Thursday, April 25, 2013

How To Stop The Voices In Your Head

Today at work, spring sun glinting through the window, I glanced down and noticed a thin white stripe running across the back of my hand.  The light gave definition to the slightly raised ridge.  Shifting my hand I noticed a second stripe next to the first.  A smaller one next to that.  Moving my arm into the light, my smooth skin was replaced by a battle-scarred canvas.

I frowned.  How had I not noticed these before?  Granted, I knew what they were - I was the one, after all, who parted skin with sharp Kershaw again and again and again... Still, time has a way of dulling memories of pain and rage and ohmygodwillitevergetbetter.  It's funny, I was so sure I had emotionally and physically moved past those afflictions.  Maybe it's irony that today, a day steeped in depression, I noticed the little reminders left behind. 

Life tends to be cyclical.  Ever time I have a bad episode of depression, exasperated by my lovely-little ED, I assume it will be the last.  I'm always wrong, but the hope remains.  With it is the knowledge that as bad as things seem now, they will get better and I am STRONG enough to get through this.

I also know, in some ways, this is a perfectly normal part of life.  Even at my worst I tend to be optimistic.  You know, one of those annoying people always looking for the silver lining.  I know you can't truly appreciate the good times if you've never experienced the bad.  Things will get better.

Until then I am struggling to string together the fragments of my life.  Keeping certain things in check, while forcing myself through daily tasks.  My work is suffering.  I'm always distracted, which means little mistakes have been slipping through.  In most professions that would be okay (if not ideal), but for my job perfection is required.  Errors tend to be costly and time consuming to correct.  My supervisor has been somewhat understanding considering my excellent track record, but I can't help leaving work every day feeling like a failure.  It certainly doesn't help my general outlook.

I've also been seeing things.  Flashes of movement and critters that aren't really there.  Several times I've slammed on my breaks to avoid hitting imaginary animals.  Yesterday I stopped in the middle of the road to let a line of geese cross.  It wasn't until a car behind me honked that I realized all the birds had passed and I had been staring at nothing for several minutes. While on hikes I am constantly seeing dark shapes, darting in and out of the underbrush or hopping from tree to tree.  I don't know why my mind is playing these games with me.  I wish it would stop.

On a positive note, Brain Over Binge has greatly helped me.  While I haven't stopped the binging behavior, I am more aware of what's going on and am usually able to stop eating much sooner than would normally be possible.  It has also helped with thoughts of restricting and over exercising.  Though at times it feels like I've split my brain in two.  It's not unusual for me to hold entire conversations in my head.  Two separate entities whispering in a dark corner of my head cave.

One:  You better eat a big dinner so you'll have energy for your evening hike.

Two:  Are you sure this isn't an excuse to binge and then purge?

One:  No.  I need fuel for the hike.  I'm going to make good food choices: a grilled chicken wrap and a Larabar.  Both are chock full of the nutrients my body needs.

Two: Yes, but that doesn't change the fact that you're going to eat a big meal (i.e. binge) and then go for a long hike (i.e. purge).  Are you sure you wouldn't rather go home and read a book instead?  Wouldn't that be more healthy?  More normal?

One:  But the dogs need a walk.  They only got out for half an hour at lunch because I had errands.  Going straight home wouldn't be fair to them.  They've been cooped up in the car all day.

Two:  Okay, let's compromise.  Only eat the Larabar for dinner then go for a SHORT walk.  That would be healthy.  That would be normal.

One:  People eat grilled chicken wraps for dinner all the time.  They eat french fries and chips and other greasy food.  They also go for long walks in the evening.  This is normal behavior.  This is normal.

Two:  No.  This is your ED.  You are binging and purging.

One:  Does it matter?  If, in the end, the behavior is the same (i.e. big dinner then a long walk) does it matter the motives?  The motions are the same.  The body's reaction to the nutrients is the same.  That means I'm healthy, right?

Two:  *silence*

One:  Right?

I'm still trying to figure out which voice is my lower brain and which is my higher brain.   Someday.

Sigh.  Okay.  Time to go and pretend to smile. Time to pretend everything is okay.  I can hardly contain my excitement.


  1. I too am a victim of the split brain problem. I'm smart and well read on the psychological, cultural, and social factors that lead to eating disorders, as well as the long term health and mental effects, yet I still cling on to it. My brain tells me that I should eat more and get healthy while simultaneously telling me that I should eat less and stay thin. Sometimes it tells me that my body is repulsive because it is thin and sometimes it tells me its desirable because its thin. This makes for a very confused and stressed out Astoria! haha

    i have found that compromising with both sides helps. Like If one sides telling me to eat more, and the other less, I'll eat a little bit more than my usual calorie intake but not too much over what I feel comfortable with.
    it helps!

  2. Learning to eat normally after being a binge eater is the hardest! I can sympathize.


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