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Fight between mind and body

Posted Apr 05 2011 12:59am
Much of the writing about anorexia is couched in the terms of mind vs. body.  Perhaps it is something of the nature of eating disorders; perhaps it is our conception of what an eating disorder is.  As hunger pulls at your gut, you tell yourself "mind over matter," as you crack open yet another can of Diet Coke.  Starving, you tell yourself, is an all-out war with your body, and your mind is determined to win.

Recovery, then, seems like capitulation.  Surrender.  Okay, stupid body, you win.  I'm waving the white flag. You couldn't vanquish your body and so you break down and eat.

Or, in my case, lay off the exercise, too. 

This past slip didn't see a return of the full-blown exercise addiction that I've shown in the past.  But the urges did increase somewhat, and now I've been advised to basically cease all activity until my weight starts trending upwards.

I know my body needs this to heal.  I try to think about my heart, liver, and kidneys.

But then I start worrying about my mind.  How am I going to stay sane if I am sedentary?  Some people exorcise their demons, but exercise mine.  The repetitive motion is soothing--I'm like a baby being rocked.  And as much as I hate the fatigue, it does turn the volume down (however slightly) on the worries and obsessions.

So exercise right now seems good for my mind and bad for my body, which pits me right back at the crux of the matter.  Of course, exercise addiction is a Very Bad Thing for my brain over the long term.  Anxiety, however, rarely takes the long view.  Sure, it obsesses about the future, but when in the throes of anxiety and stress, all I'm thinking is make this stop NOW.  The long term can go screw itself for all I care.  I'm not going to be around for the long term if I can't ratchet down the anxiety--or at least, not around and sane.

I'm struggling to find something half as soothing as exercise.  Today was especially hard, as the day was warm and sunny.  Perfect day, I thought, for a bike ride.  Except, oops, I messed up and now going out for a spin wasn't in the cards.  So I crocheted this evening, all gloom and doom and look at me working on this motherf*cking project like a good little girl. Woo woo. {{Say it in an Eeyore voice.}}

Healing my body will heal my mind.  I'm trying to tell my fat starved neurons that avoiding a good sweat is good for me, really it is.  My neurons aren't buying a word of it.  That doesn't make it untrue, just pathetically unbelievable. 
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