RheasOfHope

one girl's thoughts on life, mental illness, eating disorder recovery, and hope.

When you make realizations April 25, 2014

 

For the almost two years that I have had this blog, there has always been a thought nagging in the back of my mind. I have felt I have not been completely honest with those who read my blog, and I have to get it off my chest. Although I paint a very self-assured and recovery-oriented picture through my writing, have I struggled for the past five years to actually admit/accept the fact that I, Rachel King, actually have a clinically diagnosable eating disorder, and have had for more than half of my life. I would say, “I’m sick” or “I’m doing well in recovery” or even refuse to admit I had an eating disorder at all. However, I never actually knew what I was really saying. How was I expected to recover from a disease I refused to fully accept that I had? How could I fully immerse myself in recovery if I did not first admit that I had been fully immersed in my disease? Doesn’t everyone always say, “The first step in resolving a problem in our life is to first admit we have a problem”?

I have needed to admit and accept this fact for a long time, but my eating disorder kept telling me I was stupid for thinking that. I don’t think I was ever really ready to let ED go until Easter Sunday this year, when I reflected on the eating disordered thoughts and behaviors I had engaged in over the previous few days. I can’t explain it really, it’s just like, as I sat in my garage (after having engaged in behaviors)…it’s like I finally knew, this is ED. This is exactly what ED is: lies, secrecy, self-inflicted punishment, hiding, feeling unworthy, striving for unattainable perfection, hating that I do it but not being able to stop, false control, and pain…lots of pain.

ED was suddenly and simultaneously the best and worst defense mechanism in my life. It became a way to hide from the bullying I receive from others, by bringing the bullying on myself before they could get me; ED convinced me everyone was, indeed, out to bully me. ED rationalized that if I punished myself first, the pain of others wouldn’t hurt so much, because she knew I would punish myself worse than they could imagine (ED, cutting, exercise, etc). I wanted to hide inside ED because of the perceived safety she offered me; safety I didn’t have from my bullies. I wanted to hide inside her twisted love; love I felt I didn’t have from my family and didn’t deserve from others.   I wanted to do and be everything to everyone: teacher, nurturer, protector, the smart one, planner, volunteer, problem solver, etc. I wanted to be perfect, but, at the same time, was listening to ED tell me I would never be perfect. I wanted to be loved, and turned to Ed for that love because it was the first “safe” place I found “unconditional love”. I now realize that that what ED gave me was never love. ED was manipulation, lies, and destruction. As long as I kept myself within the confines of ED, I would never find the acceptance, love, and roles in life that I wanted so desperately…because ED was taking them all. ED was there to offer me everything I was craving out of life…and then, I was in too deep, she had me in her vice grip. I would never get from her all the things I wanted that she promised. She convinced me that me not attaining what I wanted out of life was my fault because she was never “really” in my life to begin with. She blamed all my life problems on me because “there’s no way I could possibly have an eating disorder” and my pain couldn’t have been caused by her because of that. I’m here now to say it was, all of it. I listened to her lies, false promises, saying she could offer all I wanted, and so much more. But it wasn’t true, none of it. I never got anything she said she would/could offer me if I just did every single thing she said. All I got was my own personal hell. A hell in which I punished myself for every perceived wrongdoing by restricting, purging, cutting, laxatives or over exercise. A hell that I wasn’t allowed to believe I was actually in, let alone tell anyone else about. A hell I thought was never ending. Until now. I fully realize I’m in ED’s little hell, and I know I’ll stay trapped here as long as I refuse to admit she has this power over me. Every time I acknowledge her presence in my life, she gets a little bit smaller and I am able to see what recovery oriented choices look like. It’s a slow and sometimes stumbling process, but I’m ready to get out of this hell.

I encourage everyone out there reading to get out of this hell with me and take our lives back.

 

Psalm 121

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore”

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6 Responses to “When you make realizations”

  1. The first day I heard my therapist say to me, “you have an eating disorder,” I felt an immense sense of relief. I was amazed that, despite what ED would say to me, there was a reason for all of these horrible thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I was actually sick.

    Since then, I can barely say the words, “I have an eating disorder.” They don’t flow off of my tongue, and I feel as though people will laugh and think that I’m just being dramatic. Despite the diagnosis, ED still thinks I am unworthy.

    It’s not easy, so, kudos to you for saying those words out loud. I will say them with you:

    I, Rosalyn Jonson, have an eating disorder.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      I feel the exact same way most of the time; like the words are foreign in my mouth.
      It takes an immense amount of strength and courage to say the words and take your power back from ED. I am so glad you are able to realize it and say it with me. All the very best in your recovery sweetie. We will get there. We will win our lives back from ED and will will be living proof that recovery is possible. Take care!

  2. Jordan Says:

    I’m so proud of your honesty.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      Thank you. Honesty with myself and others has been a huge part of my recovery. Owning my disease, holding myself accountable for recovery and being honest with others about my needs has been a critical piece of my recovery. I wish you well on your continued recovery too. Take care!

  3. cherieb03 Says:

    Psalm 34 was my refuge when I finally came to terms with my ED. It’s a painful, weird, relieving, and necessary part of the journey!

    1 I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
    2 I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
    3 Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.
    4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
    5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
    6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
    7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
    8 Taste and see that the Lord is good.
    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
    17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
    He rescues them from all their troubles.
    18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
    he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

    • rheasofhope Says:

      I love that Psalm too…and basically, most of Psalm. haha.
      I am so glad you were able to come to terms with your diagnosis and work towards creating a recovered life. HE will rescue us and we must trust in His plan (for it is far greater than we could ever imagine). All the very best in recovery. Take care!


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