R.E.C.O.V.E.R.Y. You know it’s worth it!

R.E.C.O.V.E.R.Y acronym (I DID NOT MAKE THIS UP MYSELF. I would love to give credit to the original creator of this beautiful acronym, though!).

Realizing you’re worth it

Until I believed that I was worthy of treating myself with kindness and healing the maladies inside me, I could not start recovery. I stayed sick and tormented. I did not believe that my problem warranted help, and for a long time, I dismissed the severity of my eating disorder. In fact, I didn’t even know my issues consisted of an eating disorder until I received an actual diagnosis! You would think that dropping thirty pounds on my already normal frame in two months, losing my period, freezing my ass off all the time, and refusing to eat almost anything would have convinced me to go to the doctor. But, no. You would think stuffing myself senseless with food, punishing myself with hours upon hours of exercise, starving off cravings with excessive amounts of water and calorie-free drinks would make me realize I had an issue. It took awhile. I was convinced it was a willpower problem, convinced I could fix it on my own. It took so long to realize I was worth help. No matter how little or how much you eat or weigh, if it is affecting your functioning and quality of life, you have a problem, and you are WORTH more than the suffering you are inflicting on yourself.

Experiencing true happiness

Happiness is stable over time, as much as we like to believe it is fickle, fleeting, and depending on situational circumstances. I used to wait on happiness. Like many, I relied on external sources to lift my mood: boyfriends, wealth, success. And yet, happiness is innate. It lies within us. We all know the happiest moments (those BIG huge moments we can hardly wait for) pass. It’s the day-to-day mood that counts. Being able to experience the virtues of true, unadulterated bliss is what my life is now all about. Be present. Be rich with feelings. Be authentic with your needs. Happiness is a choice: each day, I do my best to wake up and CHOOSE it.

Caring about yourself

Caring about myself? What did that once mean? Pushing myself to extreme limits. Always working, never resting. Putting the needs of others before my own. Caring about myself was something I could do later. I really learned about the importance of self-care in graduate school. My professors emphasize it in every class on a daily basis. It is that important. Taking care of myself now means checking in with my emotions, learning how to distinguish what is and what is not in my control, doing activities that make me feel good, visiting places that I like, spending time with people who make my time worthwhile, and being able to relax! For someone who was always go, go, go, really learning how to relax took practice! I care about myself: I now care about myself the way I would care about a best friend. Finally!

Overcoming your own demons

My demon was my eating disorder voice. I nicknamed her Bee and personified her pathology in these letters. At the time, separating my eating disorder from my existence made it easier to confront and dissect. I had to recognize what was factual and what was eating disordered logic, as it had all mushed into my reality. Bee was harsh: she told me I didn’t deserve to eat or that I needed to eat everything in sight, she wanted me to exercise when my body was exhausted, she always needed me thinner and prettier, she told me I was never good enough and that I would never get better. Bee scared me, but she was the only real voice I knew. I have learned how to overcome her voice through a variety of coping strategies: writing to her, talking to my support team, relaxation training, meditation and yoga, etc. I now know when I am overreacting or faltering between the dichotomous thinking. I now recognize when I am being triggered or vulnerable to eating disordered thoughts and behaviors.

Validating your worth

I am worth anything and everything. What does that even mean? It means that I can and will stand up for what I believe in. I deserve the best and nothing less. This may sound conceited, but it’s not. I used to settle for the mediocre because I thought that was all I could get. Because I thought that was all I was worth. Wrong. I am worth treating myself with kindness, nourishing myself with love, and providing myself with happiness. That mantra has changed my entire life perspective.

Eating without regret

With an eating disorder, eating is never just a neutral act. It’s an emotional ritual: a challenge, a fear, an internal battle. We may look normal to any outsider, as we delicately sip our drinks and play around with our food, but inside, we are in genuine, deep pain. Most of us experience the regret and remorse after an eating episode from time to time. Especially when learning how to break the barrier between “good” and “bad” foods. Especially when we eat more than we desire. Especially when we are having a low body-image day. Eating without regret is one of the hardest challenges to overcome in recovery. In order to achieve this, we must PRACTICE eating while continuously telling ourselves that we DESERVE to nourish our bodies. We need food to survive, and nothing can possibly make us gain or lose significant weight in one day. Therefore, no matter how difficult our days in recovery may feel, eventually the emotions stabilize. In recovery, we can learn how to ENJOY and SAVOR food once again, without fear that we will restrict, binge, or need to compensate for the eating.

Relapse- it’s going to happen at one point or another, and that’s okay.

My current therapist told me Relapse is a part of recovery during our very first session. This terrified me. Throughout the year, I slipped. I made mistakes. Take a couple steps forward, take one step back. That’s what she used to say. Relapse is a part of recovery. It made me feel doomed. I wanted to be the exception. I wanted the perfect recovery. I wanted to just be cured and healed and forget any remnant of my vicious disorder. It didn’t happen quite that way. Again, I wanted the black-and-white, when really, I needed to learn how to exist comfortably within the shades of gray. Still, I pushed. I kept trying. Picked myself up. Wiped away the tears and put my fighting face back on. Relapse is hard: it’s painstaking, gut-wrenching, and exhaustive. It makes us feel defeated. In fact, I believe relapse is harder than life before recovery. Because before recovery, we are often in denial. In recovery, we have gained acute awareness. We acquire resources and tools to overcome our triggers and habits. Some of us gain a willingness to get better and a sense of motivation to heal ourselves. Thus, we feel like failures when we engage in behaviors that detract us from those goals. We are not failures. Every lapse is a learning mistake, a teachable opportunity, a chance for us to try something new. The message and reasoning may not be immediately obvious and clear, but it always comes. Relapse is okay. Nobody told you that you had to be perfect. Your journey is your own, and it will take you to extraordinary places so long as you trust the process.

Yearning to live

I used to look at recovery as the SUBTRACTION of things: subtraction of the obsession with food and weight, subtraction of eating disordered behaviors, subtraction of feeling triggered, experiencing negative thoughts, subtraction of feeling worthless. Now, I perceive recovery as the ADDITION of things: addition of the joys and treasures that make life worth living, addition of new ways to indulge and take care of myself, addition of wanting to experience and savor each moment as it comes, addition of feeling worthwhile and beautiful. I used to yearn to do. Now I yearn to be.

Preachy or not, repetitive or not, I like to leave a positive note at the end of these journal entries to remind ALL OF YOU that my life has been transformed by virtues of choosing recovery. It may be the hardest decision you ever make. It will hurt. It will feel uncomfortable. You WILL have to take risks, bust out of your homeostasis, and learn to sit with difficult feelings. You WILL feel shame, fear, and humiliation. You WILL need support and a positive mindset. I’m not some unique know-it-all hotshot. I don’t have all the answers (or any of them, for that matter). I don’t believe in the I-can-do-this-so-can-you comparison game of recovery, because everyday is still a learning lesson for me.

I’m just an everyday girl who decided that there was more to life than the food I ate and number I weighed. I hope all of you can one day choose to believe the same 🙂

Recovery is a gift. Everyday, I get to choose to reopen it. And being able to open it is the most amazing miracle.

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F.E.A.R: False Evidence Appearing Real

What is fear

But just a fallacy?

A wrath of distortion

Perceived as reality

 

Fear- the thread

Of choke-hold lust

Captures our energy

And depletes our trust.

 

Fear- the barrier

That only builds a wall

Separating two souls

Until no closeness exists at all

 

Fear- the force

So true in a fickle mind

Turn your back upon it,

Or it is never far behind.

Sometimes, I write poetry. Usually on yellow legal pads during slow days at work. I write essays. I write song lyrics. I write fiction. I once wrote a full book, but it still sits just roughly edited somewhere on a computer file. I have a bundle of scribbled notes on unused receipt paper rolls (from when I used to work retail). I have draft upon draft of starts of stories saved on my laptop.

I was this close to majoring in creative writing in college, but I feared the instability of existing on an erratic salary and bleak job opportunities.

Fortunately, I fell in love with psychology. And then, I fell in love with therapy. Still, creative writing has always been my primary love, and so long as I have the ability to put the pen to the paper and string letters together, I will forever be creating stories and sensing my logic together in fluid motion.

So, fear. This is a big one. Fear is what keeps us stuck. Fear is what keeps us in a chronic state of anxiety and distress. Fear is this blanket of irrationality that suffocates us in the calmest weathers.

It holds us back, whether we realize it or not. In the face of fear, we play games with people, we avoid taking chances, we settle for less than we deserve, we accept misery and discontent.

If you are living with an eating disorder, you are living in fear. You are afraid of something. I thought I was afraid of gaining weight. And, indeed, I was. But, what did this fear of gaining weight actually stem from? It is unnatural to fear a fluctuation or increase of body mass unless we attach some kind of potent emotion to it. So, for me, I associated gaining weight as an indication of gluttony, laziness, and being unlovable. Thus, losing weight indicated the opposite: pureness, discipline, and love. I was afraid of the former, so I desperately sought for the latter.

These thoughts manifested from a deep pit of fear. They are untrue, no matter how much society wants me to believe that a certain size of body or certain intake of food will stimulate genuine emotions. Body size does not correlate with love, confidence, self-acceptance, or happiness. Whatever feelings I have towards my body or towards the food I ate create are artificial: they indicate deeper issues elsewhere. They are laced with fear; fear of being unacceptable, fear of the unknown, fear of being incompetent and unworthy. After all, a body cannot make me sad. But the idea of someone rejecting me or feeling insecure can.

And what happens when someone rejected me or I feel insecure when I’m skinny? Because, my body has always been on the slim-to-average size. Well, then I just have one less excuse to blame (my body)…and again, I have to face my fear of being unlovable, unworthy, or incompetent. Those fears do not disappear as weight disappears.

Recovery means accepting and then releasing this fear. I recognize that every single step and breakthrough made in recovery requires accepting, facing, and eventually conquering specific fears. For instance, I have experienced sheer terror in asking for help when I needed it, adopting coping strategies besides than eating or exercising, accepting my body the way it is, seeking outside support, incorporating new foods into my regular diet, letting go of my tight grip of control, decreasing my exercise, equalizing all foods, speaking up about my issues, sitting with feelings and letting them pass, and embracing the unknown identity that has started to emerge as a result of my transformation.

The human mind is incredibly resilient. We do not develop fear without a good reason, but it is important to recognize that those reasons may be ineffective and untrue. More importantly, despite our resilience, we are eager to “maintain homeostasis” and stay as is. That is why personalities are so hard to change and decisions can be so tricky to make. We fear taking risks because it may alter our homeostasis…and we tend to be pessimistic in the outcome.

Fear penetrates us and attacks our character. Stand up to something you are scared of today. Laugh at it. Challenge it. Talk to it if you must. But don’t give it another ounce of power to overcome you. You are greater than the sum of your fears.

Believing that I am worthy

Dear Bee,

I am struggling to believe that I am worthy.

That’s not an eating disordered thought. That’s a life thought. That’s a core belief. That’s something that has existed in me long before I started controlling what I did or did not eat. 

This guy is triggering those thoughts, and it’s nothing he’s saying or doing. When I’m with him, I feel happy and excited. I feel appreciated and valued. It’s when I’m not with him that I start feeling doubtful and insecure. Worried and afraid. It’s pushing through the unknown and the fear that the unknown embodies that is giving me a hard time right now. 

I went to therapy today and discussed these uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. This is a time to be unbelievably joyous, right? One would think. But, I don’t want to invalidate the fears I feel. I’ll challenge the irrational thoughts and distortions, sure, but I know ignoring only makes them come back with a vengeance.

So, here’s the deal: This is someone who is at my level. Intellectually, emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically. In my past, I’ve dated down. Ego boost. Whatever you want to call it. I had the upper hand. It wasn’t ideal, but it allowed me to feel good about myself. I chose weaker men because then I could feel worshipped. I also knew they wouldn’t leave or abandon me for someone better, because hello, I was the best they were gonna get .

Is this sick or what?

So, we talked about this new guy. He’s into me. He accepts me for who I am. He’s amazing, and I wonder why he isn’t snatched up already. Funny. He wondered the same thing about me. I’ve never been in a healthy, egalitarian relationship. I’ve been with my eating disorder since I started dating, and it’s tainted and distorted my self-esteem, intimacy, and perception of love. This, like so many things over the past year, is just another change. Another potential new way of living. Another opportunity. 

Then, I have you. My eating disorder voice. The ever-knowing voice of irrational and illogical reason. Bee. Listen, I hear you. You want this guy away from me. Because he’s good. Great, even. Because he’s going to threaten your existence. Because he already has. You don’t want me with someone, but if I insist on it, you want him to be beneath my standards. So you can stay in my life. So you can make me as skinny as you want. As fat as you want. As whatever as you want. So long as you have the control, you are content. And how do you obtain this control? By making me sabotage myself. By focusing on my appearance, weight, and food. By stuffing or starving or working out feelings rather than coping with them constructively. By perpetuating the self-fulfilling prophecy that I am not worthy. 

There’s YOU and then there’s the reality. And the reality is: I am worthy. I am deserving. I don’t have to do anything to earn those rights. I just have to be me. And this guy wouldn’t be talking to me if he wasn’t interested. If he thought he could do better. If he was planning on finding someone else. He wouldn’t be taking me out to breakfast tomorrow morning because he still wants to see me, even though I have to work early in the afternoon. He wouldn’t be texting me throughout the day, asking what I’m up to, telling me what he’s doing, etc. He wouldn’t be complimenting me and telling me that I’m what he’s looking for.

Whatever this is, I want to ride in it fully. You can hang out, Bee, or not. You can try and make me feel inferior or less-than in some way, but I’m smart and strong enough to know your words simply are not true.

Not stopping recovery and grateful for my eating disorder

Dear Bee,

You are absolutely triggering me, but I can deal with these feelings of discomfort and anxiety right now. I hear you. You want me to stop recovery. You want me to hang out with you and “start over again tomorrow.” You want me to just take it easy on myself, and by taking it easy, that means taking a break from this “hard recovery work.”

I just have to challenge these thoughts. First, I can’t “stop” recovery. I’m in recovery, and that’s not changing. I am in the meaty, middle stages of the process, and if I give into you, it’s just another recovery slip. Choosing to stop recovery means going back to the other side of denial, ignorance, self-loathing, isolation, confusion, and fear. And frankly, none of those feelings seem appealing. Second, I’ve “started over again tomorrow” way too many times to know that procrastinating mindset has ZERO effectiveness on my mental health. If I give into you right now, I will feel 348937489374 worse tomorrow. And finally, by giving into you, I am being HARD, not EASY, on myself. I am punishing myself. I am letting myself be battered, abused, and tormented. I am giving into someone who wants to kill me.

No thanks.

I need recovery more than I’ll never need anything, because without it, I cannot be the person I want to be or do the things I want to do. Not wholly and fully, anyway. And why live a clouded, half-assed life? Why exist in a secretive world built on denial, compulsion, and distortion? Recovery comes first. Everything else will fall into place. Everything else, be it my day-to-day routine, relationships, family life, mental health, career pursuits, or passions will be that much better when in recovery. As long as I can remind myself and BELIEVE that everyday, I will be on the right path. 

Today was Cinco de Mayo, and I went out with some friends, and it was fun. I ate restaurant food and I drank alcohol. None of it was particularly “healthy,” but I approached the situation with a “healthy” attitude, and that is all that matters to me right now.

You were kind of around, but I essentially tuned you out. Your voice is the loudest when I’m alone. That is when I feel most triggered. In the presence of others, if you’re even present, I can mostly ignore you. 

I am trying my best. I am going to get through this.

Today, I am grateful to be where and who I am, and that is all I can ask of myself. 

One final note: 

I don’t regret my eating disorder. Sure, you can be a raging bitch and unpredictable emotional roller coaster at times, but I don’t wish we had never met. I thought about that long and hard yesterday. We all have our challenges. We all have our stories. Life gives us what we can handle, and humans are incredibly resilient and adaptive to it.  If we were not, we would not have adapted into the resilient, evolving creatures we are today. We have relationships with people for a reason. We are attracted to certain qualities, passions, and places for a reason. We fall into certain patterns or habits for a reason. Everything, therefore, can be perceived as a greater life lesson.  

If I had not had this experience or underwent the turmoil, learning, and struggling associated with it, I may not be where I am now, doing what I’m doing now, loving who I love right now. Little in life is random; our thoughts create our world, and our world creates our personalities. Every decision takes us into a new direction; every experience stretches our intuition and imagination; every struggle heightens our intellect, creativity, judgment, and insight.

Who wouldn’t be grateful for that? 

When everything is going right

Dear Bee,

What happens when everything in your life is going right? When things are going exactly the way you want? When you can’t even count how many blessings you have because you are so overwhelmed with gratitude? 

That’s where I’m at right now. I’m almost done with my first year of school, and it’s looking like another straight-A year. I have an amazing internship lined up to start next fall. I’m going on two vacations this month, and it’s my birthday in a few weeks. The relationships I have with my friends and family are strengthening and flourishing. Oh, and I’m BACKPACKING EUROPE this summer. And recovery? That’s also going well. I’m healing myself more and more each day.

So, what do I have to possibly complain about? 

 It’s difficult to explain, but happiness and satisfaction are two big emotional triggers for me. I haven’t learned to just accept those feelings and “just be” with them. I’m too preoccupied with the thought of losing them! Happiness provokes fear. And I don’t just mean with my eating disorder. I have a pattern of self-sabatoge, in that I tend to be more active in destructive behavior when things are going well rather than when things turn sour. But, yes, let’s talk about the eating disorder: I think my positive spirits catch me “off-guard.” When I’m sad or stressed or anxious, I can expect the cravings and urges. But when I’m happy? When I’m feeling good about myself? Why would I want to focus on what I eat? Or why would I feel any desire to binge? Shouldn’t I only have that urge when I’m feeling down??

I love cognitive-behavioral therapy, and I do believe we hold cognitive distortions (rigid, fixed, and usually subconscious core statements) about ourselves, others, and the world. I knew even before starting recovery that I lived in a world painted in black-and-white, stuck in m own dichotomous thinking, using terms always and never and everything and nothing in my everyday vocabulary without even realizing it. I also knew that I overgeneralized and often blamed external factors for my emotions

But, here are some core beliefs about myself I’ve been holding lately:

Good feelings won’t last for me.

I don’t deserve to feel this happy.

I am not worthy of what I have.

I should feel guilty, rather than blessed, for what I have, especially because so many other people are struggling. 

I’ve been thinking about the therapy session I had yesterday. We were talking about my thoughts on dating again and my fears of getting hurt and trusting the person in my next relationship…and she asked me, is this more about you worrying about getting hurt or worrying about being successful?

I guess it’s about both. I know I worry about getting hurt, because I am sensitive and I am vulnerable and I probably fear abandonment at some degree. I’ve also been hurt in previous relationships (what a special snowflake type of statement).

But, yes, she’s also right. I think I may fear failure, but I don’t believe I deserve success. And here’s the kicker: I’m the charming and lovable Type-A, high-achieving, top-of-the-class, model employee, 4.0 perfectionist. Given my age and experiences, most would consider me insanely successful. 

But, at any moment, I fear people will see me as I really am. As someone who isn’t smart enough to be getting her Master’s degree. As someone who can’t possibly help others. As someone who just got lucky in getting that particular job. As someone who doesn’t deserve to be in that relationship. As someone who is a terrible friend.

And so on. 

I’m grateful that I’m now aware of this tendency to self-sabotoge during those “good times.” I don’t need to dull or lessen my happiness; I don’t have to live in fear that this will all be taken away. I don’t have to feel guilty for having positive feelings. I don’t have to say to myself, this can’t possibly last.

And  I do deserve my successes. Every single one of them. Nothing has been simply “handed” to me. I can like the life I live and feel grateful for what I have in it. I don’t have to measure my fortunes (or misfortunes) to someone else’s. 

 

Challenging eating disordered thoughts

Dear Bee,

This morning, I woke up and I felt happy. Why, so often, do we lose sight of the novelty of a fresh new day? We are so incredibly blessed to merely have the opportunity to be alive, to simply be able to breathe this fresh air, to exist and feel and react and grow. The meaning of life gets lost in the shuffle of the busied ruts we distract ourselves with. We lose focus on happiness on pleasure by occupying our minds with worry and fear and guilt.

And when all is right with the world? We feel anxious. We feel guilty. We think it is much too good to be true. We wait, biding our time with clenched teeth, and then when a minor slip or obstacle happens? Well, I just knew something bad would happen! It was only a matter of time! We justify our stress and paranoia. We live in a world constructed of our own self-fulfilling prophecies, so when we expect to feel bad, suddenly everything in the world feels bad. When we think we look fat, we will find fatness in every picture, mirror angle, and plate of food. When we feel think we are inferior, we will find the negativity in every statement and analyze every nonverbal gesture. The opposite is also true. Have you ever met someone who shines with happiness? Who literally sends an external vibe of positivity? I work with a woman like this. She amazes me. Born with a learning disability, faced extreme economic hardship, learned the value of hard work at a very young age…and yet, she never quits smiling, joking, or cheering other people. She is happy because she loves life. Simple as that.

Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all linked. When one is faulty, the other two adjust to fit it accordingly. When we think a particular way, we act to match that thought in an appropriate and seemingly logical way. To achieve successin eating disorder recovery, challenging cognitive distortions is essential.

One must challenge the all-or-nothing thinking (“I have to eat perfectly today”)
One must challenge those crazy preocupied feelings (“I am so out of control”) right before engaging in a destructive behavior
One must challenge the identity the eating disorder provides (“This is all I know how to do. I can’t help it”)
One must challenge the way they treat themselves (“I deserve to punish myself, so I’ll binge/purge/restrict/exercise/etc.”)
One must challenge the perception of external surroundings (“Why do they always have to bring _____ into the office/party/restaurant/etc.”)
One must challenge value of self-worth (“When I am thin, I will feel/do/be/have…”)
One must challenge how they can feel good (“Nothing tastes as good/makes me feel as happy as _____”)

Recovery requires entire mental adjustment. This is no easy task, and this is one of the main reasons relapse is so common.
But it can be done. With practice and dedication and a willingness to accept the fears and unknown ambiguity of life without this disorder, balance can be achieved.

News Flash: eating disorders are NOT about how much you eat, exercise, or weigh.

Dear Bee,

When I first started therapy, I had one primary goal: destroying our relationship. Get rid of the eating disorder. Make you disappear. Stop the destructive behaviors. Boom. I’d be happy! I’d be free! Life would be perfect.

 BUT, my eating disorder isn’t about food. It’s not about the size of my thighs, the number of calories I consume, whether I choose to do cardio or lift weights. And little did I know that my maladaptive behaviors were just respondents to my internal crumblings.

Here’s what my eating disorder IS about:

Dichotomous, all-or-nothing thinking: In other words, I like my extremities, my blacks and whites, my everything or nothing, my always and never. Grays and moderation terrify me. Although I once thought this destructive thinking only applied to eating, I now realize I exhibit this restrict-binge cycle in many other elements of life. For instance, I hate cleaning. I never have time for it. Then, one day, I’ll look at my bedroom, realize how messy it’s gotten, and then, BAM, spend three days de-cluttering EVERY single shelf, drawer, and closet nook. Reading is another example. When immersed in good literature, I feel ANXIOUS if I can’t finish the entire novel in one sitting!

High-achieving perfection: I don’t fail. Not because I’m wildly awesome, but because, I simply don’t let myself. I have a resume people twice my age can’t compete with. This isn’t due to sheer luck or winning the genetic lottery: this is due to having pure, unadulterated burning compulsion to succeed. This is an unquenchable thirst for pushing myself further and harder, for constantly overloading my life with MORE, MORE, MORE. This, my friends, is a terribly vicious distortion. I love what I do, but I struggle to love who I am. An eating disorder keeps you trapped in this perfectionist façade. You NEED to be perfect, and once you feel anything less (whether it be with your diet, body, life, relationships, ANYTHING), you want to rebel (binge, purge, over-exercise, restrict, etc.) to regain that feeling of control and success back.

Poor anxiety management: Until therapy, I thought the general human climate comprised of chronic stress, insurmountable pressure, and essential restlessness. I never knew I had anxiety. I justified my paranoia and raced thinking to my “super-busy, super-stressful life.” Furthermore, I never learned how to constructively cope or mediate such anxiety. The eating disorder, with its natural sedative effects, helped remove this edge. It redirected stress of the unknown (worry about the future, worry about relationships, worry about whatever was on my mind) onto stress of the known (my eating, my exercise, my body image).

Inability to sit with my feelings: When my therapist confronted me on this, I was shocked. I was enraged. Was she crazy? I analyze and interpret everything to pieces!  I can spend hours intellectualizing, dissecting, and rationalizing every behavior I engage in! I’m intuitive! I’m smart! What I didn’t know? Processing THOUGHTS is a completely different from processing FEELINGS. Thoughts represent socially constructed reactions. Thoughts are driven by logic and experience. Feelings are animalistic, unpredictable, and spontaneous. Feelings can cause pain or ecstasy. Feelings may not match the situation (expectation vs. reality: you think something is going to make you happy, but it doesn’t). What have I learned in therapy? Okay is not a feeling. Fine is not a feeling. Good is not a feeling. Fat is not a feeling. These are cover-ups; these are the sprinkles on top of a melting sundae. These are what society has told you are acceptable; these are safe words; these do not require you to delve deep into the root of the issue.

Preoccupation with control and planning: I DO NOT LIKE TRUSTING THE UNIVERSE TO TAKE CARE OF ME. Nope. I “need” to meticulously schedule. I love to-do lists. I love outlines. I have a general mistrust in the idea that everything will fall into place. This is distorted thinking; this simply maintains the sick eating disorder ideology. Control is skewed; control is a misconception of the mind. A truck can turn me into a pancake tomorrow. The sky could fall in tonight. Control is a joke.

These thoughts led to an eating disorder. These thoughts MAINTAINED my eating disorder. And consequently, these thoughts must be dismantled to rid myself of the eating disorder.

Day by day, breath-by-breath…I can choose to be happy and liberated. I can choose to let go and lose control. I can choose to turn my head away from fear and shame. I can give myself the dignity to honor my feelings, my needs, my wants. I can accept myself for who I am.

You held me in bondage and stripped me of all that. This is me ripping out of your chains!