This post will ruffle some feathers for sure. But I'm just going to ruffle away. I'm going to put the next sentence in here and I'll promise you: it will create a shock effect. Ready?
Recovery is a choice
What did she just say? Let me explain. Getting an eating disorder isn't a choice. It's partly genetic and partly biological. We still don't know what the main cause is of an eating disorder, because it's highly individual and circumstantial.
We know it's a combination of genes, temperament, biological factors, traumas, social cultural ideas, coping skills deficits and dieting can trigger all of those factors and create this perfect storm. We, as (former) eating disorder fighters, have created neural pathways that are hard to change "back to normal" again. It becomes this addictive feeling and changing up safe routines feel like the biggest threat and can create anxiety, panic attacks, anger, depression and so much more.
This is where the "choice" part comes in.
As you know I recovered from my eating disorder myself, however, this took a lot of work. It involved lots of tears, anger and anxiety and sometimes I was so exhausted of fighting and challenging myself that I was about to give up. This is why having a coach is so helpful. I'm there when you don't know what to do. I'm talking to that healthy brain of yours that's still somewhere in there and I'm ignoring your eating disorder voice. I immediately know when I'm talking to someones eating disorder voice, because I had that exact same voice.
The greatest news: an eating disorder can be overwon
The upside of this all is that rewiring your brain is actually possible! SO BYE BYE EATING DISORDER. BUT that means doing the same scary thing over and over again until it loses its power over you and becomes not so scary anymore.
To give an example for someone who just started recovery. If you couldn't eat lunch before without freaking out: You have to make sure to eat the same lunch EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and don't skimp on spreads, quantities because your eating disorder found the perfect excuse. If you repeat this for 5 days, you'll notice it will loose its power over you and the anxiety curve will go down.
This is the beauty of exposure therapy, which I always do with my clients. It's not called recovery without exposure therapy.
Don't get me wrong. The reason why recovering from an eating disorder, any addiction for that matter, is SO extremely hard is because it feels like you're being attacked by a wild animal every single minute of the day. It's hard to understand for those who never had an eating disorder, but it's truly one of the hardest things I've ever had to overcome. BUT recovery is still a choice. Every single moment of the day you have to chose for recovery and you have to be willing to feel uncomfortable and anxious as FUCK. That's just part or the terorrity.
Sometimes it's helpful to hold yourself accountable by making a promise to yourself or others (like a parent) to take something away if you don't follow the rules or path you're on.
I did the same thing.
It will never be easy, you might have mini relapses and recovery is never a straight line, but if you get back up and continue where you left off: THAT'S RECOVERY. Just remember, it will be all worth it in the end. But you have to work for it.