Last week was National Eating Disorder week! I didn’t find that out until this past Saturday, which also just happened to be the day before I got my period. I say that because this post is simply what I feverishly typed in my notepad as I walked down the river trail near my house, crying tears of joy, writing about my thoughts on healing. Hormone overload? Prob. Regardless, I’m glad I did because it was quite cathartic.
I’ve taken a break from posting about topics pertaining to body acceptance and eating disorders because personally, when I was going through my own healing, seeing other people’s healing journeys made me feel worse about my own at times. You know, ye old comparison trap.
A year ago, I remember sitting in therapy saying “I don’t know if I will ever recover.” I was weight restored, so I felt as if my mental health couldn’t be validated by not having the stereotypical eating disorder “look” (Spoiler alert, you can be obese with an eating disorder, and despite what the manuals say, there’s no range you need to fit. But that’s another topic for another day).
Working towards healing is hard because there’s always that enticing exit strategy of body/appearance manipulation, obsessing over grades/work, and a personal favorite- staying busy to avoid dealing with difficult emotions. It’s so hard to choose healing when healing hurts, and these other things numb. I’m slowly finding out though that messy, painful, and joyful lives is where it’s at.
Healing is a process. A lot of 2 steps forward, 1 step back type deals. I mean okay, sometimes 4 steps back. But it’s worth it. Every attempt. For us black and white thinkers, I know this gray area makes us want to crawl out of our skin, but it really is where life happens.
I’m extremely thankful for my access to mental health resources at my school, and acknowledge this is a huge privilege. It wasn’t until becoming aware of things like anxiety and low self-esteem that made body issues less “charged” in my mind and more of a by-product of those other topics.
Also, I don’t think I’m fully healed, and I personally don’t think that’s ever going to be my end goal. When it was at one point, I felt obsessed with becoming “healed” that I turned healing into an all or nothing goal (don’t doubt what perfectionistic thinkers can do lol).
Rather, I think it’s how I choose to react to certain things. For example, I probably won’t ever look at a picture exposing my double chin and say YAAAAS!! I also don’t look in the mirror and shout I love my cellulite!!! And that’s okay. But I can look at it. Notice it. And move on with my day.
Healing also looks differently on everyone, so there are unfortunately no one-size-fits-all checklists (though my Virgo ass always wished for one). Remember to celebrate the small steps forward even if they seem insignificant.
Eat refined pasta without guilt? Buy an outfit because you felt damn good in it regardless of the size on the tag? Celebrate that.
I guess the whole point of this brain dump is to know that wherever you are, it is okay. Regressing into old habits? It’s okay. Try and have self compassion and know there’s always tomorrow after a good night’s sleep. I wish I could go back and tell myself that it’s okay when I thought I messed up, and let’s be honest, I can always use it as a reminder now while going through other things.
Body positivity is amazing, and I feel so lucky to be a part of a generation looking to change the way we view women’s and men’s bodies. There are so many incredible people making ripples in the way we as a society speak to one another. I learn so much from seeing daily inspiration on my feed from these people.
I also think it’s okay if you’re not shouting from the rooftops that you love your body, or constantly reading about body love and recovery. Having a neutral approach can be helpful and take the focus off of your body and back into your life.
I hope that helped. I hope it wasn’t triggering. I hope it doesn’t sound like I know what the heck i’m doing, cause I don’t. I just wish everyone a shit ton of self-compassion wherever you are. I know that’s always something I can work on. You got this.