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Facing Your Fears

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:35am

Regardless of who you plan to vote for in November, no one can deny that we live in a scary world right now.

Gas and food prices are through the roof, age-old financial markets are crashing, the housing market sucks … and that’s just talking about the economy.

Add in the health care crisis, global warning, lack of true energy security, fear of terrorism, racism, sexism … it’s simply not “pretty times.”

And the icing on the cake: disordered eating issues! (and in-laws who have overstayed their welcome by, oh, about three weeks! I genuinely think I wouldn’t have been half as bothered had it been two weeks. Really!)

If you’re an anxious person like I am, you’ll understand why all these things help keep me up at night.

Sometimes it seems like worrying about our weight or food or workouts or waist size is monumental … and other times, it seems trivial in light of all the craptastic things going on in our world. It just depends on the day for me.

Some say we ought to face our fears head-on. In therapy terms, that would be equated to “flooding.”

Putting someone who is afraid of heights in a hot-air balloon. Making someone who is afraid of spiders touch one. Encouraging someone who hates public speaking to make a presentation to her peers.

But when it comes to the fear of, say, a disordered eater getting “fat,” there’s not one tangible solution or way to face it other than changing how we perceive ourselves … and that takes time.

I think one way to change that fear would be slowly easing into living like a naturally thin person: eating til satisfied, exercising when I can, enjoying a glass of wine with dinner, savoring a dark chocolate bar.

I know that these are tactics Dr. G. and I will be exploring once my in-laws leave and my therapy sessions are no longer devoted to getting through this particular challenging time: systematic desensitization.

While we can’t necessarily do anything at-this-second about the state of the economy or the condition of our school systems or the way the world perceives us, we can control what we put into our mouths … and how we feel about ourselves when we take a bite.

Which is why I need to take another vow today to not chew-and-spit.

It’s only hurting me, and I know it. If I’m being honest, I fear (as a friend noted to me today) that I’ll continue chewing-and-spitting to deal with anxiety if I don’t nip it now.

It’s time for me to face that one head-on.

How about you? What is *your* biggest fear at the moment? Weight-loss-wise or otherwise?

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