Anorexia recovery is a conundrum.
It’s kind of an oxymoron — like jumbo shrimp, or tiny elephant.
How do you recover from a disease where the only way out is to love yourself, but the disease itself dictates that you hate yourself?
This post isn’t depressing. I promise. I’m just setting the stage 🙂
But I was thinking about it today, and this predicament is precisely why recovery is so difficult, and relapse so common.
Eating disorders, by their very nature, are a manifestation of self-hatred.
Think about the disease: everything stems from the inability to love yourself — everything is punishment: whether it be the restriction, the isolation, the purging, self-harm, excessive exercise, you name it — all of these ED behaviors are manifestations of the fact that you don’t love yourself. (And I’m saying you, but I mean we. I’m not pointing any fingers here, or calling a kettle “black,” when I’m a pot, myself.)
But anorexia and all eating disorders are the purest example of a lack of self-love.
So how does one recover from this perpetual state of self-hatred, when the only way to recover is to love yourself?
That’s why it’s so hard.
It’s hard because you have to decide to go from a state of self-loathing to a state of self-love. You literally have to do a 180.
You have to choose to love yourself when you hate yourself.
You, in your self-abhorring state, have to say, You know what? I’m going to love myself enough to love myself.
That’s Pandora’s box. And I’m going to repeat it because I think this is really clutch.
You have to love yourself enough to love yourself.
You have to make that decision from a place where loving yourself is The Last Thing you want to let yourself do. Or rather, that ED wants you to do.
This is why, just because the weight is on, doesn’t mean you’re cured.
This is why eating disorders often morph from one form to another — they’re all just different manifestations of a lack of self-love.
And this is why you cannot do it alone.
How do you solve this impossible riddle? How do you decide to love yourself when every fiber of your being is screaming at you to you hate yourself?
Time for some #RealTalk. You knew it was coming, so here it is.
The only way is Jesus.
And if you want to shut the laptop and say, “Psh, yeah right. NOT for me.” That’s okay. Hang in there. Keep fighting the good fight. I invite you to just read to the end.
I know for a long time, when I was entrenched in my anorexia, my mom would tell me this, and it would just piss me off. Like, it enraged me. But I can now look back and see that that rage was actually coming from ED, trying to ruthlessly protect the eating disorder, and repel the One True Source of healing. Trying to keep me from the One Thing that would actually make me recover.
The #RealTalk is this: You cannot choose to love yourself, when you hate yourself, without the help of Jesus. Only He can change your heart. Only He can chip away at the stone walls you’ve built. Only He can help you to begin to love yourself.
Recovery isn’t going to happen by eating X and Y. It’s not going to happen by distracting yourself from ED behaviors through coloring or knitting or other “alternative behaviors.” I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I can’t.
Recovery is only going to happen when you decide that you are going to love yourself enough to love yourself. Because once you love yourself, all the ED behaviors will stop. You will no longer punish yourself or be cruel to yourself through self-destructive behaviors and choices. You will be kind to yourself. Gentle. Understanding. Forgiving. Accepting. Encouraging.
The only way out of ED hell is self-love.
And there is only one person who can make that choice: YOU.
And if you cannot make that decision yourself, because ED is controlling your thoughts and actions, then the only solution is Jesus.
He wants to help you love yourself. He wants to kick ED the hell outta there.
All you have to do is be open to Him coming into your heart. He is literally standing at the door, knocking to come in — because He wants to, because He loves you.
All you have to do is open the door.
I’ll leave you with this: Maybe you’re not religious. Maybe you’re “against” the whole “God-thing.” But I just want to invite you: what do you have to lose?
You’ve been trying and trying and trying to recover on your own, but you’re still right back where you started. Exasperated. Broken. Discouraged. Nothing’s working.
Why not just give this a try? Give Jesus a chance?
Seriously, what do you have to lose?
may just will change your life.