In the present chaos of COVID-19, I write these words from my own personal story as a reminder to your precious self that there is light in the midst of the uncertainty, confusion and calamity.
It is also to let you know that even though social distancing may be proving rather difficult to navigate, in recovery, you are not alone and will make it through the valley because …
Having faced the giant that is Anorexia, for numerous years, I know greatly the impact that any sudden arrival of change can have, and more so the emotional responses such an occurrence can bring, where the sound of an uninvited visitor begins to make itself compellingly known again, echoing messages of `not enough`, deep into the very core of who you are. Its deceiving nature wanting nothing but an opportunity to tear down any form of progress made even the tiniest of steps.
But let me reassure you that you each precious victory is significant. No matter what it looks like, your breakthroughs are worth celebrating. So take this moment to remember how far you have come, and I celebrate you too!
Throughout my own recovery, I experienced numerous valley and mountain top moments, but it’s only in looking back now do I see the shadow for what it truly is: a lie wrapped in a pretty illusion merely glorified by the artificial stage lights. An enemy perceived to be a trusted friend that tries to convince you of the safety in being tied to the shore, which is in reality nothing but a hollow shell, numbing all sense of emotion and pure joy.
I see how it was those very times where all control had been taken from me that gave me the opportunity to choose life. It was actually hidden deep within the unexpected events where my defence mechanisms became broken and found me confronting my enemies in the midst of the opposition. Yes, at first it was terrifying coming face to face with everything I had spent so many years avoiding, to which fear did not want to give up without a fight. That one overriding thought dominating the entirety of my mind from sun rise until the evening sky:
“What if” …
I often felt like I was going to drown, in waters too deep, and certainly way beyond rescue. But even with the many falls encountered after each one still found the strength to rise again. As I have discovered, the first step is always the hardest, but may I assure you that it’s okay to not feel brave. I felt far from brave, but by stepping out of the shadow of an identity that was never mine to hold on to, I experienced the wonder and freedom of the ocean.
I also learnt to embrace the process of vulnerability, which required letting down the huge wall I’d built up around my heart and soul for so long. A scary thing to do, but a step that cultivated both healing and a love for what truly matters.
After all those years, little by little, I began to accept myself for who I was: yes, imperfect, but a beautiful mess indeed.
So for any individual suffering from an eating disorder who is struggling in this difficult season, here are some tips, taken from my own story, on how not to give up with recovery.
May you know the truth that there is hope for your future beyond the shadow that follows, because you are worthy of love and life.
“… Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” – Brene Brown.