After spending a weekend deep in self-contemplation, I have quite a few thoughts to share.
I don't really know where to begin exactly... so, this post may jump around a bit. For that, I apologize. This post may also be extensively lengthy. For that, I do not apologize! :) I think it has a lot of good bits, and I have divided my thoughts into two sections: 'Opting Out' and 'Giving Myself a Break'.
After the Saturday Gym Fiasco, J and I spent a great amount of time discussing what happened. Sometimes when I start discussing my ED and my ED thoughts with someone that I really trust, I get verbal diarrhea. Sometimes I even impress myself with my insight into myself and my own thoughts. (Imagine that! I actually know what's going on within myself? Get out!)
You know the cliche about being able to fix yourself better than anybody can? Well, from time to time, I really think that it's true.
Well, in order to fully describe all the ideas that I came up with I have to tell you what we did on Saturday after The Gym Fiasco. We came home, I cried and cried and cried and had word vomit and cried some more. Then I fell asleep on the couch for two whole hours.
I woke up, and it was 6 pm. J was being his usual cheery self (God, I LOVE this man!), even though I had once again taken out all my crazy on him. We decided to go on a walk to make me feel better. We talked as we walked for over an hour. And he was right, it did make me feel better.
When we got home we decided to go get Thai food because it sounded good, and we were still trying to get me to feel better.
But, before we left the house I caught the beginning of this local TV special about youth and the pressures of today. The show was obviously meant for parents of teens, but I thought it sounded very interesting, so I decided to DVR it.
We went out to dinner-in sweats; because my self-image was down the drain, and I didn't want to even try to put on a pair of jeans (it could lead to copious amounts of tugging at myself and at my skin and a lot of 'these fit just fine before today! I am DISGUSTING!').
So, we're out at dinner, in sweats, and we had delicious Thai food. J really wanted to go see a scary movie, and I of course, didn't. There are many reasons why I can't watch horror movies; the number one reason being that I'm a huge wuss, with a wild imagination. But just because I can't/won't see scary movies doesn't mean that J shouldn't be able to (I mean, it was Halloween weekend!). So I told him to drop me off at home, and he could go. (Later he would come home full of equal amounts of enjoyment and pure terror, holding a cherry smoothie from Steak & Shake, because he needed something to 'calm him down'-- Haha!)
Once J dropped me off, I turned on the DVR and pressed play on the program I had recorded.
The show was about all of the pressures that are facing the youth of today. It talked a lot about social networking sites, and how the way that we are instantly connected to people via on-line life (versus real life), is something completely different than what our parents had to deal with.
There are so many new and different social pressures, online and in real life, and this has led to a monumental rise in depression and anxiety. The internet, and especially social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, are great places to connect with people, but they are also breeding grounds for comparison and competition. And constant comparison can lead to a persistent feeling of not being as accomplished, good, cool, or 'as together' as others.
The TV program talked about how social networking sites allow people to post the" best" of themselves. On the internet anybody can "look" popular, well-liked, rich, and famous. These sites give anybody the ability to post pictures, status messages, and comments that can reflect an image of themselves that may or may not be true in real life.
These points are all very valid points and made for a tremendously eye-opening segment. However, where the program failed was in presenting some 'coping' suggestions.
Have you ever watched or read something, and thought "Holy crap! They're talking about me!I know exactly what that feels like." ? Have you ever felt like you have thought the same thoughts, but you'd never been able to verbalize them?
Well, that's how I felt while viewing this show. Let me explain.
I have always had somewhat obsessive tendencies, and I have a moderately addictive personality. Add my eating disorder on top these wonderfully kooky traits, and it's a big fat mess.
I am constantly comparing myself to people, whether I want to or not.
"She's in medical school, and I just went to grad school. Am I a loser?"
"She got a 4.0 and I got a 3.5. Wtf is wrong with me? Why can't I pull a 4.0? I know she's not that much smarter than me."
"She look like she's lost weight. Why haven't I lost weight? MOTHER FUCKER. I THINK SHE'S SKINNER THAN ME NOW. This can't be happening. I NEED to be skinnier than her. I can't lose this battle. I can't stand that she's skinnier than me. Omg I'm becoming a fat ass. I'm not as good. If I'm not thin, I'm not good enough. Bla blabla blabla"
The last point is a thought I battle every.single.day. And the subject of my emotional crucifixion doesn't even have to be anyone I know. It can be a random person at a coffee shop.
I constantly compare myself, my weight, my everything to people; and though these thoughts can pop up at any time,social networking sites only aid in my torment. I try, I really do, to not compare myself to others (especially when it comes to body issues), but I always end up with terrible thoughts running through my head telling me that I'm just not good enough until I have ThePERFECTBODY.
Ugh. It's exhausting. As if having a body that is as firm as Barbie's plastic parts will somehow make me happy. It won't. I know it won't because even when I was at my lowest weight there were things I didn't like about my body. Even at my lowest weight I wasn't happy.
Nothing is ever good enough for ED.
So, what am I trying to say with all of this rambling?
I'm taking a hiatus from Facebook because I think it's exasperating my ED thoughts. I came to a realization that I'm sick of looking at other people's lives and of knowing what's going to with their day-to-day activities. I'm tired of getting updates that almost instantly make me compare my life/body/etc to them. I really could care less if they are going shopping with their "BESTEST friend in the whole wide world" and they are 'SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!'. I don't want to know if you lost five pounds, or if you're hitting the gym up yet again. Although I am guilty of posting statuses about the gym, apparently I can't handle it when I know that other people are at the gym and I'm not.... "I'm LOSING!".
Clearly, Facebook gives me anxiety.
I'm simply opting out of getting unnecessary updates on people that I don't really care (in the nicest way possible) about. I can keep up with the ones that I care about in other ways. I'm sure I'll get on and check things every once in a while, but I won't go on it out of boredom. I have other things I can do.
I believe that opting out of my need to compare myself/life to the lives of other people online will lessen my anxiety. It will take away a towering form of self-punishment.
Giving Myself a Break:
In addition to Opting Out, I've decided to give myself a break. I've decided to stop berating myself. I've decided to stop yelling at my body. I've decided to love myself.
I know that all of these should be a given, but for me they're not. I need to be OK with having days that I don't feel like I look thin. I need to be OK with the fact that I have curves. I need to look at myself and be happy with what I see- because in all reality, there is nothing wrong with me. I need to stop equating the way I look to my value as a person.
I'm also going to try to go back to intuitive eating, and I'm going to work hard at learning to not spend so much time and energy thinking about and planning my food intake. It's seriously exhausting, and it's detrimental to my health and mental well-being.
I went to the library today and checked out two books on ED recovery. Maybe those will help. Maybe not. I know that I have the formula for how to overcome this disorder within myself. I just need to keep trying.