By KRS Edstrom
I am currently finding things very difficult. I am feeling totally overwhelmed and trapped. I just want to give it all up but that isn’t an option. I am at college and have been struggling to get through this year while battling an eating disorder.
The exams are just four weeks away and I still have two course projects to do. I am confused and don’t know what to do. Every time I try to do something, I get totally stressed thinking of all the other things I feel aren’t going to be finished on time, and as a result end up in a complete panic. I can feel the fear physically.
I get angry with myself for being so pathetic and for letting my eating disorder
interfere with my studies. I feel like I just can’t do it. I am never going to
make it through the next four weeks. If you have any suggestions about how to
cope I would be very grateful. Thanks.
Stressed Anorexia Student
Dear Anorexia Student,
Put these words on your wall: “Everything will be alright. I am not a bad person.”
Realize that you are not alone in your feelings. I receive so many similar letters from students who act out school pressures through eating disorders. Eating disorders often manifest the desire to get control of at least one area of our life, i.e. food intake.
Sometimes eating control issues are deep rooted and other times it is just a matter of making a few shifts in your thinking and behavior. Either way, consider consulting an eating disorder specialist to guide you though this.
So how do you make such shifts? Slow down and take it one step at a time. Make an attainable list of what you need to do each day for the next four weeks to get things done. You’ll be amazed at how much calmer you will feel to see everything written down in tangible goals versus flying around your head in endless loops. You will also be amazed at how much can get done in a day, not to mention 30 days.
Then attend to each day as it comes. If you still feel, after making your list, that it simply cannot be done, consider talking to your instructor(s) about getting an extension. You might ask your doctor to write a note if need be. People are far more understanding than you think, and either way, you WILL survive this. My father used to say, “What is the worst thing that could happen? Are you going to die?” Of course not.
You mentioned that you would like to give it all up. If you really dislike your college, classes, etc. consider switching or even working for awhile. There are solutions for everything.
For help with some meditation techniques that work on the physical sensations
you experience with fear, you might want to check out some meditation tapes.
I fractured my knee almost three months ago and have been unable to exercise. What will be the least stressful exercises to help firm up my hips and legs once I can walk again?
Dear Fractured Knee,
Let’s talk about getting some exercise BEFORE you can walk again. One of my favorite maxims in regards to reaching goals of any kind is “No Excuses.” Another that goes nicely with that one is “Be Flexible.”
Often when people have an injury that prevents them from doing their favorite, regular exercise routine, they stop exercising altogether. Many may even go through a rather uncomfortable withdrawal period, both physically and psychologically. It never occurs to them to substitute another exercise. People tend to be creatures of habit to a fault.
Even if you are wheelchair bound there is a plethora of exercises from which to choose. Be a little creative and come up with a new routine, even it you are sure you won’t like it as much as your old favorite. You don’t have an option at this point (except not to exercise — and that is NOT an option, right?).
You might surprise yourself, as many have, and find something you like at least well enough to intersperse with your old exercise, once you are healed. I knew a hardcore runner who, because of injury, begrudgingly substituted swimming “just until his foot was healed.” Three weeks later he confessed that swimming gave him a different kind of “high” and he has now added it to his permanent post-injury workout schedule.
Since your leg is injured, focus on upper body training. You don’t even have to use weights. Simply simulate the arm movement used in an aerobics class or make up your own. You will feel the “burn” kick in after a few minutes. You can build up duration as you go.
Experiment with other activities (with your doctors permission) such as riding a
stationary bike with your good leg, while resting your injured one on the center
bar or on a stool. If it’s not in a cast, you might even try swimming,
“dragging” the injured leg behind you, or working out in the shallow end. For
example, try one-legged “walking” from one side of the pool to the other, using
your arms for balance. Use your own imagination and you will surprise yourself
with other exercise ideas.
KRS Edstrom, M.S., is an author, lecturer and columnist. She is
available for private sessions (by phone or in person) and semin-ars on
meditation, motivation, stress, pain, weight loss and other personal growth
issues. Her books and audios offer solutions for healthful, conscious living.
For free soothing guided meditations and more, please visit KRS’ “Serenity and
Meditation Corner” at www.AskKRS.com For more info call (323) 851-8623 or
e-mail: KRS@AskKRS.com   Please see ad on page 26.
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