Sunday thoughts on a Monday morning
I’ve been doing some soul-searching lately. I am about to enter treatment for my eating disorder for the second time in two years. What I know is that eating disorders are not only physical diseases. The physical symptoms of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder are really the final part of a disease that starts in the mind and some would say the soul.Part of my inner reflection has been about what needs to change inside me. I was led to consider what the Buddha said about suffering. What am I attached to that ends up as physical symptoms?
I’m attached to being smart, being the smartest guy in the room. Intelligence has always been important to me. I’ve been a driven student since second grade when I fell behind in learning my addition tables and my parents had to buy flashcards to help me catch up. I don’t remember specifically but I believe I swore that would be the last time I would fail my parents in school. A “B” grade was never good enough. Even “A-” irritated me. I graduated 10th in my high school class whose college prep students were all very competitive.I got bad grades twice in high school. First as a freshman, I got a C in table tennis, only because I refused to play, I was being bullied by guys in the class. I forced myself to get engaged to balance out my grade for that quarter. Changing for gym was one of the most humiliating things for me in high school. The second time was in the last quarter of Biology II Medical. The teacher asked us to do a science project and I flatly refused. I was so burned out that I retreated completely. I didn’t ask for help.
How does this show up today? I think I know the answer to just about everything. I have released my joy of learning and my ability to be teachable. Because I think I know the answer, I don’t reach out to other people for support. I am fiercely independent. I think I can solve any issue.When I have those kinds of beliefs, it forces me to find a solution to the internal conflict that’s created. I believe that I have the perfect solution but I know that it’s not the solution. Funny enough, the solution I need can only be found in other people: connection.
My way of dealing with that conflict is eating to not feel it.
So what changes? I don’t know. My only accomplishment is the awareness which is the beginning. I want to be able to learn to reach out, be connected.
Money equals safety. Growing up in poverty had certain effects on me. It made money almost an obsession. As an adult, I have gone to lengths to ensure that I will always have enough money to be comfortable, both current state and for retirement.Money has also been a way that I try to get people to love me. The more I spend, the more I think/hope that someone will care about me.
It occupies a weird, compelling place in my head.
I hold it very tightly.
I don’t know what changes about this either. I know I will consider how focused I am on it. I also carefully consider interactions that involve money with friends and dating partners.
My goal is to hold both of these things lightly. Educate myself because I love it, do what I love but untie it from my ego. Have a plan of financial responsibility but not obsess about it.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. I create my own suffering. I can choose not to suffer today.