Thursday, 16 April 2009

What Do I Do With All This Space?..

...I'm talking head space here.

If my therapist is right (and she has yet to be wrong- this woman is amazing) then the preoccupation with food is partially to block out depression/anxiety. It is, no doubt, partly related to weight/behaviours (anyone read the Minnesota Study?) , but I think she is right with her idea as to why it's gotten so much worse lately.

I've noticed since the day when I decided I don't need to be so black/white in my thinking about my meal plan, my anxiety has lessened and I am spending far less time thinking about food. Instead, my thoughts have drifted back into a hole of despair and negativity. I honestly don't know what else TO think about.

I have been trying to distract myself with reading (yay chic lit!), music, making collages, but it all feels kind of...meaningless. I am very aware of the fact that I am doing these things, not necessarily because I ENJOY them, but because I know I need to drag my thoughts away from where they will wander if I don't make a conscious effort to direct them somewhere.

I don't want to spend my life feeling like I am just going through motions to kill time so I don't go insane. I've written before about how I do things 100%- whether it's my eating disorder or work, it's very much full-on 'don't-think-don't-feel' mode.

Maybe this is normal? I have no idea. I don't KNOW what people think about on a day-to-day basis. I have ideas about how they fill their time, but just little things...waiting for the bus, standing in line in a store. What are they thinking about? I'm not asking because I'm nosy- I just can't seem to even contemplate the idea that there ARE things worth thinking about other than food/weight.

I take away the eating disorder thoughts, the depression thoughts...then what? My mind goes completely blank...


Lexi said...

I often wonder about this too - what do people without eating disorders think about? Especially after a tough meal. They're probably thinking - man that was good. I often wish that I could think that way all the time. We'll get there. There will be a point in time when we'll be able to take the focus off of food and think about things that really, really matter (what we're doing, where we're going, yada yada) Not that our thoughts are un-important now... but I'm just saying there will be a time when food and weight isn't the first thing on our minds. We must keep fighting!
Love always,

Sheena said...

This is a good question, as I too have a preoccupation with food and often get anxiety over it and obsessive. But I think of my family, or of plans. Yesterday I thought about kickboxing and whether I would like it. This morning I thought about my weekend with my mom and what we would do, I thought about the University of Texas walkout in opposition to concealed weapons on campus, I thought about whether this deutschebag i talk to at work hung up on me on purpose or accident. I think about teh book I am reading and how to finish it before my book club meeting next week.

I think part of your problem is you are sort of isolate -- you don't get out for work or volunteer efforts and you don't socialize much. So then what is the most important decisions of the day? FOOD.

I would say to continue to distract yourself. If you can go 10 minutes without thinking of Food or Weight, then that is a plus. And eventually it won't seem like a distraction but you will look forward to reading your book for the sake of reading.

Take Care sweetie.

Syd said...

I think about my work, my meetings, a good share, working with sponsees, going to listen to some blues, my boat....a whole lot of stuff. I used to just think about the alcoholic and obsess over her. I'm glad that I don't do that much anymore.

ElleMigliore said...

I agree with what she said and I found that when I was in my most depressed and anxious states is when my obsession and thoughts with food were at their worst! I literally thought about it constantly, including sleep/dreams/the whole enchilada!

I'm glad that you've been able to distract yourself a little bit with reading! I hope that helps! It's so good to hear that your anxiety revolving around meal plans has lessened as well!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder about this too. I virtually live for the moments when I'm actually so caught up in whatever I'm doing that I'm not thinking about food. It's rare, but it does happen!
It must feel forced and pointless, trying to distract yourself at the moment, but maybe this is one of those 'fake it till you make it' things - the more practise you get at doing things not related to food, the more you might find yourself enjoying them, or maybe thinking of other things that you would enjoy more. That's what I'm hoping - I'm just going to try a lot of things and see which of them stick!
I don't think your life at the moment is representative of how your whole life has to go - people go through periods, years sometimes, of feeling like everything is pointless...but then, people recover from all sorts of depths and find meaning in their lives again. Just because you draw a blank at the momnent doesn't mean that you always will.

kali said...

you wrote a blog a few days ago about who ellie is and what ellie likes to do and i think what katie suggested in terms of the fake it til you make it thing is an idea. can you work out a schedule or plan for yourself whereby you do some of those things? maybe one a day?
i remember your t-shirts and slogans and hell id buy em if you make em babe!
one thing i found that helps is to say shut up everytime you realise you are thinking about food. (you look like a twat a first saying it every 30 secs!) but it works in that its then not in your head somehow. sounds bizarre i know!

also i aimed to do one thing each day that I and not ed me enjoyed doing. at first it was just a bit of reading, then a bit more, then id gradually add in more. its kinda retraining your brain in mnay respects!!!

Stef said...

I wonder this all the time... I honestly don't know what I'd think about if I didn't have ED thoughts cramping up my head all the time. Their presence is comforting, but only because it doesn't allow for real processing of more painful REAL thoughts. THe very first individual therapy sesh I had, my T asked me what a day in my life would be like if I didn't have an ED. I thought this was a reallllly interesting exercise, because I was at a total loss for words (that doesn't happen often, can you tell? lol) I know we can't really imagine what will go through our heads once we're recovered, so until then we just have to fake it by distracting ourself with little activities like the ones you mentioned until it becomes more natural and we do let ourselves find things we really enjoy! And yes, the good ol' Minnesota Study! Lots of good things to think about in this post..I hope you can feel at peace with the fact that SOMEDAY you will be able to think about things without blocking them out!