One of the hardest challenges you will face, but I promise you one thing, freedom.
“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”
– Abraham Maslow
That’s just it, our eating disorders are a crutch, a form of control, a sense of a safe place, something familiar.
I could lie to you and say that I’ve only had to step into recovery once and never looked back, but that would be far from the truth. The amount of times I have relapsed is any between 30-40 hard efforts. Scary statistics I admit. But as scary and hopeless that may sound I never stopped trying, and even if I lost hope I gained it back. It has been almost two years since I have left my illness in the past.
The best advice I can give anyone struggling with recovery?
• Keep busy
Anytime a thought may cross your mind of pursuing purging, go to your new vice. Taking a walk, calling a friend, knitting a sweater (if that’s your thing)
• Keep a journal
Stop yourself and write out your emotions and feelings at that specific moment. Try to connect with why you feel the need to act upon these thoughts.
• Find someone you trust
Having someone as a type of sponsor makes an immense difference. Whether that be a sister, a brother, a friend or an actual sponsor from a help group – find someone you trust and look to them when you are at your low points. Soon you will grow your own strength and confidence to stand alone. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.
• Seek professional guidance
Whether this be a psychologist, or a support group – there are many options and different people out there with the specific qualifications to help you. The first step is admitting you need help.
• Practice self-love – find your inner peace
Easier said than done, but working towards this everyday bit by bit can make a huge difference in the long run. Take time to tell yourself what you like about yourself.
• Stop negative thoughts in their tracks
This goes along with self-love. When you start to judge yourself, stop your thought in its tracks and replace it with a positive comment. You’d be amazed at what a massive impact this little change can make for you.
• Educate yourself
One of the most important things to me was understanding my illness, why I tick the way I do.
Cause and effect.
• Read other peoples stories
It can be very eye opening to read others stories of their struggles with eating disorders. You’ll be surprised to find a lot of people who are going through similar situations as yours. It is comforting to know you are not alone.
The first steps of recovery are admitting you need help. It is completely normal to feel full of shame and humiliation at first but there is nothing to be shameful about. There are millions of women and men who are currently struggling with the pain and anguish that you yourself may be dealing with.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’re unsure if you have an eating disorder this may be a helpful tool for you:
Do I have an eating disorder?
Great links to check out:
National Eating Disorders Collaboration – Understanding Recovery
National Eating Disorders – Recovery
And Then She Recovered – Blog
Finding a Healthy Balance – Blog
Bulimia to Balance – Book by Aeryon Ashlie