Recovery? Do I really want it? Is it worth it? Is it possible? Scared of letting go? What would life be like without my ED? Do I really want to let go of it? I can answer these questions with a resounding YES now, because I’ve tasted and seen what life can be like. But I remember being unsure and ambivalent, apprehensive and scared. I asked a few close friends/mentors sometime back, why they believed life was worth living. What was it they lived for? Was life really worth it? They shared their answers but I couldn’t understand, couldn’t envisage it for myself. It was like trying to explain trees and rivers, space, colour, and birthdays to a baby in the womb. They cannot conceive of that which they have never seen or experienced. A baby may want to remain in the comfortable, familiar, known confinement of the womb, but they will never survive and thrive if that is where they stay. What we have not experienced or understood, we are apprehensive of, even if it promises something wonderful. I now find myself trying to articulate and explain to others what freedom from their ED might look like and how worthwhile fighting for life truly is…but nothing beats experience! I’ve said before that for me, the antidote to the fear of letting go is engaging more in life. The more I experience an abundant life, the more I am able to recognise that the eating disorder promises more than it delivers, destroys more than it protects, and hinders more than it helps.
The birthing process though, is rarely free from trauma, and yet when the baby cries, we breathe a sigh of relief for it shows that she is alive. Likewise, the process from illness to wellness has been tough, challenging, painful, but as the following image reminds me, the ups and downs confirm there is life.
After a period of trauma, the baby moves to a new dimension, experiences a massive learning curve, and begins to participate in life…their senses are awakened…seeing, tasting, hearing, smelling, touching things they could never have imagined. This is where I currently am… experiencing the wonder of life, exploring, learning, growing, embracing.
There are moments however, when the world and all its vastness seem overwhelming or I am unsure of how to get my needs met. The temptation is to return to that which is known, familiar…the ED is alluring, promising safety and claiming to make life smaller and more manageable. When I draw a parallel between my experience and that of a baby, I recognise there are times when a baby likewise needs comforting and will return to the foetal position. As parents/caregivers, we swaddle and rock them, simulating the conditions of the womb. Note…they do NOT crawl back into their mother’s womb and reconnect to the placenta via the umbilical cord…what an image!!! No, they have moved from that place into the world and now need to learn other ways of having their need for comfort, safety and security met. Similarly, I need to find alternatives, as returning to the ED really is no longer an option for me.
What I really wanted to share with you though, was the statement I emboldened earlier in this piece: “What we have not experienced or understood, we are apprehensive of, even if it promises something wonderful”. Just because you are apprehensive, scared, unsure of taking that leap, letting go of the ED, and embracing life, doesn’t mean it isn’t the right thing, the right time, or worth it. You may never be 100% ready, but that isn’t a reason to delay. For me, I had to keep making the choice for recovery even when it was scary and hard…but I promise you, if you persist and don’t give up, that fear will eventually diminish and LIFE will take over. I can honestly say that I no longer yearn for that which previously constrained me…and that is a massive statement for me to make! If you are wondering if you are ready to take one step closer to recovery, the answer is YES…your head may not agree, and fear and anxiety may surface, but today is the day! I’m stepping off that ledge with you…lets fly together!