I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how much do I want to get better. I’ve been feeling that as much time as we’ve put in therapy we should be further along in the process than we are now. I’ve done fairly well at stopping some of those self-destructive behaviors that used to plague my existence. However, the eating disorder is what gets me stuck in time. I don’t understand how I could still be struggling with those behaviors based on how much inpatient, residential, and outpatient treatment we’ve had. But I’ve realized that one of the reasons recovery didn’t stick before was that I didn’t commit to it. I didn’t do everything I needed to in order to resist falling back into old, destructive coping habits.
An area that I can pinpoint is the way we think about ourselves.
When I first forayed into recovery, I did what my treatment team suggested. I gained weight. I followed a meal plan. I took my meds. By my actions it looked like I was in recovery, but in my head it was a different story. Not once did I stop to work on what I thought about myself. I thought I was fat, ugly, and repulsive. I didn’t even want to change my thinking. I wanted to hate myself. I felt better if I hated myself. If I liked myself then it was as if I was giving myself permission to love something worthless, defective, and damaged. In a sense, it was like I was protecting myself by letting myself think I was despicable. If I hated myself enough, if I called myself enough names, if I drank/cut/burned/purged/restricted enough maybe I would eventually change.
Don’t get me wrong. I am nowhere near to accepting myself, much less loving myself. When I look in the mirror I see flaws, not fierceness. But what’s changed is that now I’m open to the idea of not hating myself. I’m open to the idea of changing the way I think and view myself. I finally see that in order to truly recover this time we are going to have to start thinking of ourselves differently and start accepting us.