I often ask myself, “Why is it that we self-sabotage?” After a lot of pondering it makes me think, because like the saying “Old Habits die hard.” Once, we get into a pattern we are familiar with or we consider “works” we do the repeated action over and over again.
I started this blog to own my story. To not allow my eating disorder be this secret that lingers in my life. I entered into treatment almost a year ago, and the people I have actually opened up to about this I can count on two hands. It makes me feel like it dismisses this past year of my life. It dismisses what this year has been filled with and says no it hasn’t been filled with tremendous change, hardship, tears, foreign feelings, growing, and abandoning everything I believed to be true. For me, it feels like my eating disorder likes to stay a secret. When I’m not talking about it, addressing it, that is what gives it power. That is what allows it to slowly come back into my life and take over piece by piece. Getting in between my relationships, my goals, my dreams and demanding all of my time.
For me, going through recovery has been the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with. There are mornings I wake up, and I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to get out of bed. The thought of getting out of the bed, dealing with eating, dealing with people, going to more therapy, more appointments, to keep going, it feels like the death of me. It hurts. I wake up to my chest on fire. Why am I in a panic attack at the start of my day? What is there to really fear. Forcing myself to move, roll over, get out of bed. It feels like a huge weight – I’m trying to lift up the world. The worst part is no one knows. No one is aware of this heavy weight I am carrying. No one sees it, can understand it. Because, I won’t allow anyone to know I’m struggling. I have acted this part for so long, I am unable to sink into the real feelings. The depth, oblivious to what’s really going on. Trying to fake it in hopes that one day it’ll just get better. I know that this isn’t the case. I will find myself in this delusional state of everything is okay, overall excited about how happy I might feel not realizing it is just another mask I have put on.
I know from my time through recovery when I am not eating properly, over exercising and basically engaging in eating disorder behaviors is when it is the hardest for me to truly sink into what’s going on. This allows the self-sabotage to be prolonged. I get into a vicious cycle of trying to make sense of all the thoughts in my mind like “well if I’m not hungry why should I eat?” to “well, maybe because your body should technically be hungry considering you didn’t eat anything today.” “Yeah, but again, I’m really not hungry.” This debate in my head will go on for hours and then before I know it I’ve wasted half of my day debating over whether or not I should eat and then my anxiety has risen to a whole new level. Or with exercising, it makes me feel good. It’s been shown to have many health benefits. However, when I’m not giving my body the nutrition it needs, the health benefits probably don’t matter. OR worse, if I am not taking the time to eat and stay hydrated I run the risk of injury.
This continual cycle feels as if I am stuck in a constant relationship with my eating disorder. It feels like my only constant companion. If anyone tries to get in the way of it or say to me things that will ultimately help me. My ED voice says “Fuck you.” They are the enemy. They do not know me, or get me or truly understand me. I get so caught in a web of who do I trust? Myself? my ED-self? My therapist, my parents, my partner, my friends, who the fuck is out there that really knows? Finally through meditation, journaling, and working towards self-awareness by talking through things with people closest to me, I am able to gain the real voice. It takes calmness, just breathing into the discomfort. Allowing all the feelings to come up and be, working to not dismiss them as negative or bad. Also, with forgiveness. Forgiving myself for slipping up or engaging in old habits that come some naturally. Forgiving others who don’t always say the right thing and sometimes end up being more triggering and hurtful. Ultimately, knowing that they are also doing the best that they can with the given information. Forgiving my past, mistakes I wish I could take back. Trying my best to work towards allowing acceptance. Taking in the present moment and giving myself love and kindness. Granted, in the moment or the struggles that last for days this is the hardest thing to reach towards. It always makes me think of the saying “It’s easier said than done.” However, like most things with practice, it does become easier to sink into the real moments. The voice and intuition come in and usually it is in the stillness.
Recovery has been what feels like a hell of a journey. Constantly hoping and waiting for the end to come, rather than living in the present. Allowing myself to be in the now, acceptance for who I am at this current moment. Constantly working towards growth. Recovery always felt like an end result, rather taking a moment to look at where I am now, and to realize I am in recovery. I am living it at this very moment. I’m not back at square one. I see that even though my demons still exist and have moments where the feel stronger than me, the journey isn’t over. Every day, every meal, every minute is an opportunity to decide to keep moving and heading towards a life I want, a life free of my eating disorder.
So for me with self-sabotaging, it is gaining the awareness of when it is happening. Then working to do the opposite of old habits, to allow the growth to keep happening. To not stay a victim of the past or the continual cycles or relationships with my demons to have control.