One thing I’m (oh so) slowly discovering throughout recovery is who I am as a person and what I value in life.
That was never something I expected, and I would certainly recommend choosing a different path to self-discovery if you have the option, but nevertheless, living with an eating disorder for the last few years has helped define (and redefine) how I see myself.
Sadly, I think a lot of people who suffer from an ED (including myself) become so caught up in worrying how we’re perceived by others that we lose track of who we are and what’s important to us.
I’m coming to terms with the fact I’m not always going to please everyone. There will be some people out there who are always going to neg on you, no matter what you do. To be honest, most of the time I don’t really care what people think – I know what’s best for me so I do it. But (and this is a big but), I definitely still care about, and overanalyse, what people think of my appearance and, to a lesser degree, my lifestyle choices.
It’s not something I want to care about, but for some reason what people think about my appearance and food/exercise choices really affects me. Worrying about what other people think has really stalled my recovery a lot at many points. I become paralysed with fear, taunting myself with questions like, “What will they think if I eat that much?” and “Will they think I don’t have the body to wear this dress?” It gets so bad that I sometimes can’t even take the next step in my recovery. A lot of this is tied up with body image issues, which I know is said to be the last part of an ED recovery that falls into line, but still, it’s really draining to live with.
I don’t necessarily know if there’s a point to today’s post, but I felt the need to ramble a little. I hate that I care about this stupid crap but I do, and living in today’s materialistic/unrealistic body bashing world, it’s hard not to. I believe this will one day go away and the only way to make it go away is to continue recovering. So, for now, I’ll keep on keeping on and praying that I’ll have the courage to fight for this until I’m living freely.
As much as I’d love to be able to tell you recovering from an eating disorder is easy once you get started, that each day you take another step forward as everything falls neatly into place, I can’t. Unfortunately, as with most of life, it’s not that simple (and certainly not that clean!). I do still care what people think. I don’t want to, but I do. That’s where I’m at right now. But it’s my job to be so dissatisfied with a life that’s anything less than fully free, that I’ll do anything to get better.
There’s no shame in not being ‘there’ yet. The only shame is when we give up on realising the fullness of life we were created for. What are you doing today to say no to the ED and yes to freedom?