Saturday, August 15, 2009

Give yourself a chance

Several weeks ago, C., my therapist, said to me, "You never give yourself a chance." At the time, this statement was in context to a discussion on my sleeping habits which has been an issue for a long time. We tend to disagree slightly on how and why my sleeping habits are the way they are. C. looks at it as more of a self-care issue, whereas I see it as "I don't need as much sleep" as other people (this study looks at a genetic basis for those who need less sleep than other people) and as a pure habit, like biting my fingernails. (this is despite the evidence which suggests that I probably am sleep deprived) She tells me that whenever I decide to change that behavior, she'll be there with open arms (sleep is one of her specialties)

It's not really that I haven't tried changing my sleeping habits, it's rather that I've tried it, but then come to the conclusion that it doesn't work. This would make complete sense if I actually gave myself the chance to really determine if it would work through a lengthy duration rather than say oh a few days or week. The other scenario is that I've tried it, it works for awhile, and then slowly I fall back into my old ways. I find this type of pattern also intercedes into other areas of my life. Take for example medications. I admit to being incredibly impatient. Like many people, if I take something, I want to see the effects work NOW, not wait and twiddle around, tweaking the dosages ad nauseum. If I actually decide to take a medication, I have been known to take myself off of them. Yes, that was not wise all the time, but I either a) felt it was worthless and made no difference or b) I was actually feeling better (now of course, this couldn't be the medication was my thinking) Failed logic yes.

Besides medications and sleep, there are other issues that come to mind: gaining weight/weight maintenance, recovery, taking risks in life, etc. I think a lot of people may feel similar, so I won't go into elaborate details but the same kind of pattern exists. We have fears and are afraid to deviate from the familiar. We get used to feeling/behaving one way even if we know there is something better beyond the horizon. I know for me, another major issue is fear of disappointment, especially at certain times about recovery (Carrie wrote an excellent post about the
meaning of recovery) It's one reason why there are still times when I feel jaded about life and try to keep anything that I really do want in life (relationships, dating, etc) low key with no expectations.

So I pose the question, how many of us really give ourselves a chance? And if you don't, what are your fears? What would giving yourself a chance entail?

Note--* I'm not against medications when you really need them, I just have a difficult time when it comes to me. You can read more about my medication dilemmas here and here

*Sometimes, I find this incredibly ironic, because I have super skills with being patient in other areas of my life, like dog training, people, learning something interesting, etc.


Kim said...

I love this idea of giving yourself a chance. Like you, I get impatient with everything. I have sleep issues, weight gain issues, etc. If I gave myself a chance, it would mean consistently making an effort with gaining weight. It would mean accepting those nights when I'm anxious and can't sleep (and, for me, not popping a pill to make it better). I think the key (for me) is patience.

Eating Alone said...

Ummm, sure I can give myself a chance. I like the concept it's putting it into practice that scares me. That streak of all or nothing, if I try and fail I catasrophise it to the world ending. But I'm trying more things now. Now I just have to find a thing to give myself a chance on.

The_Timekeeper said...

If I really gave myself a chance to take advantage of all the treatment opportunities available to me, I would have to sit with ambiguity; commit to the entirety of a program w/o demanding timelines or imposing my own; I would have to surrender to the recommendations, insight and feedback of my treatment team over my own sense of self, wellness (driven, usually, by anxiety); I would have to admit that I'm really not OK and that high-functioning and non-emergent doesn't equate to stability or issue-resolution; and I would have to reconcile with the idea that taking care of myself and abdicating anorexia means I would feel vulnerable all the time.

I Hate to Weight said...

great insight. i don't give myself much of a chance. i go one or two days w/out weighing myself, one day without sleeping pills, one day not over-spending...

what would happen if i gave myself a chance?

Tiptoe said...

Kim, impatience is hard to deal with. I do try to remember what rewards and positive outcomes can be reaped.

Eating Alone, trying new things is a great start. Trying to give yourself can be anything, even what seems like something small.

Time_keeper, thank you for your honesty. It pains me that you are in this predicament. I hope you can give yourself a chance at tx. I'm sure it would be very scary, but your health is at risk.

Vulnerability is such a hard place to feel, but sometimes it's the only way to free us to heal.

I hopw you give yourself a chance. I think it could be worthwhile.

Wrapped up in Life said...

I think I rarely give myself a chance. Learning to do it, but it's like running around in circles most of the time. What am I afraid of? Messing up. Making a mistake. I'm not a perfectionist, I'm an anti-mistake-nist!