The Part Of Me That Didn’t Want To Recover and What I Did About It
I have often described reaching rock bottom like being sat in the deepest darkest well with no chink of light shining through. I felt totally alone and I was unable to get out. Every time I tried to fight the voice in my head and eat a little more, the fear and guilt would overwhelm me and I’d end up binging and purging. I felt trapped. Food would consume my thoughts, I hated myself, I wanted to die to end the torture. But part of me was stubborn and wouldn’t give up. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own, so I made the decision to ask for help.
But part of me felt safe at the bottom of that well. I was terrified of the thought of losing control, having other people notice what behaviours I was using, suggesting I eat more or ‘non-safe’ foods. I wouldn’t be able to lie, cheat and hide and get away with it, any more. I would be exposed and people would judge, criticise and make comments.
I was also scared of what I imagined recovery to be. It involved thoughts of:
- I’ll be fat.
- What if people comment on my weight gain (let’s face it – even if they’re intended to be complimentary, we don’t want to hear it)
- What if I start to enjoy food?
- What if I start to relax and can’t stop putting on weight?
- I’ll have to buy bigger clothes.
- I’ll lose my identity. (Who would I be without my eating disorder?)
- Other will think I’m okay but I’m not (and I’ll lose their support).
- I’ll lose control and my safety net.
- It will be difficult facing the world as a recovered person (nothing to hide behind and everyone can take pot shots at me).
- How else will I deal with my feelings?
- How else will I punish myself?
- I won’t feel special anymore.
- I will lose a friend (even though she’s a bully).
- I will have failed if I put on weight.
All these are typical fears and barriers when it comes to recovery. In fact, I personally don’t even like the word recovery due to the associations that came to mind, so I like to talk about getting stronger and feeling better.
But these are the reasons why part of me didn’t want to seek help or recover. Luckily, I found Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which helped me address each and every one of these barriers. I now recognise that my view of myself was totally distorted due to my brain being starved. So I used EFT to get rid of negative beliefs I had about myself and deal with feelings about my past and present. By doing this, I could see that my eating and my body were not the issue at all, this was just what I was choosing to focus on. When my mind became healthier, I became more confident, positive and felt good enough, and I became more relaxed about food, eating and my weight, etc.
My life now involves:
- Really living my life, and enjoying social events.
- Being relaxed around food, eating, my body, my weight, exercise, etc.
- Being free of Ana’s voice in my head.
- Feeling good enough.
- Feeling that I am worthy and have a sense of purpose.
- Feeling that I belong.
- Feeling happy and content with myself.
I still feel that there are two parts of me, but the part of me that wants to live and enjoy life is strong. And the other part? Well, she’s been quiet for a long while and only pipes up every now and again. But she doesn’t scream any more, she just whispers. But I don’t pay her any attention. And she soon gives up.
I still use EFT regularly to help deal with any stresses in my life and to ensure that the part of me that wanted to self-destruct always remains whimpering in the background, licking her wounds, knowing that she didn’t win and never will.
I’m such an advocate of EFT, of how simple yet powerful it is, that I became an EFT Practitioner and now work with women with eating disorders helping them change their mindsets.
The thought of recovery is scary, but I’ve got further than I ever dreamed of, and you can too. Start today by making the decision that you’re not happy, that you want things to change and start looking at options that might work for you. And remember to just take baby steps so you don’t overwhelm yourself.