Though my eating disorder behaviors have become less frequent over the years with the help of therapy and a solid support system, there are several triggers that often seem too overwhelming to overcome. I want to tell you more about one trigger.
Surprisingly, one trigger I have had difficulty overcoming is feeling good.
Now, I know this is a bizarre concept for those in my life who have never struggled with an eating disorder. But I have found that the women and men in my life who do understand the battles of “ED head” (a term I use to describe the internal conflict of my inner voices) can understand this concept.
Many of us, for one reason or another, have an anchoring concept of “I’m not good enough” in our thinking.
“I totally messed up during that presentation and everyone is definitely judging me right now.”
“Only I would lose my keys twice in one day…what an idiot.”
“Of course I would spill coffee all over myself as I’m running late. Classic me…”
The concept of homeostasis
It seems as though a common thread for the eating disordered mind is extreme criticism of the self to the point that many of us catastrophize a moment of simply being human.
In my experience, “ED head” thrives off of criticism.
I’ve been living my whole life thinking that I can’t possibly do something right.
So when I’m actually starting to live a healthy lifestyle, even for a short period of time, I self-sabotage.
The best analogy I can give is a lesson I learned in science class: the concept of homeostasis. This is the body’s attempt to always reach equilibrium for its own survival and comfort.
The same rule applies mentally. It’s almost more comfortable to be struggling, because that’s so familiar to me. A moment of peace often feels alien.
So yes, feeling good is a trigger for me.
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Knowledge is power
Once I learned feeling good can be a trigger to me, I was completely confused. Trying to explain it to others seemed nearly impossible.
However, since I’ve learned this about myself, I’ve been working diligently on remaining aware of it and trying to embrace the discomfort. And It turns out, many of my other friends in recovery have also experienced similar thinking. If you identify with this pattern, I can tell you for certain that you are not alone. We all have our triggers and feeling good about yourself may be one of them. The best advice I can offer is to approach this trigger in the same ways you manage any other trigger.
It’s going to be tough, but you can persevere. In those moments, it’s important for me to remind myself that I shouldn’t believe everything that I think.