Dysfunctional Thoughts

It’s been a little while since I posted, so apologise for leaving you hanging. It’s been a week of trying to figure myself out and try to accept the magnitude of the problems and recovery process. It’s only over the past week or so it’s really struck me, just how dysfunctional my way of thinking really is.

On Monday during therapy we didn’t focus so much on eating, increasing intake and preventing restriction or binge/purges but more on my emotional state, which, is apparently, fuelling my eating disorder and holding me back from ‘getting better’. I’m still expecting to just shake it off. Wake up one morning and decide that today I’m going to be better. Today I’m not going to restrict, I’m going to stick to my meal plans and I’m not going to binge/purge. Do you know how many times I’ve actually achieved that? A big fat 0. Do you know why? Because it’s so ridiculously unrealistic. But why can’t I stop telling myself these things and believing it? Because I still don’t believe there’s an actual illness or problem. I mean I know there is but do I accept that internally? Hell no. That would be almost like admitting defeat. Mental illness has got the better of me. We all know that. It’s plain as day but I still think or want it to be something I can control. The fact that I can’t and I have to trust the process, so to speak, and learn how to recover is scary. The whole point in the eating disorders is being in control but in actual fact it’s the most epic loss of control I have ever experienced. The illusion of ‘being in control’ comes with the restriction and purging but in reality, it’s not an option but more something I have to or need to do as the guilt or depression or anxiety has got the better of me. It’s not something I can just switch off as and when I fancy. If could, i would! This realisation has taken away any little shred of logic behind the ED that remained.

I was reading an article on binge eating and bulimia earlier today, which really got me thinking. More than I already do, if that’s even possible. While I’m not actually diagnosed as Bulimic – I have the diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa Binge Purge subtype. There’s an awful lot of significant overlap between the 2. The article identified certain thought processes that are hugely damaging in maintaining binge/purge behaviours and after telling myself “I’m fine”, I managed to relate my daily thoughts to every single one. But still I keep telling myself, I can fix that, no problem. Reality being that these ways of thinking are so deeply embedded in me, that ‘fixing’ them is not going to come easy or overnight. Knowing what the problem is but not having the solution or the tools in my tool box to fix it there and then is something I find so frustrating. I’m not the most patient of people if you hadn’t already figured!!

The self sabotaging, ways of thinking that drive BP behaviours, the article mentioned are:

  • Black and white thinking. All or nothing. Anything less than perfection is not good enough.
  • Emotional Reasoning. I feel… = I am…
  • Rigid set of rules. I must be/do/not… Anything other than, is a failure.
  • Catastrophising. The worst case scenario is obviously going to be the most likely.
  • Labeling. I am my mistakes and slip ups.

All of which I can identify in myself, some more than others but all present throughout daily life. We’ve touched on a couple during therapy and identified Catastrophising and Black and White thinking as my 2 main culprits and my most common, most debilitating thought traits. Which is a starting point I guess. I’m starting to become more conscious that I’m thinking things in these ways. Be it at the time or in hindsight it’s a step forward, I guess. Actually changing the way I think may take blood, sweat and tears but I’ll try almost anything now. To say I am fed up of being stuck in the vicious emotional/ED cycle would be the understatement of the decade!


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