I really do think that in order to recover fully from an eating disorder, we ultimately have to take responsibility for it ourselves and often a key moment in recovery is when we finally come to realise that.
That is not to say that we cannot use support in recovery – of course we not only can but should. However, I do not think we should become reliant or too dependent on just one form of support. For the length of recovery, multiple sources of support will be needed and our needs will change as we move along in our recoveries.
The eating disorder brain is very sneaky and just a little bit evil (and no I don’t think that is too strong a word!). The fear that the brain generates with an eating disorder when we try to go through with recovery actions is intense and because the brain cannot rationalise this fear, it will come up with a gazillion convincing reasons for not doing the recovery action thing today.
I know I am not alone, in experiencing a brain that just loved to convince me that I should not eat more, rest more, gain weight or drop any other weird and disordered behaviours unless x person told me to, someone said it was ok or some other form of external reassurance or permission was given.
Therefore, my brain managed to convince me in this way to delay recovery actions time and time again….
And it is great to wait for this external permission and reassurance, if that source of full on support is available when you need it and knows what support is needed at any given moment / 24 hours a day.
As there is nothing in this universe that is that incredible at being able to get inside our heads to know what support we need at any moment and 24/7, we ultimately have to be that incredible source of support to ourselves if we do truly want to recover.
We can seek support and permission to eat or rest from others but that will only ever get us so far… because what happens when that permission or support is not instantly there?
If we rely too heavily on just one source of support and that support is unavailable (because let us face it, life happens to everyone!) then what do we do?
Or, what happens when we find that our support person or people turn around to us and say, no – they don’t think we should eat more or gain more weight, when deep down to recover mentally and not just physically, we do know that we need to do those things?
Ultimately full recovery means giving ourselves permission to eat what and when we want, without the weird eating disordered rules and behaviours, every moment of every day and continuing to do so for life.
So, yes – please use support and reassurance in recovery but don’t get over dependent on it or use just one source…. And learn as early as possible that to truly recover – you are the best support person you have because you are ultimately who you have on tap all the time, you know you best and you are available directly to yourself for the rest of your life!