, let me inform you that this is something that I've discovered before- a 'truth' that's affected the way I think and behave- but it's hit me recently again. This is a testament to the sort of upward-spiral path that recovery follows; a path that brings us back to what seems like the same place, but we are actually farther along than we were before.Anyway, when I binge/starve/obsess about my weight/search in books for the 'key' to solve my eating issues, I am trapped in a fake world that keeps me numb from the real world. This food/weight world is full of drama, it consumes my thoughts, it constricts my problems to the issues of overeating and undereating and promises me happiness and a life free from anxiety and shame and confusion when I can just find the key to set me free from bingeing. The world of food obsession is a painful place to be, because there is no way out and the script is repetitive: binge, starve, obsess, feel hopeful, control, binge, starve....When I eat according to my physical needs and don't allow myself to engage in obsessive thoughts, I am wracked with anxiety. This overwhelming anxiety is almost always the precursor to a binge. I've known this for a long time already (that anxiety leads me to binge, I binge to 'let loose') and always am convinced that the anxiety is a result of my resisting the urge to binge. Eventually, the urge is too strong and I need to give in. Now, I am really understanding that there is something other than the urge to eat (and the struggle not to give in) behind that anxiety. Sitting with this for months before every binge, every episode of overeating, it's finally starting to click. The anxiety is a result of life. This anxiety is accompanied by the fear of it. Life is painful, and confusing and overwhelming, and some things- some problems or struggles- aren't fixable in the moment. Some problems are huge, or are confusing- there are no fifteen minute fixes or even year-long fixes (ex. the pain of my sister's death). I thought that if I could just not ever binge, if i could just stop eating compulsively, I wouldn't feel confused, I wouldn't struggle, I wouldn't feel pain that couldn't be fixed, I wouldn't ever feel torn, I wouldn't make bad decisions, I wouldn't procrastinate, I wouldn't be lazy. It's not true- it's not true that life would be good if I could just stop eating compulsively. I was completing a list from Geneen Roth's book about what i would be like if I didn't have food issues. I basically thought life would be dandy. Sure, I'd have pain, but I'd be able to handle it. I would always make the right choices, I saw myself as happy and in control when I was not being compulsive about food. I read my list and recognized the 'magical thinking' laced throughout it. I've been realizing that, even without compulsive eating, I am confused about a great many things in my life. I only see these things, these real life issues, when I don't allow myself to binge and get caught up in food obsession. The last few days I have been sitting with the discomfort of feeling like I don't have the answer to my struggles with spirituality right now. I hate not knowing what I believe. It's incredibly stressful and I hate it and I want it fixed and I'm tempted to binge so I don't have to feel so upset by it and can just focus on food obsession. I can't fix my spiritual search in one day, there are no quick fixes. That is painful. That's hard to accept. It's the truth though. No matter how perfectly I eat, that issue will still continue to be an area in my life in which i'm struggling right now. My living situation is causing a great deal of stress right now as well. Though I'm working on a solution and trying to figure out how to set better boundaries, it's a tricky situation and won't be solved in 15 minutes. It causes me great anxiety but bingeing about it so I don't feel it removes me from the discomfort of real life and leaves me with the discomfort of my pseudo-life of food obsession.Even without compulsive eating in my life, i will still struggle with procrastination sometimes. I often blame laziness on my eating, on being full after a binge. "When I eat perfectly", i tell myself, "I'll be happy and passionate and energized and always want to work". I guess what I'm realizing is that there is pain in revolving my life around food obsession, but there is also pain in everyday life. I know I've recognized this before, but it's hitting a new level with me. I guess I'm realizing that, even though i have some real-life-issues that seem unsolvable or confusing or just plain stressful, eating doesn't help. Bingeing just shifts my focus from real life onto food obsession and gets me nowhere except back on the hamster wheel. I don't know if any of this makes just comes down to me realizing that I can either live in a made-up world, or in the real world. And also that, my life without food compulsion is still the same life, just without food compulsion. My life will always have struggles and I will always be human and experience good and bad emotions- it's my choice whether I feel them and deal with them and accept them or whether I numb myself out. The problem with compulsion is that when I numb myself to life's crappy moments, I numb myself to the experience of real pleasure and joy too.

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