So, over the last few months, I’ve been attending counselling sessions at my local mental health clinic to get to the root of my eating disorder and try and silence the horrid thoughts that swim around my head on a daily basis. Since November, I’ve started to identify the difference between what is a thought in my head and what is fact, and to distract myself with something positive when I’m feeling overwhelmed.
Walking has become a new thing for me. Call it avoidance, but whenever I feel like I’ve eaten too much or feel uncomfortable in my situation, I’ll go for a walk (even in the rain, which in Scotland is basically all the time) and phone my brother.
My younger brother is just that. Young. I’ve not burdened him with what I’m going through, because he’s doing his exams this year and doesn’t need another thing to worry about. In a sense, it’s sad because the person I love and trust most in this world doesn’t know just how much pain I’m suffering every day, but to be honest, it’s sort of a good thing too. It means no awkward questions, and we just chat about anything and everything else, making our phonically a welcome break in my day.
This las week however, I learned an extra tactic- a quicker one that getting dressed and going for a walk if I’m pushed for time- that I genuinely think will help. It’s a bit out there, and I don’t know exactly how medically or scientifically accurate it is as a coping mechanism. But you never know! My new phrase?
What would J say?
Throughout therapy, I’ve always been honest about who I know to be my true friends, who’s always had my back, no judgement, no bitching, no gossiping. I am truly, truly blessed to have two very special people in my life who I know I can talk to about anything. Even if it isn’t about my ED, if I’ve had a horrible encounter with a new guy, had a volcano of a spot on my face, had food poisoning or if something funny in general has happened in my life, I know they want every single gory little detail. What are friends for right?
So these two, let’s just use their first initials- G and J, have always been open and honest with me (I hope anyway, or our whole friendship has been a lie), and if I ever get involved with someone new, they’re the first test to pass. G and J don’t like you? Get out my life.
So, during my therapy sessions, my counsellor has come to know about my friends. G’s never-ending joy and ability to see the funny side of every situation she gets herself into; the bombscures of nights out the three of us have together, and of course, J’s directness and dry sense of humour.
He is so dry, in fact, that it took me ages to realise at the beginning of our friendship that he actually liked me. His ‘take no bullshit’ attitude is actually inspiring, and his honesty is just something else altogether.
And that’s how it came about.
After a few sessions, my counsellor started asking me what I thought of certain aspects of myself. And I answered. He looked at me, then said ‘What would J say to that?’ or ‘Would J agree?’ and honestly, 8/10 times I ask myself this question about a negative thought I’m having, J’s response would probably be
‘Shut the heck up, you know that’s not true so stop saying it.‘
Though this isn’t a miracle cure and doesn’t help drive away all negative feelings, it is a way in which I am able to detach myself from the situation and try and distinguish whether my thoughts are telling me stories or if they are indeed, fact.
So, the next time you feel down, or particularly anxious about something, ask yourself: ‘what would insert name of friend here say? Would they agree with me?’
Chances are, the answer will be no, and if that makes you feel even a tiny bit better, it’s a step in the right direction.