Monday, 11 June 2012

Word of the Day Challenge: Day Nine

I am much more of a heart person than a head person, so when it comes to logic and emotion, emotion tends to rule.

Having said that, I don’t think I could have reached this point in my recovery without developing my logic and rational thinking.

It’s hard to argue with the voice inside your head when you’re eating disordered – the one that tells you you’re a terrible/weak/selfish/ugly/greedy/needy person because you’re feeling hungry, or because you’ve eaten something, or because you haven’t exercised enough that day.

One of the most valuable things I was taught in therapy was how to effectively counter that voice, not just so that I could calm myself but so I could actually believe what I was telling myself – trust the rational perspective, the logic.
I have a great deal of patience when it comes to other people. I make exceptions for them. I try to understand where they’re coming from. I empathise with them, I can help them rationalise when they feel sad, or hopeless. It’s something I’ve always struggled to do for myself.

As a homework exercise one week, my therapist had me write down what I was thinking when I was feeling bad about something, and then read it back as if it was something that my best friend had written in the form of a diary entry or a letter. Such a simple exercise but it was so effective – when I was reading all this bitterness and self-loathing back, imagining that these were my best friend’s thoughts and opinions, I was horrified. I couldn’t believe that someone would think this way about themselves just because they had eaten a sandwich. My friend is a wonderful person, she’s funny, she’s kind, she’s intelligent – these thoughts were clearly irrational and had nothing to do with the person she was.

I had to accept that that logic must also therefore apply to me – although my belief in that was very tentative at first (and still is, sometimes). The point is that when it’s used in an empowering way rather than to prove your perceived worthlessness, logic is an invaluable tool to have in your armoury.

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