An ‘aha’ Moment.

Summer is upon us. Can I get an amen?!

I am officially done with my second to last semester of my undergrad studies and let me tell you, I am SO happy this semester is over. Not necessarily because classes this semester were insanely difficult or caused me to be stressed out of my mind, in fact, for taking five classes it wasn’t quite as grueling as you would think.

There was really only one class that kicked my butt, literally and figuratively. I’m still baffled at how I ended the year with a better grade in my Statistical Psych class then I did in my Geography lab class but hey, for someone who has struggled with all things mathematical in my life until my College days, it’s an achievement to celebrate (which I haven’t yet so I should get on that).

The main reason why I am glad this semester is over, however, is because the past half of this year has just been hard. I’ve talked about it in the last few posts but if I could sum it up in one sentence it would be this: Sometimes in life you are on a hill, somewhere on top of the world where things are going great, just dandy, and then some seasons you are in a valley where it’s dark and unpleasant and downright uncomfortable, and that’s been this year.

Although that is probably a prime example of a run-on sentence, (oh well, school is out), it pretty much sums up life. Right now I am in a valley. And as much as I dislike it almost all the time, I am trying to remind myself that it’s okay not to be okay.

But it’s not so much my outside circumstances, although of course, those play a role. Welcome to this thing we all life, am I right? But it mainly has to do with my internal circumstances. Psychologically, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Coming out of a relapse isn’t an easy thing to do. Recovery is not an easy task. Sure, there are days when choosing recovery is like hitting the ‘That Was Easy’ button, however, most days it’s a choice that I make multiple times a day.

The past couple of nights I have been reading a book called, “Why She Feels Fat”. Written by two doctors who specialize in the eating disorder treatment field, they discuss the reasons behind why a person with an eating disorder has, well, an eating disorder. It’s written for those who are related or in a relationship with someone who has an eating disorder, but I have found that not only does it provide substantial information for whoever is reading it in order to help their loved one, it can also be insightful to read for the person who is experiencing the eating disorder.

The book goes into great detail about understanding the mentality and thought process behind an eating disorder. I find myself mumbling phrases like “amen”, or “wow so true” probably about every other sentence or so.

So far, being about halfway through the book, one topic discussed that has really stood out to me is the what the authors of the book say about the words, “I feel fat”. The author reiterates multiples times about how there is a much deeper meaning behind those words. They are emotional and when it all comes down to it fat is not a feeling.

“Fat is not a feeling. Rather it is code for a host of feelings that are unacceptable to uncomfortable for your loved one to experience or express”.-Why She Feels Fat

This made me think. Obviously, I know that fat is not a feeling. I logically know that when I have thoughts tied to my eating disorder such as, “I feel fat”, there is a larger issue behind the surface of that thought. But when the eating disorder thoughts are present, it makes it difficult to peel back all of the layers. No, fat isn’t a feeling but it’s a pretty legitimate and scary experience to think and to feel in terms of anxiety.

But I think that what has stuck with me most since beginning to read the book is how unaware I am of what I am really feeling when I have eating disorder thoughts or bad body image days. I think in recovery we try so hard to make those thoughts go away because let’s be real, they suck. But I think a lot of times I get so worked up in the thoughts that I don’t take a look at what my emotions are telling me. Why am I having those thoughts? What am I feeling? What is the underlying belief that is so strong that my eating disorder feels the need to save the day with thoughts that I don’t want or need?

I don’t know, I guess that I have a lot think about. It’s funny how a single, different point of view can make a whole few years worth of therapy, self-care, and recovery just click.

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