Eating disorder recovery work is hard, it takes time, and a lot of effort. Often times it feels like playing a game of whack-a-mole, where you hit one problem down just in time for another one to pop its ugly head up.
Here’s the trickiness of it. Developing an eating disorder can happen without even the realization that it is actually happening. It begins with small decisions to use food to manage feelings/emotions/manipulate weight. And then it becomes one’s main way of coping and of doing life. And so finding new ways of being and doing is very difficult.
But don’t give up, don’t stop, and don’t you dare think that you can’t do it.
Below are 3 tips we give to our clients when they feel that recovery is insurmountable:
- Surrender. I find myself using this word often in my therapy sessions – surrender. Surrender to the idea that you can recover. And that it’s hard work, but very possible. Surrender to the tools, different coping strategies, new ways of being and relating to yourself. So often when we are faced with something uncomfortable (and change within recovery is at best uncomfortable), we tighten up and pull back, shying away from the uncertain. Surrendering is just the opposite of this. It’s acknowledging that yes, this is uncomfortable and vulnerable, but that this is what the stuff of recovery is really made of.
- Practice Radical Self- Care. Not just self-care, but radical self-care, challenging even the ordinary ways that you engage in self-care. This is the kind of self-care that says that even though you may feel like crap, and especially because you are exhausted and uncertain, you deserve something good and life giving. Take a survey of what you and your body need in that moment—maybe a nap, maybe a long bath, maybe a talk with a good friend, a fun dance session to uplifting music…and the list could go on. Check in with yourself and give yourself what you deserve.
- Remember Your Grit and Stamina. Make a list (write it out don’t just think of it) of all of the difficult things that you have faced in your life. Review that list daily and pat yourself on the back for all that you have accomplished. You may be tempted to roll your eyes or not give yourself the credit you so rightly deserve. Resist this instinct. A key component in recovery is learning to accept compliments, even those from yourself. You have worked hard and you have accomplished difficult tasks. You can accomplish recovery.
Statistics show that 60% of individuals in treatment for a diagnosable eating disorder make a full recovery (http://www.mirror-mirror.org/eating-disorders-statistics.htm). And you can be part of that number! Contact us for help, we are here to help move you forward in your recovery.
Don’t give up. Recovery is tough, but you’re tougher.