Be Kind To Yourself…

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By Jeff Holton

All throughout my life I have always tried to do my best on tests. In fact, when I think about it, I have always wanted to get every answer correct. So late last summer when I found myself taking a test with just 14 questions, I wanted so badly to be able to say NO to each question, which in my mind was the correct answer to the questions. What I found instead is that I answered YES to 11 of the 14 questions.

At that point the emotions and feelings rushed over me, what I had feared, was true, I have an eating disorder.

I do not remember exactly what my thoughts and feelings were, but what I do remember is that I went into being very self-critical. The normal “I’m a failure”, “I’m not good enough”, “What is wrong with me?”, “I am weak”, “I’ll never get better”, “I have let my family, friends, and coworkers down”, “How can you do this to yourself?”, this list goes on, and changes based on the moment, but overall self-criticism was the prevailing thoughts going through my mind at that moment.

Here I am 39 years old, an amazing wife, four amazing kids, a great family, and wonderful job, I am living the American Dream, and now I have an eating disorder. It was WTF moment for me, with so many questions than answers.

How did this happen?
Why did you let this happen?
How do you tell your family?
How do you tell work?
Will people view me differently now?
Will people view me differently after I am out of therapy?
How will this impact my family?
Can I get better?
What happens if don’t get better?
Do I tell my kids?
Why me?

Each time I would attempt to find an answer, whether that be in my own mind, or the internet I quickly circled back to self-criticism to answer the questions. My mind is setup with the desire to “fix things” no matter if it was for myself, my family, or those that I work, I want “fix things”. When I cannot fix something, no matter the reason, I go to self-criticism. My ability to beat myself up, question myself, and in general make me feel as if I am not good enough had been on cruise control.

ED likes this my self-criticism and inability to “fix things” as he has provided an environment of control that I crave for, a place where I could “fix things”, and place where I could feel super human, and a place where I could feel safe. ED was born, grew, and thrived on these items, and it was not until I finally took the 14 question test that I admitted I had an issue. It has not been until the past couple of months that I have realized how important self-compassion in my recovery. I went into treatment September 6th, 2016 and was release October 26th, 2016.

It has been almost three months since my release and it is only now that I am realizing how important it is that I am kind to myself.

beach-193786_640Being kind to myself and not self-critical is not something that comes natural to me, it is a daily, and more accurately a breath by breath struggle, but is one that I am going to win. Being kind to myself takes me toward my core values and the person that I want to and will be. I encourage everyone to be kind to yourself, ask for what you need, and to find self-compassion. In therapy I was introduced to “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten, for me her words immediately felt like my journey and what I was going through, I hope that you enjoy.

 

Like a small boat On the ocean Sending big waves Into motion Like how a single word Can make a heart open I might only have one match But I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn’t say Wrecking balls inside my brain I will scream them loud tonight Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song Take back my life song Prove I’m alright song My power’s turned on Starting right now I’ll be strong I’ll play my fight song And I don’t really care if nobody else believes ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep Everybody’s worried about me In too deep Say I’m in too deep (in too deep) And it’s been two years I miss my home But there’s a fire burning in my bones Still believe Yeah, I still believe

And all those things I didn’t say Wrecking balls inside my brain I will scream them loud tonight Can you hear my voice this time?


image1About the Author: What does Jeff do on his days off?  Well, he has four children under the age of 9, so that keeps him pretty busy at soccer matches, basketball games, baseball games, and acro recitals.  In between chasing after kids, Jeff loves watching Ohio State Football and playing golf.  He is also quite the connoisseur of craft beer.

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