Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dood. Heavy stuff.

Had something of a *lightbulb* moment today in my session. I was lamenting the fact that though I have corrected a lot - and I mean a lot - of my destructive eating patterns, I still seem to be hanging on by my fingernails. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak.

Fighting with myself.

Let me repeat that, because it's important.

Fighting with myself.

That is exactly what it's been like since I started this journey in January '08. For the most part, I've been winning the fight, but it's still been a fight. Fighting every meal to consume only the portion I need, not the portion I want. Fighting to be mindful about what I eat, when I eat, where I eat, how I eat, how long it takes me to eat. Fighting to get myself to exercise on a regular basis. Fighting constant brain noise and thoughts of things my body has no use for, but some primal part of my brain wants - the fight any addict fights.

Truth is, all this time, I haven't been fighting with myself metaphorically. I've been fighting with myself literally. My child self.

Every time I struggle with myself, there's this dialogue going on in my head. It's constant and all-consuming. I just realized today, with lots of help, that the dialogue is between my higher self - the adult self that wants things done right - and the child self - who wants what she wants when she wants it and that's all she knows.
What the hell are you doing? How are you going to lose weight, eating right before you go to bed? For Chrissakes, it's 11:30! Don't you remember, we don't eat after 8pm?
Look. I'm a little hungry. And cereal sounds really good right now.
Seriously. You're going to eat. Then go to sleep? What is the purpose of that? How about just go to bed and before you know it you'll be asleep and a couple of hundred calories lighter.
Cereal. With banana. Yep. Mmmmmmm.
*irritated* Just go to bed.
*munch* *munch*
Ok. Great. You got your cereal snack. Not too damaging. Go to bed now.
*pours another bowl of cereal*
What are you doing?!
That was good. I want more. *munch* *munch*
*exasperated sigh* You realize we're losing control here, right?
Is there any chocolate around here? I want chocolate. *looks around for chocolate*
*extreme frustration* YOU DON'T NEED CHOCOLATE!
*fingers in ears* la la la la la la la la
And this is the struggle every day. Every hour. On really rough days, I count the minutes.

Now, however, I have the tools to talk to this little girl who wants. I've been talking to her all this time, however now, I've learned the correct way to interact with her.

Some things I learned today:
  • Give names to the higher self and child self to identify them
  • Let the child self speak first
  • The adult self should be understanding, and show support and compassion, be forgiving, and know and acknowledge the power the child self holds
  • Stop fighting! My therapist described it as "trying to talk down a five year old with a gun" - let the child self know you're on her side, wanting only to support and help, not to control.

As I rolled this information around in my head, I realized suddenly that I already know how to talk to my child self. I already know. I would never speak to my fiance's 7 year old daughter the way I talk down to myself. Even when she tests me. Even when she frustrates me. Even when she's outright defiant (which is blessedly rare, she's such a good kid) - I would never be so negative and disrespectful as I am with my own child self.

We've got a lot of talking to do.

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