Regaining Control

Somehow that is what it all boils down to, at least for me. (And I don’t pretend that my experience relates in any way to other people.) But usually when I have a hard day or hit a rough patch, it boils down to – what am I trying to control? What feels like it is spinning out of control?

I desire control. We both laughed when my boss gave me this book because it applied to both of us. I feel like I need to read it again.

Yesterday after two weeks of struggling with no appetite… zero… zip… nada… 2pm would roll around and I would wonder why even thinking about food didn’t make me feel hungry. I didn’t even get the side effects of not eating – the light-headedness or nauseousness I usually feel.

So for the entire Christmas break I struggled. I struggled because my routine was off, because many people (those of us with eating disorders and those of us without an eating disorder) fear overeating at big holiday meals. And then I was freaked out because I didn’t have any appetite. It is always odd when the girl with an eating disorder actually wants to eat and can’t get herself to choke anything down.

Yesterday after two weeks of this, I finally sat down and asked myself – “what are you trying to control?”

I was trying to control my family – the ups and downs of a family with brothers in from out of town with their girlfriends, (One of whom we like, the other is sweet too but I just want them to move on after dating for five years) – the ups and downs of extended family and countless family gatherings – the ups and downs of life with my mom who suffers from bipolar… The ups and downs I’ve faced my whole life without ever having an explanation.

I don’t blame my eating disorder on my mom’s illness. It is a factor… I also am a huge perfectionist… highly sensitive… the list goes on. But have I grown up feeling like nothing I can do will change a situation, feeling guilty, to blame, etc. Yes.

The funny thing is for as many books as I’ve read on eating disorder recovery there are no words to describe what I watch myself going through. I admire the people who were able to put some kind of worded description to this process.

Because recovery is learning that I have no control and control at the same time. I have no control over life’s challenges. I have no control over mom’s illness or my brother’s reactions.

But I can control how I respond. I was a kid with no resources – no ability to react to what was happening inside. And now I’ve gained control. I know how to identify what is going on inside, put a name to it, channel, change my thoughts, and surrender what I cannot change.

Somehow by letting go of control, I have finally regained control.

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