Recently I’ve found that truly “outing myself” for what the eating disorder makes me do, and the stupid, ridiculous thoughts it makes me have as a really effective way to fight its hold on me. I don’t think I’ve realised before how powerful mockery and humour can be, even in a therapeutic setting. And when you really think about it, the whole illness is quite funny! For example: why am I scared of a bit of extra cheese? Terrified of a few more chips? Anxious about a drop more cream? This illness is so painful and difficult to deal with that it sometimes doesn’t seem right to make light of it. But If you can’t laugh about the perils of life, and joke about the tough times, where does that leave you? Well, not in a good place. And if you’re in a state of fatalistic mind, there’s really no where to go.
The eating disorder feeds off unhappiness, distress and worry. So it’s only obvious that happiness and laughter are its natural enemies. The more we experience them, the less of a hold it has on us. Some of my behaviours and thoughts surrounding food, when I really think about them, just need to be laughed at! It can feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder to find amusement within them. Not only does it brighten the mood and relieve the tension from the room, but it allows me to take another step away from the eating disorders grasp. Every time I mock it, I feel stronger and the eating disorder shrinks that bit smaller. Some say laughter is the best cure for all illness and maybe there is some truth in this. It lifts our mood so that the eating disorder has less control over us, since those negative thoughts have been diminished. With these feelings that bit smaller, there’s less for it to grip on to, and the more you can start to break away. No one is saying that this illness is a joke, its far from a joke, it’s a horrible illness that ruins your life everyday. But next time you struggle over a meal, ask yourself “what am I scared off?” Truth is at the end of the day its food – what’s so terrifying? Last time I checked I don’t think the Lasagne was going to bite me or the beef burger attack me with it’s lashing teeth! It may not be easy but try to make light out of it for what it really is. Life is about living and making the most of every moment, so why not make every moment that bit funnier?
I often imagine the eating disorder as a little, annoying, scheming, evil, ugly creature, sitting on my shoulder, always there in the background, nagging and niggling constantly throughout the day. It plants horrible thoughts in my head about the next mealtime and craves anxiety to fuel its mischievous nature. Fighting it off is difficult, it may be little, but it has a strong grasp and you need to work harder and harder every day to try and shift it. But it dislikes laughter. Positive feelings of happiness and joy are its worst nightmare. So the more of this you experience and throw in its face, day be day, the smaller and more insignificant it gets in your life. I stick to the belief that one day I’ll wake up and notice that the evil creature on my shoulder is no longer there. It lost its grip, slipped from my shoulder and fell onto the ground. Good riddance.