Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Inside my head

"'Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?'" Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, page 723

I lost track of how many times I was told, "It's all in your head" with the implication that I was making it up/dreaming/hallucinating. And not just from my mom who sent me to school with colds, rarely takes pain meds herself (and used to scoff at people who needed to), and asked me why I couldn't just "snap out of" my eating disorder relapse.

When I was in high school, I had a cavity in between my two front teeth. The dentist (my parents' choice and one who would have reminded me of Steve Martin, had he had even an ounce of humanity) gave me a shot of novocaine, gave it a few minutes, then said, "Make a fist if it hurts." He started drilling. Not a few minutes in, something didn't feel right, so I made a fist. He stopped, sighed in exasperation, gave me another shot, and continued drilling. After another few minutes, something felt wrong. I made a fist.

The dentist stopped, sighed heavily in exasperation, and said, "It's all in your head."

He continued to fill my teeth as tears streamed down my face.

My poor dad - this was the first time he had ever taken me to an appointment. I came out of the room, crying and swearing, "That son of a b---h; I'm never coming back here again."

No surprise that I fear dentists, huh?

But like Dumbledore tells Harry in the quote at the beginning of this post, just because something is in one's head does not mean it isn't real. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.

It's taken me most of my life to believe that my emotions are real and valuable and natural. Just because no one can see my anger, my fear, my pain, my happiness, just because these things are inside of me, doesn't mean that they aren't real.

After I accepted these things are true, really accepted them, my recovery seemed easier. These beliefs sustain me because I am the mistress of my life. I have choices to make everyday. I choose to own all of my choices - whether anyone sees them or not.

So now, when stress rises in my life, I choose to breathe. I choose to write as a way to organize my thoughts so that I can prioritize. I choose to let go the things that can't be changed (like the actions/thoughts/beliefs of others.) I choose to ignore the voice that tells me that self-injury with food is the answer.

I am the mistress of my life. I am always in charge. Though I may delegate my authority, I refuse to relinquish my power to anyone. Inside my head or out.

This is my core belief.

What is yours?


disordered girl said...

Thanks for this post. I loved that bit of the book too, but I didn't relate it to what we are dealing with here. Awesome!

Todd Fielding said...

Good post.

ms. em said...

Agreed! Acceptance played an integral role in my recovery.

I loved HP7! Glad you enjoyed it too!

Jeanne said...

Yeah, I did love HP7! I felt like I was sucked into it, just like Harry was sucked into Riddle's diary in HP2. 8-)

DG, When I read that quote, the connection just struck me. Maybe because I was often told that "it's all in your head."

Todd, XOXOXO 8-)

Ms.Em - I'm glad you enjoyed HP7 as well! ;-)

carrie said...


Interesting- that quote spoke to me as well.

I always told myself that nothing ever happened to me that was bad enough to make me depressed. I'm still trying to accept the fact that it didn't need anything, that my sadness and despair were inside my head but still very real.

I'm glad that someone else (several someone elses, actually) found meaning in this quote.

Sarah said...

I loved that quote, too, and I think this is a great post.

Hmm, my core belief . . . right now I'd say, "I wasn't put here on Earth to be miserable."

Jeanne said...

sarah - you definitely weren't put on this Earth to be miserable. None of us were. It's a great belief.