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What You Need to Hear If You Doubt Eating Disorder Recovery Is Possible

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

Recovery doesn’t just happen. It’s also not some cliché buzzword tossed around to “inspire” you. Recovery is real. It’s not a luck-of-the-draw deal where you put your name in a hat and hope to be chosen. It’s a grueling, relentless, personal process that will push you beyond your limits over and over and over. But will you choose it? Will you do the work? Because many won’t.

My eating disorder, at every stage of my struggle, was a result of a seed that got planted in my mind until it grew into my truth. Unfortunately, this seed was actually a weed that soon grew wildly out of control. It wasn’t my choice. When you are young and hurting, remember how brave and courageous you were for trying to find ways to cope.

During my battle with anorexia nervosa, I fed my weed with vicious self-talk and behaviors while my life starved. I couldn’t see I was suffocating. It was easier to distract myself by watering my seed than actually facing the root of the pain it hid.

During my battle with binge eating disorder, I nourished my weed with the same vicious self-talk that led to different behaviors, leaving me hungry still. I couldn’t see I was suffocating — that the weed was growing larger.

During my battle with bulimia nervosa, I continued fueling my weed with the same vicious self-talk that once again resulted in different behaviors, still leaving me empty inside. I couldn’t see that I was now nearing a state of zero oxygen. And frankly, I didn’t want to see it.

I didn’t want recovery. I didn’t believe in it. I thought it was a trick – a deception preached by those who wanted to undo my hard work based only on their textbooks. And I thought I was outsmarting them by becoming a better gardener… to my weed. I believed I deserved this self-destructive punishment. It kept me “safe” from having to face myself — what I feared most.

But sooner or later, you’ll get tired of running from yourself – from your pain. You’ll pause and gasp for air. And in that moment of pause, you’ll realize you’ve been running on a hamster wheel going nowhere. Reality will hit you like a bolt of lightning.

No one can save you but you.

No place, no thing, no one, no ifs ands or buts – no bargains! But you can make a different choice now. Push any and all regrets aside. Don’t tell me you want to. Show me.

I’ve been down dark roads for much of my life. I know where running from fear, pain and self-hate leads. It leads to a life sentence in prison. I also know where working through the fear, discomfort and self-hate leads. It leads to freedom. But only you hold the key. You’ve had it all along.

Quit comparing yourself to others.

Quit looking around for answers! Have you tried looking within?

You fear yourself, but that is the only way to heal. Face it. Face yourself. Don’t let fear interfere. We are all afraid. You aren’t alone. It’s how you use your fear that counts. Don’t let it exhaust you — let it excite you. Change the narrative. You get one life.

Recovery does not equal going back to a painful life. Recovery means deliberately working through your pain and creating a brand new life that feels good. Recovery does not mean you are immune to struggle or hardships. Accept that as fact now! Take the pressure off. You aren’t perfect and never will be. Life has ups and downs regardless. Recovery gives you the opportunity to experience life to its fullest as a participant, instead of watching it pass you by, numb as a bystander.

I’m not here to preach to you, but rather offer some tough love I wished I would have heard years ago from someone who had actually gone through it, not just received a degree in it.

Don’t tell me you can’t.

Don’t tell me it’s too hard.

Don’t tell me it’s not worth it.

Don’t tell me it’s too late.

And don’t you dare ever tell me you give up.

Get out your shovel and dig. Rip out the root of that seed wrongfully planted and plant something new. Then have patience as you watch your new seed grow and bloom — watch yourself bloom.

Recovery doesn’t just happen, but recovery does happen.

Image via contributor

Originally published: September 27, 2018
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