I wrote this blog in December 2016. At the time I was going through a difficult break up and never posted it. I just came across it on my desk and thought it could help those struggling with urges.
Two nights ago I had an urge to purge. It’s not surprising since I am in the midst of ending a relationship that is very important to me. My emotions have ranged from anger to deep sadness to apathy to doubt to confusion to peace. During my long history with anorexia and bulimia I coped with my feelings through restricting or purging. These behaviors allowed me to escape the suffering temporarily, however was in no way a long term solution.
So when the urge struck I got up from watching TV, brushed my teeth and went to bed- in essence I left the situation. I was able to recognize that I was experiencing difficult emotions. I was mindful of the urge to purge and mindful that I can have an urge and not act on it.
I used “REPLAY THE TAPE” in the moment:
If I purge, I will feel shame…
If I feel shame, I will use food to cope…
If I use food to cope, I will binge…
If I binge, I will purge…
And the destructive cycle will gain momentum. NOT ON MY WATCH! Use these positive coping skills when eating disorder urges come up:
- Leave the triggering situation- I moved to another room in my house; you can also leave the situation by taking a drive or going to a coffee shop.
- Replay the tape- Think about what will happen if you do act on the urge. What will happened next? And after that?
- Call someone for support – Talk to someone about your urge. Put in out there. Do not keep it inside.
- Remind yourself that you do not have to act on the urge- This concept changed my life. You can have an urge and not act.
- Sit with your feelings-most feelings last seconds and will eventually dissipate.
- Use positive self-talk- “You can get through this.” “You are strong and determined.”
We can recover one day at a time.