Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Eating Disorder Insight by Johanna Kandel, author of Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder

Sinkies and Floaties—What Pulls You Down and What Gets You Through?

Excerpt from Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder: Reclaim Yourself, Regain Your Health, Recover For Good by Johanna S Kandel

When you start to do something different, such as starting to work on your recovery, it can feel very lonely, and you’re going to need some support. Are you familiar with those inflatable arm bands called floaties that little kids wear in the pool? When you first started to get involved with your eating disorder, there may have been some triggering event in your life, large or small, that was trying to sink you, and your eating disorder was what you believed kept you afloat. It gave you something to focus on so that you didn’t have to think about whatever it was that you needed to block out. But very quickly, the thing that had been helping you to keep your head above water started to pull you under. Your eating disorder transformed into a sinkie.

But you do have floaties—we all do. Imagine that you’re wearing a pair of floaties on your arms. Take a moment to visualize what they would look like. You can decorate them any way you want. Mine would have bright yellow lightning bolts to remind me of the power I reclaimed from my eating disorder, but yours might have beautiful pink roses to remind you of how beautiful life is, or even images of loved ones to remind you of all the people who want you to recover and believe that you can.

Floaties are the people who support us, be they family members, members of a support group, a good friend, or a significant other. Floaties are those people, places, or things that help keep us afloat when we’re inevitably feeling the force that’s trying to push us down. Floaties are the things that give us pleasure in life—the things that make us smile. What is it that makes you smile? Is it an animal, a good book, a song, sitting on the beach, working in the garden, spending time with family and friends? Those are all floaties.

When you’re on an even keel and life is smooth sailing, you’ll begin to notice the little everyday miracles in your life—your dog wagging his tail when he’s asleep, the little birds flying down the highway that seem to be following your car, a great song, a beautiful sunrise. When you notice the things that make you smile, write them down. Create your own smile list. These will be your floaties so that when a sinkie comes along and tries to drag you under—when you’re having one of those black crayon days—you can pull out your list and remind yourself of all the good and supportive things in your life.

© Life Beyond Your Eating Disorders, Johanna S. Kandel, Harlequin September 2010

Want to read more of Johanna Kandel's work? Enter the free book drawing she is offering. (Drawing information and entry directions listed in far right column of Recovery Books Directory page)

Purchase Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder here: Life Beyond Your Eating Disorder: Reclaim Yourself, Regain Your Health, Recover for Good

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