How Comparison Affects My Eating Disorder Recovery
Everyone’s recovery is different.
It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this, and in some ways, I’m still working on it. The truth is, I compare.
I compare my journey to those I see around me. I see their triumphs, and I feel differently about my own. I see their journeys, and I feel differently about my own.
I’ll even say the thing a lot of people pretend isn’t true: I see the struggles of others and I feel guilt, shame, sadness and weakness for my own successes and triumphs in recovery.
Because in case you didn’t know, eating disorders are a b*tch.
That’s what this disease does to me. It twists and manipulates everything around me to tell me, You weren’t sick enough. You aren’t sick enough. Recovery is a hoax. Nothing was ever wrong with how you were living, and so on. It takes the struggles of others and turns them into some sort of commentary and “litmus test” on how good you are at being sick and relapsing.
So today, I say no. I name those voices, and call them out for what they are: my demons trying to pull me away from a life of joy, honesty, love and so much more. So today, I call it out and really act through the values I know bring me truth and joy.
So today, instead of letting the remnants of my disorder — which are certainly still there, chit chatting along, as usual — tell me what I am and what I’m not. I try to let that go, inch by inch, and grab onto the things that serve me in much more vibrant ways. I put my basic needs first and separate my physical and emotional needs from the lies of my oppressor. I take care of myself, and I lend love and support to those around me who are struggling, because their struggle doesn’t need to invalidate my own, and I can try to lead them through the darkness without moving to my own detriment.
Eating disorders want us to compare. They want us to win. They want us to be the “worst off” and the one “barely holding on,” but the people we love need us to be more than that.
Always take care of yourself, but remember you don’t need to be anywhere other than where you are right now.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
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Thinkstock photo via BerSonnE.