Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

the power of the conscious mind


We have this tendency to blame our unconscious for many things: our fears and desires, our habits and tendencies, our addictions.  The power of the unconscious mind is a phrase that comes to mind. 

I’d like to refute that phrase completely, but I know I have my own fears and tendencies that inexplicable, that just seem to be.  My eating disorder began as an unconscious way to deal with stress I couldn’t handle.  However, at some point, it became a conscious choice to continue with the eating disorder rather than seek recovery. 

For those of you who don’t know, I have Bipolar Disorder, and I recently went through a severe depressive episode.  Getting out of bed was a chore, hence my lack of writing here.  More important than the lack of motivation and energy to write, however, was how I unconsciously started slipping into old habits of dealing with depression: restricting my food intake. I found the numbness easier to handle than the depression.  It only took a week and the pattern of restriction led to the old eating disordered thoughts.  I am grateful for a therapist who believes in proactive action rather than reactive action.  He and I talked about what was happening and why, and more importantly, what would happen if I continued to restrict.  So often, relapses “just happen” and I hear “there was nothing I could do to stop it.”  But I came face to face with the fact that I had a choice about the path I was about to take.  Whether or not I decided to relapse was completely in my hands. 

Personally, I was overwhelmed and terrified.  I had never started to slip without it turning into a full-blown relapse and needing to go in the hospital to turn things around.   Have you ever made a list of all the reasons why you can’t afford to relapse?  And put on that list the biggies such as “I could die” to the little things like “If I’m in a hospital I can’t knit things for people”?  It’s a powerful exercise, because it forces you to see every little thing that you would be giving up by relapsing. I made that list, and it made me see just how much I did not want to follow the old patterns, however familiar they were.  I decided I was going to forge a new path, and that I was going to turn things around on my own.  I’m not saying it was easy.  But I kept in close contact with my therapist, and I set my mind to following a plan that would get me back on track. I had friends that were supporting me.  I had the list, reminding me of all I stood to lose.  And I didn’t want to lose a single thing.  Sometimes, the power of the conscious mind is much more powerful than the unconscious mind.

****please note, I am not in any way saying that someone should not go inpatient or seek medical treatment if necessary.  I myself have needed the help of inpatient facilities to turn things around in the past.  If you are at a point where you are choosing recovery, but know that you need extra help, please seek appropriate care. ****

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July 6, 2011 - Posted by | bipolar disorder, coping, depression, Eating Disorders, recovery

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