I admitted to my therapist that I am still watching those ridiculous YouTube videos: ED documentaries, movies, shows like Intervention, What’s Eating You, and so on. I’ve seen them all countless times but a part of my ritual, if that’s what it is, is watching all that stuff. It’s some how comforting, relaxing to have that on. I was working like crazy on an afghan that was frustrating me, so turning it on and letting it run through all those videos was almost calming in a sense. I don’t get the same feeling from watching other stuff. It’s kind of odd and hard to explain. She suggested that maybe it gave me a sense of community, like what a support group would do in a sense. Here I am on my own little anorexic island, unable to talk to anyone but seeing all these people helps me to feel less alone, less crazy.
If someone in one of the documentaries says something like, “I can’t eat that carrot because it’s orange.” I get that. That makes sense to me. I don’t feel so strange or alone. But more than that, it’s the personality type we seem to share. I remember watching one and it showed her frustration trying to get dressed. Her closet was organized by color and sleeve length. Most people probably wouldn’t have noticed but I did because I do that. I need order, structure, even beyond food or body issues. I like things organized. I am very grateful to not have OCD but I do like things the way they are and for them not to change unless I choose to change them. My therapist says that my behavior is more OCPD which is unrelated to OCD. It’s a bit off the subject but interesting. Here’s the definition:
Obsessive–compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a general pattern of concern with orderliness, perfectionism, excessive attention to details, mental and interpersonal control, and a need for control over one’s environment, at the expense of flexibility, openness to experience, and efficiency. Workaholism and miserliness are also seen often in those with this personality disorder. Rituals are performed to the point of excluding leisure activities and friendships. Persons affected with this disorder may find it hard to relax, always feeling that time is running out for their activities, and that more effort is needed to achieve their goals. They may plan their activities down to the minute—a manifestation of the compulsive tendency to keep control over their environment and to dislike unpredictable things as things they cannot control.
Can anyone else relate to this?
Therapy challenge #1
It was clear to my therapist that telling me simply to not watch them wasn’t going to be effective so she asked me to do a writing exercise after each show I watched; ones over 30 minutes that is, not the little 10 minute vids. I don’t watch those anyway. They all have the same music and format and seems redundant. Anyway, she said for me to write down how that show is helping me in recovery. “Helping me?” I ask. “Yes, helping you.” That seemed odd but I’m always game and I do like to write, clearly, lol.
Watched Thursday, episode of What’s Eating You – 1st person quit the ED program because of weight gain and severe depression. She went back home and her mom won’t hold her accountable, meaning she allows her to keep going and still live there. Instead of compliments on little steps forward, her mom is always telling her what she should be doing. 2nd person is open and willing to changes, motivated by her desire to eat cake at her son’s birthday. She’s able to address and minimize her OCD (constantly changing clothes), and has a very supportive husband that she learns to reach out to for help.
I suppose what I got out of that is that even if I’m unwilling to do food challenges, I still try. I still attempt therapy challenges, like this one. I live alone so really have no support. Zack & Lilly are out of the picture for some reason. I’m using the holiday as a way to justify that rather than the alternative of their not wanting to be around me because I’ve relapsed. So basically I need to be my own support and be accountable to the team, acknowledging that tiny steps forward are better than any movement backwards.
I’m down to just a couple of shows a day. I get bored with them honestly. I started breaking the cycle by making myself watch one normal program or movie in between videos and I found it has helped with my moving away from those. Watching them over and over makes it more and more difficult to relate to anyone else, like friends. Even though it gives me that sense of belonging, it sends me more into isolation from the real world. I’ve also been making myself do some reading. I stopped for a long time due to concentration problems, one of the first things to go. I used to have amazing concentration but years of an eating disorder has definitely decreased my brain power, as much as I’d like to deny any ED consequences in my life.
Therapy challenge #2
Write a list of times when I was happy, unrelated to when I was caught up in anorexia, or drugs, etc. When I say drugs, that includes diet pills, over-use of laxatives and such.
So far I have this: riding horses. When I was very young, all the cousins went to my aunts house for 3 weeks in the summer. She boarded horses, still does. I loved riding horses even though I was scared. Looking back I was pretty much scared of everything, all the time. No wonder I developed an ED! Most of my life I felt I was fearless but looking back it’s because I had the all powerful anorexia on my side. Hmmmm
I’m going to work on that today a little I think. I used to read voraciously as a kid but that was an escape. I read sci-fi. I think I was drawn to that genre because it gave me a completely unrelated world/universe from the one I lived in.