I asked a client of mine to write a blog about her recovery. I am happy to share her wonderful insights with you.
“There I a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”
Recovery is not about having a perfect life. I am only realizing this now after years of in and out of remission from anorexia. In active addiction I was constantly making deals with myself. For instance; I’ll be happy when I lose weight or I’ll be more accepted when I’m size zero. Even in my attempts at recovery, I was falling into the trap of putting my recovery on hold until my life was perfect. I will only recover when I got a job. I’ll only agree to gain weight when I move out of home or when I get a boyfriend or when the stars align themselves…. You get the point.
What I am only realizing now is that of those things I so desperately wanted and used as emotional currency to bargain with, would only happen when I was in recovery for a long enough time. More significantly recovery needed to happen regardless of whether such things fell into place or not. Most often not.
A little over 15 months ago I was discharged from an extended 3 month stay in a psychiatric ward specializing in eating disorders. I held on firmly to the belief that the pieces of my life will magically fall into place and everything will work out.
At this stage I had lost my job, I had lost my psychiatrist, I was broke and completely dependent on my family for everything. Far from perfect. I literally needed to start from scratch. To cope with the anxiety of looking for jobs, the crushing disappointments of being rejected again and again. Rebuilding trust in my relationships and trust with myself and my body. It felt insurmountable and I often was in tears feeling discouraged and resentful of recovery. This was not the perfect recovery I had in mind.
Every morning I had to renew my commitment to recovery even though NOTHING was working out how I envisaged it would. This set me up to feel really bad about myself. It set me up to feel like a failure. I gained weight and expected life to meet its end of the bargain by meeting my exceedingly high expectations.
15 months feels like forever to someone like me who expects immediate gratification, and I can guarantee that if I was told then that life would turn out okay, not perfect, but okay, I would have been incredulous.
I can tell you today: Life has worked out okay and it has been worth the long wait and hard work.
I’ve learnt the valuable lesson in that if I waited until my life was perfect to try recover… I would never recover. I have to recover in spite of how imperfect life is. Life now is perfectly okay.
~ Written by: Caroline
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