I would describe an eating disorder not just as a storm but as a hurricane with a magnetic center – you. No matter where you run to in life, the eating disorder will find you and fling your world upside down.
I used to think the eating disorder was the problem but in hindsight, the lessons I learned through recovery was the solution.
I used to have an inability to be alone. My eating disorder saved me from that by giving me a best friend that was there – always. One of the hardest things I ever had to learn in recovery was how to be alone...and still feel ok. I have that one nailed now. If not for the eating disorder shining a light on how challenging that was for me, maybe I would still have a vague sense of unease, a hole that couldn’t be filled. I don’t have that anymore. I have made peace with being alone.
I used to have an inability to tolerate emotions – any emotions. If I was happy, sad, nervous, afraid, excited...I would medicate with my eating disorder behaviours. Today, I feel all the emotions. And I love that about myself. The last time I cried with happiness was last week. I cried last week from sadness too. And I’m ok.
If I learned anything about emotions in recovery, it is that emotions are meant to be in motion. If they are stagnant, something is keeping them stuck that needs attending to. I move more fluidly through life because my emotions are fluid.
I used to be focused solely on my body because I thought that would keep me safe. I used to feel proud and powerful that I could control my body.
I feel more pride and power now that I have gained my freedom, than I ever felt from having the ‘perfect body’. And I don’t have to do anything to keep that freedom except to wake up in the morning.
Sometimes I wake up and feel happy because I’m free and then I get happy that I am free, so it becomes a rolling snowball of happiness and freedom. And that is all before I even climb out of bed!
The high of being recovered is a thousand times higher than any high I ever had in my eating disorder.
Sometimes storms don’t come to destroy our life. They come to clear a path.
My path asked me to make peace with being alone, feel my feelings and lean into true freedom.
What lessons is your eating disorder asking you to learn?