(a chapter from Telling Ed No! by Cheryl Kerrigan©)
Some days Ed is in my head and won’t let go. I try to shake him off, but he hangs on tight. He tells me I need to listen to him to get through my day, and if I don’t, my body will expand like a balloon and nobody will want to look at me.
Usually, I use tools like positive self-talk and talking back to Ed, but sometimes I need a distraction to give my mind a jolt. This jolt then gives me just enough of an edge to turn my thinking towards something positive and healthy. For this purpose, I use my senses of touch and smell.
Touching something that is textured gives my mind an alternative place to go. The feeling in my hand goes through my body, and before I know it, my mind is concentrating on the touch and feel of the object. I use a variety of items: a pillow with soft fringe, a squishy, gel-filled ball with spines on it, a smooth marble heart, and an affirmation stone. If I am feeling anxious, I might go for the soft feel of the pillow or the smooth stone. If I am feeling angry, I will grab the gel ball and squeeze the heck out of it.
I also use my sense of smell. When I feel anxious, frustrated, or angry, aromas turn my awareness inward, which is centering and soothing. Scents also give me the feeling of being hugged and that comfort gives me a sense of power and strength, like I can accomplish anything. I keep various scented objects—candles, incense, air fresheners from my car, scented oils, flowers—close by so they are right there when I need them. Some of the scents that help me are lavender, clean cotton, the smell of fresh laundry, strawberry, wood, baking bread or cookies, and my favorite—coffee.
All of these things give me just enough of a distraction to keep Ed at bay and let the voice of Recovery chime in and take over.
Your senses are always available and can be quickly utilized for your benefit. Do you have a favorite smell or texture that might help give your mind a jolt when Ed is in the way? Look around the house and grab a few things. Touch them; smell them. How do they make you feel? Choose a few that make you feel happy, safe, and secure or that command your attention, and keep them handy for when you need them.
With health, hope and strength,