When I'm going through something hard in my life, I always tend to obsess over the the outcome and everything is always colored in a negative light. Having trouble in my relationship? I'll spend days picturing what my life would be like if we divorced. How I would be without a car, without my dogs, without my best friend. I pretend I'm picturing a new, fun, and single life, but the fantasies always turn to the negative. Having trouble at work? I picture my big moment of quitting; telling off the boss, maybe a RHWONJ table flip thrown in there. But then I'm unemployed and hurt and embarrassed at the end of the fantasy.
These fantasies don't make me feel good. They make my anxiety worse. They make the situation worse. They take a small simmering pot of water sitting on the stove and turn it to a constant, never ending full boil.
I'm currently going through something in my personal life that is causing me a lot of hurt and anxiety. The other day, on my walk to work, I was thinking about it and starting to feel my thoughts turn up the heat from a simmer. And then, without deciding to do it, I turned the stove down. I started to picture something positive coming from it, a fantasy that was actually colored in a positive light. And I wanted to write it down.
I'm sitting on the bed in my son's room. He looks like Mike, all blond hair and cheekbones. He's sitting in his bed, bent over, crying because he's being bullied at school. I place my hands on his back and tell him this, "I know what these kids are doing has hurt you, honey, but they are wrong. You are a good kid, you are smart and funny and weird and amazing and we're all lucky to know you. Just because some people don't see that, it doesn't make it untrue. You're allowed to be upset now about what they said, but you can't let it color how you feel about yourself. You can't control those bullies. You can control yourself and how they make you feel. The next time someone says something hurtful to you, I want you to picture all the people that love you and all the things we love about you wrapped around you like a heavy blanket. When you're wearing that blanket, no one can hurt you. A small group of mean people and hurtful words, can't pierce that thick blanket of love and positivity. So, give yourself a little time to feel bad and cry about it and then get up and be happy, because you are lucky, you are healthy, and you are loved and other people's untruths about you don't matter. And maybe go eat a cupcake. Cupcakes make everything better."
And that's how I give my kid an eating disorder.