It was Friday and I was mid-emotional breakdown, explaining to my therapist in exceedingly frustrated tones that I was sick of this shit – recovery and food and interacting with people and my weight and exercising and various other aspects of every little thing – there was no talking to me, I was convinced. Life sucked. It was some time after this hour or so of internal (and external) screaming, I had one of my trademark epiphanies.
There is a part of my mind that I do not identify with in the slightest, and yet it is probably the most ingrained part of me – the part that rationalises my compulsions away, that longs for instant gratification and the approval of others, the part that only sees one solution. More than one health professional has advised me to treat that part of my mind as an unruly child.
So how should one treat a child that is screaming and having a tantrum until she gets her way? Shame her, berate her, starve her, make her get sick, physically harm her, until one day she obeys you? Kids who live like this don’t turn out the ideal picture of health and contentedness – they end up more messed up than before.
Now, think about the child in the supermarket who is having a fit over wanting two chocolate bars. Does the mother slap her? No, she takes the chocolate away – not from a place of shaming or hatred, but from a place of love – all she wants is for the child to be healthy, not sick from overeating or too full to eat dinner. So she stops her child and explains – explains that the hungry child will get her dinner soon, explains that the tired child will have a nap, explains that the upset child will get hug. Because the mother, with all the wisdom and experience of life, knows that food is not always the answer.
Of course, at the age of 20, there is nobody holding my hand walking through the supermarket. But there is the side of me that knows what I need, that knows when I need to eat and sleep and ask for a hug. Its just a matter of that part of me, the part of me that is happy to be a mom to the people I know, to be strong enough to talk to that little girl who just needs someone to guide her along when things get tough.
And if I can talk to her mid-emotional breakdown, then I can learn to talk to her in the event of day-to-day discontent too.