Ask Bodyposipanda: I've Been Getting ED Treatment For Months But Every Day Is Harder. What Kept You Motivated?
I’ve been getting treatment for anorexia since March but I really don’t know what to do since every day is harder. I still can’t let go of the diet culture or the fear of putting on weight which I know is ridiculous. As of now. I can’t imagine myself ever recovering as I’m still not 100% sure I can. That’s why I’m asking for your advice, what kept you motivated?
First of all, your fears are not ridiculous. When you're in that eating disorder mindset nothing feels more terrifying than the thought of gaining weight.
The reason why it feels so scary is because your eating disorder is doing everything it can to keep its control over you. If you fight against it, eat, gain weight and gain your life back, then it loses its power over you. Then you win. Your eating disorder wants you to spend the rest of your life under its control, and no matter how many calories you cut or weight you lose, it will never ever be enough. Your eating disorder won't be satisfied until there's nothing left of you.
I spent a long time consumed by that fear as well. I imagined that as soon as I gained any weight everything would come crashing down. I would be hideous, unlovable, worthless. When I actually did gain weight, none of those horrible things happened. In fact, lots of wonderful things happened. I went back to school and actually enjoyed it. I made new friendships. I had energy to do things. I had an overwhelming relief that came from not having to fight against my body every day.
And the thing that kept me the most motivated was getting really fucking angry. Angry at my eating disorder for stealing so much of my life. Angry about all the tears and all the pain that it had inflicted on my family. Angry at it for taking so much from me and leaving me with no idea who I was anymore. I realised that it had lied to me for years - ignoring that voice didn't mean losing control, it meant taking control back for myself. I made a decision that anorexia wasn't going to take anymore of my life from me, and then I fought against it with everything I had.
When I was first starting recovery my dad told me something that I thought about every day, and I'm going to tell you it now: imagine that your eating disorder is an elephant, and you are the person who's been put in charge of training it. The elephant is bigger than you, stronger than you, and can overpower you easily. And right now you have no idea how you could ever safely ride it without it running off in the wrong direction or throwing you off.
The only way that you will ever be able to take control of this huge, unruly animal is to establish the fact that you are in charge. Not the elephant. You make the decisions. Not the elephant. You decide which way to go. Not the elephant.
In order to train it, you need to enforce your control again and again until it realises that you have the power here. It will be slow and difficult. It will go wrong sometimes. Some days you might feel like you don't have the strength to go up against something so enormous and overwhelming. But you do. You have the strength to move mountains.
And you have to do the same thing in regaining control over your eating disorder. You have to realise that you are the one in charge. You get to make the decisions. You decide which way to go. And every time you fight against that voice you take a bit of your power back, until eventually it will realise that you are the one in control.
I know it feels impossible right now and like you're not sure that you can do it. But you are so much stronger than you realise. And I know that underneath all the darkness of your eating disorder, there's the real you who desperately wants to get back into the light, and live. You deserve to live. Keep fighting, my love. Picture yourself riding on the back of that elephant into the sunset - I believe in you.
Love & bopo,