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”

Dealing with Change

Change can be hard in life regardless of how big or small, it can be to do with change in routine, habits, careers, friends, environment etc etc. It has always been hard for me to deal with changes in life in which I have no control over. For me personally, I used to associate any change happening in my life equaled a struggle controlling the anxiety, worry, self-doubt and panic. A overwhelming rush of negative thoughts going in to my head. My fear of change used to get so intense that I would have a complete panic if something as simple as my days routine got changed as I felt a loss of control. 

However, over time I have been able to change my thought process for the better in dealing with change. I have realised change is associated with positivity rather than negativity….it is what makes life interesting!!!! Even if you expected some change in your life but the change didn’t turn out how you expected it…don’t think that you have made the wrong decision….embrace the change as something positive will always come out of it. You could be reading this and think it is all nonsense, but I believe by going with the changes with an open mind and losing the fear of taking new challenges can massively improve yourself as a person, for example greater confidence, facing fears, new life skills and positively changing your mindset. 

“You can’t always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.” – Wayne Dyer

In this blog post I am going to write about the things I have done over the years to keep calm when unexpected changes occur in my life or when known changes have happened but they haven’t always turned out as expected. Lets say ok, you have experienced some changes in your life which you are finding hard to deal with….you are worrying, self-doubting, feeling a failure and panicking. What if you can’t change what has happened….how do you deal with it?

1.Practice Gratitude 

Throughout the day I try and think about what I am grateful for in my life. This is normally triggered when I feel negative thoughts try and creep in, but it is good if you do this everyday even when you are feeling on top of the world. When change occurred I used to feel every negative thought possible…I literally reacted like the world was going to end. By taking 5 minutes to think about what I am grateful for in life, even the simplest of things like ‘I am grateful to live around beautiful nature’ or ‘I am grateful to have a family and friends’ automatically feeds positive thoughts into my brain therefore opening my mind more to what is really important in life. 

2. Have ‘me’ time

Despite the importance of socialising, I am definitely a person who enjoys having some ‘me’ time. Just to have time to zone out to get into a different world by writing, reading, listening to music, meditating or going to the gym. By giving yourself this time is giving yourself some compassion and self-care, to calm your emotions and feel to how you are really feeling. This time allows you to put your guard down and face your emotions head on rather than allowing your emotions to bottle up and take control. 

3. Read quotes

As many people know….I love a good quote and love reading positive articles. Why not feed your brain with quotes that you can relate, feel good after reading, feel some inspiration and purpose in life!!! Even though change has happened or change is coming, research some quotes to help you deal with it!

4. Talk 

Harder said than done but it is great to speak up to someone you trust when you may be struggling to deal with change. By talking and expressing your emotions allow you to release them so you can start thinking more clearly. I have lost count of how many times I have rang my mum in pure panic and feeling distressed over changes happening in my life, but this has always been the best way for me (probably not the best for my mum though) by talking about how I am feeling, as normally the more i start talking the more I think how silly and unappreciative I sound. 

5. Believe 

If you have changed jobs, changed environment, changed friendship groups, changed schools etc etc, you may have feelings of self-doubt in how you are going to cope. Change can be scary but all you have to do is believe you can do something, if you can’t then who cares. You learn something new and move on. Making mistakes = learning experiences = new skills = positive outcome. When I am feeling a lack of self-belief I close my eyes, breathe in and out, and tell myself I can do it over and over again. Totally cliche but it works! Giving myself a little pep talk provides me with a mental visual image that I can cope with change providing me with greater positivity, confidence and belief.

“When life changes to be harder, change yourself to be stronger.”

6. List the positives 

Sit down and list all the positive outcomes or potential outcomes that can come with this change happening in your life. It may help you become a stronger person, teach you not to give up and take you out of your comfort zone to help you cope with future changes. Changes may be scary but life is full of changes which makes life more exciting and unpredictable. 

7. Let go of control 

The feelings of anxiety, worry, panic and self-doubt are all a result of change when you feel like you have lost control. As soon as you have so much control over your life, once that is broken down it can feel like your life has broken down. I used to be a person that enjoyed planning my day every day, but it got to the point it was a habit to write a step by step plan basically of my day to detail. What happened if someone rang me to hang out last minute? My answer would be No. What if work rang me up to cover a shift? My answer would be No. To the point….it was ridiculous and made me missed out on good memories and new opportunities. I now have to say by practicing feeling calm, knowing the importance of feeling calm and feeling positivity about change I now have let go of the intense control over my life. I enjoy spontaneous and unexpected things happening in my life…I grab it with both hands and embrace the ride. 

8. Smile

Short and simple…..by smiling even when you are feeling anxious about change it will automatically put you in a more positive mood. Why dampen your mood because something has become different in your life. You may not be able to control your life but you can control your mind. 

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

I hope this helps.

Speak Soon x

‘Live Free..Live a Journey’