Saturday, 9 May 2015

Anorexia as a coping mechanism

Until a conversation I had with one of my readers recently, I had never really thought of my anorexia as a coping mechanism but now I realise that this is exactely how it began. My anorexia was a way for me to feel as though I had control at a time in my life when I felt incredibely anxious and unsure about who I was and what was happening around me. Following my anorexic rules and behaviours was familiar for me and made me feel safe. I thought the following article from this site explains how anorexia is as a dangerous coping mechanism well.

A Dangerous and Counterproductive Coping Mechanism

Of course, skipping meals to cope with anxiety is not only dangerous - it also doesn't work. That sense of control also puts considerable stress on the brain and body, which are being deprived of nutrients.

Over time, the lack of nutrition and carbohydrates is actually going to start causing anxiety itself. Whenever the mind doesn't have enough energy to work properly, it causes the brain to become stressed, which in turn causes stressful thoughts and behaviors.

This may explain one of the many reasons that anorexia is so hard to cure, and why even those that do get help sometimes find themselves slipping. It takes a long time to learn healthier ways to cope with anxiety, and unfortunately while you're learning those new ways you may find yourself struggling with further anxiety, thus pushing you back towards negative behaviors. 

In order to recover and prevent relapse I know I need to develop new coping mechanisms to use whenever I feel scared or worried rather than restricting my food and letting my anorexia back into my head. While I hope to overcome my anorexia, my anxiety is a whole other illness that I have had all my life which I need to learn to deal with more healthily. Here are some healthy and effective coping skills that I found on this website:

Boost your self-esteem by becoming involved in activities that interest you. Discover your passion!

Imagine yourself in a safe place where you do not need to think about doing anything that is harmful to yourself.

Make a list of positive affirmations. Pick one, look at yourself in the mirror and say if morning and night for 21 days. The affirmation will become a part of you!

Get a massage. You can get pretty inexpensive massages at any school that teaches massage.

Walk your dog or play with your cat.

Make a list of some nice things you would like to do for your friends.

Think about taking some classes or doing something to help you discover your passion.

Tell your parent, husband, partner, or friend that you love them.

Make a list of what you are grateful for. This is tough when you are stressed, but if you write it down, the act of writing will help!

Learning effective coping skills can change your life!

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