goldilocks

I’ve just been in such a low place over the past 3 weeks, and today was no exception. I just felt so miserable I decided on a whim to complain to my friends, I ranted about how awful and sad I feel. I look back and for the past 3-4 years I’ve constantly been fighting and telling myself things will get better. It’s always ‘it sucks right now but we have to push through and keep trying‘ but nothing I do helps and I keep going in circles and I’m just so sick of being sick. I’m so sick of always having to hope, because having to hope sucks. I hate the fact that there’s no path I can take to recovery, there’s no formula, it feels like there’s nothing I can do to actually help myself- I’m so tired and nothing ever gets better and I just want to stay in bed until someone solves this because I can’t. The only thing I’m not doing right now is ED recovery but then again, eating doesn’t make anything better (it just makes me fat and feel awful) and besides, I don’t even know how to eat.

I didn’t have the energy to be my usual ‘things are going to get better’ self and it felt like I was in a negative mindset which I dislike, I hate it when my brain gets depressing because I don’t see a point in being negative and I apologized for that. But she pointed out it was okay to be. It was okay to feel feelings. This whole time, I’ve been like ‘yes I know it’s okay to feel feelings and all, but I don’t want to feel them‘ and then that’s when the epiphany hit. 

I think it’s better to just be positive and move forward instead of ‘wallowing’ but maybe that’s a way of stopping myself from feeling feelings- under the guise of ‘positivity’. I want to be better but I’m forcing myself to be better without first allowing it to be.
I feel like we’ve talked about this in therapy many times before, allowing myself to feel, and it’s something I started really learning this year in the hospital- having to break before you rebuild, but it never fully hit me until now. I’ve tried to stop ‘actively’ pushing away my feelings but I’ve never realized how even the smallest things I do, like pushing myself to look forward/get better/be productive, all subconsciously invalidate my feelings and completely ignore them. I don’t know why it was such a lightbulb moment but it was, and I realized I need to just let myself be sad instead of trying to move on. That is a part of recovery, a very important part- recovery is not trying to feel better, it’s letting myself feel the unpleasant feelings in the first place. Without allowing myself to feel all of it first, I can never truly get better, I have to let it get worse before it can get better. Otherwise, all my attempts at ‘getting better’, as I’ve done over the past 3-4 years, are simply various ways of trying to push the feelings down while being as high functioning as possible. My functionality was how I measured recovery and right now, as I write this, I realize that’s not a good way to measure recovery at all. Like I mentioned, feeling bad is an important part of recovery. There cannot be healing without pain, and I feel like I need to learn how to accept pain. It’s a very Buddhist thing too, isn’t it, accepting pain?
I feel like I do have a fear of ‘wallowing‘ and ‘being depressive‘ though, and I don’t know where the line between allowing myself to feel feelings and wallowing is? I’m going to bring this up in therapy tomorrow.
I realize I’m so black and white, what a surprise. In the first few years of being sick, I was completely hopeless and wallowing in my own misery but in the subsequent years, I was constantly trying to get better (being more functional) and be hopeful and avoid my sadness. I made this switch gradually, but I flipped the switch without ever dealing with the issue. Recovery, real recovery, is not a switch after all. That’s why I feel like I’ve never really changed. I feel like I just went from being ‘really sad and submerged in sadness and non-functioning ‘ to ‘really sad and ignoring sadness and trying to function‘. I also feel like a part of me is really scared that allowing myself to be sad and feel everything would mean going back to the way I was- drowning in sadness and not being able to function. I never realized that was a fear, but I think it has been a fear all along. The fear that my feelings are ‘too much’. On a smaller scale, I expressed the same fear lately- that if I don’t protect myself from the attachment trauma with Dr K now, then what happened in February will repeat itself and I will be so overwhelmed by the pain and flashbacks and trauma that I cannot cope. My fears are completely logical, I have experienced my feelings in full force before- I was severely depressed and unstable and in constant aching misery in the first few years of my illness. Same with February this year, I was completely unstable and in unimaginable pain, pain I never want to go through ever again. Of course I’ll be scared of allowing myself to feel. The fear that my feelings are ‘too much’ don’t just come from my beliefs, it comes from experience. I haven’t been able to handle the pain in the past, so naturally I want to avoid the pain now. However, I also recognize that the pain I experienced during those periods was probably more intense and unpredictable because they have been the result of a buildup.
I realize I am scared of feelings and emotions. I cannot fathom allowing myself to feel unconditionally. If I allowed myself to feel everything- I would just be really sad because there is a lot to be sad about.
Ironically, I am so sad right now, so whatever I’m doing to ‘cope’ is not working, and I know that’s what Dr K would say too. My friend pointed out that you never know until you give it a go, and she’s right because I have never tried being unconditional with myself. Yet, I am terrified of being unconditional. Not just in terms of feelings but in terms of everything, I am terrified of being ‘too much‘. If I let myself feel everything it’ll be too much and I won’t be able to handle it, if people saw the ‘real me’ it’ll be too much and everyone will leave, if I let myself eat what I want then I will eat too much and become fat and take up too much space. There is constantly the need to control, to deal with it or manage it somehow, I cannot imagine not having some control. Too much food so you gotta restrict calories, too much feelings so you gotta numb them, too much weight so you gotta lose it- even the good things- too much passion so you gotta calm down, too much dreaming so you gotta be realistic. I am, by nature, ‘too much’. I feel everything incredibly intensely, I’m hypersensitive. I feel so much and I need so much and I hate it. That’s why I have a passionate hatred for needs and hunger, a reminder of that ‘too much’-ness.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way because I hear normal friends/people say such things all the time, I feel like society itself has a stigma against excess. Applying the same logic to other people really made me think about the concept of ‘too much‘ and how ludicrous that is, because what’s so bad about ‘too much‘ anyway? My friend pointed out some really good things here: “Who gets to decide what is ‘too much‘? It’s so subjective. You might feel like you’re ‘too much’ but what if it’ll be just enough for you? Not for your mental illness and disordered behavior. It might seem like too much for your ED but it may be the perfect amount for you.” It made perfect sense, especially when I thought about in the context of others and not myself- I truly believe we are just right for us, whatever intensity you feel and you think, it’s right for you because it’s yours? It’s your feelings and it’s authentically you so how can it be ‘wrong’? I feel like I can apply that logic easily to someone else, but for myself it’s harder because I have that fundamental belief that ‘I am wrong‘ so obviously it makes sense in my head that my authentic feelings and authentic self would wrong too, but I am working on changing that belief because I know it is baseless.
She also pointed out that perhaps everything can seem ‘so much’ and more intense to me because I deprive myself of things– like how restricting food causes the urge to eat more. I do believe there is truth in that emotionally as well, and my past experiences with emotions have been so intense because I bottle them up until they hit an extreme. I feel like framing things this way- comparing emotions to food- makes the solution a lot clearer to me. Because I know if I eat unconditionally, I will be eating ‘too much’ and I will overeat because I have been so deprived. My eating is ‘too much’ compared to others but it makes sense why, and eventually my appetite will taper off to become more ‘normal’ when I keep responding to hunger and I am no longer deprived. So applying that logic, similarly, right now I will feel ‘too much’ and it will be that way for a while because I have deprived myself of feeling anything for so long, and I just need to keep letting myself feel until eventually the ‘excess’ tapers off and I reach a more ‘normal’ intensity of emotions (in this case I mean ‘normal’ for me because my emotional intensity will always be higher than average and that’s ok) when I am more balanced. That’s another small epiphany for me. The more I deprive myself, the more intense everything will be because the balance is thrown off and that adds to the feeling of ‘too much’.
It made me a little sad, realizing that I struggle immensely with allowing myself to just be, with the idea of not controlling and ‘managing’ myself and with being unconditional, because I’ve never ever done it before. I truly can’t remember a time in my life where I ever felt enough, not too much or too little. So I’ve never been unconditional, I’ve always either been trying to be perfect to make up for being too little, or to be less emotional/thinner/smaller/quieter/less messy/less myself to make up for being too much. At every single age, I have been trying to live up to an impossible standard, I am always too much or too little and never ‘just right’. This is why I fundamentally believe I am wrong. I would never ever think any of my friends were ‘wrong’ or ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’. I am unconditional with everyone around me, and yet never with myself, and my friend said I should try to do that. Be unconditional with myself. Because I might have had a shitty childhood but now, I am older and I can give little-me the unconditional acceptance she needs. This is why I called this post Goldilocks- I suppose I do have to be like her and find where it is not too hot or cold, not too big or small, not too hard or soft, but just right.
And you are not too much, not too little- just right, as you are.
I say I don’t know what to do, but what I need to do is to allow myself to be. to not do. This was another small epiphany- when I am sick/use the ED in any way, I am running from myself and my feelings so it makes sense that in recovery I need to just be. Being is the exact opposite of running. Running is too exhausting, I know that, I am miserable. I need to allow myself to be unconditional without letting fear stop me, because I am not too much. I am utterly terrified of being too much but I am not. I need to be unconditional with feelings, with food, with my weight and with my soul. I need to allow my inner child to be who she is because she is just right, as she is. I don’t have to fit into any box. She doesn’t have to fit into any box. I do still feel resistant towards recovery, I don’t want to give up the ED because I feel like eating isn’t going to help, my body image is awful and I hate being fat and I don’t know how to recover when I freak out over cereal. I seriously don’t know how to allow myself to just be, without trying to change myself in some way. Existing is bloody terrifying. But I look back at the past 6-9 years and I am just so tired of being tired and miserable. I don’t know what will help me, but recovery is the only thing I haven’t tried- I haven’t tried being unconditional and I don’t know if it will truly help but what I’m doing isn’t working so what’s the harm in trying something new? I don’t want to deal with the behavioral and physical recovery and the painful side effects of it but I can’t separate emotional/trauma recovery and ED recovery. If I am using the ED, I am automatically numbing myself. It’s not going to feel good but there is no point in holding onto what no longer serves me because I am so, so miserable and sad right now. I’ll never feel sick enough. There is no point in waiting to recover, no point in losing weight then recovering because I’ll have to gain it back and be at my set point eventually. I want recovery in the long term so I have to do it, I can’t rely on external validation. I have to go back to it, and I will. I have to allow myself grace.
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don’t give up on yourself.

I’ve lost a lot of motivation for recovery lately, and I think one big reason that pushed me to do it immediately back then was my therapist and wanting to make her proud/make the best use of our remaining sessions. But now without that immediate motivation, my brain thinks ‘I’ll do it eventually’. I do have reasons to recover, but it doesn’t feel enough to push me to want to do it now. Also, the classic ‘you have to get worse before you can get better’, the same mindset I’ve always had: I’ll do it when someone sees that I’m sick enough. I still feel like maybe if I lose weight then my doctors/friends/family will see that I’m sick then I would actually get care and help that I need- and after that happens then I can get better.  I just don’t feel validated, or helped, but I also know that’s probably just me blocking out the help/care from people and no amount of validation will be enough. I wrote this back in a recovery post: “Remember that you will never feel sick enough or thin enough, there comes a point where you just have to sit down and acknowledge the fact that you are suffering. You don’t need anyone’s validation. Remember there is no value in sickness or thinness or misery. Remember there is nothing better about being sicker, or thinner.” I feel like that was a good reminder.

I wrote this too: “that little girl still lives inside me, she is the pain & fear I feel, and taking care of her is also taking care of myself. It makes me feel better knowing I am not alone, knowing I am seen and validated and cared for- even if it’s from myself. Perhaps that’s the best kind of care, self-care.” I don’t feel cared for, because I am not caring for myself, I am not allowing care into my life, I am shutting out. I don’t feel secure enough to recover because I am not taking care of that little girl. When I shut people out, when I ignore my body and when I shut myself out- I am shutting her out. I need to go back to that little girl, I need to tell her it’s going to be okay, that she’s unconditionally loved.

My therapist pointed out that I have high standards for recovery and I’m slipping there again. I feel like I’m disappointing everyone no matter what- I’m disappointing my doctors and my friends if I’m not ‘good enough’ at recovery. I feel like a disappointment right now, because I know I’m not ‘actively’ choosing to recover in terms of making sure I eat enough/following a meal plan but I want to want to recover. I also think I’m really just disappointing myself because nobody else has high standards of my recovery like me. Kelly pointed out that the ED is also trying to make me believe that since I “can’t recover” then I might as well go back to the ED which is, in her words, SNEAKY AS SHIT. She’s so right because I think that I can’t recover and I don’t know how to eat so I’m not even going to try. The disorder is literally so loud 24/7 and most times I’m like ‘ok I’m not gonna fight you’ because I don’t have the energy to be fighting the ED all the time like I did previously and I literally don’t know how to eat normally anyway. But I need to remind myself that waiting to feel better and then eat more is not gonna work!!!!!!! You have to eat more to feel better!!!! Progress is still progress- even being at a standstill is better then going back.

Here’s my reminder for today: Recovery is not black and white, it is not a grand thing. Choosing recovery doesn’t mean going out to eat buffets or burgers, it doesn’t mean eating 3000 calories everyday straight away, it doesn’t mean not struggling. It doesn’t have to be huge- baby steps. Committing to recovery is a good start. Reminding yourself why you want recovery is a good start. Eating more is a good start. Allowing yourself to eat is a good start. Recovery is not perfect, trying your best is enough. Also- you’re not going to always want it but you have to do it and keep doing it. Find compassion for yourself.

Lastly, I also wrote this back in another blogpost: “I cannot live the life I want if I am sick, no matter how many times my brain says I can do it, I cannot. My illness no longer gives me anything. I don’t need it’s control, I will survive without it, I will survive at a healthy weight, I will survive the fear and uncertainty and tidal waves of emotions. Feeling everything is better than feeling nothing.” Right now I feel like I need the illness, but at one point I identified that I wanted recovery, that I didn’t need the disorder, and I trust myself. I fought for recovery at one point. I’ve come so far, even though I’ve slipped back, I am not who I was even a month ago. I fought so hard for recovery all this time, I didn’t want to relapse because I didn’t want to let myself down. I didn’t want to relapse because I knew little-ericia deserves better. Yet now I find myself here, relapsing. What do I do? Do I give into the disorder or do I make the choice to go back and do what is right? I just need to do it, choosing to give into the feelings and thoughts and behaviors and choosing to control my weight is choosing to not recover. I cannot recover without doing these things. I need to let go of ED beliefs.

Seriously. I wrote this: “I deserve self compassion, I deserve to eat, I deserve to exist. That little girl inside deserves better than this eating disorder. I cannot keep doing this to myself, I cannot keep putting myself through this suffering. I want a life where I can live according to my values- love and compassion and adventure and authenticity and courage, not a life where I am led by fear and consumed by self-hatred. I’m never going to be sick enough or good enough for my disorder’s unrelenting standards- being ‘sicker’ doesn’t have real worth and ‘control’ is an illusion.” So I need to trust my past self. I literally wrote this, and all the quotes in this post. I wrote all of that and I can’t give up now, I can’t give up on her now. I hate myself but I love little-ericia and I have so much compassion for her.

I need to choose recovery again.

Here’s a message for myself because I find that often helps: Please, I know you want to want recovery- that’s such a good start. I know you want recovery but you feel so lost and scared and alone, I know it’s easier to stay in the disorder, I know the temptation of weight loss, I know it’s easier to stay than to fight, I know it’s easier to numb than to feel. But you’ve fought so hard and you deserve so much better, you really do. Nobody else can choose this but you, your friends can be the most loving and supportive (and they are) and your therapists can talk their mouths dry but I know you- nobody can convince you but yourself. So here’s a message for yourself. You deserve recovery, the real you is buried deep underneath the disorder right now and you can’t see or hear her but I promise you she wants recovery. She fought for this, don’t give up on her. I got your back, you’re going to be okay. It’s scary but you got this, you’re cared for and loved no matter what. Not just by friends and family and your team, but by me. Yes, I’m going to care for you and accept you unconditionally. You deserve to nourish yourself, to enjoy food. No, enjoying food doesn’t make you greedy. Food is not bad. You would never treat anyone else the way you treated yourself. Starving yourself and numbing yourself might work short term but that is not taking care of yourself or helping yourself. If you truly want to help yourself, recover, one step at a time. I’m not expecting you to be perfect or to recover immediately, but at least try. You’ll be okay. You can do this, you’re scared and it’s okay. Do it for future you, for past you. You deserve it. You are sick enough, you are good enough. Don’t wait, I know it’s tempting to wait but you have waited 6 years. You deserve it. Now, yes, right now. You don’t have to be at any weight to be sick enough because I see you, I see your pain, I am the one person you cannot numb yourself from or run away from, even though you’re running from the entire world right now, I am here. I see you pain. I see you. You are sick enough. Stop running, you deserve to enjoy food, you deserve to exist, you deserve to be. Do it. Recovery is not black and white.

Recovery is not a war, it is Homecoming.

Recovery is about being. About softness. About allowing yourself and your body space to heal grow. It is finding compassion for the fractured parts you try to hide, compassion for the little girl inside. It is meeting fear and anxiety with kindness. It is meeting your inner critic with an innate sense of acceptance.

It is chrysalis- coming home to your true self.

Recovery is softening, it is feeling– sometimes falling. It is allowing yourself to feel unconditionally- letting pain, feelings, fear, uncertainty and anxiety exist and simply be, without resistance. You are not ‘too much’. It is bravery and fear at the same time, for true growth will only come from vulnerability. Trusting that you will cope with what comes your way, without the need for hardness or destruction. It is surrender- letting go of control, pain, expectations. It is trusting your innate intuition, trusting yourself and your feelings, trusting your body and the universe- trusting the process of growth and unfolding.

Trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be, your body will be where it is meant to be.

Recovery is the crack of light into the worn stone cage of your heart. It is the destruction of the walls you have built upon starvation and isolation. It is the undoing of years of wired self destruction. It is wearing down the hard edges of self protection and self denial. It is a new understanding of who you are and the acceptance of tides of change and imperfection. Acceptance of the dustiest corners of your soul, acceptance that you will always be a work in progress. It is being. Staying soft.

Recovery is not just about unrestricted food, but unconditional love and acceptance.

Recovery is healing the dissociation between your soul, your body and your feelings. It is allowing your true essence to fill the fissure of emptiness. It is letting go of numbers and allowing yourself to take up space, to allow your body to exist how it is meant to be. It is feeling the energy, love, compassion and pain that flows through every inch of your body and accepting it, letting it be. It is listening to the intuition of your body. It is allowing your body and soul healing, nourishment and pleasure without guilt. It is believing you deserve to exist. You have a fundamental place, a fundamental worth that will never change.

It is reclaiming the space and energy that is your birthright.

Recovery is painful. Pain is an inevitable part of healing. It is meant to be uncomfortable for it is vulnerability and fear. It is standing in the face of discomfort, of raging storms and forest fires in your mind. The disorder will be relentless. It is the destruction of years of wired neural systems, comfortable coping mechanisms. The healing process is not full of light, it is taking the leap and navigating a labyrinth. It is not without risk, but staying where is it comfortable is staying where light will never reach. It is the process of softening and trusting. It is allowing pain. It is being, despite it all. Letting it be.

Recovery is stopping, it is seeing, it is listening to your heart and knowing you are enough.

It is not a battle with yourself, not a war with your mind. Turn inward with kindness, give that inner child what she needs. When you find compassion, acceptance and allow yourself to be, unconditionally, the need to control and punish yourself diminishes. There is more to be gained than there is to be lost in recovery. There is no real safety in illness, the only real control comes when we embrace uncertainty. Breathe. Let go. You are seen, you are enough.

It is gentle energy of morning light. It is the rage of destructive hurricanes. It is the pain of healing and shedding of leaves in the fall, bearing harsh winter. It is the first spring blossom of growth and glimmer of light onto fresh grass.

Recovery is the light of homecoming. You are the only home you need.

What do I want? Day program anxiety.

I’m going for program tomorrow morning (well, technically today) and I can’t sleep. I feel so anxious I want to cry. I’ve been crying an awful lot lately, which is hard to get used to because I never cried back when I was sicker. Which makes a lot of sense, considering how restriction numbs you. I had a bad breakdown earlier wanting to relapse, and I’m still thinking about what I really want to do. I’ve been feeling so lost. I fought so hard to get to a point where I’m actually finally recovering but now that I am, I realize I don’t know what I want. I don’t know what recovery might mean and I don’t see a life without my illness. It actually scared me, how I could easily picture living the rest of my life with this illness. At first, my motivation for recovery was what I didn’t want- I didn’t want to keep living like this, I didn’t want to be miserable. But what do I want?

I’m blinded by the fog of the storm and every step forward is infinitely terrifying because I don’t see what is ahead of me and I don’t know what’s on the other side.

I don’t feel particularly motivated for recovery right now but I’m at a place where there is no turning back and I am doing it no matter how I feel. What keeps me going is knowing that I will let myself- my true self– down if I give up. I don’t feel it but I know at some point I wanted this, I fought so hard for this and I will keep going for her sake- for little me and past me and future me. I did go back and read blogposts, and it always comforts me to read what I tell my younger self. I told her that she is scared and lost but I will hold her hand through this, she is doing her best. I think that little girl still lives inside me, she is the pain & fear I feel, and taking care of her is also taking care of myself. It makes me feel better knowing I am not alone, knowing I am seen and validated and cared for- even if it’s from myself. Perhaps that’s the best kind of care, self-care.

It’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to feel lost and scared. We are doing it in spite of the fear anyway, and I think that is really brave.

People say there is a life outside of this illness. I think there is, even if it’s hard to imagine. I want that. I want to be free from the disorder, I want to eat ice cream and pizza whenever I want, I want to go out with my friends for meals, I want to have cocktails on a full stomach instead of an empty one, I want to be able to eat chicken rice and nasi lemak someday, I want to feel emotions again, I want to spend my time painting and making art and advocating and volunteering and doing anything but obsess over numbers, I want to eat without having to calculate the calories, I want to be able to go out for a meal and not have to plan & compensate for it a week in advance, I want to live in the outside world instead of staying in hospitals, I want to travel and cook and study and graduate and become a doctor and help others and I want to be a mother. I cannot live the life I want if I am sick, no matter how many times my brain says I can do it, I cannot. My illness no longer gives me anything. I don’t need it’s control, I will survive without it, I will survive at a healthy weight, I will survive the fear and uncertainty and tidal waves of emotions. Feeling everything is better than feeling nothing.

I want to live. It’s ironic because that is my biggest fear and biggest desire- life. I want to live boldly, fully, wholeheartedly. I want to paint with every color of the rainbow, not just black and white. I want to cry my heart out and laugh until I cry. I want recovery because recovery will give me life. A life I never really got to have, a life I’ve been running from because my life is painful. It’s okay to be scared because fear doesn’t have to stop me. I cannot always be strong, but I will be brave. I’ve been crying everyday because I hate recovery but I have to remember I also do want recovery after all. I am so proud of myself and how I’ve kept going despite the pain and anxiety I feel about recovery. I am so proud of how far I’ve come, even though I have a long way to go. I talked to Kelly today and it was a reminder that recovery isn’t black and white, I have to take it one step at a time. Change is not easy but I am fighting for me. I am fighting because I deserve better.

I am going to be imperfect, and my journey will not be black and white but messy and filled with color, much like the world is. It will be different and confusing and scary, but at the end we will look back and see how the colors make a kaleidoscope after all. Healing is not linear, and it is okay.

One step at a time. Day program is a really good step, so let’s give it all we’ve got- remember recovery is meant to be uncomfortable, so challenge yourself! You think you can’t do it but you might just surprise yourself. Remember, you are not alone and everyone there is on your team and not against you, you are getting the help you need and you are not fighting alone. Trust those around you and live in line with your values- open-mindedness, adventure, compassion & bravery. Open your heart to change and trying new things, be brave and curious, see the unknown as an adventure and most importantly, have compassion for yourself. It’s going to be a hard week, but a good one.

fighting through the tears

I had another breakdown today, I was just posting a picture of dinner and thinking about recovery, when it hit me just how much I’ve been eating and how big a change it is from my low points. I cried because I’m so scared of change and recovery, because I’m angry at myself for doing this, because I’m angry at my therapist for pushing me to do this, because I’m so scared of weight gain, because I’m so scared of eating, because I’m so scared of losing my disorder and everything I’ve known, because I’m so sad and tired, because I feel so guilty for eating, because I don’t deserve to eat, because I’ve never eaten so much regularly without compensation before, because recovery is so damn difficult, because I don’t want to do this, because I’m so scared and sad and uncertain and yet I still have to push on.

I’ve actually been doing better in recovery since my therapy session on Tuesday when she said I wasn’t trying hard enough. I’ve been doing what I need to do to- following my meal plan and finally eating regularly (3 meals + snacks), I haven’t weighed myself (which is a huge win), I’m accepting help and being honest with my team and going for day program next week, I’m challenging my ED in different ways, I’m hitting the minimums I set for myself and I’m working on increasing. It’s all great, but it scares me to death because doing this means I’m actually changing. Just 2-3 weeks ago, I was in recovery and yet I struggled to even hit 700, the ED was so loud and I just couldn’t. When I was at my lowest I went days without solid food. But now, my minimums are 1500-1600 and i’m increasing to 2500 slowly. It triggers the not-sick-enough thoughts but I’m ignoring those. I’ve been in recovery since May- that was when I really committed to the idea of recovery and really wanted it but I was never really eating properly until now. It’s one thing to be in recovery and struggling, but it’s another to actually be doing okay in recovery. Doing okay or doing well in recovery means I’m making progress and things are really changing and there’s no going back- and today, the reality of that hit me.

As I laid in bed sobbing (again) tonight, I realized how different it is to just want recovery, and actually do the things and take the steps that will get me towards recovery. And I realized how absolutely terrifying it is.

I also realized what Dr K meant 2 weeks ago when she said that I wanted the end goal of being recovered but I was still ambivalent towards to steps I needed to take to get there, and she said it again on Tuesday- that I was ambivalent towards recovery because I wasn’t doing what I needed to do (follow my meal plan, eat, gain weight). I was upset by what she said because I had been putting my 110% into recovery and I desperately wanted it, because it has taken so much fighting to even get to a point where I wanted recovery and it was a constant fight to keep choosing to try. So I still dislike that word, but I think I see what she means by my ‘ambivalence’ because choosing to not follow my meal plan and choosing to give into the feelings and thoughts and behaviors and choosing to control my weight is choosing to not recover. Like she said, I cannot recover without doing these things.

Perhaps she’s right, maybe I was subconsciously still trying to avoid doing what I needed to do. Like the behavioral vs emotional argument she brings up often, I focus on the emotional aspect but never committed to taking action, and it’s definitely part of my personality to be super introspective. I wanted to recover and I was definitely trying to do it, but I was also self-sabotaging all the time. I was telling myself to take the leap, I was trying to take the leap but I was still standing on the edge going back and forth. Looking back, it was so much more comfortable to be in that space of trying to recover but still struggling, still sorta restricting/purging, still weighing, still trying to maintain- than it is to be actively doing things to change, to go against the disorder, to be struggling but still eating and sitting with the feelings and doing it.

Recovery is an active, constant state of discomfort. I am changing and it terrifies me but now that I’m doing it, there is no running away. Recovery is choosing to do exactly what makes you uncomfortable, and it feels awful but that’s the only way. Recovery isn’t meant to be easy, it’s going against every natural instinct you have- changing your life isn’t meant to be comfortable. No worthwhile change is going to happen unless you fight through the anxiety and fear and discomfort. Remember why you started this, remember what you want at the end of this and keep going.

I actually started following my meal plan and committing to it because I was angry and frustrated after the session, because I didn’t see where she was coming from and my mindset was ‘fine, you want me to do it so I’ll do it’. But I’d also been trying to put my trust in her and trust that doing what she says will get me to where I want to be, and that is moving forward. And she’s right after all, until I commit to the behavioral change and follow through with it, I am not really committing to recovery and I will not get better. I cannot just ‘want recovery’ but keep self-sabotaging my efforts and giving into the anxiety. I’ve been thinking about what she said about having to just sit through the feelings of discomfort no matter what- that’s what Dr Lee said to me when I was inpatient as well, ‘you’re allowed to cry and feel awful but you have to sit through that and eat your meals‘- and that’s helped me push through. Something else Dr K said was helpful, and it’s that ‘your disorder is so ingrained and so strong, these negative thoughts and feelings and anxiety will always arise, so recovery is going to have to be a logical process, because you’re not going to feel better about doing it.’

I suppose that’s what I did tonight and what I’ll have to do everyday. Fight through the guilt and anxiety and discomfort that is going to arise. I remember the promises I made to myself, I know I cannot relapse because I would be letting myself down and I don’t want to do that. I cannot go back. And tonight I really see the importance of keeping in mind what I want at the end of the day. I don’t want to be in treatment forever, I don’t want to be sick, I don’t want to be miserable (and yes I was miserable, no matter how many times my brain lures me into thinking otherwise), I deserve so much better. Little-ericia deserves so much better. I want to have a life and I want to be unafraid of vulnerability and I want to help others and I want to study and I want to be a doctor and I want to eat goddamn pizza. Tonight, for a while, I faltered and I didn’t know what I wanted. The disorder gets so loud that I almost believe I genuinely want to stay sick because it’s comfortable. But I cannot live the life I want with my disorder. 

I’m terrified, for recovery, for change, for day program and the food next week- but bring it on, I’ll fight through the tears.

submerged

pillows flung against walls
books strewn on floors
angry fists on skin
anguished, silent screaming
none of this is right

tears spring again,
saltwater streams
that make their presence
whenever they so please
all the feelings bubble up

agony winds around beating hearts
ribcages fracture under pressure
shoulder blades once poised for flight
now jut awkwardly from lanky arms
not quite hers

none of this
quite hers
not her body, or her being
or her carefully constructed bubble
the pain finally seeps through

Tiny feet leave the seabed,
only to find cold depths
floatation devices gently removed,
only to submerge in panic
surrounded by nothingness

recovery is an ocean I cannot navigate.


I know not who I am, or who I might be. If all I have known has been a lie, what do I know? I cannot bear the unknown and yet here I am, these anxious feet paddling in empty ocean waters, weak arms failing to stay above water. I scream to myself, every day, as the tears threaten to fall again. This doesn’t feel good. Recovery feels awful but for the first time on the other side, I see my disorder for what it is and I hate it. It is hell. I hate it so, so much. I see my suffering and the surface of my pain and I want to look away. I don’t know how to face those demons. I cannot bear the fact that I have been in so much pain and yet this is how I have lived 19 years so I must have endured it somehow. I have finally stepped off the shore and yet recovery has left me to find myself drowning. I feel so lost. I am no longer in control, I no longer know what control is. If restriction is not better and food is not bad and thinner is not better that what do I live my life by? I am feeling so many things and I don’t have the psychoanalyzed explanations for how I feel because all I can say is- pain.

A reminder from my past self

“Despite how much you’ve grown in the past few years, you are still the same miserable person deep down and if you really want to change, you need to put in the effort to make the change instead of letting circumstances dictate. It is not easy, and you take steps back and forth everyday. Life isn’t perfect, sometimes life doesn’t make sense and it’s okay to not be perfect, to not be in control. ‘Control’ is just false security because we are never really in control anyway, not of life, and seeking control through food and weight isn’t really control either. It’s okay to take it slowly and just remember to be kind to yourself because you are trying your best.”

-from my past self

Therapy takeaways & Determination

the quotes in bold are helpful things my therapist have said to me over the past few months of therapy


“Recovery is not going to feel good, you’re not going to feel better once you start recovery but you just have to keep going and doing it. It’s not about feeling better but learning how to cope with feelings better- and coping doesn’t mean a lack of negative feelings or being in control because truth is, you will always be ‘more emotional’ and you might struggle for a long time.”

I suppose I truly get what my therapist means now, when she told me that recovery for me was going to have to be ‘highly logical’ because these thoughts and feelings are so entrenched that recovery was going to feel awful and counter-intuitive. Because this feels like the worst, most painful thing I have put myself through. I’m struggling and I hate recovery and I want to give up, every day.

“Change is really, really difficult. Humans are resistant to change and it’s not going to be easy especially when beliefs are so deep rooted- recovery is difficult, but keep in mind what you want in life at the end of the day. Think of 5, 10 years down the road, it’s not going to get easier if you wait. What helps you short-term might not help you long-term but right now this is not helping you at all and you know it, it’s a downward spiral from here if you continue to self destruct.”

But no, I’m not going to give up. I’m going to push through because I know it’s the only way out of this, because I know the disorder will get me nowhere, because I want a life. I deserve a life. I’m going to try to be kind to myself despite how awful I feel. I deserve self compassion, I deserve to eat, I deserve to exist. That little girl inside deserves better than this eating disorder. I cannot keep doing this to myself, I cannot keep putting myself through this suffering. I want a life where I can live according to my values- love and compassion and adventure and authenticity and courage, not a life where I am led by fear and consumed by self-hatred. I’m never going to be sick enough or good enough for my disorder’s unrelenting standards- being ‘sicker’ doesn’t have real worth and ‘control’ is an illusion.

“The distress surrounding meals & weight is going to be there for a long time before things can start to change, and waiting to feel better about eating more, and then eating more isn’t going to work- the way to tackle the problem is doing what the anxiety doesn’t want you to and the first step in recovery is changing the behaviors, there is no getting around it, there is no ’emotional recovery’.

Choosing not to eat and not to gain weight is choosing not to recover.

Negative thoughts are just thoughts and thoughts have no power if we don’t give it power. It’s okay to acknowledge the negative thoughts, to see them as a passing visitor, you don’t have to listen to them or engage in them or even fight them. Sometimes it’s the most helpful to just acknowledge it and let it be.”

I’m going to push myself, because the only way out of this is walking through the storm- yes, I realize I cannot get around the storm, I’ve tried for a long time. I have to acknowledge that I am somehow very sick, or I wouldn’t be so hopelessly trapped in this. So no matter how rough this storm is, I have to push through, to trust the people on the other side and lean on them for support. To lean on myself for support, too, to trust that I have the strength in me to walk this recovery journey (even though I really don’t think I do- I’m dying) and to trust my body to carry me through this like it has carried my for the past 19 years and 3 months. My body will survive, I need to trust it to heal. I need to nourish it and trust it to do it’s thing.

“To answer the question of ‘how to recover’ it really comes down to the small, concrete steps you need to take- eating and tolerating the distress. Restriction numbs you, so until you’re stable and eating enough, we can’t work on the emotional stuff. Just because you’re used to the effects of starvation doesn’t make it okay.

Why do you hold onto your beliefs? You know these beliefs are not based on truth, and yet you choose to subscribe to your belief system and hold onto the belief that you are unworthy and you deserve pain. In order to recover you have start to let go of your beliefs and value systems. Even with an ED- if you continue to hold onto the value system of food & weight = worth, you will never get better. If you continue to believe that you deserve destruction, you’re going to end up destroyed.”

I think this is one of the biggest signs of progress, the biggest step I’ve taken in my entire journey- Doing it, choosing recovery, choosing light. Taking responsibility and ownership of my life/recovery, facing up to my biggest fears and deepest pain, like we’ve been talking about in therapy for years. Recovering despite how much I don’t want to. My therapist and friends are huge motivations to recover but I’m not doing it for anyone else- I’m doing it for me, for my future self and for my past self. I am finding so much compassion I didn’t know I had- compassion for myself and the pain that I am in, because this year has made me realize just how much pain lies underneath and how wounded and lonely my inner child is.

“I’m sorry, you definitely didn’t deserve to go through all of that and it is really really hard to deal with, being in a violent home has massive impacts on a child. Why are you hurting yourself when you’re angry at your parents? There is a lot of pain and we cannot control that. Recovery isn’t about making the pain go away, it’s letting the pain hurt us without having to suffer even more. It’s letting the pain hurt and being okay with it, and knowing how to deal with it. It’s important to not push the negative feelings and pain away, but accept and work with them. You just need to let yourself not be okay, you need to let yourself feel broken before you can start to feel less broken. You need to let yourself feel the pain instead of pretending the problems don’t exist, because this pain is very real.

And instead of having to have this ‘perfect image’, it’s okay to be broken and it’s okay to not know. Sometimes, instead of always figuring out how we feel, we need to stop and ask ourselves why. To embrace them, not in the way of saying ‘well that’s how it’s going to be forever’ but embrace them by accepting that they are okay. Pain passes, and pain can heal, but not if we’re burying it. Pain drives us to suffer and to destroy ourselves and that’s not my fault, but putting ourselves through even more suffering again and again isn’t going to help and by continuing to suffer, the only one who loses out is us. You can’t take away what people have done to you, you can’t take away the bad things that have happened to you, and that’s going to hurt, but what are you going to continue to do about it?”

What she needs is empathy and love and nurturing, not more destruction. I need to love her/myself unconditionally so I’m less terrified of abandonment- when I get scared of gaining weight, I soothe myself but reassuring my inner child that I will love her at any weight. It’s not about weight, it’s about that little girl inside who feels so alone and unworthy and invisible, it’s about the pain I’ve been running from. My disorder functions effectively to shut her away from me, hence, it was only when I started wanting to recover in December when I was vulnerable to the pain underneath erupting (which led to the great disaster of 2018) and it was only recently in recovery and allowing myself to be vulnerable that I could connect with that little girl and her pain. I don’t think I could forget that moment on the cruise balcony where I stood there at 2am crying. I deserve so, so much better than this. I deserve to exist.

“You can be a perfectionist even when it comes to recovery, see recovery as a black and white thing, and see your issues as something you need to ‘get over’ as soon as possible but recovery is a process and it’s okay. The negative thoughts and feelings will come, sometimes the best we can do is identify them and let them be, and we just have to try our best to do what helps us. You’re not going to wake up and magically feel validated and worthy and better. It’s in the small steps.”

Remember what you wrote that night after you cried over the pain of your illness, you wrote this for your future self because you knew you would want to relapse, you were looking out for her so remember this: You are sick. You are in so. much. pain. The weight of the pain and shame you carry is unbearable, so you try to run and it’s not your fault but self destruction is not the answer so stop fucking running. Stop. Breathe. Seriously, take a deep breath. It’s scary, but it’s okay, I see you and I am here for you. It’s scary but it’s better than self destruction, I promise. You’re not alone anymore, you’re safe now. You’re not going to be abandoned anymore and even if you are- you can cope. Read that piece again. Your disorder is not home. Leave the abusive relationship, it has been almost 7 years. Leave. You can do so much better than this miserable half assed life-but-not-a-life. Stop running away. It’s okay to hurt!!! I give you all the permission to cry and scream and throw things. Be angry, you deserve it. Cry. Reach out and give that little girl inside a hug. Tell her she deserved better. You deserved better. Cry again if you must, then stand up to the voices and lies in your head. Say it over and over- I deserve recovery. Food is medicine. Sicker is not better. Thinner is not better. Nothing is what it seems. I deserve to be okay. I deserve to feel and eat and laugh. I deserve happiness. Say it and then go and grab a snack and then fight. Fight this shit. You have it in you, you were born a fighter so why are you letting your fear stop you? Surrender control. Your weight doesn’t matter. Look inward with love and compassion. Choose freedom. Choose food. Choose light over darkness, ever time.

So when I look back at this I want my future self to remember this: This is your promise to yourself- your current self and younger self and future self. The promise that you will try no matter how hard it gets, you will always go back to choosing the light, because Dr K is right- it’s in your hands, your healing and your life is in your hands and only you can choose to get better. You can choose to let go of your illness and beliefs, you can change, you can heal- the only thing stopping you is your fear and your illness. You deserve to heal. You deserve a life. You deserve it and there is no waiting, it has been long enough. Live.

I want recovery more than I want to live like this forever.

Braving the Storms

Imagine being washed up on an abandoned island, desolated and dry and absolutely lifeless, surrounded by deep ocean waters and harsh storms. It’s not a pleasant place to live but you make do, you learn to survive, you rely on your island to keep you safe. You have walked up to the edge of the island, looking over the vast ocean, wondering if there is hope of anything better out there. You have dipped your toes into the water, felt the freezing cold and retreated. You build a bonfire in the middle of the island instead and convince yourself you like it here. The island grows increasingly inhabitable. You begin to resent it, so you walk to the edge and wade in the water, only to find that it is still freezing cold and dangerous and you cannot see through the storm or find enough reason to want to leave, so you retreat. It is awful and lonely and resources are scarce, but at least you are safe from the waters.

So it goes, the years fly by and you continue to go back and forth, painfully trapped. Sometimes you catch a glimpse of the sun through the storm clouds and you tell yourself you’ll leave soon to find new land. But it is never safe enough, it is never time to leave. You are lured into the comfort of familiarity and warmth, every single time, and who can blame you? After all, the caged bird remains in it’s cage even when it is free.

You’re stranded and you scream for help but nobody sees you or arrives in lifeboats, but resources arrive- you are given wood and nails and told to build your boat. You look out into the ocean, the very ocean that drowned you and washed you up ashore, the ocean that left you half-dead, and wonder if they know exactly what they’re asking you to do. Most days, you would rather die than leave the island. Besides, you don’t even know how to build a ship. Yet, the pain of being on this island drives you to try to build a boat anyway- except it falls apart every time. You give up for a while and decide to walk back in, only to see the harsh truth. There is nothing left for you here. Your sanctuary infested, island a wasteland, the warmth of your bonfire is now a blazing forest fire. It is no longer protecting you. You look out and all you see are the storms that surround your island. You have two options- die on this god forsaken island, or brave the biggest storm you have even seen in hopes of finding something on the other side.

So you grit your teeth and build the damn boat once and for all. It is unstable and weak but you build it anyway. Stare at it for months until you find the courage to set sail, fight every reason you have to stay. Shaky feet step into the boat and you sail around the island, testing the waters. They don’t understand everything that comes along with freedom– the crippling fear of the unknown, the hopelessness of the vast ocean, the painful waves of emotions, the depth that has drowned you so many times. You capsize and fall over and over in your attempts- they don’t understand how sailing is like learning to write with your left hand, it doesn’t come naturally to you like everyone else. They say you just have to do it, you have to enter the storm to learn how to sail. You bite the bullet and sail forth into the pain and cold weather and unknown. They say there is more beyond the storm, and whatever that is- it has to be better than living this way.

That is what starting recovery feels like. It’s a blind leap of trust, leaving behind the only solid ground you know, the only safety you have from the harsh waves and feeling of drowning.

It’s sailing on nothing but a rocky wooden boat into the eye of the storm, sailing straight into an ocean of your deepest traumas and worst fears. It’s learning how to survive all over again because all those survival mechanisms you’ve mastered on the island are now rendered useless. It’s fighting the storm every single day, looking at it’s ferocity and wondering why you ever left. It’s sailing in the absolute darkness, not knowing if there is an end to the storm, not knowing if you can survive this or get drowned once again. It’s the constant terror of the water, and yet you must let the waves of pain wash over you in order to move on. There is nothing pleasant about trying to sail in this storm, and yet you keep going. Every inch of you despises it, every time you move away from your island, you long for it’s safety. But remember, your bonfire is a now a blaze. So you fight, harder than you ever have. You keep choosing to move forward against the currents, look into the eye of the storm and force yourself to be brave. Reach out and ask for help when you need more materials to mend your boat. Stop and take a rest sometimes.

You are terrified and hopeless and hopeful and sad and oddly liberated all at once.

I’m in the storm now and it’s harder and harsher than I thought it would be, but it’s too late to turn back. I am lost and tired and terrified, there is no shining sun or pot of gold on the other end, only the small hope that somehow, what I find at the end of this journey will be better than what I started with. I do not want to do this, every move forward hurts like hell- they say it’s a good thing, and it might be a good thing but it still hurts like hell. I want to give up, every single day. I don’t.

It’s supposed to hurt. This storm was never going to be easy, it was never going to be smooth sailing, but the only way out is through. The only way out is through. So I sail, I do it. I finally do it, no matter how painful, no matter how tiring, I am starting to sail and I am moving. I choose to trust the voices on the other side, my friends, my Doctors, others who have braved the same storm and survived. I choose to trust the process. I remind myself that it wasn’t my fault I was drowned and washed up onto that island in the first place and that desolation might be all that I know but I deserve better. No lifeboats will ever be enough because I am the only one that can navigate this storm. I didn’t have this once, but I now have a boat strong enough to navigate, and it will only get stronger.

It’s going to be a long, arduous journey. But deep down, I am thankful because this is the hardest thing I’ve put myself through- but it also means there is finally a small hope of freedom and life and happiness for the first time.

to keep going

little did i know, that recovery would be the hardest part. that the decision to heal would be one i have to make over and over, that the decision to heal would mean the decision to be ripped apart. i’m back from my trip, and the disorder has been unbearably loud today, pulling me towards relapse, back to what i know is safe. i’ve gained 2kg in the past few days and it’s probably part water weight but it’s sending my mind reeling. they say the scale is the biggest enemy in eating disorder recovery and i am starting to see why. i’ve weighed myself 6 times today, more and more obsessive.

i am making progress, i see progress slowly but surely, and with every small step i take forward i find myself in new waters, unsafe and uncomfortable. i told cal today that i feel lost (and i have a feeling i’m going to feel this way a lot) because i took the first step and i’m here and it’s awful. the weight gain is awful, the food is awful, i don’t understand how i could possibly be so hungry, i feel like a monster, i feel out-of-control with food, everything about recovery feels awful and wrong and counter-intuitive. even my body is freaking out because it doesn’t know what to do. i might be in recovery but barely so- and the disorder is still so loud, my brain is constantly screaming at me to go back to starving and control, and today i felt like i couldn’t go against it, i didn’t want to go against it, i’m so angry at myself for wanting recovery because ‘this is ruining me‘.

But I have a good therapist, i’m surrounded by good friends, i’ve done the emotional work, i’m building on a solid foundation, i’ve even written letters to myself- and these things keep me on the right track when i don’t want to be. I think about all the things my therapist told me, how waiting to recover is only going to make it worse, how i cannot escape the ‘doing’ part of recovery, how the disorder is not helping me and we need to reduce suffering, how being an adult with an ed is going to suck, how i cannot do the things i want to do (clin psych) if i don’t get better. I think about her, and how my disorder has come in the way of therapy so many times, I think about how ultimately, if i don’t choose to recover, there is nothing she can do to help me, and I think about how we only have less than a year of therapy left. I so desperately don’t want to let her down. I think about my friends reminding me that recovery is worth it, that i need to stop running from pain, that things are not going to get better if i stay this way. I think about myself, my past self reminding me that i need to stop running from pain, that i deserve recovery, that it’s okay to cry and scream and feel.

Like I said, I’ve done the emotional/mental work. I’ve been in ‘quasi-recovery’ a lot, I’ve been ‘considering-recovery’ a lot, I’ve been ‘attempting-recovery-and-relapsing’ a lot, and all of that means I’ve thought about recovery a lot. I’ve spent hours and days reading about recovery, I know the physical process, I know the necessary behavioral changes, I know the facts, I know what to do. I have the skills from years of therapy, I know the CBT and DBT and acceptance skills. I had to think about why I wanted recovery, I had to weigh it in my mind, I had to fight for it and it took me months of painfully slow mental progress, a hospitalization, hitting rock bottom multiple times and countless breakdowns to get to a point where I was sure I wanted recovery, and committed to it. I cannot ignore everything I worked so hard for, I cannot unlearn all of the things I’ve learnt on this journey- I’ve learned that I desperately want a life, I’ve learned that I do deserve recovery and I deserve to exist, I’ve learned that this isn’t my fault, I’ve learned that self-destruction is not a way out, I’ve learned to be compassionate with my inner child. How can I leave all that behind and go back to the disorder? I would be letting my child-self down if I did. I promised her I would protect her and I cannot do that in relapse. It took me a long time, but I’m thankful for that strong mental foundation which I’m starting recovery on because having gone through all of that, I would be letting myself down if I didn’t keep choosing recovery.

All of this keeps me on the right track even though I really don’t want to be. I want to be blissfully unaware, to stay in my bubble. I hate recovery. But I know I have to do this, deep in my heart I just know, and the disorder is trying to silence that authentic voice inside me but I feel the intuition in my soul and I don’t want to shut it out anymore.

So tonight, I cry. I resign, and I started crying. I finally allowed myself to cry, and I started bawling. I hugged my blanket and sobbed and sobbed, I threw my pillow across the room and sobbed at the unfairness of it all. I sobbed because this is so hard, I sobbed and I didn’t even know why, I am just in pain. I sat up, tears streaming down my face, and I realize how recovery feels an awful lot like abandonment. I sobbed and I regressed into a child and I tried to allow myself to stay like that. I regressed into a child and talked about how nobody loves me anymore, I sobbed and hugged my pillow and hummed nursery rhymes to myself. I cried because I hate everything and I am angry and tired and in pain.

I cried because I think this is recovery.

Recovery is breaking and allowing myself to cry. This is it, this is the crash, this is the aftermath where I stop running and it all crashes on me and the pain is unbearable but this time I have to bear it instead of running again. Recovery is standing in the rubble of my self-destruction and seeing it for the first time, recovery is being drowned by all the pain I have tried to escape for 19 years and feeling it all for the first time. Recovery is having to stand face to face with my demons and pain and shame, recovery is seeing them and acknowledging them and allowing them to exist. Recovery is crying over and over again, it’s crying and sobbing and letting me be. It is making up for years of emotional suppression, it is the pain of facing the darkest parts of me.

Writing this is yet another reminder for me, I suppose. That I have to go on, there is no turning back. I know I will want to go back, every single day. I know I will feel lost. I know I will hate the process but this is part of the process and I have to soften to it (daphne fischer has been a huge, huge recovery inspiration) and trust it. Recovery is the hardest part of an eating disorder, I see why now. I am left to deal with the inordinate amounts of pain I have been running from, on top of the pain of the disorder in itself. I have been feeling hopeless everyday, sad and hopeless and helpless. But it has to be worth it in the end, it has to be. And a reminder for myself: food is not bad. it’s okay to eat when you’re hungry. dr k told you to eat when you’re hungry so it must be okay. you’re not greedy for eating when you’re hungry. nobody is going to judge you for gaining weight, especially not if it means gaining happiness and freedom. the scale means nothing. i will love you unconditionally, i will hold your hand through this, and you will be okay. (because yes- tonight i realised deep down underneath the disorder i am just a child, scared and in pain, and i deserve to treat myself with so much love and compassion, i deserve to nurture my inner child and hold her hand through this. i am learning to hold myself in compassion)