part of what allowed me to sustain fifteen years of anorexia is that i have the kind of brain which walter kaye et al study extensively thru neuroimaging… thanks to my genes, trauma, and whatever else (we don’t know the “cause”) my dopamine reward circuitry behaves in such a way that i’m not particularly motivated by pleasure. i’m far more motivated by the desire to control outcomes and minimize risk.
this makes self-care really hard. because i’m not really moved by hedonic impulses and i live in my wild anxious brainscape, and often things don’t really feel good, or if they do that experience doesn’t imprint on me or affect my future motivations. but self-care is really the frontier i need to venture into for the sake of my recovery, and to make life as a sick person bearable.
i tried to brainstorm a list of things i could do that would bring me joy – given that i’m a singer who’s lost her voice and a dancer who can’t dance anymore – and a lot of the first items were like… exercise lol. but then as i warmed up i had some better ideas, from something as minor as smelling essential oils to major self-care like going on a trip. in between are things like playing my instruments more, painting (my nails or watercolors), going outside to breathe in the fresh air, seeing my friends, drinking a cold coke, etc..
now i just have to not let this list gather dust while my anxious mess of a brain thinks me into some feelings-free dissociated dimension. we’ll see, dopamine!