Seeking Positivity

Trigger Warning: eating disorder behaviors

For those of you who know me, know that I am a very optimistic person. I always try to find a positive spin on every situation, at least most situations. So last week I was home with the stomach flu, which is, of course, a really miserable situation. But to try and make myself feel slightly better, I thought I would try to think of whether or not there was any benefit to having the stomach flu.

When you’re in elementary school, maybe middle school, being sick is exciting because you get to stay home and just watch TV. You don’t really have to worry about getting behind in school. That’s not the case for high school and certainly not college. I was in no way excited to miss class and get behind. Nor did I want to have to miss therapy or DBT group. But to my dismay, I missed all of those things last week. So what could possibly be a positive spin on being sick?

Well, what I came up with was how it influenced my eating disorder. Not in the “oh yay I can barely stomach anything so I can restrict food” sort of way. Not at all in that way, at least not with where I’m at now. Since my current eating disorder behavior, I struggle with is bingeing, having the stomach flu no longer made that an option as a coping skill. Just to clarify, bingeing is NOT a healthy or positive coping skill, not at all. But with everything that comes with the stomach flu, one of the farthest things from my mind was thinking of using food for comfort. It forced me to truly explore other coping skills. While I already try to do that, bingeing is typically still an option. This time it literally didn’t feel like an option. So I had to genuinely look for something else.

While I’m actually doing quite well in regards to abstaining from bingeing, it’s still something that I have urges for daily. Fighting those urges is exhausting in a way I can’t describe. So to go a few days with having extremely little to no urges of bingeing was a huge blessing. It was a great way to force myself to cope with the stress of missing school, missing therapy, and everything else I have going on in a positive way.

It was so relieving to go days without strong urges. A sensation I honestly can’t remember when the last time I experienced that was. While it didn’t change the fact that I was home sick and felt awful, it did actually act as somewhat of a benefit for my eating disorder recovery. I of all people know how difficult it can be to find the good in what feels like bad situations. Sometimes it really isn’t possible, I’ll admit that. But I encourage whoever’s reading this to think of a difficult situation that you’re currently going through. As hard as it may be, try to think of something positive from it. It could be small, or you really may not be able to think of something. If you can’t, that’s okay! No need to beat yourself up about it. But just try. It’s not going to change or fix the difficult situation, but it can make it even the slightest bit better. Sometimes we all need even the slightest bits of positivity in our lives.

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