DAY #36 FULL PORTIONS; Scooter of Shame…

Breakfast
Weetabix x 2.

Morning snack
Wholemeal toast x 2, butter. (…& marmite on one cheeky slice)

Lunch
Egg mayo sandwich (wholemeal), 5-bean salad, side salad.
Strawberry cheesecake and cream.

Tea
Pork and apple casserole, mashed potato, mashed swede.
Full-fat yoghurt.

Supper
Kit-kat.

…& the usual PINT of semi-skimmed milk.

OH MY BLOODY GOD, it’s Kit-Kat night. What did I sign myself up for??? That’s the only thing I’m allowing Anorexia to say, and now it’s over to me.

We ALL experience shame… it’s a painful feeling. Emotional pain can be JUST as painful as a sore back, a leg, an arm, a shoulder…

I’m reading a really good book at the moment… and what I hadn’t realised is that many of us so OFTEN confuse guilt and shame as the same thing. We use one of the words to describe the other. When actually they are very different… guilt is helpful. Shame isn’t.

I love learning about what makes us tick. Understanding that, can really help us to change. And in many ways, to be at more peace with ourselves – and therefore more content in our lives, knowing better how we can manage them…

The main difference between guilt and shame is the self-talk behind it. Guilt – “I did something bad…” although it feels crap, it can be the driving force for helping us make better, positive decisions. To grow and to change. To question why we felt that way. Shame – “I AM bad…” this mid-set can be dangerous as it can eat away at our courage and disengage us from other people and opportunities. We blame ourselves and our sense of worth.

When we make a mistake/feeling like we’ve done something wrong outside of our values, we can react with either of those types of self-talk. They might seem similar, but just changing the little details of what we perceive as ‘bad’ in the situation – ‘us’ or our ‘behaviour’/’feeling’, can have a MASSIVE impact on our following decisions… and if you think about it, then, ultimately on the the rest of our lives.

So it really is worth thinking about how we talk to ourselves after uncomfortable situations where we feel responsible for something ‘bad’.

“Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying.”

“When we experience shame, we feel disconnected and desperate of worthiness. When we’re hurting, either full of shame or even just feeling the fear of shame, we are more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviours and attack or shame others.”

Both of the above quotes are from the book I mentioned. It’s what I’m currently reading during the 40-minute ‘rest periods’ we have after main meals. I currently have a little distraction system of scribbling my thoughts in my diary, then looking forward to diving back into my book where I left off.

The book is (for copyright purposes too I guess!) ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brene Brown.

Reading this has helped me make a LOT of sense behind the backstage feelings of my Eating Disorder. And how it must feel for a LOT of others. Shame is playing probably one of the biggest parts at the moment. No I’m confronted daily with a huge range of foods, a big trigger for all the emotional attachment/self-worth stuff I have going on.

I guess if I felt ‘guilty’ every time I feel I’m eating too much, am able to really ‘taste’ and get pleasure from nice food, or simply don’t feel like I’ve done enough with my day/life or am enough of a person to deserve it… it would lead me to make positive changes. To avoid or move past the thing that is making me feel ‘guilty’. But that’s why it WOULDN’T be a positive move if you have Anorexia. Because, if I wasn’t in recovery, the answer would be to AVOID those foods that do make me feel undeserving, or that taste too nice. So the problem isn’t in the action of eating itself, but the mind-set behind it.

I don’t discount the fact I am in areas making ‘positive’ changes that can come from guilt – I can sometimes disconnect from that feeling, but it is always lurking. And sometimes it literally feels like it’s sat on my head like a heavy, curled up cat. It all feels so wrong. When I feel I have to give my full attention to what I’m eating. The added fear of ‘wrongness’ about talking when eating. That’s why I can pinpoint this feeling as SHAME, not guilt.

But just reading about it, makes trying to work through shame (the book explains more about how we go about it) less ‘selfish’. Self-compassion is a big part of healing, and being able to share your ‘shame’ with  someone else. As soon as you speak about shame, it becomes less powerful. I think now it makes sense why this blog has very helpful to me!!!

Shame always feels like it is a compensatory feeling for eating the food in the first place. But I’m learning to realise that the shame around food, although painful, feels easier to pick out than the lot of shame surrounding more uncertain areas and bits and pieces about me. Socially, the person I am, what I’ve achieved in my life so far… so I guess when that shame starts feeling messy and unbearable, you can sort of see why people turn to addictive behaviours to numb it out. And then their shame becomes about one thing of focus.

Does that make sense? I’m still trying to work it out for myself too!

It is refreshing to read up on actually theories behind the deeper stuff like this. So you can realise that it is a very human way of feeling/being and you’re not just a hopeless only ‘one’. That there is a different way to be. To cope.

In the book, the bit I’m up to at the minute, the writer talks about how there’s twelve categories under which we experience shame –

  1. Appearance and body image
  2. Money and work
  3. Motherhood/fatherhood
  4. Family
  5. Parenting
  6. Mental and physical health
  7. Addiction
  8. Sex
  9. Aging
  10. Religion
  11. Surviving trauma
  12. Being stereotyped or labelled

There’s so many conflicting expectations of how both men and women should be and how they should juggle their lives, that we are ALL so prone to shame by society.

But recognising how you feel is the first step to change.

I won’t write any more of a book on this topic… ! Just read the one I mentioned if you’re interested.

And just in case I forgot to say – OH MY GOD, it’s Kit-Kat night.

Crap.

When Anorexia says ‘crap’, Yasmin translates this as ‘excitement’.

Over and out.

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