Yesterday I mentioned the Dreaded Journal.
You know what I’m talkin’ about right?
Well, OK, if you don’t…..it’s the journal I ask people who are investigating their relationship to eating to write in and keep close.
It works for other addictive processes just as well. ANY addictive or unconscious, overwhelming process where it seems like a demon takes over. Or some craving, compulsive, gripping urge is felt (like in love addiction, for example).
When I went to a therapist to continue my journey to healing from terrible binge-purge episodes and enormous cravings for food, or starvation routines, she introduced the idea of keeping a journal to me.
A Binge Journal.
Can’t we just talk about stuff so that I feel relieved, so that I feel better?
Do I have to write down what was going on when I binged, craved, overate, stuffed myself with food, vomited, over-exercised?
Ewww. I don’t want to see that in writing. Too exposed. Too embarrassing.
But she kept asking if I bought a special journal, every week when I came to see her. At first I forgot to get one every week, then I avoided it.
And of course, I finally bought one.
I wanted to learn, I wanted to stop doing what I was doing.
It was red leather, with no letters of any kind on the outside. Very thin, with beautiful college-ruled lines on the inside. I used my black felt-tip pen, my favorite.
In a journal of this kind, you are studying your own mind, without demanding that it change.
You’re seeing the worst, the disgusting, the outrageous, the terrible, the horrifying.
I wrote what I ate, what I appeared to crave (sometimes it was just anything consumable), and then….
….what I was feeling and/or thinking before the cravings began.
This was studying the cycle, instead of trying to forget about it.
Investigating what I was frightened of, or concerned about, or what I wanted to “forget” or “avoid”. Just like the journal itself.
Here’s the interesting thing that happened:
I wrote if I had any urge to binge, or about a binge I just had (always the case in the beginning that I wrote AFTER I was through the binge-eating-purging cycle).
Nothing changed at first.
Then I began to re-read some of my journaling entries, from previous days and weeks. My therapist asked me to look through the sections and read them out loud, or tell her what I was noticing.
Two weeks ago when I began eating after work, and ate all the way home in my car, and went straight to my room after passing my roommates in the kitchen…
…I had been frightened and angry because of the way my boss talked to me that morning.
The week before, one of my best friends got upset with me for ignoring his calls for a day, and later I had felt anxious in a similar way as when my boss spoke to me (resistant, angry, frightened) and wound up binge-eating.
The Saturday before that, I had talked with my parents long-distance and heard in their voices their wish that I would start paying my own student loans, but I knew I made so little money I didn’t know how to “fix” that problem and got scared…..and wound up overeating.
OMG! I have a problem with feeling fear!
Now…I had a clearer belief to question:
If you’re afraid, it’s awful. Feeling like you’re in danger is intolerable. All these things in my life are very frightening. Therefore I must find relief from life. Too scary.
But who would you be without the thought that feeling fear is intolerable? That you have to do something quick to alter yourself if you feel fear?
I’d feel the buzzing, fluttering, uncomfortable sensations of “fear”. It moves through the center of my body like a wave sending out signals, in my torso.
I’d notice that it’s not serious, it’s not the worst thing that ever happened, it’s only sensations, feelings.
I may not even call it “fear”.
“It’s what you are believing that causes stress in your life…When we’re believing something is scary, the mind will give you all the proof and images so that you cannot think beyond it. That is what the mind worships! It has to worship what its believing, otherwise who am I? I don’t know! But we have some identity here, even though terrified, we think we have some safety here.” ~ Byron Katie
Without the thought that something is scary, I notice how safe I am in the moment.
“In my view, there is no way to speak maturely about recovering from addiction without first seeing what it’s all about. It’s about the avoidance of painful or unpleasant thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Really sitting with emotions and sensations, without thought on them, is needed….When all emotions and sensations are seen to be temporary energies that pass when you place no thought on them, the avoidance stops. And so the addiction naturally releases itself.” ~ Scott Kiloby
Studying yourself, keeping a journal, noticing what is happening in the moment you crave….can be a door opening into relaxation and ending the cycle.
You might like it…
P.S. Eating Peace teleclass will begin, in new revised longer format, in August. Stay tuned for more information.