The relevance behind this new title is because I am investigating the success behind my 7 out of 7 (being clear of a binge/purge episode for 7 days at a time) and also how I am managing to maintain this consistency over the last 3 weeks as of writing this article.
However, I did admit to Walking With My Bear during one of my sessions that there are still strong urges, and to avoid an episode I was distracting myself.
So, I am therefore investigating/identifying the distraction techniques, which will enable me to move away from said distraction techniques; giving me the power to control my Bear.
I may have mentioned in a previous blog that distraction techniques can be useful at the start but are definitely not long-term solutions. I have found that by distracting myself, by keeping busy (getting out the house, running, shopping etc) helped me deflect my thoughts and urges from my previous unhelpful coping behaviour.
However, long term it is avoiding dealing with the underlying issue. I had to ask myself what was I distracting myself from? On the plus side, distracting and deflecting my attention from unhelpful habits, gave me a break from using these unhealthy habits and I therefore had a platform to address the underlying issues I was avoiding. If I didn’t, I would be spending the rest of my life using distraction techniques as a coping strategy and my Bear would be in control of me. It’s a bit like someone being reliant on Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) each time they feel urges/anxiety etc, they have to quickly start tapping their meridian points and begin incantations, just to get through the moment. The technique is great but shouldn’t be a dependency tool.
So here I was ready to face the next stage which was to identify the doors that were still open to my past, in any way encouraging or supporting the unhelpful behaviour. However, it is not as simple as one open door, we have to recognise there are potentially a series of doors leading up to the final "trapdoor".
But which doors have I gone through to get to the trapdoor? The main objective behind identifying which doors are open is to then understand (can we just have a moment please - I have just worked out how to underline a word on the computer!!!) why they are opening and understand my thoughts, actions and feelings connected to them. Realising which doors are open would help me gain an understanding that I was using binge/purge as a "reward" for my good behaviour (abstinence from alcohol, binge/purging or any challenges that I had conquered really).
Realising which doors were opening me to the temptation of reverting back to old ways (old ways of coping that don't serve me now). However, I also needed to work out if I was to "just" (I highlighted the word just, as it's technically not as easy as "just", it takes time and work) close the door and keep it shut, or do I open new ones to simply add a new way of being, whilst being aware of these new doors potentially being another distraction technique. So much to think about. I needed to train my Bear to not see binge/purge as a "reward", Pedro (that's my Bear) was misbehaving.
After reflecting on the corridor of different open doors which link from one to another, not only was I using binge/purge as a way to cope when I was sad or life wasn't going my way (when life felt out of control), I was also using it as a reward and finding any excuse to justify doing it in order to reward myself.
I realised the excuses were in order to feed my habit (excuse the phrase), my habit of needing instant gratification for success or for when something was going wrong. It also made me realise that as I am still restricting my diet (work in progress) and denying myself of not only tasty foods but food groups my body needs, resulting in cravings, something of which is alien to me. I am still unable to allow myself different foods. What am I actually scared of happening when I eat beige foods? To be honest though, I’m excited to be at this stage and embracing the journey to new experiences.
On the plus side I have since noticed I have been more adventurous with my food intake during the day, as I know I am not going to have a binge/purge episode (I always did this last thing at night) that evening.
I found it very useful to write down the different doors and thoughts that were open during my investigation. It helped me to take a step back to notice the doors that had opened leading up to the door for the desire to binge and purge. It was also significant in my realisation of how my thoughts and feelings were intertwined at a subconscious level and also triggered further questions to myself around my behaviour.
Let us end on a more positive note. If you have read my previous blogs, you will be aware I get a lot of good thoughts on my smoking step. Here's the latest...
When you've fallen and survived it really shows you that you can cope. You'll be able to face more challenges than before because you have survived things you never thought you could. I find this realisation powerful, handy to remember and not as cliché as "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
Sharing this article, I hope, will provide insight on how the doors to the various elements of the programming of your mind are connected. In ways, that if you don’t spend time to understand how your thoughts actions and feelings are intertwined, at some point in the future, a door to a way of being may open unknowingly, and catch your bear by surprise.