Unshackling Myself from my Eating Disorder
I’m back, and today I chose to write about the road to recovery from my eating disorder (ED). Who’s with me?!
Negative coping skills related to ED’s are in one word, exhausting. The behaviors, rituals, and all the thinking about food and my body consumed a large part of every single day of my life for the better part of an entire DECADE. Over time, I realized that I wanted to live life again – in the present. I wanted meaningful relationships and experiences – I wanted to laugh and remember the days where I just listened to myself, not my ED voice – I wanted to live life for me. And most of all, above anything, I wanted to be free. Liberated.
I started by telling myself to visualize literally “pushing” my ED thoughts out of my brain when they came up. I needed to make room for other thoughts – thoughts around living my best life. We can’t stop our thoughts, but we can redirect them. There’s a lot of redirecting in ED recovery (yes, it’s insanely frustrating). Today, my thoughts generally consist of my daily plans, my friends and family, weightlifting, my job, and how badly I want to get a cat. I definitely don’t miss all of the ED thoughts. I would be lying if I said that I don’t ever have ED thoughts anymore – but I can tell you they occupy a significantly less amount of space in my brain compared to the old days.
Today, I’m living. I’m not avoiding life like I did for so long (in a laundry list of ways). I’m in the present, I’m putting myself out there, and I’m truly engaged with the world. I now know that when life gets hard (and it will, again and again), I can handle it. I can handle the challenges and bounce back without resorting to my ED.
The best thing of all? I truly feel like myself again. I’m the outgoing, smiley, goofy, and somewhat awkward person who sees the best in herself (most of the time) and the world. My eating disorder stripped me of my own self – and in its wake left me feeling sad, confused, hopeless, isolated, lost, and empty. I don’t miss that person and I can’t explain how devastating that felt. How fucking scary it was.
Today, when I think I miss my eating disorder, I immediately think of all of the horrible things that will absolutely follow the behaviors if I were to engage in them. It is a fact fact that I will get dragged down in more ways than one, and the goals that I’ve set for myself will be impossible to attain. I once thought that my ED would propel me to achieve, achieve, achieve, but in reality, it didn’t help me achieve anything more than being a malnourished, anxious, depressed, and worst of all, hopeless, human being.
Ending on a high
I’m going to end this post by sharing a few of my favorite quotes that be applied to recovery, and life in general. I love love love quotes.
“Cherish your vision, cherish your ideals, cherish the music that stirs in your heart; the beauty that forms in your mind; the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. If you remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”
“When you seek beauty in all people and all things, you will not only find it, you will become it.”
“It’s what you say about you that threatens your destiny.”
“The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire.”
~ Richard M. Nixon
“The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he or she can triumph, but whether he or she can overcome obstacles-preferably of his or her own making-in order to triumph.”
~ Garth Stein
“Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it.”
~ Francesca Ricci
“It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.”
~ Under Armour
“Believe deep down in your heart that you are destined to do great things.”
~ Joe Paterno
“Be encouraged. Your heart is writing a poem on the world and its being turned into a thousand songs.”
~ Donald Miller
There you have it. I’m signing off for today, but if anyone has a specific topic that they would like me to address, please reach out and let me know. I love hearing feedback and questions from all of you. And as always, if you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please call the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) confidential helpline at 1-800-931-2237.