I still remember the day I sat in my therapist’s office crying. To be fair, there were many of these days but this one stands out to me. The most likely reason is that she said something I still remember even today.
I was tired. No, exhausted. When I say I had nothing left it is no exaggeration. The thought of the next hour of life felt insurmountable yet here I was being asked to do all the things that terrified me. Eat food. Keep it. Sit on my butt and not exercise. I didn’t have the energy to fight the anxiety if I did the recovery thing, yet if I continued in my eating disorder I wouldn’t be getting additional energy anytime soon.
I explained all this to my therapist as I blotted my tears and snot away.
‘It doesn’t seem fair does it’ she mused out loud, ‘that when you are the most tired and the most exhausted is when you need to find the most amount of energy.’
That, was exactly how I was feeling.
I can’t tell you how I found the energy to put the food to my mouth. I don’t recall where I summoned an extra ounce of energy to get through the following hour. All I know is that people have extraordinary capacity and when tested, they find reserves they didn’t know they had.
The saying about it being the darkest before dawn. It’s true. Because right after the moment when you think you can’t bear recovery a moment longer, you find another ounce of energy. And when you think you can’t do it again, you do. And slowly, the sun does rise.
It can feel like a catch 22 when the very thing that sustains life, feels like it is killing you with anxiety. Yet chances are, you weren’t born with crippling anxiety. You weren’t born with an eating disorder. These are emotions and behaviours and thought processes that were learned. They can be unlearned but to do that, you are going to need fuel both in the traditional form – food – and the non-traditional form; anger at the eating disorder, rage even at how your life has been stifled, desire perhaps for a better life, love for something or someone.
When you feed yourself physically and energetically, even when you are tired - especially when you are tired, you will find the way.