Thursday, August 20, 2009

Addicted To Emotional Comfort

The book "How To Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything" by Albert Ellis has been around since 1988. Ellis is the founder of RET, Rational Emotive Therapy. This school of psychotherapy loosely falls under the behavior modification classification. It is based on our ability to see and debunk our 'irrational" core beliefs and thereby change our "irrational" behavior.

For example, when I get extremely anxious I binge. My core belief is that I really "can't stand" suffering my off the charts anxiety (low frustration tolerance) and that I "have to have" the food to calm me down (fill in the empty spaces between the synapses). As all bingers know, that is a fairly cut and dried description of the ragged bleeding feelings that drive us to eat non-stop. Using RET to combat overeating is basically asking yourself a series of rational logical questions. The first of which may be, "Can I stand it? Am I standing it?"

I tried it. Turns out I knew full well I could "stand it." If someone had come to the door my binge would have shut down like I had been doused with cold water. I just didn't want to stand it. I wanted to get rid of the emotions, I wanted to feel the ahhhhh release, I wanted to relax and sleep. I did and do not want to feel my negative emotions.

I have never wanted to cope with my anxiety/frustration. Mark says my favorite saying is, "Why does everything have to be so damn difficult?" I did not realize I even said that. I eat because of low frustration tolerance.

Another of my core beliefs is that I am "owed." God or the universe "owes" me an easy life. What hubris. What irrational hubris. I didn't realize I believed this ridiculous thing. Since I am owed it is "unfair" when something bad happens to me. And I "just can't stand it." And I feel frustrated and anxious, and don't want to feel that way. And I eat to blot out the emotions. Round robin.

I only touched the tip of the information in this book. It is full of great stuff and has been a wake up call for me. If I choose to use the strategies of RET my life will change. It has already changed. Turns out the statement, "I can stand it," is VERY empowering. Addictions can be conquered.

I am sorry I am not reading more. I come up here once a week (maybe) to post and read. Seems like my time is filled up with other things and I do not think of this (blog) as a priority. I am rethinking this.

Take care. Love Bea

P.S. Yoga Fran says I am her most improved student. I can finally do the bow and last time I almost touched my socks while attempting the camel. I am a whiz at the plank.


Bea said...

Annimal, where are you? Are you only on Face-book? How do I get in touch with you? If it is only Face-book lead my through it (again) slowly. I sure hope you are not Twittering. I can't Tweet.

Helen said...

Hey girl! I am missing you and no idea how to contact you other than here or through the dreaded Facebook (dreaded by you, not me, I live on there!).

No way to blog from Burning internet connectivity there and no cell phones either. My first year (2005) the whole Katrina thing happened that week and we didn't even KNOW until we came out many days later. Seriously. It's remote!

Tell your friend from Reno to come find Helly & Gonzo in the AEZ (Alternative Energy Zone) -- AEZ is on the map and she should be able to find us that way. We're close to 6:45 and E (this address will mean something to someone who is there).

DB opened my mind recently by mentioning an idea: that people approach life on a continuum between abundance and deprivation. I immediately identified in my gut with deprivation even though my head knows abundance is mine. I have been thinking about this for about a week...and how it impacts on my approach to food. Will be blogging about it when I get my head around it a little more...

Lori G. said...

Well, I'm going to have to add that to my book list. It's funny; this morning I was thinking how my solution to problems is "well, I can't do much about _____, let's stop and pick up a diet coke and a ______."

I like what you're written and can identify with all of it. And Helen, I totally agree with you too.

Anonymous said...

I think I have posted this before - that my binge/junk food eating happens more when I'm broke and stressed. Like today - b/f hasn't had a new job come in yet (we're going on week 4 here). So I'm broke, and stressed, and went to get lunch (sick of leftovers) and I wanted McD's... for at least $7. Which the food would taste great but then I would stress about spending $7 instead of only $2 somewhere else. What the hell. I can't wrap my brain around that way of thinking, and WHY that happens - poor & stress = spend a lot of $ on crap food.


Cindy in CO

I had to grip the steering wheel TIGHT and keep saying over and over again, "you don't need McD's!".

Cindy...154 said...

Glad you are doing yoga. I am thinking about my core beliefs. I have been eating more lately and I know it is stress..and stuff. I don't like it but at the same time I don't know whether or not I want to give it up. Always glad to see your posts!

Annimal said...

First of all I am LMAO (laughing my ass off), because I misread your yogo statement, instead of "plank", I read "plow". I was both-eyebrows-raised impressed that you could do the plow with ease--he-he.
That made a beautiful picture of you in my mind.
Anyway. Yeah, so sorry my blogging kind of hit the skids. I was never able to keep up any kind of diary either.
My e-mail is
No, I do not tweet-do not touch twitter.
I spend enough time on the web as it is. I realize I am lame--don't care.
I haven't been able to eat right for a couple of days--donuts are calling and I'm answering.
I really think it's because of the kids leaving for college. As happy as I am for them, and I truly am looking forward to a quieter house, it is a period of change, and all change holds some anxiety. I don't deal well with anxiety. I think your book is exactly what I need to be reading.
What's most telling for me is I have 3 new books and they are interesting and something I usually would dig into.
I haven't been able to crack 'em. Instead I'm rereading Harry Potter (I know the outcome is happy).It's a comfort zone for me. I'm needing to be comforted right now and I guess I don't know how to get it. My husband and kids are great--no problem there. I need comfort from within, and I don't know how to give it to myself.