So guess what? I’m pumped up about fully committing to recovery! I’m ready to adhere exactly to what I need to do and never look back. I love feeling this way. However, this feeling of “I can do this! I can beat my eating disorder!” has a tendency to leave as quickly as it comes. So in order to prevent myself from forgetting why I want—and need—to commit to a full recovery. I wrote a letter to myself in order to have something to refer back to when the last thing I want to do is do anything that concerns recovery. I think feeling hope is so helpful in the process of recovery, but I also believe that you can still have hope despite not feeling it. This letter is for those times where I am not feeling it.
At this moment you feel hopeful toward your recovery. You see what recovery will be able to give you and you experiencing feelings of hatred toward Ed and know why—right here and now—why you want to break away from him and live a life where you no longer submit to him. Though you have felt this way on several other occasions in the past, the moments are always fleeting. You forget what you felt and what promised yourself you would start (or stop) doing in order to fully commit to recovery. Ed always counts on you forgetting so he can gain control. He wants you to remain ignorant of the life you have the ability to reclaim in order for him to survive. So, in an effort to preserve this feeling and this drive, I’m writing a letter to you in hopes that you return to and re-read it every time you feel yourself forgetting why you are attempting to recover.
This weekend, a friend of yours welcomed a healthy baby boy into the world. You went to visit her and her husband; you got to see the baby in the nursery. You listened to your friend re-count how beautiful his first cry sounded and how she said her son was worth every bit of the pregnancy. Yesterday, you became aware of how maintaining you’re eating disorder has stalled your life. You’re aspirations of becoming a mother, a clinical psychologist, a better wife and a better friend have all taken a back seat to Ed. You would rather burn off your dinner than study, attempt another night of sleep instead of being close with your husband, you do not want to hang out with friends for fear of facing food in public an eating in front of someone else. I know you are not content where you are in your life right now. If you want to remain in a perpetual stalemate, stay with Ed. But I know that is the exact opposite of what you want. You want to have more financial freedom, more quality time with friends, and a newfound ambition toward your career goals that you haven’t felt in a long time. You want your love for guitar and poetry back. You want your thinking back. You want to know what it is like to make decisions not influenced by Ed. In order to progress, In order to experience the exciting milestones ahead of you, you need to fully commit to recovery. No exceptions. No other route is going to get you there, especially Ed.
Physically, you know you are not healthy. You dismiss your heart symptoms and rationalize them away. Do you even remember what it is like not having to worry about why your heart just skipped a few beats or feeling chest pain several times a week? Do you even remember how much thicker your hair was? You always took pride in taking care of yourself before Ed twisted your thinking and rational. You hate what you are doing to yourself. I know you do. Take care of you…please.
Ed immediately tries to convince you otherwise the second you begin to feel strong enough to be brave and beat him. He tries to pull you closer to him by explaining how choosing recovery would be choosing health over happiness; how you wouldn’t like that sort of life. He tries to give all these reasons why listening to him will make you the happiest. But you beg to differ.
You, when you aren’t thinking through Ed, believe that your relationships would improve and that you would actually be present during every conversation you have. Additionally, you think that you would be able to offer constructional feedback that would allow the discussion flourish in a way it otherwise would not have. You feel that you would become more efficient in your school studies and be less likely to overlook potential avenues for research and advancement. You predict that you would evolve into a stronger, healthier athlete who would be able to regularly set and reach her physical goals. Also, you believe that you would create a strong, healthy, and nutrient rich pre-natal environment to mold a beautiful son or daughter. Although you may not feel confident in this notion, but you hold an inclination that you might transform into an individual who you would be envious of now; an individual uninhibited by concepts that only exist if her mind allows.
That’s why you are choosing recovery. Don’t forget it. And, hell, don’t you dare let Ed talk you out of it anymore times. You are brave enough to face him and prevail in this fight.
With much love and faith,
If you have trouble remembering why you want to stay on the path to a full recovery, try writing down all that you can when you experience a moment of clarity and inspiration in fighting for a life without Ed. It just might make it harder for Ed to get you to forget.