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Body dysmorphia: Monster compulsions.

Permanent Linkby margharris on Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:34 pm

It is true that you have to love yourself just as you are and take the risk that that is going to be OK. After all that is what we have to do throughout life as our bodies alter as the years advance. But when you have fragments of stories you create about yourself it becomes very hard to do. Seldom do you put all the story of what you do and why all together. Then you might have to make that judgement call that prompts you to stop. While you remain in a state of disconnect from all that you are, you remain compulsive.
Compulsions seem to start out as some reward that makes you feel better, but without any sense of the need to regulate them. The great feeling doesn’t last but the urge to do the action remains strong. You feel compelled and do whatever it is that the urge requires to just relieve this constant pressure. You become the bird caught in a cage of distress picking out its own feathers.
How do you break these compulsions that trap you in their web of lies. They never make you feel good. You seem to become more addicted to doing them until you are not even aware of doing them.
My son body checks all the time. In the midst of a serious cooking session, he would lift up his tshirt to have a quick look at body hair. A DHT story of how much testosterone he must be making will have followed. A few minutes later, I catch him doing it again. Do I say nothing or make him aware I am noticing him doing it and he should stop? I always run the risk of a blow up. He resents my intrusion more than he resents these urges. Will I be another neck rung today, as he defends his idea that his urges keep the monster at bay. Secretly, he knows he feeds the monster himself but doesn’t know how to stop.
We have mentioned mindfulness many times. Yesterday my son admitted he didn’t know how to do it. We talked about two techniques he could try to develop the skills. The first was to do things in “ slow mo”. Just the act of slow motion will make the things you do more conscious. Most of you will have very heightened anxiety and so are prone to racing thoughts, speech and physical actions. Deliberately moving slowly will have you become present in your true life, now.
The other technique is to do your own commentary. You talk yourself through the day about what you are doing. He tried this one when he went down the street for the daily grocery run. Always a stressful time, he was able to talk to himself about getting out of the car and what he needed to do. This made him more conscious of any body scanning he would have likely done on other people. He actually came home and commented that he had liked doing that. So maybe he will slowly develop something to become mindful of what he is doing rather than acting on automatic pilot.
Three icecreams bought in a day in the middle of winter? A sugar crave that once started is another monster to get back in the box. Haircutting, scissors in hand need their fix. Is it ever going to be OK to let this monster loose? Alcohol? If you have to quit then there is no better time than NOW. You just don’t want the monster of alcoholism and the generational damage that does in your family. Body touching, mirror checking, online browsing for cute celebs. If it feels like an urge that is not health promoting but results in your own negative appraisal or you feeling numb……. Then you are disconnecting from your true self in doing these actions. You are disconnecting from your own ability to judge and therefore manage what you do.
The pleasure principle means you do what benefits you. That instant gratification rather than seeing long term allows you to suspend judgement of what you do. So you defend three ice creams because you aren’t fat now. You defend hair cutting because people like it short. You defend alcohol, it is how you relax and make friends.
So you have to get real with the story you make up to defend whatever is your compulsion you have chosen to do. It is a monster in your life.
Setting your path to eliminate your compulsions isn’t easy. Maybe you have to start small and just chose one to tackle at a time. Just postponing a check for ten minutes is a step in mindfulness and control. My son has managed alcohol with the help of AA. Going to the meetings is helping him tell his story about compulsive drinking. Creating that whole story about your life is where love has to start. No fragmentation and left out bits. Get real and get Now.
Once you have tackled and eliminated one compulsion you will have established a pathway in your brain. A new circuit will have formed. You have made a judgement about a compulsion and actively chosen to stop. That one circuit should then act as a circuit breaker for any other compulsion you determine needs to be handled in the same way. The more you practice stopping, the more in control you will become. You will be actively loving yourself. Love is not a mindset but is expressed in ever action we take. Be mindful of how you treat yourself today.

Update on medication: The side effects haven’t been easy. Sexual side effects a big problem not fully managed by Viagra. Insomnia greatly improved with 2mg Melatonin SR. Night sweats still not good. Need to minimise sugar and fats. Berry smoothies a better option for evening nibbles than Doritos.

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