It’s been approximately 20 minutes since my therapy appointment; do you think I’d remember what we talked about? What she wants me to do is after every appointment spend 5 minutes contemplating the session, asking myself things like:
- What worked? What didn’t?
- Was there something I needed clarification on?
- What was helpful? What wasn’t?
- Was there something I want to explore more.
…and so on. Then I need to ask myself:
- What am I feeling now?
Feelings, freaking feelings, right? Here we go again…….
One thing we talked about was my purge last night. First of all she said that calling a piece of bread a “binge” gives me the excuse to purge. It isn’t actually a binge making my excuse null. I mean really, one of the things they taught us in treatment was that occasionally we can have something above and beyond our meal plan, and that it won’t make a difference.
“How did you feel after eating the bread and before purging?”
Scared, scared that I’d gain weight, scared that I won’t be in control. Then afterward I felt defeated. I failed, again. However, what was I really trying to avoid feeling? Fear and anger are my go to emotions. They are easy. After some digging it was shame. I always feel shame, I feel shame for the very act of feeling. Shame is the worse; I’ll do almost anything to not feel shame… clearly.
She poked and prodded at this for awhile till I got angry. “What are you feeling now?”
Anger! “Why?” Because I feel threatened. “You’re threatening the eating disorder”. Even though I want to recover it’s still very close to my heart. It is still the one thing that is protecting me from the fear of being overwhelmed with shame and guilt. Shame for being who I am and guilt for surviving.
I’m still feeling angry. Anger is also a cover up for shame. I feel like since being in treatment my vulnerability and feelings are right at the surface. It’s like a dam about to break and I have to do everything I can to not let that happen. Well why? Why do I have not long let that happen?
So, the session –
Talking about all this was helpful in what way? It’s good to see that my defense mechanisms are still firing on all cylinders. It’s good to know that the basis of everything is shame. How we are going to tip toe through that minefield is unknown to me but maybe together we can do it.
The other task she wants me to do is to watch Brene Brown’s TED talk videos and journal about them. She has done decades of shame research. In early treatment we watched her video The Hustle For Worthiness. I want to find it and rewatch it. I remember it had a lot of good things in there but my brain was still a foggy. I’ll post the links of the TED talks if I find them relevant enough to share.