Monday, June 22, 2009

Feelings Are Normal

Hi, Again,

This is how I feel right now: content, a bit anxious and nervous, hopeful (spiritually), hungry, and happy. These could change in a matter of minutes - if something exciting or drastic invades my life.

Identifying emotions was an exercise I needed to practice regularly when I was going through therapy for my anorexia. Feelings were voodoo to me, and I feared them, particularly any "heavy" ones. I didn't know how they would - for lack of a better word - feel. I was afraid they would be too uncomfortable or that I wouldn't be able to control them. I feared they would take on a life of their own and take me somewhere I didn't want to go. They many times were an invitation for shame ("IT") to have a field day with me. So I avoided them as much as I could.

It took a while to realize and accept that feelings were deceptive, although very real, normal, and okay. I might have felt nervous or anxious about an uncoming event, but nine times out of ten, when all was said and done, the event turned out just fine. I looked back and said "I was nervous and anxious over this?"

I learned that my feelings cater to my thought life. For instance, before I became a genuine follower of Jesus Christ, I had an empty hole in my heart. No matter how much "stuff" I tried to fill it up with, including my ED at the time and being "good enough," I could never seem to fill in that hole. But once I trusted Jesus as my Savior, it filled the void and completed my life in a way that nothing ever did before. Now I approach stressful life situations with a grain of salt, knowing that they won't last and that I'm capable of getting through with Jesus on my side. Emotions may be challenging, they won't destroy me. Emotions are not in charge of my life; they are only a part of my life, like little red flags trying to tell me something, and that's it. Reminding myself of this and of my personal relationship with my God calms me and keeps my emotions manageable, free, and okay.

It seems like a simple thing, identifying feelings - even outloud to yourself. But it goes a long way in helping a person accept them as being part of a normal self and not some invading enemy.

Till next time,



withhelpfromana said...

Gary, is there anyway you could also get a Twitter account? It would be a great way to reach out to those in need.

I loved your book Skinny Boy, wish I had someone like you to talk to, someone who gets it.

If you do end up getting one, my twitter is:

I hope you consider signing up.

Thanks for your time,
Michael (

Gary Grahl said...

Hi, Michael,

Thanks for the note. I think Twitter would be a great way to stay connected. However, I don't have the time to maintain or answer it right now between working two jobs, a family, and other responsibilities. I struggle just maintaining a blog once a month. I will consider it for the future, though. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. I'm honored. Thanks again, Gary

Unknown said...

You blog is encouraging. Although I do not struggle with an eating disorder, rather I heard about your book through my Psychology of Health class, I just wanted to tell you how powerful your journey and the transparency that you have to this day truly is.