A lot of people ask how I began my recovery from my eating disorder(s). What was it that finally broke through the walls I had built up. What was the thing that finally helped me to WANT to feed myself. How did I recover? People want to hear that it was one particular moment, that the light bulb went off, that I finally realized there was more to life than weight and food, blah blah blah…
Here’s the truth, and it may surprise some, anger a few, and make total sense to others.
I didn’t. There was no light bulb. There wasn’t a decisive moment when I had had enough. There were many of those moments, and they would last anywhere from a few days to a couple years. And then there would be a trigger, an event, a stressful couple months, a major (or minor) shift, and I would be sent spiraling back. Only each time was a little worse because everyone expected me to be “better”, “recovered”, “over it”. The shame and guilt over my behaviors, the fact that I was slowly ripping my body apart, was worse than I could bear, and so to alleviate that pain, I’d sink deeper.
I did a pretty okay job of covering up this intense shame and self-loathing by soaking up all the knowledge I could about health, yoga, meditation, spirituality in general, healing work, bodywork, emotional holding, Ayurveda, herbalism from multiple traditions, Chinese Medicine, how to heal trauma, nutritional theory, shamanism, tarot, anything I could get my hands on. I learned how to eat really healthy. I’m now one of the most educated 27 year olds I know, and all that is simply a compensation, a distraction from dealing with the fact that I still had no idea how to nourish my Self. I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting with myself long enough to hear the answers that my soul had for me.
And then for the greatest cover-up of them all, I decided to coach OTHER women with eating disorders, because if I couldn’t fix myself, maybe I could fix them and then my own struggle would be justified. And that’s when it all started to crack and crumble. My soul was speaking to me through the eating disorder, telling me it was time for transformation, for letting go. My body was beginning to feel the (quite frankly) terrifying effects of years of starving and purging. Before I could do anything I needed to heal my body and my heart. To give myself the space, let myself be seen in the most vulnerable way. Everything about it felt raw, exposed, torn open. It was time to learn the lesson of asking for what I want and need.
And I did. And my community has risen up more than I could have ever imagined to offer support, space, guidance, words, and witness. And no judgment whatsoever.
So here I am now, bearing all my scars, all my shame, my pain, anger, grief, everything I’d been working SO hard to conceal for fear of your judgment. Now that I have nothing left to hide, I can begin the real work to connect with a deep love for myself not because of my imperfections and battles, but because I Am. Because all of us have the right to love and be loved simply by being born into this world. We don’t need to earn love. We ARE love. And so begins the heroine’s journey…