Some adjectives to describe Eating Disorders...
Constant, Ingenious, Imaginative, Creative, Persistent, Resilient, Relentless.
To name but a few.
Recovery is a not a full-time job, it’s a 24/7 job. It often starts before you open your eyes in the morning and sometimes it even invades your dreams. It can be like walking up a scree slope, 3 steps forwards and 2 steps back will yield you but an inch of progress. Sometimes you slide far down the scree before you can get purchase and re-set. Recovery can be exhausting. Demanding. Overwhelming.
That does not mean it is impossible.
I once was working with a client and I told her, ‘recovery is going to be hard – possibly the hardest thing you have ever done.’ She looked at me said, ‘well I definitely won’t recover then, because I can’t do hard things.’
I had never heard such a statement from...anybody before.
‘What do you mean you can’t do hard things? That is the strangest thing I’ve ever heard!’ (I never profess that my therapy style is exactly PC).
She looked at me like I was the crazy one. ‘I just can’t. I just can’t do hard things, that’s just who I am.’
We began to unpack where this belief had come from and how it served her to hold onto it. We got down to the foundational belief that failing would feel worse to her than never trying so in order to never ‘fail’ she had decided on some deep level to just never try, hence the belief ‘I can’t do hard things’.
As it turned out, the hardest thing for her to do...was to try to do things to prove this belief wrong. Waking up on time was hard. Talking about her feelings was hard. Following through on to-do lists was hard. Telling the truth was hard. Doing hard things was especially hard.
But not impossible.
I have been working with this courageous woman for over four years now. Not only is she in strong recovery, she is supporting others in their recoveries and has plan to become a recovery coach. Was it hard? Yes. Difficult? Absolutely. Impossible? Never.
Impossible broken into two words has always made me smile. Im Possible.
Next time your eating disorder tells you that something is hard or difficult or scary, you can acknowledge that yes it is each of those things...and that it is possible.