Saturday, September 19, 2009

The question of validation

After my last post and crying for four days straight, I finally picked myself up and got back on track both emotionally and nutritionally. There wasn't a real clarity, but at least my thinking capacity was slightly better.

As you know from my last post, I have been pretty worried about Baxter, my oldest dog. It was heart-wrenching to watch him suffer 3 grand
mal seizures within a period of 28 hours. By Monday, he had a few petit mal seizures, tremors, and many falling down episodes. On Tuesday, I took him to the vet to get labs drawn. The labs were within normal limits with only a slight elevation of lipase which wasn't significant. While we were there, Baxter who was already stressed, had a number of tremors and episodes of falling down. Since I had a keen eye for what was happening, I tried to catch Baxter's every fall. I pointed out to the vet that this was what was happening. Since he was not sure the reasons for the seizures and these episodes, he referred Baxter to a canine neurologist in TN.

The earliest appointment I could get was Monday, so that is where I will be all day. Since Tuesday, Baxter's tremors and episodes have decreased in frequency and duration. Today was the first day in almost a week where he did not fall uncontrollably or have tremors. This is of course good news, and I almost thought about cancelling the appointment. I already contacted the vet via e-mail, so he is expecting me.

The feeling I can't shake about all this is the whole validation aspect. Though I hated to see poor Baxter have tremors and fall down at the vet, I was kind of glad too. This way the vet saw exactly what I was talking about. He knew I wasn't somehow making it up or that he was really okay, etc. So now, I worry that this neurologist will think there isn't a problem since he doesn't appear to be having seizures or tremors at the moment (This is obviously not my intelligent side of my brain talking here)

This thinking correlates with my eating disorder validation analysis of myself too. I've never truly fit the criteria nor physically looked the part of an eating disorder person (yes, I'm well aware you can have an eating disorder at any weight), but at the same time, the majority of professionals who've treated me have never doubted me either. Therefore, it doesn't make sense to me where I even get this thinking from. At this point, I know it doesn't matter, it's just that this aspect of validation keeps reappearing in my life in a variety of ways that are not conducive to my health. And I tend to have such a hard time letting it go or accepting it.

I guess the question boils down to why do I need such validation? What do I hope to gain from it? I don't know the answers to either honestly, but
for whatever reason this question keeps me up at night.

Question: do you have validation issues? Do you have questions/thoughts that keep you up at night?

Note--*I'm still placing my blog on private for a short time, but it will be next week sometime. If you want to be added, just send me an e-mail through my profile page.

10 comments:

M said...

Validation is a basic human need ... babies look to their caregivers for validation of their unmet needs, an emotional connection, to understand the world.

Maybe family culture for you didn't offer validation in the way you needed (b/c sometimes kids and parents are mismatched, stylewise/emotion-wise) ... and this just continues to pop up for you.

Whether it was childhood or an "adult-onset" vulnerability, it's clear that you have an unmet need ... and maybe it's as simple as someone saying in verbal and/or non-verbal ways that you are "OK" or a good person, good pet-owner, "good enough" just as you are.

Even if you get that kind of feedback and validation, however, the hard part for people who are perfectionistic or hard on themselves ... is embracing and internalizing the external messages. If you're still kicking yourself on the inside or full of self-doubt or self-esteem demons, all the external validation in the world will fall flat.

I don't know what the answer is ... but it seems like a two-fold issue ... getting your needs met/finding validation in the way that resonates with you ... and then internalizing the feedback.

I'm keep both you and Baxter in my thoughts and hope the appointment goes well. Take good care and be well!

The_Timekeeper

Eating Alone said...

I totaly get it. The other day blogged about not looking sick enough or something (I was in a bad place). I always thought well I'm fat so I can't have an ED. Now I'm down to I'm still fat so I can have a problem. Of course I also think that no one will take me serious unless I get down to 110, I'm a 5'10" guy. That would just about kill me.

The ED talk will never let me believe that I'm sick. If I'm sick I might try and get help. If I get help then it DIES!! I'm doing my best to kill it but I still ask my therapist all the time, "Are you sure I'm sick?" She calmly, most of the time, will tell me yes. With lots of eye rolls.

ola said...

Fingers crossed for your and Baxter's Monday's visit! There are some methods for provoking seizures (in human medicine), so maybe your vet could do it (but personally I find it bit brutal and I think you will be able t describe Baxter's problems).

I definitely have validation issues. I think in me it is connected with my numbers and definitions obsession. My "logic": Until my temperature is 38°C, I "have no right" to feel sick, so I am not allow to rest. Until my BMI is not under X I don't have right to see a therapist and so on. And because weight seems to be the only "objective" measure of ED, I am still afraid that now, after treatment and weight gain my anxiety will be just inside, subjective and invisible.

I keep reminding myself these thoughts are sick. That even if my problem would be subjective, it IS a problem and I deserve help and cure.

One more wish of good luck to you and Baxter!

Kim said...

Aww, first of all, I hope Baxter is ok!! Please keep us posted on his vet appointment.

And, yes, validation is something I definitely seek. Always. I remember before I went into treatment, I tried to lose weight because I thought they wouldn't believe that I was sick. I guess this is just a form of denial of the illness. And it's also that paradox of wanting to be seen, but wanting to disappear. Like, "No, I don't have a problem, but look, I really do." It is especially hard with all the weight criteria attached to EDs. I'm well-aware of when my thinking is "anorexic," and it's been at higher weights than I am now, and at lower weights. I think it comes down to trusting ourselves, knowing in our hearts what we need and not caring as much about what others think. That's something I struggle with pretty often.

Kristina said...

Like others, yes, yes, yes to the validation issue. I wrote this summer about the knee issue, and how I was almost relieved, as crazy as that sounds, to have a *real* problem with my knee.
I think some of the validation maybe comes from lack of self-trust (along the lines of what Kim said). I don't trust myself enough to say, "I know that that X or Y is off/wrong/whatever."
I'm glad that you are taking Baxter to a specialist, and I hope that goes well.
Take care of yourself too.

Telstaar said...

Oh my yes! I have ME/CFS which I"ve had since I was 11...there is no question in my mind that I am sick when I'm puking constantly, in abnormally high amounts of pain or so tired that I simply am going to collapse if I move...but if I function at all...then I doubt it and think I am just lazy. Similarly with the eating disorder. I've had so many people doubt me, not believe me, ignore me, invalidate me...that I've learnt to question myself too.

Oh yes, I have plenty of validation issues. I know that something is not right with my thinking when I HOPE for something to show up on the blood test, not because I want another disease, but because I want something that is PROVABLE and can be seen in objective form!

I understand where you're coming from with Baxter, I hope that he DOES have the tremors just once more (only) for the Vet and never again after that.

Good luck! xoxo

Tiptoe said...

I posted a nice reply in response to each of you, but for some reason my comp would not send.

Anyway, it is disheartening that so many of us deal with this topic. As several of you said it is about learning to trust yourself, feeling confident of your decisions, believing in yourself, and internalizing the validation. I'd say the latter is the most difficult for me.Hopefully, one day I'll get to a point where I can feel okay and "enough."

Thanks for the wishes about Baxter. I'll post an update soon.

Tiptoe said...

I posted a nice reply in response to each of you, but for some reason my comp would not send.

Anyway, it is disheartening that so many of us deal with this topic. As several of you said it is about learning to trust yourself, feeling confident of your decisions, believing in yourself, and internalizing the validation. I'd say the latter is the most difficult for me.Hopefully, one day I'll get to a point where I can feel okay and "enough."

Thanks for the wishes about Baxter. I'll post an update soon.

Anonymous said...

I can TOTALLY relate. I feel UBER OVER in need of validation. I feel ridiculous at times because of that huge need...

good to know others feel the same.

burpandslurp said...

Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts. I know what you mean about validation issues. Even when I was in my deepest end of ED, I still needed to feel weak, exhausted, and DYING to once again realize that I NEED to recover. ED uses any way possible to prevent us from achieving true happiness.