I got this interesting new book called "How to be Happy (or at least less sad)." It's not a self-help book, but more of a workbook to explore your thoughts/feelings, recognize them, express them, etc. And it's like a quick thing you can do, not something where you have to spend like 45 minutes writing paragraphs to explain your current emotional status. Just like a quick 5-10min activity at most.

Above is the book (obviously) and a quick page I filled out. I'm going to try to make it a regular thing I do. Maybe not every day, but every few days to kind of check in with myself or process things. I don't know.
I like how in the introduction of the book, the author talks about how this isn't a Self-Help book. In fact, most Self-Help books pretty much fail you. I mean, I've gotten some benefit from Self-Help books, but they definitely haven't cured my problems (Although a book I highly recommend, which when I read it I thought was the lamest read ever, actually changed my life and way of thinking. It's called "The Happiness Trap." It will be a silly read, but if you actually apply the practices to real life, it does help.). The author also talks about how striving for happiness made him ultimately more unhappy, and a more attainable goal is to try to be less sad. Which I liked. Maybe happiness is possible, maybe it's not, but baby steps, right?
I have a tendency to skim through books (especially Self-Help books) to see what I'm getting myself into, and prejudge if I'm going to like it. I found a quote in there that was really relevant.
"You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness."
-Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The quote hits home, and I have talked a lot about this in therapy. But I spend a lot of my time and energy on protecting myself from the bad feelings that go through my mind. Sadness, shame, grief, worthlessness, hopelessness, loneliness, the list goes on. My eating disorder plays a huge role in this too, because it numbs out most of the bad (except anger, which all my emotions get channeled through, and intensifies during my ED). But along with the bad, I'm numbing out everything else. Happiness, excitement, pleasure, joy, and again, the list goes on.
But Jonathan Safran Foer is right. You can't have it both ways. You can't just hide from the bad emotions and expect the good ones to hang around. That's hard for me to wrap my mind around. It's hard for me to accept. I worry, what if I allow the bad ones back in, but the good emotions don't come back?
I spent a lot of years suffocated by the bad emotions, that it's hard to know that I have any of the good left. I know it's been proven otherwise. I've had experiences coming out of treatment where I've felt good, on top of the world. But the bad emotions always flood back and overwhelm me. Maybe I just don't know how to live with the bad ones, how to manage them so they don't intensify. But I feel like there's this pattern, where I take care of myself, treat myself well, challenge my eating disorder in it's entirety (including my social isolation). And for a while it works. But it doesn't last. Reality hits me. That life is bad to live, and it's never going to be good. And then I go back to my eating disorder, because I know how to handle my eating disorder and live with those emotions (anger.), but I can't handle the rest. My eating disorder will either leave me numb yet full of anger, or it will kill me, and those seem much more appealing than living in a world full of self-hate and unpleasant emotions.

1 comment:

  1. There is no like button, but "Like". A very reflective post.