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  • Writer's pictureHannah Larkin

We live and we (try to) learn

Updated: Apr 23, 2022

Eila (my puppy), was very ill last week. She stopped eating, stopped driving us mad and therefore, wasn’t right. A trip to the vets told us she had a lump in her intestines and an emergency operation later tells us Victoria PINK underwear were on the menu but clearly didn’t agree with the delicate digestive system of a 10 month cocker spaniel. She’s right as rain now, a bit too right in all honesty given she still has stitches in. However, how long before another pair of unlucky knickers get the chomping? Only time will tell. I do love that dog but she definitely isn’t the brightest of the bunch.

Why am I telling you this, other than for a bit of light amusement? Well, it just got me thinking. This is the second operation she’s had and the copious amounts of either bras, knickers, socks or masks she has consumed is going to start making a real dent in the clothes budget. Actions always have consequences and sometimes they truly suck. Such as needing an operation like Eila. And it seems for both Eila, and many of us, the hardest part of it all is often learning from those consequences. There’s a quote that goes ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’ and as simple as it is, it pretty much hits the nail on the head. Repeated cycles of behaviour have there short term uses. Safety, security, predictability, all things a lot of us long for in life. But there will always come a point where these repeated cycles restrict you from ever moving forward in life and all your left with is the negative aspects rather than the uses they once provided.

I also think it’s important to acknowledge how addictive certain patterns of behaviour are. Eila clearly has the taste for chomping down on anything small and smelly and expecting her to just stop without ever being tempted again is unrealistic. For humans, trying to stop going back to what you know when it’s all you know and brings a level of comfort or short term enjoyment- whether it’s a relapse in a mental health illness or simply staying up till 2am to finish that tv series the night before a 6am shift, can require some serious active effort and willpower.

But it can be done. A friend of mine I met in hospital, who had been ill for years and more admissions than fingers, is now living the dream, surfing daily, at uni and really exploring a life outside of an eating disorder. But that took an active and conscious change of behaviour, acknowledgment that the cycle she was in wasn’t working for her or allowing her to live the life she had potential to lead.

Its easy to talk about someone else doing it though, actually applying this myself has been one of the hardest things in life. Because even when I want to break the cycle and I can clearly see how truly awful the life it was building for me, the mental block that makes thoughts into actions provides too strong. It’s infuriating at the best of times And sometimes I wish I couldn’t see how bad things were or realise how much I was missing out on, because then it wouldn’t hurt so much. But equally, I’m glad I do because it’s the beginning of change. and change will come. Whether it’s tomorrow, next week or next year, I will break out, I will find new patterns and I will live and learn. And I believe you can too :)

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