Let’s be clear about something right off the bat: Your eating disorder does not come into your life to take up just a room in your mind.
He may start there; he may even be curled up in a box in the basement of your thoughts for most of your life. But make no mistake, he does not plan to stay there.
The House Your Eating Disorder Lives In
ED is not content with just one room in your mind. He is selfish, and he wants it all. When you give even just a small space for him to inhabit, he will not stay there. He will break the boundaries you set, and he will cross every line until there is no line between your thoughts and his.
There is no room for compromise, you cannot coexist with an Eating Disorder, you are either consumed or free.
And that sounds harsh. It sounds impossible. And truthfully, I am not there yet; a lot of the rooms in my mind are still inhabited by ED. There are rooms for self-hatred, insecurity, binge habits, purge habits, restrictive habits, and all consuming thoughts of my past.
The Hardest Part…
The hardest part thus far was accepting that I was inhabited by an unwelcome guest at all, that the home [my body] was no longer entirely mine. I fooled myself by staying curled up in the corner of the safe rooms of my mind believing that nothing was wrong. I convinced myself that my eating disorder wasn’t real if it wasn’t touching me; if I blatantly avoided the rooms ED was in, then he wasn’t there at all.
And so, I felt nothing.
Those “safe rooms” were sedatives and ED got to be in the rooms which held my passions and purpose.
The room I confined myself to live in was boring; it wasn’t me, and it was shrinking every day. It was closing in on my curled up and starving figure more and more.
The danger for me came in the form of refusing to realize the parts of myself I had allowed to be stolen. The danger for my eating disorder came in the form of when I remembered what I loved about the rooms he had taken from me. Because when I finally did look up and around the room I had barricaded myself in, I got mad. And as I stood up and started peeking into the rooms I saw him smothering those passions of mine that I had forgotten, the most life-changing moment of all happened –I decided I wanted my life back.
Recovery is not learning to survive with an Eating Disorder, it is realizing your eating disorder is something you have to fight. Recovery is taking back what’s yours, and letting go of what is not.
Like I said, my mind is still infested with ED, and there are still rooms he inhabits, but when I embraced recovery, I embraced the courage it takes to walk into those spaces he has stolen and face him. When I embraced the help of those around me, I realized I don’t have to walk into those rooms alone. When I embraced recovery I realized that I am worth this fight because my eating disorder has taken a lot of space from me- but make no mistake, my name is still on the deed.