I have a tendency to live in my “Emotion Mind”. Impulsive, emotion=fact, difficult to see logic. I may not seem like it from my writing, and maybe I do. How do I know I live there? I live in my eating disorder and I don’t question it. I hear it say “don’t eat” and I don’t. I hear it say “binge and purge” and I do. I hear it say “you are fat and disgusting” and I believe it. I hear it say “you are worthless” and I know it’s true.
What my DBT group has been working on the last couple weeks is living mindfully, or living in your Wise Mind, the melding of your logical brain and your emotional brain. The area where you make wise decisions, using both reason and emotion, living intuitively. It’s difficult. I am learning, though.
Today, I was living in my Emotion Mind when I didn’t eat dinner. However, I was able to tap into my Wise Mind for a brief moment when I didn’t take laxatives also. I used a technique called effectiveness. I was able to think about what my goal was (babysitting tomorrow without being sick) and think about what was effective for bringing about that outcome. I also used a pro con list of being effective and not, and the combination helped me to tap into that Wise Mind to make a wise choice to not take laxatives. At least for tonight.
Weekly Diary Card
This is what we went over today, after going over all the group rules and standard do’s and don’ts of being in a psychiatric setting such as keeping information about the other patients private, and not having sexual relationships with one another.
The first picture is the weekly diary card we use for our group. We have to go through each day and mark with skills we used that day. We also have to mark how many times we used the card. Ideally, they want you using the card each day, but you can technically use it once a week. Then we went through what mindfulness and the Wise Mind are. On Mindfulness Handout 3, you can see a diagram of the Emotion Mind Trap. That’s basically when it’s raining (you’re full of emotion) and there’s a trap door in the well that leads to the Wise Mind and the emotion gathers on top of the trap door and you mistake the rain water for the well water, confusing your emotion for your Wise Mind.
Mindfulness Handout 3A has different ways to practice mindfulness that helps bring you to your Wise Mind. The homework (Mindfulness Worksheets 1 & 3) asks you to make a pro/con for practicing mindfulness and not practicing mindfulness, and to pick some of the different ways to practice mindfulness and to practice them.
One of the simplest mindfulness exercises I know is the one where you breathe in and focus on “Wise” and breathe out and focus on “Mind,” so I did that one for a few minutes earlier.
I find mindfulness very helpful, yet I almost never remember to do it. Especially when I need it most. I’m hoping having a couple weeks focusing on mindfulness will help me get better at it.
In treatment, you (hopefully) come out of your eating disorder enough that you’re able to see a different way of living. A better way of living. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean that you’re able to pull yourself out of the eating disorder. The quote above is from an anime I’m watching (Psycho-Pass, if you’re interested) and it struck me that this is how it is for me post-treatment. I have this obsession, and my mind tells me there’s a wiser, a better way to live, but I can’t seem to turn my back on this obsession.