I Can Hear Coach (August 2020)
This article is reproduced with permission by Mindy Hoffman, MA, LPCC, NCC. I was compelled to ask my colleague Mindy if I could use her article in my Monthly Insight as many of my clients have this same experience with their eating disorder. Having Mindy as a resource of being a recovered person who is also a clinician in the field is wonderful as this shows that clinicians are not perfect and as they develop a stronger sense of their values, goals and understanding of the origin of their eating disorder they are able to be more understanding to their clients.
My mind has been consumed lately. My footing hasn’t been sturdy. I haven’t felt grounded. I’ve felt scared at times. I’ve been searching everywhere for any kind of answers. In my searching, the voice of Coach (my eating disorder) has become loud enough to hear. He tries to allure me back. He tempts me with glorifying my sick body and specific movement metrics.
Coach has been relentless. Coach is sneaky. Coach starts by twisting the positive thoughts I have about myself and the hard work I’ve done to maintain recovery. Coach likes to annoy me by comparing my current self with my old self. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, I think I’m less in recovery. Sometimes, I think I’m less because I don’t move the way I did in the past. Sometimes, I think I’m less because my recovery body is different from my sick body. Coach likes to trap me here and then slowly tempt me to dip my toe into old behaviors. No, I’m not in my eating disorder. Yes, Coach is screaming at me and telling me I should. Coach thinks I should, and I know I could. However, it’s not worth it!
While Coach takes me by the hand and we stroll down memory lane, I remind Coach of my other memories that aren’t as glorifying. When I look back and see the mountains I’ve climbed and how hard it was, I don’t want Coach. A different body than today or a sense of control that isn’t real, isn’t worth the pain, torment, torture, or losing my health again in the eating disorder. It’s not worth losing my relationships, career, and my life.
Sure, little things creep back in. I’m learning that’s just part of recovery. It doesn’t mean I’m relapsing or failing. I have to hold them, examine them, and be curious where these things came from. When I’m honest, it’s the same answer…What’s going on for me emotionally that I want to use Coach as a coping mechanism? I’m trying to take it all in. I’m pushing myself to “replace my judgment with curiosity”. I’m talking to my therapist.
I’m choosing freedom over Coach.
I’m grounding myself in truth.
I’ll be ok.
Mindy Hoffman, MA, LPCC, NCC
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