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Draconian Thinking

Tiptoe wrote another blog with another idea I want to expand on. She mentioned that she was thinking about how “draconian” can be applied to how people punish themselves through eating disorders. (Check out her blog for the definition of draconian. It dates back to Draco who created the first set of laws in 621 BC in Athens, Greece)

It’s interesting, because I think “black and white thinking” is very draconian. She was relating it to eating disorders, in the sense of restriction, shame and punishment and their involvement in food intake. The rule being only eat X types of food, and X amount of calories. The punishment for eating anything else or too much of something is drastic, such as purging, over-exercising, fasting. I’ve definitely applied these irrational rules to myself in the past. I’ve also applied it to “healthy eating”. I was extremely strict about veganism and if I (or anyone else, I was kind of a pedestal stomping asshole at one point) broke those rules I deserved to be punished (I didn’t think other people needed to be punished, but they definitely deserved my disdain. asshole. I hate people like that haha.)

But outside of that context, I have always been extremely draconian in my thinking. If I make a mistake, or feel like I haven’t done something well enough, I deserve to die. Often that is my literal thought process. You got that paper wet on the way to the copiers? GO HOME AND KILL YOURSELF. Which is… disturbing and extreme. Obviously. And apparently I keep breaking my own rules of punishment because I haven’t done that yet. (Because it’s crazy?) But it’s tiring, constantly having a voice in your head tell you what a horrible horrible person you are for such minor mistakes made. It depends on the time of year and what head space I’m in, but is ranges from believing I deserve to die to believing I deserve to live but I don’t deserve to have friends, be loved, excel in anything, etc. I think that’s a huge part of why I left college the way I did. I didn’t withdraw, I didn’t go through the processes and have a support system. I knew that I was incredibly depressed and out of control, but I felt like I was a failure for being that way so I thought I deserved to get failing grades and for my professors, parents, and friends to hate/misunderstand/be disappointed in me. I always feel like I deserve the most severe consequences, no matter how significant or insignificant my error is.

In times of less stress it’s easier to stop these thoughts from taking over. But as soon as I feel threatened or out of control it’s almost like a survival technique. Even though it’s the opposite of survival (what else feels like a survival technique but is quite the opposite? An eating disorder). And I can deal with everyone else’s stress. I can be rational in regards to everyone else’s situations. Just not my own. It’s exhausting.

  1. April 23, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Yes, draconian thinking is exhausting! It’s a shame when you think about how little we think of ourselves to feel like we are the bottom of the barrel and that we deserve punishment for small nuances.

    It’s good you realize this thinking. Hopefully ,being able to counteract is in a healthier way will help you get past these thoughts.

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