Skills and Strategies—the pros and cons (Having an ED vs Giving it up)
Posted Apr 18 2009 12:00am
One skill that has really helped me regain perspective on my eating disorder, and in fact all my destructive coping strategies, has been to look at the pros and cons of the behaviour. In DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy) we are taught to look at both the pros and cons of continuing a behaviour and the pros and cons of stopping/giving up the behaviour.
And it is really useful to look at both because you can see:
What you feel you gain from having an eating disorder (however irrational the ideas may be)
What you eating disorder has 'cost' - physically, emotionally, socially, financially etc.
What you can gain from giving up the eating disorder
What is holding you back from recovering.
So I'd like to share with you my own ED pros and cons.
Pros - Having an ED
numbs negative thoughts and feelings
sense of control
sense of purpose
lowers people's expectation of me
replaces the "need" for self-harm
Distracts me from the painful memories
Makes me unattractive to others and therefore prevents a romantic relationship
Online community - feel "connected"
Gives me an identity - its who I am
Able to hide from the "real world"
Cons - Having an ED
I am one-minded
Unable to work or study
Medical/ Health issues
loss of sensation in fingers and toes
body temp issues
increase suicidal ideation
"Pity looks" from friends/family
Isolated from friends/family
Pros - Giving up my ED
Alleviation of psychological/medical issues
Increase sense of self-esteem
Becoming a "whole" person again
The chance to grow and learn new things
To "get a life"
Show others that I have strength
Be able to help others
Cons - Giving up my ED
Scary new territory
Dealing with painful memories
Feel like I wont "need" Kirsten/Dr C and I'm not ready to leave therapy