Recently there has been a similar theme in several of the clients I work with. I guess the easiest way to describe it is that many have great difficulty imagining what recovery and freedom from the eating disorder looks like since they are in the beginning of their process.
I had one client say, “Recovery is like some ‘Pie in the Sky’ concept. I hear all of these people talk about what their experiences with EDs were like and how great their life is now. But what I don’t hear is HOW their life got to be so wonderful.” It can be so difficult in new recovery to imagine how life can feel safe and fulfilling in the absence of the eating disorder.
Just HOW is one supposed to deal with thoughts of emptiness, shame, guilt, self-loathing, body image issues, etc. The HOW is the work and it isn’t always fun to do. I am on the other side of this. HOW I got to where I am in recovery today is by identifying the psychodynamic issues, identifying my beliefs about myself around those issues, challenging my belief system, being willing to look at alternative perspectives, incorporating a new thought process and belief system into my daily life, implementing new coping mechanisms, and practicing not using ED symptoms.
WOW, that’s a bit exhausting just writing it!! BUT… it is SOOOOO worth it!!! And possible! Coupled with this, it is imperative to have a desire to change, believe you have an ability to change, believe there is a reason to change, and believe there is a need to change, then YOU can commit to your recovery.
Of the four areas in bold, if you feel ambivalent about any of those areas then that can be a good place to start the “HOW” work. The “HOW” is about what you do on a daily basis. Making small, attainable goals is what I have found to be most helpful. Where are you in the process???