Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Running away from the problem and coping mechanisms

Coping mechanisms.... they are a way to cope with a problem. With a feeling, with a thought.... you feel fat? You are thinking of suicide? You feel guilty? You are overwhelmed with sadness? Overwhelmed with happiness? You are stressed? You have exams or deadlines? You are facing economic or relationship problems? Or any other problems, thoughts or feelings.
   You turn to self harm, to pills, alcohol, starvation, over eating, exercise.... all a way to run from the actual problem or thought.

But i can tell you, those coping mechanisms don't work. Not in the long term anyway. Because eventually that 1 drink will turn into 5, and will then turn into a constant state of drunkenness and might even involve pills. That 5km run will turn into a 10km run and will then turn into an obsessive exercise problem where you just keep forcing yourself to workout until you break a bone or your body gives up. The self harm will no longer work and you will resort to deeper or more ways to harm yourself and eventually, not even that will work. The starvation or over eating of food, its just a way to cope with feelings, trying to hide from the actual problem.
  That is what all these coping mechanisms help you do... they help in the now. You can run away from your problem or your thoughts or feelings. But it doesn't solve what is actually going on.

If you are depressed, or struggling with overwhelming feelings or thoughts, you cant run from them. You have to face them. Because the feelings and thoughts wont go away, as long as you try to run from them they will become stronger and you will have to eventually face the actual problem but it will be 10 times harder to face because you have spent so much time avoiding and hiding from the feelings and thoughts.
  When its an actual problem you have been through, such as too much work or school stress, abuse, financial or relationship problems or anything else. Running from the problem wont make the problem go away. It will still be there. When you are sober, when the anxiety has passed, when the starvation or binges have passed... the problem is still there. You cant run from it. You need to face it. You need to overcome the problem.

And yes, facing your problems, facing your fears, thoughts and feelings is hard. I know that, i have spent many years of my life running from my actual problems. Not wanting to face what it was that scared me. I didnt want to face the anxiety or fear. It was an uncomfortable feeling, to feel the anxiety crawl like ants under my skin. To feel like my oxygen supply was diminishing from the panic, to feel the guilt and fear heavy on my shoulders and cutting me off from the rest of the world. It was easier to run and to hide. It was easier to starve myself and my emotions, to self harm until i was numb and to run until i could no longer think anymore. But once i came back to reality, when i woke up the next day the anxiety was there again and so was my fear and actual problems. No matter how much i self harmed, no matter how much i starved myself or ran or purged or any other thing i did. It didnt help me. It just soothed and eased the feelings for a while.

You need to go against those feelings, those thoughts and face the problem. Overcome the problem and be stronger than whatever it is you are running from.

Instead of resorting to negative coping mechanisms start writing, talking, painting, singing, playing music or anything else that can help you cope in a non negative way.
  Exercise can be great for anxiety or stress, however its so easy that it becomes abused and instead i recommend something like meditation and yoga to help with anxiety and stress instead of trying to lift or run away your problems.

Find a way to face what is going on and to become stronger because running away and hiding will never solve your problems.



3 comments:

  1. Here here! Great post. I cycled negative coping mechanisms for years, and only made things worse. Not only were my problems still there, and worse from time, but I had new, major problems from the coping mechanisms themselves, which I'd originally started to "help" myself! You cannot outrun an internal problem. It's simply not gonna happen.

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  2. Dear Izzy,
    When you were learning to eat with other people, in recovery, did you tell them you had an ED (history)? You've said often that your friends at school don't know your history, but there must have been a period when you were still getting comfortable with eating with others -- what happened then? did they not know about your past? if not, how did you handle their expectations of you being "normal"? or else, what did you say to them?

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  3. Brilliant post and so true. You really can`t avoid your problems forever, sooner or later you do need to face them and work out ways to solve them, and more often or not the solving is actually easier than maintaining a coping mechanism.
    Thankyou Izzy for such a thoughtful post.
    One of the hardest things I had to overcome during my depression was avoidance - I had to learn not to do this, not to bury things but face things and that took time. I had to write out my thoughts and then try to figure out what their outcome would be, and the reality was never as scary as the actual thought.
    It takes time but you can overcome the need to run from problems and learn to address them.

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