My dietician always has this thing she says to me in what I imagine is an attempt to “peel me off the ceiling”- if you know what I mean. “What do you know to be true about that?” She asks. Usually, this question is related to an eating disorder thought. What is an eating disorder thought? Well, the best way I know how to explain it, is that an eating disorder thought is a false belief about food, exercise, weight, body image, or eating. FALSE. Meaning the “healthy” part of me that’s hidden away somewhere knows that this eating disorder thought is pretty dang irrational, but because it’s been a part of my thought pattern for so long, it seems normal. For example: “I need to exercise so I can eat.” Taking it a step further, my dietician pushes on- “What evidence do you have that supports that?”
Conclusion- dieticians are actually therapists disguised as food geniuses, and have both an incredible knowledge of nutrition and the ability to get under my skin.
Usually, there is nothing true about the eating disorder thought. I have no evidence to support it. It’s false.
Over the last several months, I have had to do a lot of thinking on what I know to be true about my eating disorder and recovery; and what evidence I have to support those truths. I wish I could flip a magic switch and engrain these truths into my brain- maybe if they were there I’d be able to overlook the irrationality of the eating disorder and follow my true healthy self 100% of the time.
I know that recovery is hard. I know that I was not prepared for the process it takes and is taking. I know that recovery is not something that gets a day off. It is full of choices to me made every day, sometimes hour by hour.
I know that my eating disorder feels safe. I know it is harmful. I know that each time I make a choice that supports ED, I am putting myself in danger. What seems to be “just a few” behaviors can lead me farther away from recovery than I thought was possible. I know that I miss using my eating disorder as a coping mechanism, but I no longer want to starve myself or compulsively over-exercise.
I know that my life is an incredible gift, and the fact that I am still on this earth is too. I know I have done things to my body that I am absolutely ashamed of. I know that I can keep fighting. I know some days I feel like going back to my eating disorder, but I know nothing good will come from it. I will shrink, but so will my life.
I know that my eating disorder will never just completely disappear one day like magic. I know that I would never wish this illness on anyone. I know that there is no real cure. I know it is my own personal hell. I know that this makes me feel discouraged sometimes. But I know that HOPE is stronger than fear.
I know I am loved and supported. I know I cannot comprehend just how much.
I know that my treatment team has my best interests in mind. I know there are times I still won’t listen to them. I know there are consequences. I know that I disappoint myself. I know it is ok to struggle- but not to give up.
I know that I have come farther in recovery than I imagined possible. Yes, I have days where every bite of food I put in my mouth is a battle. But I also have days where I truly believe full recovery is possible, because I’ve been able to do things I didn’t think I could. My life doesn’t revolve around exercise and running anymore. I don’t take my own food to every social event, or pretend I’m not hungry at restaurants. I don’t use to size of my jeans as a scale anymore. These are little things, but they’ve made a big difference in my life.
I know recovery is worth it. Even on the bad days. I know there is life in color, and it’s there waiting for anyone who wants it.
What do YOU know to be true?