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Which ‘Role’ Do You Play in Self-Harm and Eating Disorder Recovery?

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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.

If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, visit this resource.

Today, you feel helpless. Powerless. Lost. Afraid.

You are waging an internal war — to eat, or not to eat; to harm, or not to harm — and it feels like a battle you are constantly losing.

If this is a battle, then you are the “damsel-in-distress.” You are scared. There are nights when you curl up in a corner and shake. When it’s all you can do to force yourself to eat a little bit of protein, or not to self-harm.

Days when you are pacing around the grocery store, trying to convince yourself to grab something – anything – to eat. Days when you’re reminding your brain that you shouldn’t physically hurt yourself… but the desire to do so is overwhelming.

Sometimes you feel so worthless and weak, but there is a person who is strong. Who is powerful. Who is finding their way. Who is brave.

And that person is also you.

In the story of your recovery, you are more than the “damsel-in-distress” — you are also the knight.

You are the person who convinces your shaking hands to grab a salad off the shelf, or talks your body out of throwing up, or enjoys a food you normally wouldn’t allow yourself.

You are the person who walks away from whatever method of self-harm you are fighting with.

Day by day, you are learning more about how to defend yourself. It’s a process, and it takes incredible strength and bravery.

You are not weak for struggling with these things, and you are not doing anything wrong by protecting your health even when it feels like it’s going against everything in you.

As the “damsel in distress,” you’re going to feel all of those miserable feelings that come with resisting those urges — with stopping, with withdrawals. And sometimes, doing the healthy thing can feel horrible — like we’re hurting ourselves, not helping.

But you are fighting to keep yourself safe, even when you don’t feel like it, and you can be proud of yourself for that.

It might not be perfect — there might be relapses, and more things to learn. Complications and hardships.

Knights aren’t perfect. They have to train. They have to condition. There are trials and errors, and bumps and bruises. There is also bravery, dedication and fierce determination.

That is you. You are not hopeless. You are not just your fear and your pain. You are so much more. And you are so strong.

You are not alone, either. Find people to fight alongside you — friends, family, your church.

With the help of God and your fellow warriors, you’ve got this, little fighter.

Keep fighting.

Getty Images photo via GrandFailure

Originally published: May 3, 2019
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