Thursday, August 10, 2006


Yesterday was T-day. Talk day. Therapy day. Not that other one, thanksgiving where you, well I, get to see relatives and enjoy them along with great food. To sum the session up: I have never used so many tissues during a session.

L was great, as expected. She validated that, yes I do have an eating disorder, or more specifically perhaps a thought disorder. Confirmed that it was both bigger and smaller than I thought it was. I’m sorry, did I ask for a zen koan? I’m pretty sure not. Joking aside I know what she means. It confirmed that I really need to figure out how to get a refill for my happy pills, as that creates a better baseline for me to deal with things.

I really do see this and some other issues as overlapping circles – eating disorder, perfectionism, depression. They each have some things that are specific to them, but they really cannot be totally separated out from each other.

The prescription she gave consists almost entirely of learning self-compassion. I asked for a lesson plan but was told there is none. How unfair is that? I mean, seriously, how do I start. Sure on some plane I know what needs to be done. I know to start small. But what does small look like, and can I do it without judging myself for forgetting or going slowly (perfectionism anyone?). We talked about what being mentally healthier would look like and of course she said it could very possibly include not being any smaller than I am now. You just know don’t you what I thought, right? So why would I bother getting “healthier” if I don’t get to be the size I think I ought to be? Which I might add I have adjusted tremendously from the goal weight I use to have. I have long since given up ever being 100lb, 110lb. It took awhile but I have, I hope, completely given up 120. Which given that I can’t get back to where I was two years, which was 120 plus a very healthy toddler or two worth of weight, this is very wise and bordering on sanctimonious (second definition of course) of me, I think. I’m sure you agree.

So I have begun to think about the small steps I can take, and I’m afraid y’all will have to suffer through me thinking these things out and hearing me rant about how it doesn’t work and it’s going all too slowly. The most obvious and hardest is to interrupt the disordered thinking. To shut it down before it finishes when possible. To make a soothing counterpoint statement when I cannot stop the thought. To find nice things to say about my body, hm, once a week? Is that small enough, too small, not big enough?

Do I make posters of affirmations to hang about the house? I actually have down that before, many, many moons ago after leaving M when I really needed to counteract some of her abusive impact on my self-esteem. But I was living alone then. Can I really do that, in front of someone. Not that TGF isn’t totally supportive, she is, I’m sure she would be fine with it.

This brings up my striking inability to really be emotionally vulnerable or open. I can do it here and there but not enough to allow Jennie to call me “best friend”. It’s not the term that matters; it’s the closeness that is implied. She brought this up with me tonight as well. I hate this. She brought up the other week where I was really pissed at her and didn’t as she put it, call her on being a jerk. It was painful to hear that it blocked her feeling closer to me. It’s just so damn hard to be that open with people. I suppose that if I can really do this work around my eating disorder, maybe this will change too. Perhaps there is a connection – nah. Yeah, I know of course there is a connection. Excess weight, obsessive thinking and keeping people at bay. Yeah, no linkage, none at all. Sigh. This is going to be a lot of work.

Tell me again why I started down this road?


heather said...

congratulations on the work you've done already! seriously. it sounds like you have been slowly working on yourself even pre-therapy. fighting 'disordered thinking' (i like that term) is no small feat. i often find it useful, after i have had a self-defeating thought, to tell myself: hey - you know that's not true, now just move on.

and then i try to do something *different*. like if i was just working at my desk, i'll get up and walk around the building, or go talk to someone, to help shake the Thoughts off.

i'm glad you have jennie, too, best friend or whatever you want to call her. ;-)

Dharma said...

Heather, thanks for the comment. Yes I have been doing a lot of work before even writing the post. I am SO glad I have Jennie in my life, no matter the label we use.

Jennie said...

Why did you do this? Because it hurt too much not to. And at this point, as I've discovered in my own self journey, that barn door's open. No choice but to move forward, painful as it is.

I love the idea of posters around the house. Tell TGF not to look at them for the first 2 weeks. She's pretty obedient when you need her to. :p

Dharma said...

Jennie, truly it was rhetorical question. The barn door has been open a very long time in this case. I just had refused to call in the horse whisper for additional help. I think I can do it all by myself (relating back to our convo last night). Stubborn, I know, but there it is.

Yeah, TGF can be very obedient, especially if I bribe her with, er, things.

Andrea said...

hrm, i hear you on the being open with people thing. i've gotten this before, that i don't share enough of myself and i always think, waaaa? you ask, i tell, i'm not hiding anything. sure, i may hold back some snarky comments but people still get this impression of me that i'm surprised about.

sometimes, for me, if something pisses me off, i wait a long time to see if it *really* pisses me off enough to say something. not liking confrontation, i rarely voice my annoyance, but liz will and i think people feel more of a "connection" with her sometimes that makes me wonder what i'm doing "wrong". *shrug*

good luck, keep writing this stuff out even if you feel uncomfortable doing so. you've got our support and it makes me think about my own stuff too, not that you're remotely responsible for making me improve me, but you know what i mean. =D

Jennie said...

Hey, sometimes a rhetorical question can be answered. :D

And I would never call you stubborn! to your face...

OK, yes I would! But also beautiful.

Gandksmom said...

Therapy is one of the hardest things that I have ever done. And the most painful. I think it's why I have resisted going back and doing the work that I need to do, desperately. I commend you! I really, really do. You are a strong, strong woman.

Andrea said...

Kudos to you, Dharma. Seriously, this is tough stuff to tackle. And I say that thinking that I'm probably going to need to start tackling some decades-old issues myself, soon. I am not looking forward to it.