I have not written on this blog for some time… I have not looked at it for sometime either and much of the time I easily forget that, ‘Recovering Nomad’ even exists.
And then something today made me take a look at my ‘dashboard’ for the website and realise that every day, people are still reading the posts here, presumably for a reason… Desperation perhaps, seeking answers to problems that feel insurmountable, wanting someone to tell them what to do, how to do it or really to just do it for them.
I know these feelings all too well…. The desperate need to be given the answers to questions that felt mystifying and out of reach to my disordered brain. And then finding answers but not trusting them, or taking the words on other’s blogs or Instagram posts or YouTube videos and needing them as permission to take the steps in recovery that I knew I needed to take but that did not feel safe or ok…
Yes, those steps were ok for others, but not ok for me. So I was left always feeling desperate and terrified, always wanting reassurance, permission, help.
This illness leaves you terrified, feeling alone, confused, isolated (even when other people are around) and as if you are the only person who is living with these thoughts, compulsions and obsessions… Obsessions with calories, dietary rituals, exercise habits or other behaviours. And obsessions with other things in life – work, studies or projects that will otherwise block out the miserable reality that is life with an eating disorder.
But you are not alone in these thoughts and behaviours.
You are not alone in feeling as scared and confused as you do.
And I am not going to tell you either that it is wrong to seek support, motivation, encouragement or even reassurance or ‘permission’ to take the necessary steps you need to take in recovery or to help you find a way to make recovery feel less impossible or complicated than it most certainly does feel.
But ultimately, we all reach a point where seeking answers, reading about recovery, desperately wanting permission and reassurance is not enough – well, let’s face it, it never was enough.
The action of seeking answers and permission must turn into action in terms of really doing recovery if anything is ever to really change…
Yet that is the hardest thing in the world.
It is so hard when your brain is convincing you, not just with ‘stories’, but with real thoughts and powerful beliefs that to eat more, eat differently, gain weight, relax or not always be ‘doing’ is wrong.
It is seemingly impossible when the fear response at even the thought of taking action towards recovery is as powerful and automatic as it is when you have an eating disorder.
But despite all of this, a way forward has to be found, which it can be.
You can eat more, much more… any time of day or night, whatever you want and whenever you want – you really and honestly can.
No amount of food will ever harm you as much as your eating disorder has or can.
You can rest. You can sit and relax. Use that couch, lie in bed all day, only move muscles that are essential to be used to stay alive right now.
No amount of rest will ever harm you as much as your eating disorder has or can.
You can gain weight. You can learn to block out the fears of weight gain as you take the necessary recovery action and let your body gain weight, repair, heal.
You won’t gain forever and the weight you do gain will never harm you as much as your eating disorder has or can.
You can do all these things and as you do, find that the brain fog and confusion and questions about the what, where, when or how of recovery will start to lift and gradually the questions that seem so important right now will lose their relevance because you do know the answers and you do have the ability to do all the things that you are seeking motivation and permission to do.
Recovery is not a magic trick, but you will feel as if you need a magic fairy to help you along the way because the very simple steps of recovery (as outlined above) are hard and painful, leaving you feeling as if you are going against everything in your life that you know to be right and true.
To stay the course in recovery will take monumental focus, mental energy and an emotional rollercoaster that you will beg to get off… yet staying on it is what you must do and you can do.
Yes, you can.
And what is more, you should and you will.