Here’s some things I’m learning;
1. Don’t do it alone
For me, recovery started when I began opening up to others. I wanted to get better on my own, but I just couldn’t do it. I needed other people to support me and help me say no to things that I couldn’t fight alone. I needed them to eat with me and keep me company as I regained weight. I needed them to talk to about how rubbish and scared and overwhelmed I felt – and to pray for me and understand me and tell me it was ok to be me, even if that was messy and mucked up. So I started by telling a few close friends – people I could be accountable to, but not just that, who would love me and help me: by keeping me company or dropping me cards, by praying for and with me and reminding me to hope. And treating me like there was a real person underneath all the ED behaviours – a person who was worth fighting for.
2.Remember that just as you learned certain patterns and ways of coping, you can unlearn these too. But to give up your ED, you may need to find other ways of dealing with your emotions. Again this is where other people can help.
3. You are not your eating disorder; no matter how long you’ve had it or how bad it feels. It’s scary to give up on an old identity, especially when you’re not sure there’s a new one to step into. Even if you don’t know who you are, Jesus does. He has plans for you and purpose and hope.
4.Trusting Jesus is not a risk – even though it often feels terrifying. It’s not being out of control, but by His grace, taking it back.
5. Struggling doesn’t make you useless. It makes you human. And that’s actually ok.
6. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Just because you’ve tried before and relapsed, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Start again and keep going – it’s a process and it will take time. But the more you try it, the more likely you are to succeed. Remember; other people have done this and you are not alone.
7. Celebrate little victories and go one day- or hour – at a time. They add up.
8. Focus on what you will gain (no pun intended!), rather than what you will lose. What does your ED stop you doing? What would life look like without it? Be specific – the friends you’d see, the events you’d attend. Write them where you can see them. This is possible. This is what you’re moving towards.
9. Fight the lies with truth: not‘I’m fat’ or ‘I’m out of control’, but ‘I’m winning the battle of my life.’ (I recommend sticking ’em on the fridge or walls)
10. Remember: you are not your performance.
One of the most difficult things about anorexia for me, was the feeling that I was letting down God and that I couldn’t be a Christian and struggle too. I beat myself up about it and assumed that God only wanted me when I’d fixed myself and that I was too shameful to be accepted. The truth is that Jesus loved me as I was – when I was binging late at night or rifling through the bins, when I was lying about my eating, when I was lost and broken and turned in on myself. He loved me at all these times – just as he loves me now and instead of condemning me, He looked on me with great pity and concern. He looks at you and loves you now. That’s grace. And that’s what makes today and tomorrow possible.