I give myself thumbs up for hiking as my first exercise 10 days after I was sick. I was weak and tired and it was hard to get back on the mountain.
Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda
Waving the White Flag on My Latest Battlefield
I have to give props right away to new BC Dave who triggered this whole idea for me via emails. How we refer to our challenges, be they disordered eating, chronic cluttering, overspending, or even sickness, can make a big difference to our mindsets and our actions. Often we talk of ‘Battling’ our demons, or our disorders or our circumstances.
Lately, I’ve been pretty dang sick and wiped out from either food poisoning or the stomach flu, but have I been actually battling this condition?
Hmmm. I don’t think so. I think I have been pretty much going with the flow. I have been doing WHATEVER it takes to support myself through this horrible, though not lethal, bump in the road. I have been as kind to myself as humanly possible. Ms. Inner Critical Bitch for SURE took a breather during this acute experience. Why?
When one is going through immediate pain or trouble, I don’t think we take the time or energy right in that moment to berate ourselves. Au contraire! We DO WHAT NEEDS DOING. Feeling and recapping comes later. We can choose then to view the event or events through a filter of critical judgement or dispassion or Pollyannaish lemonade. Events in the past have no sway over us really. It’s all about point of view.
Oh Lordy Do We REALLY Have to Hear the Gory Details Again?!
Kinda, but I’ll keep it limited to my point. Think back to your last “battle” with sickness. Does it make sense to BERATE yourself for being sick?
Self: “Laurie you IDIOT look at us going through this misery! It’s ALL your f-ing fault you incompetent boob”
Me: “Er, Self can we talk about this later…blech”
Self:”There you GO AGAIN tossing our cookies when I’d rather be sleeping. There is just no CONTROLING you!”
Me: “Well Self, I’D rather be doing something else…ANYTHING ELSE too!…blech”
Self: “So why DON’T you?!”
Me: “BECAUSE I AM F-ING SICK YOU A-HOLE!”
Well you get the point. In the middle of crisis, we do not think about having conversations like that. It would be ridiculous.
Is it any less ridiculous to have them after the fact?
When Recapping Does Some Good
In my example, my sickness was either food poisoning or flu. It made sense to try and figure out the CAUSE, because if it was food poisoning, SOMETHING in my house had triggered it. And I needed to GET THAT OUT OF THE HOUSE. So Mark and I tossed out everything we could think of that I’d eaten in the 48 hours prior to my critical event.
Now if I had gleefully used a knife that had just sliced raw chicken breast on some tomatoes and popped them, Russian Roulette-style, into my mouth, it might make sense to give myself grief over that after the fact.
But if food poisoning was the culprit, it was nothing I knowingly did. So what makes sense is to rationally recap my actions and to try to eliminate another bout with the awful stuff for myself or for Mark.
On the off chance it was flu and NOT food poisoning, it made sense that Mark limit his exposure to me and my area and we scrub the bejesus out of everything with germ killing warfare. THIS part was an actual battle.
Battles Usually Have an End AND a Winner
Battles, by definition have a duration that ends. They are temporary events that usually include a winner and loser. Mark and I battled the possible causes of my sicky sick attack with vigor. We thought we won as I got better. BUT Mark came down with the SAME crap one week later. So either we didn’t toss the right ingredient, or it WAS the flu and he didn’t stay far enough away to avoid catching the bug.
Get Back On Point Would Ya?
Ok back on track to my analogy about battles and journeys.
When I think of my life long experience with compulsive overeating, binge eating disorder, skewed body image, yo-yo dieting, extreme exercise and the rest as a BATTLE, then I have lost over and over again. ALL of my ‘wins’ were temporary at best. If I think of my life as a JOURNEY, then I can view all of those things simply as events. I didn’t win or lose. I just had various experiences, which, like my sickness of late, can be recapped in order to see if a new course would benefit my current life goals and wishes.
When I lose a battle, I berate myself, feel defeated, and give up.
When I hit a roadblock on a journey, I find another way.
Life as a Journey
Did you notice I wrote, ‘When I think of my LIFE as a journey’ not ‘When I think of my eating disorder as a journey’? That was on purpose. I no longer separate my eating or its surrounding thoughts and experiences from the rest of my life. Not from parties, not from going out, not from my emotions, not from anything. How I eat and why I eat is all just part of my life. It isn’t a problem to be solved. It’s part of how I am living. And if how I am living can be tweaked to give me more joy, more meaning, more authenticity, then I will adjust and explore a new path.
I think I just won a battle.