Eating disorders

Stone sorrow,photo by constantin jurcut,Rachel commented on my post on addiction and anorexia saying that she hoped I could help her. When it comes to eating out she tries to order a meal that will be easier for her to finish instead of one that she really wants and feels nervous throughout. Rachel claims she is so preoccupied with this thinking that she doesn’t finish the meal. As she is planning to travel, this problem is preventing her from going.

My response to Rachel is that as I do not know enough about her condition I cannot accurately assess her problem, however, I am willing to hazard a guess. Rachel, what you describe sounds to me that your are obsessing over your problem and that is usually the basis of an eating disorder. I have had clients who have benefited from a few sessions with me. There are also stories which can help you that are shared at OA, which is for all eating disorders not just overeating. So Rachel get professional help to guide you through this difficult condition and attend some OA meetings for support from others who have experienced what you have and found the solution.

Stone sorrow, photo by constantin jurcut, Hungary, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/888751

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Procrastination affects us differently

170958_me_myself_and_i.jpgI have written several posts on procrastination because it is such a traumatic experience and common to many of us. Procrastination affects us differently – some worse than others, as can be seen by Terry’s comment below. Regardless of how immobilised you feel when procrastination takes hold, there are different strategies that you can choose from to assist you. The most effective technique or strategy is that you learn how to relax so as to let go of the fear the task is causing you. Then give yourself permission to wait until you feel ready to begin. Plan a small step to begin your task once you have relaxed – the momentum will overcome your procrastination. You can find what works for you or you can choose to be a victim of procrastination. You may need some professional assistance to overcome the block.

What about when the procrastination paralyses you and when you are unprepared you perform badly and feel awful and embarrassed. Its as if something inside is hoping for failure. Or when you have a deadline for a task and leave it till the last minute and the stress builds up but there is a block to complete the task. Terry

me myself and i, photo by Davide Farabegoli, Milano, Italy, howto relax

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Resentments

That look, photo by Betty Miller, Colorado, United States, http://fireyes.deviantart.com, inner turmoilEvery day we have mixed feelings about different matters. Resentments are strong feelings which we can bury deep within, contaminating our wellbeing. What’s worse is being in denial about doing just that. Resentments are so cunning that we can ignore their existence until it’s too late and we have surprising explosive behaviours. That’s why it’s far better to be in touch with our feelings and own them as being naturally ours, and in doing so they settle down. Then we need to observe their origin and what can be done to resolve this turmoil. The expression ‘befriend our demons’ means finding those feelings which we have suppressed, that have subsequently turned into problematic behaviour, and processing them.

she had long ago ‘befriended her demons’
as a result of intense therapy and
personal and professional development
she took pride in being a guide for others
on similar journeys of enlightenment
but she didn’t notice resentments building up
deep within, in her inner world
on the outside she was busy and happy
but something was not as it should be
she’d gained weight and had an insatiable appetite
it took 3 OA meetings a week to get real
about her buried unwanted feelings of
resentment, self pity, boredom, loneliness
which she was busy avoiding with activities
and for which she had paid the price
fortunately it didn’t take long for her
to tweak her choices back into healthy living

That look, photo by Betty Miller, http://fireyes.deviantart.com

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Devil woman

Paper devil, photo by Brian S, Jakarta Indonesia, no faultHow often have we heard “the devil made me do it”? In actual fact we make choices and sometimes we regret these choices and find it necessary to blame others in order to save face. This is especially the case when the consequences are not wanted. No one can make us feel anything we don’t want to – we allow them to make us feel in a certain way.

he had cheated before but convinced his wife that
it wouldn’t happen again and she believed him
then one day he disappeared with his best friend’s wife
she suffered for two weeks not knowing where he was
then he came back and professed his love for her
insisting that he did not love the other woman
but that she had thrown herself at him and
eventually he weakened and gave into her spell
the devil woman made him do it
that was the line that convinced his wife
it was impossible for them to
have a happy life together so she ended it
to this day he cries over being dumped by her
and his friends actually feel sorry for him!

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Male influence in the family

Walking the trunk, photo by Janet Burgess, Geneva, Switzerland,  paternal  guidanceAs a family therapist and as a woman, I am pleased to see the growing nurturing role of men in family relationships. A man nowadays does more than provide financial security and play with his children. Usually he takes more of an interest in the child’s choices in life and is more supportive of their achievements, apart from sport. A man is not ashamed to take on a more nurturing role which was once only attributable to a woman. Likewise, a woman has more of an active role in what was once considered only that of a man’s, so the sharing of responsibilities is both effective and welcomed for the progress of humanity. Therefore, male influence in the family can provide a more balanced foundation for childrearing.

he remembered that as a child his father was
emotionally unavailable to him
sure, he played with him and showed some
interest in his son’s sporting activities but
if they were lesser talents than that of his father’s
then the criticism and insults were extreme
what’s more his father did not show pride in his son’s
academic and chess playing achievements
fortunately, it can be said that the son is
a better father, more responsible and caring
and this sometimes happens in opposition to the
inappropriate behaviour of a dysfunctional parent

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Addiction symptoms regardless of nationality

World map, photo by Brian S, Jakarta, Indonesia, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/653075, worldwide diseaseAn interesting fact is that people suffer similar addiction symptoms regardless of nationality, that is, whether we are European or Australian or Chinese and so on. The need to use or self medicate increases as the illness of addiction progresses and the illness can only be arrested by abstaining. Some of the symptoms are: depression, aggression (violence), resentments, isolation, paranoia, neediness, self-pity, poor anger management, and disorders in sleeping, eating and sexual behaviour. When feelings or behaviours are exhibited to the extreme then people would do well to explore the extent to which they use substances or processes to cope with them – this only makes those feelings worse.

during the day he was a successful businessman
but his behaviour was becoming more and more
aggressive, dishonest and unbelievably mean
towards his family, friends and staff
during the day it did not appear as though
he was drinking alcohol, but he did at night
that was the only time he was jolly
then his doctor said that his drinking had to stop
or his damaged liver would cause his death
for a few weeks he was sober and went to AA
the change in him was amazing and once more
his wife saw the man she had fallen in love with
but he was bored with his authentic self and
he gave up his recovery and that lost him his wife
his only salvation has been that
he’s minimised his drinking, however
his behaviour is obnoxious and yet
he knows what needs to be done when he’s ready

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Codependence or addiction?

Paper people, photo by Brian S, Jakarta, Indonesia, friend networkI’ve been asked “which comes first codependence or addiction?”. As a therapist I speak professionally and from personal experience as a recovering codependent, as well as a food and nicotine addict in recovery. A codependent can be either a victim or a perpetrator of dysfunctional behaviour and as a result addictions manifest in an effort to self medicate the disturbing feelings. There’s a difference between giving service to others and becoming a martyr for their sake, which is also codependence. A recovering codependent is someone who has identified their condition and admitted it; staying vigilant about it; being a part of a recovery program; and giving service to maintain their recovery and that of others, in a loving fellowship. This recovery also involves being abstinent from addictive behaviours.

Pia Mellody (Facing Codependence), who is
a leader in the codependence recovery field
spoke on her recovery from codependence and addictions
her honesty moved me because society can scoff at
people being transparent about their shortcomings
and how they’ve taken the journey to recovery
this could be because the majority of people are
afflicted by codependence and addictive behaviours
so it’s easier to scoff than to take action
until they reach their rock bottom and only then
they become willing to find sanity and serenity
in a loving fellowship committed to recovery

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13th Step love

Together, photo by Puiu Adriana Mirabela, Bucharest, Romania,  loving fellowshipPeople who find recovery from addictions in a 12 Step program create close loving friendships together, which is the basis for this fellowship. It’s known that some members also find a soulmate or life partner in the 12 Step fellowship, when both partners have a strong recovery and are ready for an intimate relationship. In such cases a life partnership is rewarding because they share a way of life which they understand and which enhances their recovery choices. However, people need to be vigilant about 13th Step love. That’s what they call it when someone who is experienced with the 12 Step program gets involved with a member in recovery who is vulnerable and who is usually a new member (also see my other posts on the 13th Step which is the unofficial term for this involvement).

he resisted his feelings about her because
she was new in recovery and he was her guide
he had many years in the 12 Step fellowship
and was grateful for the sanity and serenity he had
but he was fooled about her level of recovery
because it was not her first time in the program
so when their relationship became intimate he had
hopeful plans for their future together
but then she relapsed and he realised
it had only been a 13th Step love
he took responsibility for the mistake as he was the more
experienced one and had needed to be more aware
she was now a ‘runaway train’ with her addiction and
they suffered in more ways than one
a painful lesson for both

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Anxiety and addiction

Robin Eggs, photo by Jason Collins, Tillsonburg, Canada, chicken or the eggWhich comes first the chicken or the egg, they ask? Does anxiety create addiction or does addiction create anxiety? As I see it both apply. We become anxious over something and we reach out to self medicate with a substance or process (alcohol, smoking, pills, food, love, gambling, arguing) which we know will give us some relief, even though temporary and unhealthy. Then when the feelgood wears off we are faced with a double barrel situation – the unresolved anxiety from the first instance and the one created by the withdrawal from the feelgood. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, they say. Better to resolve the problem creating the anxiety in the first place. Then the feelgood is kept manageable, for those who can.

I had some university work to attend to
and as it was not that of my choice
the procrastination set in fuelled by my anxiety
or vice versa, who cares?!
so I cleaned out the cupboards and took care
of other chores I had been putting off which
were less unpleasant than the uni work
then I turned to my drug of choice – food
a little of this and a little of that increased
my guilt and anxiety and then I tackled
the original culprit but as I finished the task
I wondered why I hadn’t spared myself the angst
the universal question!

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Addiction and anorexia

Mannequins, photo by Marco Michelini, Firenze, Italy, beauty mythMuch has been written about the effect that thin models and movie celebrities have on young women. In an effort to look like these role models young women develop eating disorders. Addiction and anorexia are the same condition. When a person suffers from anorexia it is on the same eating disorder continuum as compulsive overeating. Just as life threatening as other addictions anorexia results in a distorted perception. The afflicted person does not see themselves as being thin and continues to do without food in order to lose more weight.

she was such a loveable person and
so thoughtful too, not to mention how
talented she was in writing
poetry straight from the heart
however, she battled addiction and anorexia
she managed to become free of the heroin
but not of the need to avoid eating
no matter what she tried it worked only
for a short time and then she was back
to her old ways which eventually led her
to her heroin addiction and death from starvation
some more fortunate are rescued from this fate

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