I am not fundamentally worthy. I don’t know my place. I am nor adequate to my life. I am doing it wrong. I am recovering wrong. I am not living. I may not deserve to live.
This is a sequence of thoughts I caught in my mind. The obvious ending to those thoughts was:
I don’t need to recover. I can’t recover.
Why was it? Why now, when I finally realised the many reasons I have to recover, was I pushing this idea? I am tired of being sick. It is probably my illness building up those thoughts.
I have a chronic lack of confidence and that it the first obstacle to my recovery.
Because anorexia made me forget who I really am, and the loneliness I experience is a result of it because I can’t feel nor live with myself anymore. I think not being afraid of being me, just me, is the hardest part of recovery. Anorexia makes me feel an alien within a body, when I think I am the anorexic mind. When I forget I am this body and its soul, instead of the voices.
But I need me to recover. The solution is just there.
I don’t need to change who I am. Only to know who I am.
I am not a tag. Tags reduce myself to a concept that someone else created in his mind and I can only be deceived by them. I have tried many. But they only annihilate my inner personality trying to show up.
I am not anorexic. I don’t even like to think an eating disorder because disorder implies madness and loss. I have a difficult relationship with food because I have been trying avoid any relationship with myself, with my body and my soul. And then I adopted that I identity because it provided me a self space to live with, an ideal of martyrdom and sacrifice for some ideal of devotion to the others, of control, of purity.
I am not a vegetarian, nor a vegan. I may have preferences, and only random cravings to eat animal products, my body doesn’t always need them. But placing the tag of vegetarianism in my front is just another form of restriction, and smashing part of my roots. I would be cut from my origins, my childhood memories. I would just be another pill to induce sleep from real emotions and memories, a way to keep distance from others and to feed my disordered need for feeling unique. besides, I have understood that any restriction also strengthens rigid thougths and behaviours, starts new loops of control, and masks choosing food as easier just because there are less choices.
The conclusion of vegan trial and even increased unhappiness was… I need to eat with my gut. My gut is wise. My gut knows. If only I could listen to it!
If I have trouble to find who I am, I can gain awareness of who I am not. I am not my eating disorder. I am not disabled. I am not stupid. I am not hideous.
I also don’t need to add tags to my recovery. What I need is to trust and feel the process. No one needs to understand or to design it because it is exclusive to me.
As any process, it has moments that from the outside may look like a failure. But they are lessons and experiences, that are just cumulating to make me stronger and wiser.
As recovery is personal, I don’t need to follow general rules. Gain x kg/week, eat Y meals. Why should recovery need to keep numbers as the only assessment? Aren’t numbers why I am trying to run away from?
My body and my hunger don’t know about numbers. If I listen to them I will realise that they feel them, and after a while, they balance. If they are let free. They will ask for what they need to be healthy, if they trust me that I will give it to them.
Recovery is just another step in the path of life. As any path, it can diverge, you may need to stop and breathe on the way. And this freedom, this sense of banality, is what makes the path anjoyable funny ride.
Things will change by themselves. They always do. I must try not to judge myself for experiencing the dark places and difficult times. I also must enjoy the moments of light and not mourn them when they go. Just wait for the flow to bring the, back.
If I start adding rules and conditions, if it becomes another burden, recovery becomes another fear, an unbearable task. And thus the thoughts I noticed in the beginning arise.
I can recover at my own pace. It won’t be good, nor bad. It just is. It is what I need now. I don’t need to try it so hard.
Judging is another self condemning voice that bullies my recover. It may seem a paradox that Eating Disorder tells me I am not recovering well enough. He is smart. He knows that if I lose confidence I will step back and come back to him. That because I think am wrong, I need him to take care of me. That the judgement discourages me. But I am aware of his tricks now. And I am not giving up. I am being gentle and compassionate to myself. I am loving my body. I have started to talk and caress him, to get to know him, so that he can trust me. Soon, I believe we will be able to communicate with each other.
Now the bigger the eating disorder voices are, the easier it gets to come back to the present and get strength to continue.
The secret of recovery may lie in not trying to change anything. When we surrender to the demons, when we acknowledge who they are, we are able to let them go. If I stop trying to change the voices and thoughts, if I embrace all experiences, I will free the lever of control. I will finally leave for and in the present.
Recovery is messy. And that just makes it more scaring, but more accessible. If it had to be perfect, there would be no such thing! Luckily, there is not perfect narrative for recovery.
I can stop judging my experience, and just learn from it, listen to what they tell me. That makes anyone grow as a person. I will be ready to give love, to my life now, to myself, and to the world.
Standing the roar of the lion. That is what life and recovery are about. There is always a lion within us. A threatening beast, roaring, trying to bite, to gobble up the kindness and gratitude in ourselves. But we can learn to tame him, and then the voices. They just need to understand their boundaries, I you must now how far you want to let them go.
I can feel my lion. I can imagine how he looks. He opens his mouth and brings me all those thoughts. Now, that I know him, I am curious of those thoughts. I don’t have to pretend they don’t exist. I just set my boundaries with them, and see them through the glass. I observe them and let them go. If I fix them, the glass disappears, and they enter in my territory, and start directing my life.
I can just sit, and see how they are, but not determine how I behave, not embracing the perfectionism, the judgements, the fears they bring. When they cross boundaries, they bring fear, they choose not to eat, they remove freedom and pleasure. They take my life.
The positive note, is that we are the master of our inner lion. Flow. Let go with his roars. Find your teaching in them, and then tame them.
The eating disorder makes me act and operate based on past rituals and behaviors or future plans events. That gives us the idea of controlled control. I need to take present moment decisions, and act consequently. Being in the moment and trusting my intuitions. That is also what recovery is about.
I am coming back to the now, letting go, coming back again, and once more.
I live in Singapore were everyone is an alien. Everyone is trying to find his own space and identity is this messy city. I think it is a difficult environment to fulfil my task but also because it is so stimulating, I can play around and discover. Fusion with the heterogenous mass of people and finally find myself.
I need to honour my body. And to my inner child and with him, see this new world and eat as he would do!
“Take heart; you don’t need to worry about anything more, for now, than eating more and letting your body heal itself.” – Emily Troscianko