In Jenni Schaefer's book Life Without Ed, she writes about the two main tactics for combatting ED thoughts:
- Disagree: counter the ED thought that a slice of cake will make you fat with thoughts like Eating cake is normal, one slice of cake won't change my weight, I trust my treatment team and the food plan they gave me.
- Disobey: the ED thought tells you not to eat that cake and you eat that cake, dammit.
Even when I do win against the ED thoughts, the previous hours-long pissing match between Healthy Carrie and ED Carrie has left me exhausted and more than a little demoralized. It shouldn't be this hard!
Indeed it shouldn't. File under: Pyrrhic victory, definition of.
So I came up with another "D" strategy to deal with the ED thoughts: Disengage.
So when I start bickering with the voice in my head that tells me I shouldn't eat, that I'm going to get fat, that eating means I'm a pathetic failure, I don't argue back. I just say "Mmmmm..." When you're trying to make a decision, it's not like your brain instantly comes up with a unanimous agreement. Different parts of your brain provide different input, and that input isn't all equally important or relevant. It's sort of like the vaguely rabid people preaching the End Times on the street corner: I know these people are irrational, so I just kind of ignore it.
ED thoughts are similar; it's not worth my time to argue. Arguments seem to give the thoughts credibility, that they're work an argument. The problem is that they're not. So I've been trying to mentally walk away from the ED craziness in my head. We'll see whether it works, but hopefully it will leave mw with more energy and sanity.