So I had my psychologist appointment today. Very insightful.
It was mainly just me telling her things, and then she would pick up on things I said, add something, ask me how I felt it related, and then point something out to me. It was so good. She made me realise I few things I hadn't realised before.
One of my main issues is self criticism. I mean, I knew I was critical of myself, but I think maybe I am to a higher degree than what I thought. And because I am so critical of myself, I use food to punish myself for not being good enough.
I also seem to project those feelings onto others. Which means that I think just because I constantly judge and criticise the way I look, others will, too. And that's so true. Sometimes before teaching a class I have a minor freak out about whether they will all think I've gotten fat... And it can take me 30 minutes to find something to wear. For exercise for god's sake!! I think that because I think I'm fat, everyone else will think the same. I am convinced that other people will go looking for all the little imperfections they can find in my appearance, and that they will pick up on them and judge me for them. This is almost making me cry. It's so true.
And it's not just for exercise, but also other things involving my appearance. Like I hate, hate going to the hairdressers, I hate getting facials or my makeup done, and I shy away from getting a manicure, pedicure or massage, because I can't stand the thought of someone else doing stuff like that to my body. Because all the time while they are doing it, all I can think is Oh god, what are they thinking about me? I bet they think I look fat/ugly/gross. And I didn't realise at all that this was the case. But the psychologist asked me how I treated myself aside from food or exercise, and I said I hated all those things I just mentioned before, and she asked why, and I said I didn't know, and then she pointed this out, and I suddenly realised she was right.
How crazy. I think I have a huge, huge fear of being criticised or judged. What I pointed out was that my conscious mind knows that noone else will judge me to the degree that I do. But still my subconscience hasn't caught up. That means technically I never feel good enough, always feel like a bit of a failure. Zoey (I'm sick of calling her 'the psychologist') suggested that I constantly tell myself that others won't judge to the degree I think. As she said, different people have different persepectives, so just because I think a certain way, doesn't mean others will. And she is right. So the next time I feel overwhelmed and scared of being criticised, I will tell myself that it is all in my head. That it's me, that I am the only one creating the criticism and judgement.
She also said to maybe slowly become accepting of things like facials and other treatments, to practice letting go a bit. I like that idea.
I really need a massage, so I think that's where I will start, maybe on the weekend.
It's also about finding something to treat myself with that is not food. Because I do use food as a treat. Sometimes I even use food as a treat for having resisted food! So silly. So criticism and the pressure and fear it creates is definitely a big issue for me... I knew that all along, but it feels much clearer now and I can see how it all ties in.
Another obvious issue is control and the lack thereof... I mean, control is what it's all about, right? I'm trying to control, trying to control everything. But when I fail, I punish myself with food once again. And food is the only thing I feel I cannot control. Because I have conditioned myself to feel that way.
It's always been about control, ever since I had anorexia. But the constant weight gain since recovering from that is reenforcing that extreme feeling of not having control. And so often when I decide to not eat a certain food, not eat at a certain time, eat this or that or not buy this or that, my fear of lacking control kicks in, and leads me to actually lack control. I don't know, it's so twisted.
And then there's the binging in response to feelings. A bit thing Zoey pointed out was to just accept feelings rather than trying to drown them with food. Loneliness and boredom are my big ones, but they are ok to feel sometimes. The next time I feel lonely, I will just go alright, I'm feeling bad. That's ok. How can I work with that? How can I maybe make myself feel better, instead of using food to make myself feel worse? (which brings us back to finding other ways of being kind to myself).
While I feel so much better about being aware of all these things, the first reaction I had was "but how am I not going to forget all this?" You know, it's great to say the next time I want to binge out of loneliness, I will sit down and evaluate my feelings instead, but in the actual moment of the binge it might all be forgotten. The key is to not aim so high. Zoey gave me a great analogy, about running a marathon, but I am going to change it into becoming an instructor (because it applies more):
You can't go from doing your module training to having your first class by yourself in one day. Although in the mdoule training you have learned a lot, it doesn't mean you will know how to apply all this new knowledge at once. So you practice. You practice, and you teach with someone else. And there will be bad days, and there will be good daysm where everything goes to plan, until you are ready to go on your won. But even then, some classes will be great, and others not so much, but that's life.
That basically means that I can't expect to reverse all my bingeing behaviours at once, and that I will need to prepare for a few setbacks. I need to remember that, but it does make a lot of sense.
There is more stuff I could talk about in more detail, but I think for one post, this is more than enough. Thanks for taking the time to read, and let's see how I go with it all.