Over the next several months, I will be sharing excerpts from my memoir that I'm writing, titled Digesting Life. The story of my struggle and recovery from an eating disorder is the basis for what led me to create the KARMA Method, the signature coaching and therapeutic method used by Bespoke Wellness Partners. These excerpts are glimpses into my past that I have identified as pivotal steps in my recovery story and, therefore, are strongly linked with the steps outlined in KARMA. My hope is that maybe some of these stories will resonate with you or make you more aware of where you are on your specific journey with whatever struggles you may be facing. You can read last week’s here.
When I was 21 years old, I hit what I would consider my rock-bottom moment of my struggle with my eating disorder. I binged for a full day without stopping and then towards nighttime, I felt like my heart was beating so fast that I was dying. I sat down with a pile of paper and started writing what came to be about 100 pages of material that was a word vomit of everything that I had been holding inside for so many years and hadn’t shared with anyone. At the time, I actually believed this would be my memoir or final goodbye because I believed that I was dying.
Writing had always been cathartic for me. Sharing with others never came very easily to me even with the people who were supposedly closest to me. I always thought that having problems meant that I was weak. The very fact that I was binging represented a sense of loss of control and I was supposed to be this person who was in control of everything. I wanted to be perfect. I always had. Being seen as “perfect” was so important to me even while inside my world was crashing down right in front of me.
At this pivotal moment of awareness, I was living away from my family with my older sister who I thought didn’t know anything. Even now, I’m not sure how she didn’t figure it out when I would spend hours in the bathroom flushing the toilet and leaving the shower on so that she couldn’t hear me purging over and over and over again.
I often wonder why it is that it is so very hard for us to ask for help when we need it. Why is it that we hold so many difficult thoughts and feelings inside that if we shared would bring us so much comfort?
Here is a small part of one entry from my diary from many years ago:
I wish you could answer me sometimes, because it is during difficult times like this that I need advice and guidance, and I can’t go to anyone. I am here in this strange place all by myself, and I don’t know what to do with my feelings and thoughts. I am so overwhelmed and confused, and instead of thinking with my head, I follow my emotions.
I need help.
Please help me. Direct me.
I am so lucky to have you.
Will be in touch soon.
I knew I needed help for years but was incapable of asking for it. Instead, I used my writing to acknowledge how much I was struggling and needed help. Looking back now, I know that I lacked some of the communication skills necessary to reach out to people who loved me.
KARMA is based on several psychological practices and theories, one of which is Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT. DBT is an effective treatment for people who struggle to manage their emotions, stress, relationships, and impulsive behaviors. DBT combines CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with mindfulness practice. One of the major skill sets associated with DBT are Interpersonal Effectiveness skills, which teach helpful strategies for asking for what one needs, saying no, and coping with interpersonal conflict.
There are a lot of components to interpersonal effectiveness, and I spend many weeks with my clients on this section of the KARMA Method. One roadblock to these skills is something called “worry thoughts.” Things like, “they won’t like me,” “she’ll think I’m stupid,” “I’m a bad person, I don’t even deserve help” are all examples of worry thoughts.
If you are struggling with something right now, I want you to ask yourself: Have you asked for help? Will you allow yourself to ask for help? Will you release yourself from finding the answers all on your own? Will you accept that you are worthy enough to ask for help?
I hope that reading this will inspire you to reach out for support.