This may be the most difficult task of all: keeping your eating disorder at bay. Even when you’re doing well, it always seems to be there lurking, doesn’t it? It’s as though it’s waiting…watching…wondering when you will slip up so it can dive back in and bring you down with it. It isn’t exactly easy to continue on a path of recovery when you feel like one wrong move can quickly bring you down. It’s neither comforting nor helpful. But it is real.
You can stop this. You can keep it at bay. It will take some time—maybe a lot of time—but you can do it.
The first thing you need to remember is that (whether you feel it’s true or not) you have control. You. Not it. You.
Sure, an eating disorder is a powerful thing. It takes a lot of strength to break away from it. But once you break away, you hold it in your hand—and you can crush it.
Remember when you were a kid and you pulled up those white, fluffy, whispy dandelions, held them to your mouth and blew? The fluttering white whisps floated away in the breeze. And what you had left was a stem.
Now, picture your eating disorder as one of those flowers—complex and comprised of hundreds of little whispy fibers. You’re holding it in your hand. You have the power. You have the control. Then, blow it all away. Blow it far away and watch it get carried away in the wind. The past is gone. What you have left is the future. And a stem. A stem—the place where your eating disorder began—to help you remember what you’re leaving, to help you remember not to go back, to help you remember where you USED to be but want to be no more.
The trick to keeping your eating disorder at bay—besides remembering that YOU and you alone are in control—is finding something to help you fight back. There’s your eating disorder and then there’s you. You need to find something to be your barrier between the two…so that if you slip up, you are protected. You have a barrier. Something to help you combat the old habits and bad feelings.
You may already have found this barrier. Think about what you really love. I mean, really and truly enjoy no matter what. Maybe it’s drawing. Perhaps it’s rock climbing. It could be playing the piano. Or taking a long drive with your favorite music blasting.
Or as with me, it could be writing.
Whatever it is, use it. Keep it with you like a part of you. And when you’re struggling, when you slip up, when your thoughts get the better of you------go to that thing and give it your all.
Nothing can hurt you.
You’ll be okay.
The more you continue to this, the easier it will be to combat your eating disorder. It will seem farther and farther away—instead of making you feel like it’s looking over your shoulder.
You can get away. You can stay away.
Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? It’s a simple concept that gets easier the more you do it. You have to be willing to give it your all. That’s the only way for the good to overpower the bad. It’s the only way to survive.
You’ve got all you need. Just use what you’ve got.