Sunday, January 8, 2012

Not Proud, Not Ashamed

Yesterday something interesting happened...something that reminded me of many days gone by, of how far I've come, and yet of how far I still have to go.  I don't think it's something that many people would admit to doing at this point in the journey to wellness but I want to release myself from the secrecy of all negative behaviours and bring awareness to people while helping others let go of any shame they may feel if they experience similar things.

Last evening, I was preparing my snack and went to toss my fruit peels in the garbage can.  My eyes fixated on a small piece of papaya sitting on the top of the rubbish in the bin.  Nearly without thinking, I reached in, grabbed the piece of papaya and ate it.

I was upset immediately although I didn't say anything.  I just chewed and swallowed without tasting or thinking.  Why did I do that?  I was cutting up my own papaya so it wasn't a desire for something I wasn't going to have.  I wasn't actually hungry and even when I do expereince hunger it is not a desperate hunger that previously would have driven me to garbage cans...I actually couldn't identify WHY I would do that.

What is it about me that makes me so unworthy in my mind?  Could that not be the only answer?  If a person holds themselves in high enough esteem, eating something from the garbage would not cross their mind, there would be no compulsion.  If I put a friend in my shoes I would feel painfully sorry for them for thinking that that piece of fruit was anywhere near being why is it okay for me?  The answer is that it's not. 

It was not a conscious act of degredation or punishment.  In fact, there was not a lot conscious about it at all.  It was thoughtless but there was still that force inside me that made me act in that way and allow that negative behaviour to take control.

So, it was a reminder of where I have been.  I have never been very open about the desperate lengths I went to to allow myself to consume food and let my body digest it.  In attempts to keep myself alive, there were many times where leftovers from trash cans were the only option and with a face wet with tears and fear in my heart I would grab any scraps I could see and mindlessly shove them into my mouth.  There was a constant tape of thoughts telling me how worthless I was and how disgusting I was for doing this and that I was out of control as well as the thoughts that justified it:  this is not actually food; it is so gross that I am worthy of it; it has sat here for so long there should be less nutrients in it so it won't make me fat; etc.  This time, there was none of that and I do not believe those thoughts any longer. There is not that drive to keep myself alive because I am constantly taking care of my phsyical self...

Being a solitatry behaviour and unaccompanied by any conscious thought, I was able to pat myself on the back and recognize that I have made great strides.  This is the first time I have done such a seemingly unthinkable act since I have been in treatment this is really just one time in 6.5 months.  The fact that I saw it for what it was:  an act of low worth - and I stopped and knew that that wasn't right and that I didn't deserve to treat myself like that; and immediately I put someone else in my shoes and judged myself on the same level which helped give me compassion for myself.  These aspects of the experience really prove how far I have come.

However, the fact that the compulsion took over and the thoughtless behaviour occured reminds me of the work I have yet to do and resigns me to keep pressing forward in my understanding of myself, the reversal of the negative messages that I have fed myself for so long, and reinforces my need to be on high alert at all times still to guard myself against the beast that is dying slowly inside but still fights back with a vengeance at times.

It was a great learning experience and one I hope never to have to go through again.  It's interesting how lessons happen and actually how every little behaviour can be one to learn from.

Today I treated myself to popcorn at the theater as I took in the new Sherlock Holmes with my parents.  I later enjoyed a deliscious scallop curry dinner accompanied by a light and fruity Italian white wine.  I learned through my interactions at dinner but not in ways that pertain to this post.

With my head held high and much love,

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