I’ve been reflecting on the feeling in recovery of having two versions of myself…
Every person on this planet has their inner child..
But with an eating disorder and to recover, it is the inner child that needs nurturing for a while: fed, loved and released from the cast iron grip of the illness.
I thought I would share my reflections here as I am sure many in recovery might relate.
Deep within me, I know lies my true self, who with this illness has long been confused, frustrated, bullied, frightened, lost, vulnerable, isolated, abandoned, hungry and cold.
My true inner self has always hated the eating disorder (and still does) and been desperate for anyone to help.
Help make it better. Help me be less alone, less hungry, less bewildered. Desperate for someone to wrap me up & care for me.
However, to the world, I’d present a facade.
I would appear competent, able to function, live independently, smile and say the right things: tell people that all was well and that I was coping just fine… despite crying within.
If anyone saw my vulnerability and tried to help, despite being desperate, it would feel like I was possessed by another being and I would push them away, roaring and fighting until they put their hands up in surrender and withdrew.
At this point, my inner child, who had a brief glimmer of hope that help had arrived, watches bewildered and in despair as they take their offer of help away: feeling abandoned, frightened: in total desperation.
These moments cause hurt and you learn to stop seeking or hoping for help as the pain when it withdraws becomes too much.
Now that I am working harder than ever at recovery, I feel more vulnerable and afraid than I have ever felt.
Despite being a grown woman, I need to keep my inner child to the forefront, not bury her behind the eating disorder but that in itself is terrifying.
Seeking support from myself or others is frightening as what if that help again withdraws?
All I can do now is let myself be vulnerable – despite confusion & pain.
Trust this process, trust myself not to let the eating disorder win again and trust that others might stay true to helping when I need it.
Unless we make ourselves vulnerable we do not heal.