View from the “Couch”

shrink_couchSo I’ve been seeing Dr. G (my therapist, for anyone who is new to my blog) since August.

At first it was weekly, and then in October we switched to bi-weekly for insurance reasons.

I didn’t know how long I’d need therapy for when I started; I was nervous and I had no clue if I’d even be receptive to it at all.

But it’s been a gift. It’s been helping me understand my innermost workings — how my anxious brain functions, and why it responds to stimuli like stress or anxiety or fear the way it does.

Though I haven’t stopped all my disordered eating behaviors cold turkey, I’m learning to manage them … to identify them and sometimes use them as a last resort — whereas before therapy, those behaviors were my visceral reactions.

The biggest thing I’d say I’ve come away with is a newfound awareness; of why I think the way I think; why I behave the way I behave.

She’s helped me reframe my disordered eating issues, which has in turn helped me reframe things in my personal and professional life.

Still, I was a bit surprised when, towards the end of our particularly lively session Thursday night, Dr. G. asked the loaded question — “Where would you like to take things next?” Continue reading “View from the “Couch””

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Perception and Reality

lightbulb1I had an epiphany after watching THIN for the second time, this time with my husband.

Needless to say, he was very, very disturbed by the movie. I’ll be honest, part of why I wanted him to see it was to show him, “Yes I am still struggling, but look, I’m not as extreme as these girls.”

But my husband is incredibly bright, and he knows me so well that it’s scary. While he agrees that I’m not as extreme as those girls, he picked up on some of the things the girls did — their behaviors — that mirrored mine.

To name a few … changing clothes 3 million times (guilty since age 7?), staring at myself in the mirror and prodding (totally a weight loss result — the obsession), chewing-and-spitting (my formerly shameful secret; now I just relapse from time to time), picking apart their food (guilty!), obsessing over weight gain, real or imagined (I try not to, but sometimes find myself doing it) ordering specifically (though that’s nothing new really; I’ve been a picky eater for as long as I can recall); ordering “diety.” (I’ve gotten better with this one).

And I wonder if subconsciously, I wanted him to point these things out in the film. Because they’re all things he’s been concerned about for me for years now; things he’s tried to talk me out of and things that, especially in the beginning, I shrugged off (“I’m not obsessing!”.)

All this time, he’s just wanted to make me see I am beautiful as I am, that I don’t need to obsess over my body, that there’s more to life than my outer self. Continue reading “Perception and Reality”

Midnight Munchies

InsomniaMy pledge to only eat when seated hasn’t been working.

I haven’t eaten in my car (save for chewing a piece of sugar-free gum) but every night for the past week (except for one night) I’ve woken and eaten … standing up.

As you know, this has been a problem I’ve been dealing with for over three years now, on and off.

My doctors have no explanation, my therapist doesn’t see it as a problem (and moreover, she wants me to not view it as a problem, either).

But I am sick and tired of not sleeping through the night. Of restless nights and stressed-out mornings because I “didn’t make it through the night.” Continue reading “Midnight Munchies”

Overriding Immediate Gratification

azul_price_tag_dressI’m learning through therapy that I struggle with the notion of “delayed gratification.”

As an anxious person, I like things here and now and done yesterday, not tomorrow.

So naturally, given my anxious hardwiring, it’s not always easy for me to, as Dr. G. says, “override immediate gratification” in favor of delayed gratification.

I can do it for some things that focus on the greater good (journaling diligently, exercising, studying, etc) but not for everything (my less-than-stellar spending habits).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a compulsive person. For me it’s never been about drugs or alcohol or gambling or promiscuity or anything that could do me bodily harm, but I am compulsive in my thoughts. Food and shopping tend to be two ways my compulsion manifests itself. (Talking incessantly (or thinking) is another).

For instance, when I go shopping, I go shopping. (i.e., often a spree — after which, I often feel guilty and march back to said stores, receipts in hand). Continue reading “Overriding Immediate Gratification”

From the Doc’s Couch to Your Laptop

pd_therapy_070709_mnI met with Dr. G. last night and shared with her my concerns about blogging, as well as those of my loved ones who voiced their concern that perhaps ithis outlet was fueling my obsession and hurting me, rather than helping me.

I shared that I got a variety of responses from my readers and loved ones, and how I wanted her opinion as a professional. If, as my therapist, she saw harm in it.

So she asked me if my chewing-and-spitting and midnight incidents had lessened since blogging, as this was the behavior we were initially working to change. (Yes — they still occur but far more infrequently than pre-blogging).

She asked me if I enjoy blogging. (Yes, absolutely).

And she asked me if I would miss it if I didn’t do it. (Yes, I think I would; I love to write). Continue reading “From the Doc’s Couch to Your Laptop”

Immunity?

A recent conversation with a loved one has me pondering if perhaps I’ve become immune to what I’m experiencing … as in, maybe because I’m living it, I don’t see glimpses into just how obsessive I still am? And that perhaps blogging is only adding to my OCD relationship with food and exercise?

Some days I think this is truly helping me. I can sift through my thoughts and share my opinions here; it’s a “safe place” because I write and you read and then we create a dialogue.

But then someone says something that makes me second guess myself. Like a friend, or a loved one — voicing concern that maybe blogging is just another mechanism for my obsessivness: instead of talking about food and exercise … I’m writing about it.

In detail.

And so I’m beginning to wonder … is there really any difference? Is this just another manifestation of my OCD? Continue reading “Immunity?”

Separating Rational & Irrational Thoughts

3975200_b34337dacbI had therapy last night and, as always, it was a great session with Dr. G.

Now I’m going every other week, and we’re building off each past experience every time we meet. I’m much more comfortable, and it’s awesome how she really “gets” me…and helps me “get” me, too.

Captain Obvious would say, “OK, but she is trained to do this, Melissa.” This much is true.

Still, I marvel at the thought of someone who can really help me see me for me, and accept me as I am, helping me to sort through my thoughts — even if they’re not about anxiety or eating issues — teaching me techniques I can use for the rest of my life.

One of the biggest things therapy has helped me do is separate rational and irrational thoughts. This requires thinking before speaking, something I’m not accustomed to doing.

That said, I’ve really been trying to think more before speaking … to make sure that my spoken (or written) thoughts are rational ones, to make sure I’m not putting demands on myself that are too high or unnatural.

This also means gauging my audience and thinking about them before speaking: be it at work, at a social function, amongst friends, or even here on my blog ….

Which, in a rather long-winded manner, brings me to today’s post about how I’ve been feeling about my body lately, an internal battle of sorts: accepting myself as I am, or struggling to re-lose these last 10 or so again. Continue reading “Separating Rational & Irrational Thoughts”