When I was thick in my Anorexia aka my Control, THIS DRESS acted as a scale.
It represented whether or not ‘things’ were still running smoothly. If it swam on me - I was in the clear. If it provided the slightest tightness, I’d rip it off + plunge even harder into restricting my intake of food.
Gaining weight represented the fear of The Unknown. If I let my ONE controllable variable get out of hand it meant the rest of my life must be on the same trajectory. One affected + toppled over the ‘other’. The ‘other’ I knew I couldn’t control which is why I was so loyal to my controllable variable. I focused on what I could in order to avoid the Discomfort. Make sense?
The thing about Control is that it’s really deceiving. At first it seems to work. See? Nothing is falling apart as long as I keep focused on my one controllable variable. But with time it ALWAYS catches up. In my story, the destruction was not only happening on the outside, it was happening on the inside. The outside was more or less sustainable outside of the few comments of “eat a hamburger” that I could easily ignore. The inside however, due to my forced starvation, caused my body, brain, heart + major organs to eat away at themselves because there was no energy (or nutrition) to feed off of.
That is the gradual demise of the delusion that is BEING IN CONTROL OF THE UNKNOWN. You may think you’re alive, but it is slowly killing you from the inside (in your case it might be stress, alcohol, drugs, self-destructive behaviors, disconnection from emotional core, repressed memories + trauma, pain manifestation in body, etc). Your feeling of ‘safety’ (aka, control of the unknown) is actually masked in paralyzing fear + a total avoidance of its’ Discomfort.
So what do we do? Well, I believe that within all things, especially rock-bottom things, there is an opportunity for growth. The worst thing someone can do is pile up all the wrongs into one + try to fix it. Disordered behavior + patterns are not fixed or re-wired overnight. Neuroplasticity - the ability to create new neural pathways in our brain - takes time. It takes patience. It takes dedication. It takes WORK. Life-long work. It’s a daily, difficult practice to STAY WITHIN THE DISCOMFORT as soon as it arises, no matter how big the fear of the unknown. Allow me to give you an example.
My Recovery is a never-ending opportunity to do just that: stay within the discomfort.
In a fucked up, twisted way, each time I sit down to eat something I am presented with an opportunity to STAY WITHIN THE DISCOMFORT. I know my old options: eat + then restrict, or, to RUN (avoid).
Neither, I can do any longer (for physiological reasons). However, the more difficult task to move through is the psychological + emotional reasons. Why do I feel like I need to manipulate this experience of eating? Am I feeling discomfort from the food, or is something else bothering me? What’s being triggered? Where am I feeling it? How is it manifesting? What are my facts? Do they align with how I’m feeling in this moment? etc. etc.
This is called Awareness. Through this awareness we are able to create a pause + a connection to self + consciousness. When we do this we are actively STAYING WITHIN THE DISCOMFORT. We are calling it out. SPEAKING IT which is what happens in my Workshops. You can also do this on your own.
In time with repetition - through various tools I can talk about in another post - the length of the discomfort shortens. Suddenly, eating a meal isn’t as big of an issue as it used to be. It just is. Our brains readjust + we are in the process of re-wiring aka moving THROUGH to the other side. You can apply this TO ANY FEAR that comes up for you.