PHOTO: Greg Rosenke
Text: Alejandra Misiolek
New Year has come, and it is a definite beginning of something. Many people do new year´s resolutions and cultivate the fantasy of a new beginning. Why do we like it so much? Why is it so appealing? To have a fresh start and forget about the past gives us an opportunity to get rid of a burden of guilt, shame, mistakes, failures, etc. No wonder it is a good feeling to start over again. But is it real?
The fantasy of a new beginning is very typical in eating disorders and especially in bulimia where after a period of bingeing, there is purging, and the cycle starts over again. But can we really start over?
We call it a fantasy because it is impossible to reset or delete our past experiences. We have memory, both declarative (of facts) and procedural (of abilities, emotions, etc.) that is a very important component of our identity. Who we are consists of what we went through, and our personality is a consequence of our life experiences. No matter how far we want to escape or how desperately we try to start over, we will always carry with us our past.
Why is it so important? Because instead of making a huge effort to start again, we should make an effort to face who we are and draw conclusions from what we lived. This is the only way we can progress in life without going around in circles.
The impossibility and futility of purging is very important if we want to get over an eating disorder like bulimia. Only but stopping it and facing the consequences can we find relief from the symptoms.
Does it mean that making new year´s resolution is futile, too? It isn´t if what you wish to achieve is realistic, if you have a tangible plan for getting at it, if what you want is compatible with who you are. But if you only copy paste the same objectives every year and you never manage to achieve then, maybe it´s time to stop and think about it, analyze why can´t you achieve it and elaborate a new, different plan, based on what you learned from the try and error. But remember not to blame yourself for not achieving it. Be curious and you will find better answers.