Black or white thinking also known as an all or nothing mind-set is something I have tried to challenge.
I think its important to remember that as humans there is so much that makes us who we are and we are not defined by one action,thought or personality trait..For example if you make a silly mistake that does not mean you are unintelligent. Or if You are not feeling positive one day it does not make you a negative person.If you fail one test you are not a failiure.
All or nothing thinking played a big part in my eating disorder. I would think why have a sandwich or two, I may as well eat the whole loaf since I had already “messed up” that day. If I was going to go for a walk it may as well be an hour or its not worth going at all. If I had purged in the morning then the whole day was screwed up.
The reality is that life is not black or white it is all shades of grey and rainbow too. Just because you had a whole bar of chocolate does not mean you have “failed” and have to restrict at the next meal. It does not mean you have to think “screw it” and binge out of guilt. I think this sort of thinking led me to bingeing and purging.
The good thing is you can change this minset.It is something I am trying to do. If I binge or purge its so helpful to draw a line under it and move on rather than letting it continue just because I slipped up. Its quite hard to do and I guess it takes practice.
The all or nothing mind-set is something that can apply to other areas of life, for example studying.In year 12 I wasn’t that dedicated towards revision.On the other hand In year 13 I became so dedicated to studying. It was revise for hours and hours . Only A’s in class tests were acceptable and anything below was failure. The problem with this is that it may not be sustainable. I do believe in working hard but not to the point where you don’t allow yourself rest or feel incredibly guilty for when you do. Chunks of revision broken up by only binging and purging is not a good strategy!I am really excited to go to university but I am worried as to how I will find the balance between study and other aspects of life.Im worried I will be stuck in the all or nothing mindset where I will ever push myself incredibly hard or on the otherhand not push hard enough.
In some ways I think an eating disorder made me dedicated and rigid and perfectionistic and when I let go of it I’m scared I become lazy and I wont be able to get good grades or do well because I’m too easy on myself.
All or nothing thinking is something I also see in people related to me so I don’t know maybe it runs in the family.
Theres often so much talk about doing things with passion or motivation or not doing them at all. I kind of don’t agree with that as Is anyone motivated 100% of the time?Or putting everything you have got into achieving a goal or not trying at all.Whilst that mindset can be helpful for some and motivate them I think it sets others up for feeling like they have failed or are not good enough. Also just because you have not achieved a target or goal does not necessarily mean you have not made progress.
I think its definitely better to strive for balance. HOWEVER I also think its important to not become obsessed with living a perfectly balanced life. Some days you may work a lot and other days not at all. Some times you may exercise a few days in a row and then not exercise for a few days. Some days you may down 10 vodka shots at a party and then not drink for a while (ok maybeeee not 10 haha).Some days you eat a lot of chocolate and snack a lot and forget vegetables exist and other days you have more structured, balanced meals and snacks.That’s just life and I think its ok.