Everyone who experiences disordered thinking, experiences it differently. It is as unique as you are. To understand that there are similar symptoms of disordered thinking and eating is the beginning to finding help. Someone to create and facilitate your pathway to happy, healthy, balanced living is needed. Usually it is valuable to have a team of people bringing different expertise to your recovery.
Here is a description of my understanding of that experience…
Recovering from an eating disorder
You know things aren’t right when you notice that you’re feeling low and filled with worry. Your head feels busy in an anxious way, there’s a negative spin on everything you think about along with experiencing intermittent darkness and terror. When you think of the past, everything you did and said was wrong and when you think about the future you feel heavy and consumed with fear that you’ll never find the way, be accepted, be good enough. Let’s call this the negative, overly critical mind. It’s endless negative and irrational perspective fuels fear and concern. Like wearing a pair of coloured glasses the lens changes how everything looks and feels. It makes out that it’s right by filtering what you see in people, events and whatever’s going on around you as evidence that you’re wrong, don’t fit, a problem. It flashes memories skewed with the same negativity up in your mind taking you through how bad you are, ugly you are, not good at anything and no good for anyone. And then along comes a solution as a thought in your head … maybe if I work on changing what I eat, change my body, change how people see me … that will make me better. I’ll eat only healthy foods, perhaps cut out something “bad” like sugar… that will make me feel better, then Ill be happier and Ill find my way. Let’s call that voice what you think as your hopeful and helpful guide. It seems to you that the negative mind is right, it’s helping you to be better, to look for ways to be a better person! Then comes the first plan, a plan fraught with failure and one that distances you from people around you. When you don’t follow the plan, that negative mind has you feeling guilty and worried and then sad. When you follow the plan you feel hopeful. Soon the plan needs to be updated, another food cut out or an overall reduction of food. Each and every thought to cut and reduce must be fulfilled or the guilt, worry and sadness take over and life feels out of control. It feels like your trapped on a merry go round that is getting faster. Amid the chaos is that seemingly supportive planning voice in your head encouraging you just to cut and reduce a little more, that’s sure to make things right. From changing what you eat, it moves to pushing you to be strict in other areas, how much you move, how much you study, read, be a good person. It has you scaling the internet for ways to be better, it’s endless and exhausting. Horrifically for some it gets worse and worse, the self harm escalating to a range of punishing and gruelling behaviours that provide a tiny relief from the guilt, worry and sadness, only to throw you further into a dark hole.
The light comes when you realise you need help and someone kind reaches out and shows they understand. Your journey of healing and recovery begins at that point. You know you need to trust someone worth trusting instead of listening and believing in only your thoughts. You begin to question that negative mind and your positive rational mind grows incrementally as you choose to disbelieve its ideas and reduce its authority. This is when balance can be restored and can begin to be practised in all areas of your life. When you begin to believe that ALL foods are reasonable choices, you can begin to include ALL foods in a balanced way. You are now open to learning the habits of self care that optimise your wellness. You begin to rationalise that every day is an opportunity to live freely, healthy and balanced, and experience joy in being a part of this world. You get to create a healthy head space and harmony in the way life occurs. Self discovery that is nurturing allows you to grow and understand your uniqueness. You can find what fills you with passion and channel that energy into personal growth that feeds all the areas that have you feel and live well.
Recovering from an eating disorder takes time and the right people. Meet with me once and your journey begins. If I’m not the right person Ill help you find that person. Getting you well is the only goal, you deserve that.