Tuesday, November 06, 2007

An easy assignment

For my clinical practice class, I had to watch three cognitive therapy videos and then do similar homework myself for two weeks. I had to choose an issue and a homework method, decide when and how often I'd do it, and record the results. I decided to keep a thought record about my weight issues, writing it up twice a week during my 40-minute subway ride to my internship.

It's easy because I know how to do cognitive therapy homework -- I learned from the best. Hard, though, because I have to confront my negative feelings about my weight and dispute them. (I'm not sure if they expect us to dispute our irrational thoughts or just record them, but I'll get more out of this if I dispute them.)

And opportunities arise organically. Sunday before last I went to a really lousy singles event. It was supposed to have structured socializing activities, but we ended up just going around in a circle saying what we liked most about autumn. I didn't feel up to chatting up any of the men, none of whom were particularly appealing -- one ugly chap I'd dated once, who subsequently blew me off; the recently divorced friend of G.I. Josh, who'd never seen me fat; and other sundry undesirables. I was overdressed and self-conscious. At the earliest opportunity, I sneaked out.

A thought record has columns for the date, your behavior, your emotions, and your thoughts. I added a column for disputes.

Emotions: anger, anxiety, self-conscious, hopeless, envious

Thoughts: I look ridiculous, I'm so overdressed, everyone must think I'm desperate, trying too hard

I know these guys, none of them are interested

I look so fat

I'll never meet anyone

Other girls are thin

No one wants me

Waste of time and money

Disputes: So I look overdressed. Who cares? I'm more conscious of it than anyone else. And if they think I'm desperate -- again, who cares? It's not like I really want to go out with any of them anyway.

I'm not the biggest girl here, and I know at least 5 men who find me attractive.

So it's a waste of some time and $10. Not a calamity.

I might meet someone, I might now -- no way to know for sure. Have to keep trying.

One down... then this morning I got stuck in a skirt.

Behavior: Tried on a skirt that used to be loose on me, now it's skintight and looks terrible

Emotions: upset, angry, demoralized, hopeless, embarrassed

Thoughts: I'm so fat. I can dress to hide it, but this proves that I've gained so much weight.

I'll never be pretty again

I'm old and ugly

Who do I think I'm kidding

I'll never lose the weight

I'll never get married


No disputes seemed sufficient to counter the irrational thoughts. I know what I'm supposed to say -- it's just not always easy to believe it. Fortunately, I have another week to finish this assignment.

Two random things I think I should mention:

1. I'm having trouble getting up in the morning. While I prefer waking to my alarm clock over waking up at 3 a.m. for no reason, I'm very, very logy and slow. I don't know if this is a symptom, a reaction to the time change, or general loginess and inertia due to lack of exercise.

2. I'm craving frosting. Last week the program director at my internship rewarded the hard-working social workers for surpassing their Medicaid billing target with a box of soft sugar cookies with thick, soft, sweet icing. I had a few, and ever since then I've had a wicked yearning for frosting. Today I took a very slow client to the bank and the check-cashing store so she could change her PIN and pay some bills. It took about two hours, long past noon, and I was dying of hunger. I left her as soon as humanly possible and rushed into a grocery store. It was very hard not to buy a box of Entenmann's. I made do with Quaker granola bars, which are really more like crispy, sticky rice cookies. I had 6 of them.

Honestly, tonight I can't decide which longing aches more: the need to get laid or the need to cram my mouth full of cake and frosting. Actually, they both suck.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor" target=_

1 comment:

  1. My G0d, Ayelet - are we the same person? I've actually been almost dissociating - watching myself eat obscene amounts of carbs even while loathing myself for doing it.

    It's ridiculous.

    And, as you pointed out, it's irrational.

    That's the key here. Doesn't matter how you dispute or argue with yourself - the feelings are irrational. They're not going to go away magically when you point out that they don't make sense.

    It sucks royally, but you (and I) have to accept that the irrational feelings will fade on their own schedule, not ours.

    And while I'm on the subject, allow me to concur with Boaz's assesment. You're not fat, dammit!

    But exercise is hugely important. I'm not getting enough. You're not getting enough. Want to dance? Take a brisk walk?