Responding to Negative Thoughts in Eating Disorder Recovery
One of the most important actions to be taken in eating disorder recovery is to talk back and say ‘No’ to the voice in your mind, while fighting against the disease. My co-author Jess pointed this out in last week’s post. Of course, this is easier said than done, and I can only empathize with you if you find yourself struggling with it, since it's a situation I had to go through, and still experience at times when I’m having a rough day trying to maintain my eating disorder recovery.
One of the aspects Jess discussed in her post was the fact that saying ‘No’ is difficult at first. I completely agree! Yes, refusing to give in and accept the insults and negativity the voice in your head tells you is, in my opinion, just as hard as learning to say no to someone in your daily interactions and relationships.
Responding to Negative Thoughts One at a Time
Perhaps this daunting task is easier tackled by breaking it down in small, measurable goals in order to feel a sense of accomplishment and peace along the way. For example, I remember the first time I walked to my new therapist’s office, many years ago, while hearing in my mind that I was stupid for trying once more to connect with an eating disorder professional and get some help. My eating disorder was telling me I was fine, that it was okay to purge and binge if that was the only way I’d stay thin.
While I walked, I tried to block every attack launched by my eating disorder. Internally, I’d respond to each of them, much like I’d do out loud in a difficult dialogue with someone: "No, you’re wrong, I think I need help," "No, it’s not normal to binge and purge," ‘"No, I’m not weak for asking for help." I told myself then that maybe, maybe, I could try to talk back to the disease while walking. I didn’t think about whether or not I could do it that night or the following day, or if I’d self-harm later on. Instead, what I focused on was the issue at hand, in that moment.
Build Confidence by Responding to Your Negative Thoughts
In many ways, my therapy started while I walked alone to my first appointment with this new therapist. When I got to her office, I was in the right frame of mind to start de-programming how my mind had been working in terms of thinking about body image and self-love. In many ways, stopping the bingeing and purging, the physical activities that that entailed, was not the hardest. The hardest part was understanding what was behind these behaviors, the thought process that pushed me to engage in self-harm.
I won’t lie and tell you that learning to talk back to my eating disorder was easy or simple, or even pleasant to go through; but doing so was definitely the single most powerful thing I’ve ever accomplished in my personal life.
I say this today because being able to stand up for myself against my eating disorder’s voice meant that I could trust my own judgement. It meant that over time, I would trust myself in talking back to it and refused to hear, listen and believe the insults and lies it said to me.
I'd love to hear how you are able to talk, fight or push back these damaging thoughts in your eating disorder recovery! Feel free to share by leaving a comment below. Thank you!
Lemoine, P. (2014, May 6). Responding to Negative Thoughts in Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2014/05/responding-to-negative-thoughts-in-eating-disorder-recovery
Author: Patricia Lemoine
We even need to check our thinking as well,
if it positive or negative,and refrain from negative thoughts.
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