I’ve been seeing Dr. A quite regularly now, about once a week pretty much. I assume that once I start to put the tools she is equipping me with to practical use in my every day life, and my ED thoughts lessen, I will be able to see her less frequently.
My most recent session with her dealt with how I tend to handle anxiety with respect to food – Do I restrict my food intake when I am anxious? DO I eat more? Do I purge? I had to think and I realised that when I become anxious about social situations where food is at the centre, that is, meetings over a meal, I try to compensate for possible ‘future’ calories at dinner, for example, by restricting more in my earlier meals.
Just last Saturday, Flo and I had lunch together and were to have dinner out with a bunch of his friends. I decided to go ‘carb-less’ by forgoing the noodles in my Yong Tau Foo because I worried that dinner would be a huge feast. Flo asked me why I didn’t ask for noodles, and I said “Because we have dinner tonight“. His reply was “So? So do I.”
It hit me then that a normal person wouldn’t think that far ahead where meals are concerned, especially when it’s not like we were going for a buffet. A normal person would have lunch, and then have dinner with friends, and maybe even munch on something in between if they felt peckish. Not plan and assume.
Also, whenever I struggle with ED thoughts, I usually try to keep myself busy. In other words, I choose to avoid those thoughts. On days where I am less occupied with work, those are the days I struggle most to get through. Dr. A highlighted to me that as good a tactic as avoidance might seem, it is like an avalanche waiting to happen.
By closing the door on ED thoughts, I will essentially be allowing it to grow and grow until one day, the door’s going to burst open and those thoughts will end up being a lot more difficult to deal with. Instead, she said to try and acknowledge those thoughts without allowing them to appear so fearsome.
Dr. A described a few ways that might be useful although part way through, I figured out my own way to deal with ED.
Dr. A mentioned that it might be useful to type out the ED thoughts, then play around with the font and colours and make it looks more like words than anything remotely real. Other ways might be imagining the thoughts floating away on a cloud or captured within a bubble that pops and makes everything disappear.
I’m not sure that works quite so well for me. My ED manifests itself as thoughts mainly but the thoughts tend to be demanding, almost child-like and bratty. I guess to me, during our session, I felt that it was probably best to be able to take on the role as a responsible adult and treat ED like the child it is. I realised as well that whenever I allowed ED to ‘win’, it made me act just like a spoilt kid – “No, I don’t want any more food because I’m full. I am! I really am!! I had this and this and this already. I’ll eat more later if I feel like it.” (Pout)
But later never comes.
So really, it’s up to me to tell the ED “Look, you may think you’ve had enough but you haven’t. So sit down and finish this portion of food in order to get well! No arguments!”
I don’t know how well this ‘tool’ in dealing with ED will work. I imagine it will still be exceedingly trying as with any real-life brat. And it will also mean that I have to take control of every situation that ED tries to challenge me in, while being consistent in what I need to do in handling it.
I find it a struggle to even begin this ‘disciplining’ of ED but I know that part of seeing Dr. A is using these strategies in order to fight. I cannot keep seeing her, and building up this incredible array of tools to cope with life and the ED, only to keep them stashed away for a rainy day. It will be a waste of her time, and my time, and money.
It’s time to take control of my life and make for it what I want it to be. The dictator that is ED can no longer reign over me. And as powerless as I may feel, I know that I have the God, Flo, Mum and Dad, on my side, and this army will not lose!