People rarely appreciate the level of real fear we face each day in recovery from an eating disorder.
With an eating disorder, our brains perceive anything that might cause weight gain as a direct threat to life and so it needs to do anything to fight it, fly from it or just freeze & hope it goes away!
This level of fear is not a scared of spiders or that horror movie was kind of scary type fear.
This is a jumping out a plane without a parachute, someone standing in front of you with a loaded gun, meeting a huge lion face to face type of fear.
This is a fear that the brain will not allow time for rational thought to overcome.
This is a fear so direct & immediate that the brain will only go into survival mode which usually means running from the fear as fast as possible or fighting it.
This can play out in the illness as fighting or escaping a situation that involves food or resting.
It will entail fighting well meaning & loving people trying to ‘help’ us, leading us to push them away, throw food back at them, become very irritable with them and can lead us to shout, scream, kick…
Or when we run from the fear, we can end up fleeing & therefore isolating…
And when the perceived threat is present, the ability to think clearly, rationally & process the situation to understand the threat is not real is almost impossible.
The fear we have to overcome to recover from an eating disorder so many times a day is a fear level most people might face just a handful of times in their life.
Remember this next time you are berating yourself for not being ‘strong enough’ to have recovered yet.
Just facing recovery every single day, living on the verge of that adrenaline fuelled fight & flight mode is a bravery most people will never experience or appreciate…..
Facing recovery means living in a constantly hyper-alert, ready to run, ready to fight state which is in itself exhausting!
So give yourself credit and give yourself a break.
You are a superhero by any standards!
Remember that and then keep facing down the eating disorder and allow it to become a bit less scary as the brain slowly learns that food, rest and weight gain won’t kill us after all.