Today’s prompt is inspired by the blog “The Things We Forget.” Write yourself a reminder. It can be in the form of an online post – or a picture of an actual Post-It like the ones from the website.
I obsess when I'm anxious. I AM OKAY.
I obsess a lot, because I am anxious a lot. My therapist has taught me that if I realize that I am obsessing because I am anxious, then that simple realization will actually take away most of the anxiety's power and it will stop the obsessive thoughts. I thought she was overly optimistic when she first told me that, but it actually works. I tried it out for the first time last week. I was at the mall and I purchased a small milkshake, but as soon as I paid for it, I started obsessing about how I shouldn't have ordered it in the first place. Eating disorder thoughts came into my head and I told myself that I shouldn't have something that's unhealthy, that I shouldn't finish it, that I should throw it away, but that would waste my money, but that is an eating disordered thought and I don't want to give in to ED, oh no, I'm really not in recovery, I'm a failure... All of those damaging thoughts went through my head in a matter of seconds and as you can see with each anxious thought, the scenario that I put myself in just got worse and worse and worse. I was catastrophizing in a big way. But before my thoughts manifested themselves into actual eating disorder behavior, I had a moment of clarity where I thought to myself:
Wait a minute! My therapist said that eating disorders are caused by anxiety. I am thinking this way, because I am anxious.
and poof! Just like that the oppressive, anxious thoughts went away. I was able to enjoy my milkshake in peace. My disease had wanted to trick me into believing that I am not as recovered as I usually think I am, but I kicked it to the curb with my moment of clarity and reality. As I enjoyed my shake, I knew the truth that I am okay. I have used this trick now several times and it usually has helped me shake the negative thoughts. I know that it will take a lot of practice for me to be able to catch myself obsessing and to remind myself what I am doing more quickly, but the peace of mind that results from it is so worth it.