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There are so many things that challenge me when it comes to recovery. Trying to pinpoint just one is nearly impossible. For me, the challenge arises in eating my six meals a day, eating fear foods, staying away from certain behaviours, and becoming a master in my own mind.
However, the whole point of this week is to choose just one.
Back To Basics.
Going by some of my recent CBT appointments, my biggest challenge appears to be learning to identify, feel and then fully manage my emotions. I’ve used many negative coping strategies to cover up or ‘mask’ what I’m feeling. It doesn’t necessarily stop with starving and involves a whole other host of harmful techniques such as self-harm, drinking, and recreational drug use on occasion.
I’m trying to undo twenty-six years of unhealthy coping mechanisms and replace them with self-acceptance.
However, I’m learning that I’m not alone, and emotional regulation isn’t just an issue for me, but for many other people in the world. Being in touch with our feelings is not something we don’t do in modern society because we have so many distractions around us to help us filter them out.
A great tool for learning about emotional regulation, and its correlation with disordered eating habits, is Karen R. Koenig’s book ‘The food and feelings workbook; A full course meal on emotional health‘.
I’m learning how to walk again essentially and a great tool for that is a book by Karen R. Koenig called ‘The food and feelings workbook; A full course meal on emotional health.
I was recommended this book by my therapist in January. She described it as being the bible of learning to eat again in recovery. Desperate for anything to work, and an avid self-help book owner, I left her office, sat in the car park of M&S, and clicked ‘Purchase‘.
I’ve been working through the chapters for the last couple of months, and have found that I related exactly to what the author is describing on almost every page!
“Some sentences read as if they are taken straight from my mind.”
Moving through the book at my own pace has given me the confidence and hope that I can overcome anorexia once and for all. I’m using this along with therapy, but for those who don’t have the luxury of treatment, this book is an excellent starting point to explore your relationship with feelings and food.
It’s not a quick fix, takes time and determination. I’ve read over some of the chapters again and again before they finally managed to sink in. But if you’re ready to try something different and have the motivation to improve your relationship with food, then I say go for it.