Past and future, fear and judgement. Yes, they have ruled my life for the majority of it. They continue to, too, yet I am more acutely aware of this than I ever have been before.
I recall that one of the hardest things I struggled with through treatment and into recovery of my eating disorder was giving up control.
I remembered the past and feared the future.
From the past, I remembered the excess weight. I remembered the words that cut like knives, “You are fat. No wonder you have no friends. You are ugly.”
There were also seemingly innocent words of wisdom shed my way. “You can be anything you want. Don’t ever settle. You are capable of doing anything.”
Two points of view that were completely contradictory and totally confusing. One said I was something to be shamed and the other said that I had complete control over who I was.
The sum of that equation was pretty clear.
If I was capable of being or doing anything, yet I was a disgusting shame, well, I clearly was doing a damn awful job at being the person I should be.
And so, from the past, rules were generated in order to create the perfect future. And every action forward spawned from a place of fearful memory. There was no presence or joy in any action anymore, everything simply became a means to an end which I never, ever was able to reach.
That was the struggle in recovery, to give up the memory and just be, but in many ways, recovery, for me, became more rules.
I was shown how ‘normal’ people ate and thought and acted and how ‘eating disordered’ people ate and thought and acted. I learned strategies for integrating ‘normal’ thought and behavior into my life and, with repetition of these, I managed to become ‘normal’. For a while.
Two years later, I now find myself in a phase of relapse.
I ask myself, “What happened?” And the question comes not from a place of blame but, truly, from a place of curiosity.
Food and eating disorders go hand in hand. But food is not the foe, not mine anyway.
To some degree, food issues and proper nutrition must be addressed, but to a greater degree, I believe, there is an underlying modus operandi that drives the choices I make.
My life underwent a significant and traumatic change almost a year ago and, well, in many ways I’ve tried to effort my way out of it. And in my effort I’ve not managed to do much of anything except push myself into a corner of fear and judgement and condemnation of my actions.
I give thought to the events of the past year and I can see when I started to unravel. I fell back to the past and began fearing the future outcome.
I instigated a huge, fundamental change in my life. It was driven by inspiration, this I know, because I knew in the deepest place in my heart that I was doing what needed to be done. But then the desired outcome, or what I thought would evolve from my actions, didn’t happen. In fact, nothing has happened the way I anticipated that it would.
I fell back to memories – “You are shameful. You are ugly.”
Yet, more memories tell me I have the ability to do anything, to make my life into something.
The equation fell short yet again.
Subconscious memories started replaying – shame, disgust, failure, bad, unworthy, stupid, fat, horrible.
I fell back into major depression. I didn’t want to look, I refused to look. And, the way out? The eating disorder. The food. It has been the doorway out of reality and into dreamland, to get me out of the pain of myself that I don’t want to face.
But that is exactly what I must do. Face it. Regardless of the circumstance, this is the Now.
I can hardly understand it myself because everything is a choice, isn’t it? And if it’s a choice, and I’ve relapsed into my addiction, then isn’t it my fault? And then doesn’t that mean I’m wrong, I’m bad, I’m a disgusting shame?
But, who says? Only my memories say so.
I believe the action of my eating disorder is a response to memories that are replaying in me. The eating disorder is not the problem. The memories that are replaying in me are what are causing the eating disorder.
It is in me. Whatever ‘it’ is, it is in me. I don’t know why, I cannot seek to know why anymore. IT is in me. This is true.
So then, is there a way out?
In a manner of speaking, I believe so. But it’s not in the denial of the eating disorder within. It’s in the acceptance of what is Now and loving every aspect of it.
I don’t understand it. Hardly at all. But I’ve tried fighting it. I’ve tried ignoring it. I’ve tried a million things. And the only thing I have left to do is surrender.
The bible says in Philippians 4:6, “Do not worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.”
I hardly understand this either. But when effort is futile the easiest thing to do is trust the wisest words I know and just allow the peace of God to transcend the pain.