I pulled out my old DBT manual to get some help with this and flicked to the section on "reducing vulnerability to negative emotions". DBT is becoming a lot more widely used in the treatment of eating disorders and I find a lot of it really helpful- what I struggle with is using/practicing the skills when I am in a 'good' frame of mind because I don't see the point- then when a crisis hits, I don't have the skills to fall back on.
Anyway, the section on stabilising emotions is pretty basic stuff in theory:-
- Treat physical illness: take care of your body. See a doctor when necessary. Take prescribed medication
- Balance eating: don't eat too much or too little. Stay away from foods that make you feel overly emotional.
- Avoid mood-altering drugs: Stay off non-prescribed drugs, including alcohol.
- Balance sleep: try to get the amount of sleep that helps you feel good. Keep to a sleep program if you are having trouble sleeping.
- Get exercise: Do some sort of exercise every day- try to build up to 20 minutes of vigorous exercise.
- Build Mastery: Do one thing a day to make yourself feel competent and in control.
On to 'mastery'. NOTHING makes me feel as good as going to bed at night feeling like I have accomplished something during the day. For years that has been very much tied into food/weight/exercise/anorexia, and is probably a huge part of the reason why I have clung to those behaviours. My voluntary job is helping, but that's only a couple of days a week. I struggle to think of things I could possibly be good at or what would be quite as satisfying as losing weight, but I need to keep reminding myself that there is NOTHING to be proud of about destroying my body. I think what's been a painful realisation the last few months is that I don't get satisfaction from that anymore. What has been such a 'purpose' for me for the last 14 years is now just an embarrassment- so I am left with the question of what WILL make me feel like I have accomplished something during the day? What is rewarding/satisfying in a healthy way for me? I think this is something a lot of people with eating disorders probably struggle with in recovery-finding something to replace what their eating disorder gave them. That's different for everyone and it's certainly a whole bunch of things for me, but one of them is definitely the feeling that it's something I am 'good' at. However maladaptive/ineffective a coping skill it WAS, it did originally serve a pupose. Not helping is the fact that I don't have a whole lot else to fall back on except my ability to lose weight. But I don't want to pursue that anymore because 1) it's boring, 2) it's not helping me feel any better anymore and 3) I want more out of life. So yeah...back to original question: how do I find things that make me feel good about myself that aren't about losing weight or exercise?..
I do have some pictures today... I am finding it really helpful to be taking photos- it kind of gives a bit extra motivation to branch out and eat different things. If it stops being helpful, I'll stop taking pictures, but for now...it's all good.
The sun is shining today (YAY!) so I made my usual lunch which I've never posted before because I have it several times a week...
Bed of spinach and alfalfa sprouts topped with a mix of tuna, rice, kidney beans and salsa. Okay, a week late to pass off as a 'Cinco De Mayo' meal, but everything gets to the UK later so it's all good :P
Best snack ever:
Fage with Bare Naked fruit and nut granola. Words can't describe quite how much I LOVE this granola... Thanks again, Sam!
Question: does anyone in real life know about your blog? Both my parents know about it and I know my dad reads occasionally (HI DAD!) but none of the rest of my family do.