The Secret to Stop Hopelessness in Its Tracks

        By Noshin (neelob) Baharabi

        By Noshin (neelob) Baharabi

I remember in the darkest times of my eating disorder, when I was totally certain that there was no changing my eating, my emotions, or my life.  I was completely hopeless.  I felt sure that I would keep bingeing every night and that I would be stuck in these awful patterns forever. 

One day something snapped.  I remember waking up with the horrible heavy feeling the morning after an especially bad night of bingeing.  I was so used to feeling this way, and so sick of it.  Somewhere in me, somewhere in the midst of this, there was a tiny glimmer of possibility.  

When I look back at that glimmer now, I realize it was the memory of moments when I felt really alive, engaged and on purpose.  This is when I really started to look for help. Even though I felt hopeless, It seemed like it was worth trying to do something.   It was worth trying to move toward that feeling of aliveness that I remembered. 

I remember thinking, “this is no longer what I am going to consider life. There has to be more than this.  I remember more than this.”  I was no longer willing to be hopeless and to let life happen to me.  It became time to start to stand for myself.

 By Alain Gavillet

 By Alain Gavillet

It was not easy to slow down the hopeless train and get it moving back in the other direction.  I am so grateful that at just that moment, I reached out and found a coach who supported women to find out what they were truly hungry for, and to shift patterns around eating. 

I was so surprised that the work that helped me the most during our coaching wasn’t any particular skill to avoid bingeing, but instead, it was the work that I did around looking at life fulfillment.  I figured out what I really cared about in life, what really lit me up, and I started to actively create moments in my day when I felt that sense of aliveness.  

What do I really care about?  Why change?  When it came down to it, none of the reasons to change had anything to do with my body image or my actual eating patterns. It was everything to do with what I actually care about in this life.  What makes me feel joy?  What makes me feel fulfilled?  

When I choose fulfillment over hopelessness, I start to get in touch with that deeper place again.  So these days, when I feel that hopeless sensation, I know that that is the time to go back to my core values.  I choose an action that will help me live more in alignment with what I care about.  

Gratefully, some of the things I care most about are rest, relaxation and kindness. So an easy choice in a hard moment is to take a nap or a shower.  Often, this kind of caring action that is in alignment with my personal fulfillment is all that I need to snap myself out of a hopeless fog.  

Questions to help you identify your fulfillment map: 

  • What do you most care about in life?
  • What make you feel the most at ease?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What makes you really upset?  This is often a great question to identify when values are being stepped on, which in turn helps you identify those values.  
  • What was a time in your life when you felt most alive?  What were you doing? Where were you?  Where there other people around?  From these questions, you can pull out your values.