A recovered life does not fear me, it’s the journey to get there that is holding me back. Unfortunately, right now, recovery only seems like a miracle, making it unimaginable for me to categorize myself with the individuals who have overcome this battle. As much as I continue to hold onto my eating disorder, I do recognize that life without it would be incredible, and actually life changing. By not having this illness constantly intervene in my everyday life, I would be genuinely happy, less stressed/anxious, mindful, and overall FREE. I could finally just live my life without thinking and worrying about food 99.9% of my day. I can see myself finally being able to open up and share my feelings/emotions with others instead of relying on ED to help me cope temporarily. I picture me engaging in social gatherings not just physically, but mentally (because my ED brain is always present). Going off of that, my relationships with friends and family would greatly improve and I could finally put an end to hurting the people who truly care about me.
*I have learned through reading that individuals with eating disorders have two parts of them; one being their true healthy self and then the other being the self-destructive disorder. This analogy has helped me realize that all of this negativity that I have absorbed into my life is only due to the ED part of me, which I CAN in fact get rid of! As I have taken some steps back since treatment, the ED side of me has gotten stronger and has convinced me that this illness is something that I can just deal with the rest of my life. By picking up a book and doing exercises (like this one), I have identified the healthy self of me that I still have and know that living with an eating disorder does not qualify as living.
With this tool I can practice and learn how to strengthen my healthy self by challenging and talking back to my ED. This is not to say that I will automatically believe my counteractive statements and/or that they will prevent me from using a behavior, but through journaling it WILL help me gain an understanding of why I might be doing it and what the underlying fear is. An example of this dialogue that stood out in relevance to me was this one…
ED Self: Even when I’m at a healthy weight I will be miserable, so I might as well be thin and miserable, rather than fat and miserable.
Healthy Self:You can’t predict how you will feel at a healthy weight because you have never been there long enough. All you know for sure is that you are absolutely miserable and alone when you are sickly thin. That is a known fact, whereas you don’t know how you will feel if you gain weight and become healthy.
Getting back to the original topic of life when I am recovered, I am more hopeful and motivated to get to that point. I know it will take time and there will be bumps in the road, but in the end it will be worth it once I get back myself and can start truly living.