So often in eating disorder recovery we hear people advocate to just ‘let go’ of the illness or claiming that they are ‘letting go’ in their recovery.
For a long time I’ve longed to ‘let go’.
It sounded liberating, joyous & like a weight would lift from suffocating my life & drift away!
But I had no clue as to what ‘letting go’ really meant or how to do so.
The ED behaviours & thought patterns felt so automatic & ingrained that despite how sick & miserable they were keeping me, to even contemplate changing any small part let alone ‘letting go’ completely seemed entirely incomprehensible & unrealistic.
However, recently, for the first time I caught a glimpse of what ‘letting go’ felt like & entailed.
It isn’t impossible.
It isn’t incomprehensible.
But it’s also not easy.
To reach this first glimmer of a life in which I let the eating disorder go has taken a long process of learning, muddling through attempts to eat more & face fear foods, tolerating levels of intense distress & emotions I never knew were possible, feeling very vulnerable & conflicted, while stripping my current identity bare.
I’m now understanding that when we say to ‘let go’ in recovery, it is literally changing all the rules, behaviours & parts of the illness that impact every aspect of our lives.
It’s learning to approach food in a new light & stopping compulsive or compensatory behaviours.
It’s about accepting that weight gain & body changes are not optional if we are to recover & that we cannot control the rate or where our weight will settle if we truly are to face up to & tolerate overcoming our fears.
Letting go brings feelings of chaos & distress on innumerable occasions & will for a long time as we have an entire brain that needs to learn entirely new ways of existing.
But as we learn & change, gradually letting go starts to feel liberating & bring a feeling so freeing it is worth holding onto!
This first glimpse into how it will be when I’ve entirely let go of the ED from my life is enough to convince me that pushing through more dark or difficult days that may lie ahead will be worthwhile.