Spring has sprung, even though Winnipeg doesn’t seem to know it yet. I was in the hospital for two months and I’ve gained 25lbs. My brain is freaking out!!! I’m scared to embrace this new body, but it would appear that I am a woman again…
This is my second week as an in-patient on a weight restoration program for my eating disorder. Now that the fog is starting to clear, I can actually form complete sentences. Who knew that food could feed the brain, go figure 😉
In group, we use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to assess our thoughts by writing “thought records”. It’s kind of like a diary to determine whether your thoughts are disordered or objective.
The following is an explanation from one of my handouts from Mind Over Mood by Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky:
In many ways, automatic thoughts are similar to flowers and weeds in a garden. Thought records, experiments and action plans are tools that enable you to cut the weeds (negative automatic thoughts) at ground level from your garden, making room for the flowers. With practice, these tools will work for you for the rest of your life. Whenever the weeds flourish in your garden, you will know how to work with them.
- First write down your situation or trigger. For example, a friend suggested going swimming.
- Then you write down your current moods. For example, if you felt fear or panic you would rate the intensity from (0 to 100%).
- Then you identify your automatic thoughts, these are messages that we tell ourselves. For example, you could say that you are afraid that everyone will look at you and know what a failure you are.
- The next part is where you write down any evidence that supports your automatic thought. This would include objective factual evidence to support your conclusion. Think about what someone else would think from an alternate perspective. Try to avoid mind-reading or interpretations of facts.
- Then you write down any subjective evidence that does NOT support your automatic thought. This would include any thoughts based on feelings or coloured by distortions. Consider any assumptions, mind-reading, self-blame, contradictions or past experiences that might contradict reality. Think about what you would tell a loved one. What will you think in 5 years? For example, if you are afraid that people will think you are a failure, you could say that you are mind-reading or assuming that people are judging you based on what you look like in a bathing suit.
- The next step is to modify your automatic thought to reach a reasonable conclusion. This is usually an alternative or balanced thought. This becomes your revised core belief to redirect positive change. Core beliefs are rules that guide our actions and behaviours at the deepest level of cognition. Consider how someone else would feel. What would you say to a friend with this same thought? Is this thought useful? Does it impact your life? For example, you could say that the important people in your life do NOT care what you look like in a bathing suit. You could also say that your self worth is not based on your appearance. This will become your mantra, or positive affirmation that you tell yourself to undo the negative.
- The last step is to re-rate your moods. After time, you will find that your negative moods will gradually decrease and you will be able to differentiate between disordered thoughts and healthy thoughts.
Use thought records to identify common themes, moods and behaviours. This is a great way to avoid engaging in ED behaviours and learn to remove the weeds by the roots.
In honour of Eating Disorder Awareness week, check out blogger Lex McDonald who is breaking the silence surrounding disordered eating by chronicling her “wunder years”. Lex also works with Vancouver grassroots resource and support network Project True, a non-profit organization.
It’s been almost a year since my last post. I really wanted to blog more regularly in 2012, did not realize how hard it would be to talk while going through so many life changes. My eating disorder does not help my brain function while starving to death.
2013 will be the year I get better. I started the out-patient ED program at HSC on Monday. The program only covers three of the six meals I’m supposed to eat so It’s been a pretty tough week but I really like the people in my group. I will be admitted to the in-patient ED program on Jan 29th. This will be my best chance, just waiting for a bed. They only have four beds on the ward, that kinda sucks but at least I’m next in line.
I’m bringing this blog back to life, I should have plenty of time to post while I’m in the hospital. 2013 will be the year I get better, wish me luck 🙂
This is rapidly becoming my favorite self-helpy type blog. They’re just amazing!
Currently reading this one and thought it would be good here:
Cross-posted from Jack-in-the-Brain
When I saw Sara’s note on Facebook announcing Project ME! I was at first shocked! It was very bold of her to take such a huge leap. There are others in my life who have lived in the stiffing silence of mental health issues, so I have some small idea of how difficult it must have been. Kudos to you who are true friends and stand by her. Don’t get too comfortable though. Sometimes the time when we are most needed is when it looks like things are “better now”. We’re sticking with you Sara! Continue reading
I miss Ewen so much, but he is doing very well. Everything is as it should be. I’ve heard that he’s been a perfect gentleman and relieved that he’s adjusting so well! Continue reading
Posted in Project ME!