3 WAYS TO GAIN PERSPECTIVE WHEN FACING EATING DISORDER THOUGHTS
I like to brag about my friends sometimes.
I mean, if you know someone who is talented or gifted in a particular area, it just makes sense to share that with the world, right?
So... my friend Phil is kind of a big deal... And he would hate that I'm writing this about him, but tough Phil, tough.
He's a multitalented guy, but the particular area I want to focus on is his men's style Instagram work. He has been featured on GQ and Buzzfeed (among other places) and is known for his creative photos on instagram (yes, you should follow him @thepacman82 on Instagram)
Phil graciously allowed me to use the photos below to talk about PERSPECTIVE.
I believe the style of photography utilized in these images is called "forced perspective."
Most of his work is not in this area, but these pictures are.
Essentially what we see can change depending on our viewpoint... where we are standing... and where other things are located.
Intersting to think how this could relate to recovery from an eating disorder.
As human beings, if we can recognize that we have a particular viewpoint at a specific time... and that our perspective can change as time moves onward.
So, if you are feeling sad, anxious, stressed, or scared in a particular moment,
this may very well pass.
And if you are having a particularly difficult day with the eating disorder
changes are your feelings and the situation will change soon.
3 Ways To Gain Perspective When Facing Eating Disorder Thoughts
1) REMIND YOURSELF THAT THESE THOUGHTS ARE TEMPORARY
When you are able to step back and recognize that your thoughts and feelings are temporary and not going to be as intense as they are right now forever, then suddenly they lose some of their power.
Consider thinking about it this way... have you ever had strong eating disorder thoughts/ urges before and not given into them? If so, did the urge stay strong for hours, days, weeks? I'm guessing not. I'm guessing you found another way to cope and the thoughts and fears decreased.
Why? Because our emotions are temporary and, with time, these eating disorder fears diminish. Which brings us to the second tip.
2) ACCEPT THE THOUGHTS AND FEARS AS THEY ARE
What? Accept them? Seriously...?
Yes, can you accept that you are having these thoughts and fears and that it is... ok?
It is ok.
You don't have to beat them up, run away from them, or push them aside. They can simply be there. Sitting there in your mind. Trying to provoke you to action... but you don't have to get into that war.
I have heard a really cool metaphor before that helped me understand this point.
Imagine you are out in the ocean and waves are swelling in front and behind you.
You could lean forward, bury your feet in the sand, and fight the wave. This may result in your being pushed back from your place.
You could allow the wave to swell, lifting you up from the sand and then bringing you back down nearly in the same spot where you were before.
In this way, by not fighting the thoughts, you win the battle.
3) CONSIDER DIFFICULTIES YOU HAVE OVERCOME IN THE PAST
I have had the privilege of counseling many people in the process of recovering from eating disorders, and I will say, all of them were able to acknowledge that they had overcome difficulties in the past.
As human beings, we encounter troubles, stress, relational problems, and lots of other difficulties. But, it is how you deal with these circumstances, not the circumstances themselves, that make the difference.
If you are currently struggling with strong eating disorder thoughts and urges, consider the fact that you have been able to overcome and cope with other problems in the past. Recognize that you have strength and are capable of getting through this. Use the supports you have in your life (i.e. your treatment team, loved ones, and friends). Use whatever has worked in the past. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, you have already been successful in the past. Apply your strength in your present struggles.
The purpose of this blog entry is to share eating disorder recovery related ideas and does not represent professional medical of psychological advice from Mike Thomas or Recovery Spark. For professional advice, please connect with the professional eating disorder specialist that you work with or find a local health professional.