What Is Freedom from ED?
Can you imagine a person who was imprisoned for years of their life? Locked away from the outside world for weeks and months at a time. Living in darkness and despair, wishing every day for freedom.
Imagine this person was freed from their jail, let loose on the world only to be told they had to wear handcuffs for the rest of their life-they are free but they can’t quite live life 100% with the handcuffs reminding them they are still under a certain kind of restraint. Is this even freedom? The handcuffs may be small but they are restricting. Is this the type of freedom you would be happy with? ED can often leave us feeling like a prisoner of our own minds and of course we all strive for freedom but, what is your definition of freedom?
Lately I’m seeing a lot in the media about people who claim to be free having recovered from Eating Distress but they also say that they will have to watch what they eat for the rest of their lives. They say they are free but they will always be subject to ED or destructive thoughts. Pause for a second-this is not freedom. This is still living with the handcuffs on-there are still conditions to this freedom, therefore it renders this so called freedom void.
Real freedom is 100%. There are no conditions when it comes to freedom. We all have different definitions of what Freedom means to us, what we want from life, what our goals are but I’m guessing nobody wants to limit their Freedom. There are no handcuffs, there are no conditions on food. There is no substituting one behaviour for another. Freedom is exactly what it says in the tin-FREEDOM. There are no limitations or restrictions.
In recovery I always strived for the very best definition of Freedom not because the ED told me too (ED likes to be the best) but because nothing less than full Freedom is what I deserved . There is no second best when it comes to life because you deserve the best possible life you can have-you only have one life. You need to make the most of it so give yourself a chance by striving for real freedom.
I find it disheartening to hear people claiming to be free or recovered when they quite clearly aren’t. It sends out the wrong message to people who are trying to recover-they are sending out the message that this is as good as it gets-still struggling albeit not as bad a struggle but struggling nonetheless. You do not deserve to struggle, remember you deserve much much more.
Full Freedom does exist, picture yourself fully free, handcuffs left well behind. It’s not easy to get to this point of the journey but nothing worth having is ever easily achieved. We all face rocky patches in the recovery process, there are certainly a few hurdles to overcome. There are times of stagnation and frustration but we learn from these and with this learning we can continue doing what is necessary to ensure full freedom and never settling for anything less than we deserve.
Flying the Nest – Reflections from the Recovered
Written by Ciara
“Let the moment go… don’t forget it for a moment though” ~Into The Woods, Broadway Musical When you go to Marino, you have this end goal of full recovery, you put in all of the work, face the fears, repeat the mantras to keep you going along your own unique road of recovery…but what happens when you reach the signpost for the road of actually being fully free? I was enjoying the recovery journey, I loved all of the learnings and all the groups, the new found ability to use my senses to their fullest potential and how I now really felt like the me that I wanted to be. Then things started feeling a bit different, I could sense that my recovery journey was coming to an end and while that evoked a lot of pride and contentment, it also evoked a lot of fear. A fear of moving on from one chapter in my life to the next. I had learnt so much about who I am, my dreams, my opinions and values in that cozy space above the estate agents in Drumcondra. Could I really just leave that all behind and get on with my life without it? The thing was though that I wasn’t leaving it behind. Not in any way shape or form. My recovery journey is such a big part of me and subsequently, so is Marino. Yes I was moving on and that was by no means the easiest thing to do but with that simple mantra of “feeling the fear and doing it anyway” on loop in my mind, I knew that this was a challenge that I could and would be able to complete. I had the memories, the learnings and the knowledge that that white wooden door is always open for me to take a notion and pop into a group or few whenever I want to. Despite all of this though, when the opportunity came up to do something I enjoyed that would take up my Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings it felt a lot stranger than I had expected it to. Not bad or difficult but…strange. It was strange having the option to spend these time frames somewhere else other than up in the blue carpeted room of Marino. I mean yeah I always had the option as to whether or not I wanted to go to group or not but it felt like a given after a while, Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings were blocked off and that was that, I liked it that way. Doing something other than sitting in that beautifully scented room where there’d always be a joke about the Irish weather or some insightful story to get me thinking, made the change all that more real I guess. So this is definitely something that’s going to take some getting used to but that’s absolutely okay. It takes time to adapt to any sort of new thing or to have distance from something that you hold very fondly in your heart. I know that Marino and all of the people and learnings (and candles!) that I associate with it will always bring up fond and happy memories for me. Groups were times to think things through, to ground myself and pay attention to my senses. They were 3 hours in the week that had a rippling effect of calmness and clarity for much longer than 3 hours spent anywhere else would have given me and I’m extremely grateful for that. I’m excited to learn new things about myself, to have new experiences and to see what I can do with my life without conditions values holding me back. There will still be fears to overcome, things that will stress me out, situations I’ll be apprehensive of diving into but I have the solidified recovery tools to deal with life’s challenges now. I’m glad that I went to as many groups as I needed to and enjoyed each of them and the uniqueness of each and every one. I’m grateful for my recovery journey and I’m grateful for those challenging moments that seemed like they’d never end when I was in the thick of them (spoiler alert; they always did) I’m proud of my journey through recovery and excited for the future. And I’m learning more and more each day to be content with the now in all sorts of situations.
So thank you Marino for guiding me through my recovery, for being nothing short of spectacular and for being there for me to pop in the very first Saturday that the show I’m doing finishes up!
Life in Freedom
This world is but a canvas to our imagination. (Henry David Thoreau)
Is it real? This new way of being in the world? I remember asking ‘what would I do with my time?’ If behaviour free what could I do? My life had become small. Out of touch with the true me.Numb. How would I cope with life, people, thoughts and feelings without destructive behaviours?
It seems strange now.
I am listening to the musical intonation of beautiful French accents on France Culture radio. The guests on the station are discussing marginalised sections of society, discrimination and oppression. Human rights. I have the phone radio plugged into a speaker system and the sound is superb especially to super sensitive ears. What a gift. I have my nail care bag ready for filing and painting my nails after a soak in a fragrant bubble bath. I anticipate Moisturising my skin with slow effleurage strokes afterwards. Green tea body lotion is sensual and refreshing.
I was watching trailers on the Odeon app earlier planning my films for the week- how exciting! I am especially looking forward to ‘Bad Moms’ ! Restorative Yoga and meditation are a daily opportunity to tune in to myself, nurture green thoughts and align with what I truly want. ( if red thoughts are overwhelming at the moment meditative focus may be best guided by your practitioner)
I enjoyed breakfast at a table set with pretty vases of colourful flowers plucked from the beautiful abundance of our marvellous earth. Perhaps described by ‘those who know’ as ‘weeds’ to me the vibrant orange and red shades of curling petals merging into stems knarled with buds and underlined with delicately veined leaves are the orchids of the wild. Clear water in the glass vase magnifies and changes the submerged flower stem reaching down with jagged edges for life giving water.
I had my iPad ready to engage with writing after thoroughly enjoying nourishing my body and mind. I am meeting a friend for coffee later which will be fun.
Gratitude, credit and affirmations are automatic now. Yet deserve emphasis as their simplicity can veil their impact.
I have a Mac in a sac for weather protection and ‘ I can handle it ‘ affirmations for thought protection.
The topics have changed to Politics Democracy and borders. I notice the focus on conflict affecting my mood so I change channel to ‘Rire’ the laughter is contagious and I smile with deep appreciation for the adventure of a wonderful day….
Freedom and Recovery worth it…..
Freedom and Obstacles
Freedom is inside each of us. It Is a bright, light, kind, and free attitude.
Obstacles are also inside us. They are thought patterns formed by comparing, criticism, and resentment. Obstacles were created by us and can be changed by us. Obstacles disintegrate in the energy of a good laugh or a focus on self-care. Reading and reflecting on positive material such as ‘Recovery Now’ every day transforms obstacles and releases energy for going out and enjoying life .
Simply – Freedom is inside us and obstacles are inside us.
Freedom is a constant. It rests like a ball of light deep inside. In condition this light is surrounded by dark clouds.
Ironically the dark clouds are simply harmless illusions. Yet these same dark clouds can impair vision, distort our interpretation of situations, obscure love and lead to terrified reactions and the false promises of behaviours ( behaviors just lead to a poor weather forecast -thickening cloud mass on the horizon)
The journey to freedom is through the clouds. They look threatening – I know the feeling – each cloud I looked at seemed to be the darkest and most dense of them all. However when you have guidance and compassion from at least one person who knows the way. You can face the darkest of frightening clouds and keep going to freedom. (Everyone requires the hand of a free person to lead them and show them the way) I really believed that every dark cloud I was encouraged to open my eyes to and observe would hurt me. It never did. When I faced cloud after cloud I started to notice a pattern. As soon as I opened up to facing my challenges (one at a time) and seeing things from a clearer perspective the resistance eased. The clouds started to disperse and the fresh view would take my breath away. From each new vantage point I wondered what I had been afraid of? The emerging answer is that I was scaring myself with psychological thrillers, and horror stories written and directed by myself.
Life happens one day at a time. External situations can only mar my mood if I give them permission. It’s our inner world that creates contentment. We can try to change and perfect the external world or learn to accept it from a place of inner peace.
Fear can turn to exhilaration and clouds transform to a sun haze when you walk out into the weather with a gentle reassuring squeeze of someone’s confident hand in yours. Trusting and appreciating that you are on an intriguing journey to a marvellous place……
Sensitivity and Your Recovery
“Don’t be so sensitive” was advice uttered to me in many forms over the years. As though my sensitivity was something worth suppressing, hiding away, and denying. The weird thing is that it took recovery for me to see what a gift sensitivity is.
The condition hijacks sensitivity. It misinterprets this gift as a failing and an annoyance. And tries to make us believe that it is the root of all our problems. It’s not. The condition is! Recovery allows us to harness sensitivity, and to use it to our advantage to deepen our relationships and really connect to this life we are all muddling through.
Sensitivity provides us many signals, if we choose to listen instead of trying to banish it with deprivation and behaviours. It’s that spider sense the tells us when something doesn’t feel right. It’s the way we ‘just know’ that someone is out of sorts, upset, afraid, worried about something etc. It’s the supernatural ability to notice that the environment has changed- did someone move a candle? – Do I feel a tiny draught? – Isn’t the energy very welcoming here?
Sensitivity allows deeper communication. They say that communication is only 7% verbal. Supersensitive people are great at picking up on what goes unsaid. Of course the condition hijacks this and tells us that people don’t like us, are bored of us, are frustrated with us etc. But once the condition is gone, then we are left with a pretty cool gift to pick up on the little things.
I’ve noticed that I cry 100 times more now than I did when I had ed. There was a time when I was so numb that I wouldn’t have noticed if my whole family was blown up. Now I’m a giant ball of tears. Happy tears. Sad tears. Angry tears. Grateful tears. They’re something I keep a temporary lid on in work, but once I’m out of there I’m a watery softy. There was also a time that people tried to medicate this away from me. I was told that mood stabilisers were the answer to why one minute I would be laughing, and the next I’d be crying. They didn’t do anything except make my purse empty each month. True recovery is about embracing our humanness, tears and all.
I used to curse sensitivity. Blast this ability. Blast it. I believed that recovery would bring me the ability to be a stone. A machine of productivity and success. An emotionless human. And that’s what medication did to me. I was put on numerous antidepressants over the years. I became numb and hollow, my sensitivity being stomped on. They gave me a whole host of side effects, because sensitive people need to be careful what they put in their bodies (do not misinterpret that sentence!). Now I realise that I’d rather lose a limb than lose my sensitivity. Imagine cursing the very thing that allows music speak to me? Or allows a nicely worded quote stab me in the heart?
Sensitivity is about feelings, awareness, intuition, and the heart. It makes my life worth living. I actually feel alive. And isn’t that what life is about!? Really living!?
You’re Living Now, Not 20 Years In The Future!
While I was out with a few friends today, one of the girls realised that we’ve known each other almost a year and this simple realisation had a real ripple effect on me as I later began to think about the passage of time.
By living life in the moment as often as possible, by allowing the challenging times to come and then pass, (even though there were many times where I thought I’d be stuck in a single moment for ages!) Somehow when I wasn’t looking, while I was busy learning how to live my life how I wanted to live it, a year’s worth of moments had passed by.
While in condition, thinking about time and how quickly it passed almost always led to a huge panic about whether or not I was living my life to it’s fullest but I now realise that there is no way of living a “life half full” when recovery becomes your priority.
Your life is there for you, living is what you’re doing every second of every day and no matter what you do,see,say,think… it will all add up to your now, your future, your life, so why spend a big chunk of that time worrying about what could be instead of appreciating what is?
Imagine what would happen if you stopped trying so hard to live life to the fullest and started to live your life as you wanted to by owning your recovery, your personality and your now… I bet it sounds pretty amazing!!
When you put your recovery as your priority and when you allow life to take control of the steering wheel for a while, when you think about how you can help yourself to become more free in the present rather than worrying about what kind of person you want to be in future, that’s when you really begin to enjoy and value your life.
Often when we place something on a pedestal and see it as this one big thing that when we reach it, our lives will be complete, that thing almost always becomes totally unreachable whereas when we allow ourselves to bring balance and a value of multiple things into our lives, sometimes that thing that we put all of our time and effort into reaching before, then pops up when we aren’t even looking for it!
The funny thing is that when you take your focus off having to have this big astounding life, your life becomes pretty great!! Focusing on and worrying about the future will give you a lot of stress and pressure, allowing yourself to enjoy your life in this moment will give you amazing material to reflect on when you realise that an entire year has gone by!
So live now, the future will happen later on
Shame and Recovery
One of the first phrases I uttered at Marino was ” I am so ashamed”
Self criticism, judging and comparing had reduced me to a despairing cycle of destructive behaviours . Conditioned thoughts emphasised that my behaviours were worse than everyones’ . To top it all I had the ‘added disadvantage’ of having experienced eating distress for half a century. So hope was an unfamiliar emotion. What must people think? Shame was my middle name.
Secrecy , self deceit , and guilt isolated and disconnected me from my true kind Self and from the love of others. Frantic business achieved nothing valuable and prevented me doing what I truly wanted to do.
Conditioned thinking, based on false evidence, promised many exotic things sometime in the future. It never ever delivered. I was caught in a loop of empty promises ,destructive behaviours and misplaced trust.
Hot salty tears are rolling down my face now as I remember and accept, with a yielding into compassion , that beautiful , hurting, aspect of myself. Without it I would not have started my pHD in life .
My professors and mentors are Marino practitioners who know and challenge eating distress . They walk the talk and enjoy a quiet calm pride in who they are…..Free, radiant, beautiful. Enthusiastic, Courageous, aware and wise. They teach truths that dismantle condition.
Hope arose . My hanging head lifted. I dared to dream of a free future . I wanted more than anything to be one of the walking , talking, living , expressive, creative free people. I decided to commit with stubborn determination. I joined the freedom fighters. A growing group of peaceful warriors who dedicate their lives to opening the prison doors from conditioned slavery. All I was asked to do was take small consistent steps. They showed me the way . I did the work- Daily , hourly, every 10minutes. Recovery is life.
Resting in the wisdom of nature I learn to connect to my own inner stillness and trust that I am good enough as part of a vast creation inspired by love.
Shame for having experienced an eating distress is replaced by knowing that I did not choose it , gratitude for my super-sensitivity and delight in knowing that I did choose to recover my true self.
“Gently , steadily and safely is the way to go” Recovery Now.
My Vision of Beauty as a Recovered Person
I was looking in the mirror this evening to put on a facemask when I paused to look up at my reflection. I noticed that the girl looking back at me is pretty. Is she pretty because she has flawless smooth skin, or a ‘perfectly’ symmetrical face? Or maybe it’s because of the size of her body? Surely it has to be one of those things because that’s what being pretty is…right?
What makes her pretty are the lips that she can use to make so many different expressions, a goofy smile, a confused frown, a poker straight line when her dad tells another one of his awfully cheesy jokes, and her eyes that have that sparkly glint in them where the light bounces off her curious, smiling, mischievous or sometimes tear filled eyes. All of the things that make her pretty are all of the things that make her, her. Every single one of her features are unique to anyone else’s and they don’t and never will belong to anyone else. Individually, all of her body parts do their jobs so well and that makes each of them beautiful, and they all come together to make this lovely, unique girl that’s so full of hope, optimism, love and lots of giggles that yeah, sometimes come out at the wrong times but that’s yet another thing that makes her her!
You often hear the saying “it’s not what’s on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that matters” which in condition you just write off as an excuse for people who ‘don’t look good’ but through recovery, I’ve come to realise that I don’t agree with that phrase, but for a completely different reason now. Now that I’m recovered, it’s both what’s on the inside and the outside that matters to me. I used to picture that when I was recovered, I’d see myself as being a ‘good’ person for everything that was inside and that I’d just be able to get to the stage where I wasn’t dissing how I looked all the time, and sure that’d be grand. But now that I am recovered, I consider what’s on the outside to be just as important, because it’s what’s outside that allows us to express the beauty of everything inside! And yes, despite what you may think now, those exterior features that help to display what you’re thinking or feeling?(now brace yourselves, this is a big secret…) They.are.beautiful. every single part and cell, because they make you you and that uniqueness that condition tries so hard to hide from us, is the most beautiful thing in the world. Your thoughts, your smile, your ears, your arms, your legs, they’re all so unique so use them to your advantage!
That girl in the mirror that I saw is pretty, and that girl is me. That girl or guy that you see in the mirror? They’re pretty or handsome too and they’re you. So don’t forget to give them a little smile to thank them for being so amazing next time you catch a glimpse of them in the mirror.
Never ever give up, Recovery is so worth it
I think it’s a good idea to look back and recapture a period of time because it’s helpful to see the growth, and feel gratitude for the learning. This time last year I was preparing to come home from living in the USA. I was full of beans as it was then I began to realise that I was no longer tormented by ED thoughts. I had so much more freedom in me. I had more confidence and passion, and couldn’t wait to get back and start a new job.
Well the new job taught me many lessons. The biggest lesson was that I didn’t want to work in the field I was working in. It came as a surprise to me too! But you see, I am passionate about life, about the body, and about freedom. I love science and figuring things out. I love adrendaline and excitement, and a fast pace. And that’s all fine and dandy as long as I’m living my freedom and the poxy condition doesn’t have the reigns. The job didn’t suit me, so I made my well-thought-out exit plan.
I used to imagine that one day I would realise I was recovered. I imagined it would happen on a day, at a time, at a minute! I imagined I would suddently feel something wash over me, and I’d scream out OMG I am recovered.
The reality was different, and a lot less dramatic- like much of my life now (#sparemethedrama). I started to get periods of time where I realised I wasn’t being harassed in my head. Minutes turned to hours, sometimes even days. I started to flirt with the idea of being recovered. Am I? I think I am? But it was all very black and white. I suppose I wanted the title. I wanted to be told I ‘passed’ and maybe be given a little certificate…and a crown hehe. But the periods of relative freedom seemed to get longer. The condition voice just got quieter. I would catch myself humming or twirling my hair. I would catch myself reassuring myself- a new automatic thought. I would catch myself defending myself if a critical thought popped in my head. I would catch myself noticing an irrational food related thought, and letting it just come and go in my head.
Over the last few months I stopped asking myself all day if I was recovered or not. It wasn’t helping. I stopped trying to get Marie to tell me how recovered I was. And it’s really moved me along I think.
I’ve had a very action packed month. Old me would have floundered, and gone running back to old ways to numb the stress. New me (or maybe the me that was there all along!) coped brilliantly, if I do say so myself lol. I signed up for a crazy exam that to be fair was a pretty ambitious idea. Nobody thought I’d pass. But I chipped away at the study, and was sitting in Tuesday group the night before, because recovery really is my number 1 value now. I went to the exam armed with a tesco bag full of brain fuel. I was a woman on a mission, and it would be done with SO much self care. Well guess what, your girl passed the crazy exam!!! And I’ve been lapping up the hugs and praise since. And I am loving every minute of it. Why the hell not? I didn’t sacrifice my mental health for an exam, and the gas thing is that all the sleep and rest and relaxing strolls and fun and reassurance and early nights actually paid off. I didn’t come out of the exam and fall apart, I just carried on. I actually went shopping after to buy my first suit! I am such a grown up…
This month I also flew abroad twice for training courses and had such a lot of fun. Of course I had to miss Saturday group which bothered me a little because I love group, but these courses needed to be done. I had such fun, going on the London underground, being a nerd, wandering around Camden, drinking cocktails. And when I found out I passed my exam I decided to treat myself to a bottle of my favourite perfume. I was stood holding the 50ml and 100ml bottles, and decided sure wasn’t I worth the 100ml 😛
I’ve an interview for a new job starting in 6 weeks. The girl I currently work with quit, so I’m doing her job too. And I’m ‘busy’, but I’m ok! Recovery has brought the ability to divide into two people haha. A worrying little health problem has cropped up requiring investigation. There’s a hum of stress about the day, but I am managing it all. The days in work are longer, but I am still seeing my friends, doing fun things, getting out and about, resting etc. This week we hosted a dinner party where our friends announced they’re having a baby (#jealous!). This weekend we have been wedding planning- looking at wedding venues, discussing decorations and eating out with my parents. The relationship with my mum really suffered when I had ED, so I can’t even put into words how great it is to be able to have this relationship back again.
The life I always wanted was right there. It was always within my reach. It’s nothing fancy, it’s all rather simple actually. But here I am, just being a ‘normal’ person going about her day.
Previously I felt I was trying to prove I was recovered to everyone. I had doubts. I was all about the title. But now I seem to feel it in my heart. I know ED is over. It’s gone. The idea of depriving myself , doing behaviours or pushing myself beyond the limit is so foreign to me now. I hit my rock bottom XXX years ago and it’s been a steady incline since. The contrast between then and now is literally unbelievable. And I am so so so grateful for my recovery, and for all the help I received in Marino, especially from Marie and those in group. I love you guys!
The best part is, I have full freedom to look forward to. It gives me tingles to think that I could enjoy my life more than I do, or that I could be even more content, more confident, and more at ease with myself and my body.
Life doesn’t get easier as you recover, it’s just you feel more able to handle it.
Never ever give up. Recovery is so worth it. And I have it on good authority that being fully free is pretty great too. I’ll let you know when I get there! 😉
The Feeling of Freedom
I always wondered what freedom felt like and what I needed to do to “get there.”
I walked along the Bray/Greystones cliff walk today and freedom feels like this: just strolling, in awe of all the different colour blues in the sea, smiling at the older people who really know how to enjoy this life, the ones taking it slower than everyone else, the ones stopped for a picnic and sitting in silence staring out to sea.
Freedom feels like gratitude, not how I imagined gratitude to feel, but just a humbling appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us with no wars raging, no climate upheavals, just normal day-to-day life. It feels like not having to make conversation and just walking in silence because the sound of the waves and the seagulls is nicer than anything else. It’s getting mucky but not caring. It’s not getting irked by the power walkers brushing past, angrily marching along with their faces to the ground.
It feels like just panning out, no exact plan on arrival, a crepe might be nice, savoury or sweet not sure. It feels like skipping ice-cream even though everyone else gets one, because you’re listening to your body and your full, and you don’t feel remotely deprived or restricted. Freedom feels like being spontaneous and getting a taxi when we’d planned to take the DART. It feels like the hilarity of sitting outside the creperie in the cold, because we’d a dog with us.
Freedom feels fun and light and living in the moment, without having to try to. It feels calm too, no problem too big. It also feels cosy. And it feels safe. It’s like going along on your own little wave, what other people are doing or not doing is no concern of mine.
It took me a long time to get here, but it’s worth it, it’s really, really worth it. Today was a very special day, spent with people I really love, no phones, no car. But sometimes days aren’t that perfect but I still feel free because I let myself be cranky or tired or worn out or overwhelmed. I used to think I’d be perfectly poised at all times as soon as I became free, it took me a while to let that belief go. Freedom is being imperfect and accepting yourself.
Another thing is the odd time I’ll have an old thought but the funny difference is, it’s just a visiting thought, there’s no weight attached to it, it doesn’t hang around, the thought might pop in but I don’t believe it at all. The visiting ED thoughts of old used to scare me now they don’t, they’re just passing memories.
I think probably one of the most important things for me, well two, to get to freedom, were counting my free moments instead of itemising and analysing my unfree ones. The other thing was coming up with my own definition of freedom, what suits me, what kind of person am I and what do I need to do to meet my needs.
I’ve been thinking about this a while and I thought freedom is just one big long self-care, you’re always self-caring; be that paying your bills on time so you’re not stressed, lathering yourself in coconut oil, using your favourite conditioner, turning your phone off for the day, cancelling a date, phoning a friend, meditating to come back to yourself, going for a brisk walk to get rid of nervous energy, joining a club because you’re bored.
Above all else – that’s what freedom is for me, self-caring. Anyone going through recovery, for however long, do keep at it, it is possible and it is so, so worth. Find your wave and ride it.
Be Committed, Be Free!
Commit to recovery
When you don’t know what for,
Commit to recovery to open that door.
Behind it lies your personality
Free of condition
Some call it ‘the real me’.
Commit to finding peace
No conflict no more
You deserve a full life.
It’s not meant to be a chore.
Commit to yourself
Ignore the fear and the doubts
The ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’
Knock em’ off the shelf.
Cry if you need to
Scream if you must
Don’t be disheartened by the downs and the ups.
There will be many
But confusion is good,
It translates to change
Where condition once stood.
Be consistent in Action,
Present on the journey,
Embrace the challenges with lots of learning.
Fill your mind with belief and your tummy with fire,
Your heart with dreams for what you truly desire.
Ban shame, ban guilt
They drag you down
Instead be honest
Be specific, Be proud.
Commit to recovery
When you now know what for.
Commit to recovery and walk through that door.
Not Easy, But Worth It
For so long I wanted to go for help and to recover. When it actually came to the crunch of picking up the phone and dialling, now that was another story. I lost my nerve and replaced the receiver. Instead I ran to the supermarket and shopped and shopped until there was no room left in my basket and no money either. I went home overflowing with treats. I allowed myself to do that because I knew that once I went for help that would all have to stop. Deep down I was so afraid to recover. One part really wanted it, the other part did not know what to expect and was very scared and frightened. So after many unsuccessful attempts at making appointments the treats followed, and I was more and more out of control. I was so afraid of them being taken away from me and that all that would be left would be the emptiness and loneliness.
How wrong I was. Yes, recovery was one step forward and ten backwards, but my only choice was to live with this monster forever or to make more of my life. I was so tired of fighting, constantly battling, that I decided that it did not matter how much it took. I was going to win this time. My courage often failed, and I often felt there was no point of trying.
But today I see everything differently. My recovery really started when I made it to that first session. Even from there it did not go as easily as I would have wished. But for the first time I felt understood, and because I could not afford to go back, I did go forward.
In recovery I learned that I had an Eating distress. But I was not an Eating distress. I was a person. Eating distress was not my identity. There was more to me. I started to understand more about my behaviour, why I was overeating, starving, drinking heavily. It was just a crutch for me. I needed to learn from scratch about my body, about my emotions, about myself, and find out for myself who I was and who I wanted to be. The hardest was to learn to listen to my body and to learn to respect my body. For so many years I had treated my body as a garbage bin, as something I hated, something I did not want to be part of me. But that is not reality. It was not a smooth journey. When I was disappointed with myself I still pressed on. I divided the day into minutes and survived each minute.
I had to learn to do things for myself, to find out what I really enjoy. I had to allow myself to feel good and believe that really I am a good person. I had to learn to be more confident in order to beat this condition, to learn too that I do actually have talent, that I am actually a caring person. Today, I am so glad I never gave up, even though I hit rock bottom many times. But now I feel like living, I understand myself much more, because I understand what my eating disorder was all about.
I would like to tell everybody about my recovery, but I cannot yet, because only a few people know about my condition and I do feel that the world is still not enough aware of what it is all about. I hope the day will soon come when everybody with an Eating distress will be understood and will feel free to be open about it. I call myself fully recovered, fully Free. I finished my therapy a few years ago and none of my physical or emotional symptoms has come back. I now feel free to go for dinner and enjoy not only the people and even the food.
For everybody out there I would just like to say: Recovery is possible, recovery is for you as well. Please do not give up. You can do it!
Awaken your eyes to the world. And get up.
Stop squinting out through yesterday’s smeared makeup,
Commit to clearing your bleary vision and actually show up.
Stop greeting the day half engaged in a dazed dance with the snooze button
Opting for the hazed trance of foggy-eyed grogginess,
the endearing romance with a bed still warm with the night’s comforting sleep.
Instead, plant your feet.
Firm in a stance that gives full, indulgent view.
A view of the expanse that unfolds in the world of awakened eyes.
Wake up to the sights that excite each and every sense,
The plethora of possibility you vividly see – when you focus.
When you zoom out of the blur into life’s artistic smatterings of patterns,
Each splatter of experience igniting the taste buds of our minds –
A vibrant feast for the eyes,
Abundant aperitifs of life’s little pleasures.
Wake up to the curl of the snowdrop’s neck,
The cheeky squirrel strutting in front of your next step.
To the glint in the eyes of laughter, to the bellyache that follows after.
Open your eyes to the prize of connection –
The squeeze of a hand, the lingering look
The tumbling out of words that had been stuck –
Open your mind to the details that lace each waking moment.
Each opportunity, each chance to be real
The unique privilege of being able to feel.
Welcome the world of wakeful wonder.
Stop allowing the allure of snooze pull you under,
Pry apart the lids of your vision
The River Of Life
What was the crime that I committed that impelled me to stand as judge and jury on myself and to continuously inflict punishment after punishment on my body and my soul? What crime could make me feel so guilty that I reduced myself to feeling undeserving of life, respect or love? Feeling unworthy of love, I set about destroying my confidence and self-image, finding reassurance only in the disappearance of my body tissue. And what was my body tissue? It was me!
I could no longer think about anything in my life. Food became my life, my obsession, an obsession, which I allowed to control me, to control my thoughts and to control my feelings.
Because I did not accept myself or my body, I felt at first that my relationship with food allowed me to control my body, to deny the signals which my body was giving me. At that stage, this was a very exciting power and I could see the results. Other people could see the difference. Their anxiety both distressed and delighted me. ED was merely the initial stage. I began to lose my natural feelings of sexuality and to feel abstracted from myself and from the world. After several months the suppression of the desire to eat led me to deeper condition.
I don’t think anyone can understand the immense psychological distress of ED unless he or she has experienced it. I remember two years before I stated to recover, reading an article on this illness. I found the idea unbelievable. I did not believe that people could do this. The idea was alien to me. But what was alien became part of me. It was like being caught in the spin cycle of a washing machine, in a constant state of turmoil which began slowly, but day by day gathered speed until I felt that I had completely lost my mind. I felt so crazy and mixed up, an alien trapped within my own body and with which I could no longer communicate.
In time, little by little, I have begun to relearn the functioning of my body to take back the power which I had given over to my food compulsion. It was not an easy road to follow but at least the future now is bright and new. I know that I do not deserve to live a life full of self-torture and guilt. It is my life and I will decide how I live it. After experiencing the destruction of an eating disorder, I realise how well people can hide their inner turmoil. I’ve learned that what we need most is compassion for and understanding of our imperfections and those of others. Life is too short to wear tight shoes, or tight jeans. Your waist size is not a measure of your worth or the love you carry around in you.
There is a little well inside us that some call the soul. I like to think it comes from the river of life. This little well is full of pure crystal water, but in an imperfect world it gets muddied. It needs to be replenished and cleaned with love, respect and laughter. My little well became very dry. I felt then there was nothing left. But my soul cried out. It did not want to die. It held me until today. Trickle by trickle, drop by drop, the little well is filling up. A happy soul is writing these lines. I am free.
Everybody deserves to be free!
You don’t grow being safe, but being willing to change.
The Most Beautiful Chance
Over the span of our life, each one of our hearts is given not one but several chances … to open, even more graciously and permanently than the most radiant and precious roses. Eating Distress was for me, as it can be for everyone, the most beautiful chance of my life. Even during my crises, my tortures, my darkest hours, my greatest isolation, my total incomprehension, I was fighting against myself for myself. My tears had no destination and no source, they were the expression of this inner conflict, this huge contradiction, this eternal imbalance. But I could feel their warmth slowly healing my cheeks and I know this tiny moment of well-being came from inside of me, not from outside. I did not consciously accept it then, but it was like a ray of light caressing me, just as tenderly as the soft hand of a mother.
Still, my mystery lived for many years. Life at the time seemed experimental, my mind attempting so many different escapes, tasting so many different lives and personalities, accommodating so many different environments. And inside of me kept being full of emptiness, though not deep emptiness. Under the layers of pain, plasticity, dependence, fears, coldness, traumas, anger, pride, humanity, I knew the existence of an unknown but true me. I simply and naturally knew, without any convincing effort, that there was a flower lying there, waiting to flourish.
Only when I understood that this self-destructive behaviour would not just fade away one miraculous day, only when I understood this condition was not dependent on my environment, only when I understood that the bulimia which was in me had to be faced, did I really begin the journey of my awareness. And very simply, the more I progressed on this path, the more I felt myself flourishing to the beauty of life. The smallest details of our existence, that we so often take for granted, just like the wonderful action of breathing, became the basics of my recovery, of my rebirth as a natural human being.
The light penetrating slowly but intensely in myself was made of love, the true one which has all powers and certainly the one to destroy the transparent walls I had built in me. Love made itself so present, so boundless, so unique, so beautiful, and so much for me! It did not come suddenly. My bowing to the white throne had not ended, but the importance of the ceremony had substantially decreased. My guilty self-destruction was slowly vanishing, simply by accepting it.
And one day, I surprised myself feeling my own heart entirely full of love. With this awareness of love, I was then able to live and love myself. I finally began to feel my own balance within my own self, between my body, my mind and my spirit. As a result, I developed love for my body as it was, learning to sense its needs of expression, listening to its own words.
As a result, the confusions and the conflicts within my mind, which used to bring physical pain, slowly gave way to clarity and peace, learning to accept and welcome every foolish thought, expanding the boundless world of my imagination and creativity. My spirit saw the light of life, taking its first steps towards an endless growth, opening my heart to myself always a little more with each new second, each new beat, listening to the voices within me, to my guides and angels, embracing my past with all my smiles, cherishing the beauty of my eternal present happiness.
Love, life, God became synonymous. The inner understanding I reached makes me feel every second more intensely, makes me eternally thankful to every person who crossed my destiny for a moment or a lifetime, makes me full of myself and eager to live my dreams.
I HAD NO IDEA… That you can recover from an eating disorder. I think there needs to be more focus on this… It is 100% very possible to recover from an eating disorder, I’m living proof!
Recovery is for everyone and it’s so very worth it, all you have to do is hope and believe, in yourself and in recovery! It all starts with our thinking…. So change your thoughts and you’ll change your world… Recovery IS possible.
ED you are no longer welcome in my life, for so long I let you control me but now it’s time for me to take back control.
I won’t miss you and all the awful things you said because now I realise they were all lies.
Behaviours, that was all I knew. You no longer own me or define me, all you were was a crutch I fell back on when I didn’t know how to cope.
I no longer need, want or deserve you in my life. For so long I was scared but I deserve more, a better way to cope.
I now own you I take full responsibility for you, I’ve packed you up and sent you on your way I’ve let you go.
I now allow myself to be fully free.
I went to bed with it
And that allowed me to look forward to tomorrow.
I build up me life with it,
And waited for it to happen.
It helped me to get over everything,
To do it, to survive, to succeed.
It kept the smile on my lips
And the glow in my heart,
When times were tough.
Something which I could not touch,
But I knew it would never die.
It helped me to see the way,
That the world can be beautiful and wonderful.
It helped me to forget the past and start again.
It was my drug, I could not do without it,
And even now I am full of it.
It was my hope.
Scars are a reminder of how bad things can get,
How self destructive thoughts once played out,
They remind me to be gentle kind and loving to my body.
The meaningful things in life are what counts
And appreciating them is what matters.
The scars are still there but the wounds are healed never to be opened again.
Precious skin now cared for not tortured.