The Power of Control

Life is a crazy whirlwind full of ups and downs, with obstacles to overcome, immense highs and extreme lows. Have you ever felt like your life is running away from you? You feel like you have no control over your life? Your life is so busy full of unpredictable changes? You keep looking in the past or looking into the future for answers?….Guess what! You are not living and embracing your present life. 

“Perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinary well” – Arnauld, Angelique

One of them most prevalent fears people have is that of losing control, the fear that if you don’t manage to control the outcome of future events, something terrible will happen. The need for control in todays society is essential, with people working busy work schedules, balancing family life, striving for perfection, all whilst aiming for true happiness in life. However the main crux of the problem is the demand for certainty in a world that is always tentative and uncertain. People with losing-control anxiety are perfectionists….yes being a perfectionist in parts of your life are beneficial, however it can be a rollercoaster ride of demanding for perfect certitude and when you don’t get it you worry and ruminate about it.

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Focusing on self-image, especially in todays’ society, there is a pressure to look a certain way….. with the media promoting a new diet craze every week, the new fitness fad, the thin model body or the curvy voluptuous woman. You cannot win. In my experience with an eating disorder I believed it was my friend. It was something that was mine and something I had total control of. “Control” was a qualitative feeling, but I turned it into a quantitive one counting calories, pounds, miles and minutes. I tested my self-control everyday setting myself unrealistic goals of fasting for 7 days straight, calorie restriction , extreme exercise routines and when i successfully completed these tasks, the high I got was unexplainable. Even though I was exhausted , hungry and weak I felt like I could take on the world. I felt like I had self-control in at least one part of my life whilst a rollercoaster of changes and emotions were happening in my everyday life. It was my escape and my little secret to help me manage with the anxiety I was feeling…life moving forward was a fear that was daunting for me. After all these years, it is only now I recognise the close link between the search for control was a search for relief from fear. I believed if I could get to my perfect body weight and successfully complete my extreme diet and fitness plans….then my life would be perfect and I will be happy.

Soon the strict rules began to slip as the ‘bulimia’ voice in my head became powerful. The restriction turned into addiction to food. I needed something to full the empty hole inside me as my anxiety and restlessness became uncontrollable. Then BAM! I lose my control completely after taking that one mouthful of food which can only be explained as an comforting orgasmic high. WOW..I had failed…again! The need for that perfect body, and to lose weight had become an unachievable goal. The panic would set in…I had to gain back control over my body by getting rid of the calories I had consumed by vomiting, overexercising, laxative abuse until I felt like I had pressed the rest button. Looking back with help from my therapy sessions, I believed I was in total control of my life but in fact my life was a true chaos. Despite my mind filled with anxiety and thoughts flying everywhere, I had an empty hole inside me that was filled with an unhealthy addiction which felt like a soft, comforting blanket that suppressed all my thoughts. 

‘Conflict’

“I know, I understand. I know, yet I do not understand. Words without action. Action without control. Without control over that which I control. Scared. Confused. Alone. What next? What I want is not what I want. I want half, but not the other half. I cannot go on, yet I must. Struggle, Struggle as I might, I must go on. Yet why don’t I go in the healthy direction? Because I know, but I cannot control. I understand, yet I am trapped. I know, yet I reject the knowledge. Why? Because I must.”

Leighah Darcy—1994/5

Control is an underlying theme of an eating disorder. However, my eating disorder didn’t start as a search for something I could control. It started as a search for happiness and to help make me feel better about my body. As I was successfully completing my diet plans, the more the fear kicked in of how I was going to maintain this throughout my whole life, the fear triggered the need for control. The anxiety that comes with an eating disorder isn’t related to food, life itself overwhelmed me…I couldn’t handle any extreme emotion from extreme excitement to extreme sadness. By restricting my food intake or binging and purging turned down the anxiety chemicals temporary, and these behaviours gave me the illusion that I was in control of my life. During recovery, I couldn’t imagine my life without my eating disorder…it was there for me in difficult times but I had to face my fear and let go. 

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“Have the courage to accept yourself as inherently flawed; as part of a universe that offers no guarantees, and as a being the lives imperfectly in this imperfect universe. “

Speak Soon xx

“Live Free…Live a Journey”

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