May 25, 2018, 8:52 p.m.
As I was driving to work today I remembered back to the days when I struggled with my life touched by bulimia – a stretch of time that spanned on and off for almost 20 years. At that time in my journey, which included therapy, I believed that this burden, label, identity – whatever you want to call it, would be a dark part of me for the rest of my life. Like a shameful untamed nasty beast that would go quiet for a time, but was silently waiting to raise its ugly-ness when I was feeling at my weakest. I guess as I was working through it, I always feared that I would never be truly “free” from the disorder. I wasn’t sure I really believed I could feel whole again until one day………..…I did!
And then I smiled, and remembered how truly far I have come in my journey, and how different and light my life is today. The immense help that a qualified therapist brought to my life, and the tools I now have in my mental health tool kit have given me a “knowing” that I no longer carry my eating disorder history as a phantom appendage or tiresome burden. It’s a part of my story – but not ALL of it.
I came to understand that my bulimia was simply a calling to my inner self. To help me learn to soften my intense self-judgment and criticisms, to calm the negative self talk and be kinder and more gentle with myself. Rather than waiting for difficult things to happen, the power of gratitude and looking for the good things in my life are now daily healthy steps.
And it wasn’t easy – there were many days and nights when I thought I would never be free from it. But as slowly as the disease progressed it also diminished. Subtly and quietly, as I reminded myself over and over that I could be different That I could feel more whole, and feel the lightness of not carrying my burden forever.
These days I sometimes give myself a real hug, to remind me that I am not alone – in my suffering or my joy… and I refer to a wonderful book by Kristin Neff – “Self-compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself”whenever I need to course correct, or feel like life is getting too intense. And it has been intense – I have experienced a lot of life changes in a span of 20 months. Through this however, the bulimia did not re-occur. The understanding that when I suffer I am not alone is comforting, and something I try to remind myself regularly. Also, that boredom, loneliness and difficulties touch everyone... including me – and that’s OK.
To all of you who are thinking, “will I ever be free from this?” I say YES, recovery is possible! It can take some time, but you are worth it! You are meant for greater things, loving things, boring things, happy things, sad things, many things and one day it will be okay. For me, it was thanks to believing and doing the recovery work.
Freedom awaits you…
Author Bio: Our contributor resides in Southern Alberta and is a 52 year old small business owner. She currently loves to practice hot yoga along with reading and gardening and is drawn back to meditation every now and then. She believes in the strength of the human spirit and our undeniable ability to change.