Redirecting Your Focus
For so long my focus has been food, exercise, weight, and restriction; it hasn’t always been that way. At one point, my focus was my relationship with Scott, my studies, and—more importantly—my guitar playing and my writing. My concentration and energy is now almost completely consumed in eating disorder related behaviors, and because of it, my self-value and personal identity have become enmeshed with my eating disorder instead of the things that made me me. Not only have my passions and interests wilted, my contact with the people I care about has diminished. I don’t visit and maintain contact with my friends like I used to and I haven’t really fostered any new relationships since my eating disorder became my focus. Last year—2013—I gave away to my eating disorder. As for 2014, I intend to reclaim my passion and re-direct it to the following areas: My relationships and my writing.
As we age, making and maintaining relationships becomes considerably more difficult. It is not the same as when you were in school. People have responsibilities, families, jobs, and their own interests that demand much of their time. Just the attempt to coordinate schedules to visit with someone can be tricky in and of itself and usually the time-slots are limited and sparse. The good news is that, despite face-to-face interaction not being as frequent as desired, we have multiple methods of keeping contact such as email, skype, text, phone, and social networks. However, these methods of contact do require a bit of time as well as a conscious effort to remain consistent and to sustain relationships. So do you see how when your focus and energy is almost completely stolen to something else, that things such as the maintenance and preservation of relationships can be neglected? It’s been an unsettling experience accepting the reality of how much I’ve neglected my relationships. Though I intend to utilize this realization as a motivator to change my situation for the better.
I remember when it would be completely normal for me to write a poem I was really proud of—and perhaps more than one—each week. It almost was a part of my nightly routine. If I wasn’t trying to compose a poem or a song, I journaled—which often led to inspiration for more poems. But just like any activity, my writing took concentration, focus and cognitive energy. Now, when I was healthy, I did not have the problems with focus and concentration today that I have been working through now. Restriction of food leads to an increase in obsessive thoughts revolving around food, a decrease in energy, and a dulling of concentration. So is it really any surprise that I have not been writing nearly as much or as often as I used to? I don’t think so.
Now that I have decided how I want to redirect my focus, I feel it would now be wise to develop an action plan in order to for me to be successful. And that action plan is what I have been working on this past week. Goals are only as great as the systems that we follow in order to reach them.
What has you’re eating disorder or addiction stolen your focus away from? What would you rather be pursuing if you weren’t stuck in the demands of whatever you struggle with every minute of every day? What might you want to refocus on? Where might you like to place your energy in? If you are not sure, give it some thought. Self-explore a little bit, what do you love to do? What do you want to improve upon? What skill or hobby might you want to take up? Think about it. I believe that if we can find who we are—or who we used to be in some cases—without our eating disorder that overcoming the maladaptive behaviors and staying in recovery may be a little bit less difficult. Every one of us was meant to accomplish so much more than solely “being a great anorexic/bulimic/orthrexic/etc.”. It’s time to venture out and explore what those accomplishments might be and begin to make are amazing mark in this world. It’s time to start living.
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success that is way great spiritual giants are produced.” -Swami Vivekananda