But what is vital for us all to bear in mind is that just because we are afraid, that doesn't mean that we are not strong, that we are not brave. And no matter how hard and scary and desperate everything may appear to be, it is imperative that we arm ourselves in the belief that it isn't going to be like this forever. Belief and hope brings us courage, and with that courage comes strength. And it is with those four crucial things which act as the key tools of recovery - belief, hope, courage and strength - we can overcome that fear, that terror, that scariness; that overwhelming numbness which the eating disorder attempts to implant within you.
For me, there are a number of fears and anxieties which I know I must be ready to fight against in order to progress ever further in my own personal recovery. But I'm going to look at these fears and anxieties now in a different sort of way. Let's compare each one of them to tree roots - unsightly, tough, gnarled old tree roots which have inconveniently positioned themselves right across our path of recovery. Perhaps we will trip over these tree roots at first - trip, fall and then lie crumpled on the ground, aching and hurt. We wonder if it is possible to get up again; is there even any point in doing so; for the roots will still be there, ready for us to fall over them once again?
But if we stand back up, brush ourselves down, and muster up all the strength we have, in every muscle, every tissue, every cell of our body...we can grab hold of those tree roots and remove them with our very own hands, and throw them to the side as we leap forward. And yes, those old tough tree roots which initially appeared to be so stubborn and deeply embedded, that seemed almost impossible to move, and which, at our every single attempt to step over them, would just bring us crashing back down again...they can be pulled up, tossed away. All it takes is those 4 essential ingredients...hope, belief, courage and strength. :)
And so, onto the challenge!! Here are the obstacles and fear which I face as I travel ever further down the road of recovery...but which I am absolutely 100 % determined to overcome and step over.
- An underweight body = an unhealthy body. I might have tried to convinced myself into thinking that my body was healthy when it was underweight, but I know that now I must be brave and face up to the facts.
- Being underweight has caused me medical complications, which still are in need of addressing. My skeletal system is has been damaged and I know now I need the correct nutrition to strengthen my bones. For if I had carried on the way I was...I could have caused myself some very, very serious damage.
- After years and years of having and mistreating my body, I think it is time for a positive, real change, that will steer me directly towards living a healthier, happier life. I have always looked at my sister and my mam and so many of my friends, and have admired them for how beautiful they are - they are perfect, each in their very own special way. Why can't I be like that too? Why do I have
- Gaining weight will mean more energy, more fuel to invigorate my whole body. Don't I want to hike the Wicklow Mountains, don't I want to be able to go out with my friends and dance the night away on the dancefloor? Don't I want to be able to sit and concentrate fully on Morokia, instead of just staring at a blank page the majority of the time, berating myself for not being able to focus? All of these things I'm pretty much unable to do now, because at the moment, my body is still lacking the vital energy it needs to function at its maximum potential. But, with gaining weight, this can and will change!!!
- Have hope in the knowledge that this is not going to be forever.
- It's a vital part of the recovery progress that, for now, I am just going to have to accept and cope with as best as I can. It is so, so important now, that I give my body the rest and recuperation time it needs.
- giving my body rest allows my still fragile little feet some time to heal and recover fully, too.
- And just because I'm sitting around all the time....I know that it doesn't have to be tedious. I have loads of things with me to keep me entertained...painting by numbers, books, crossword books, my Morokia notes...and blogging of course ;)
- take reassurance from the fact that once I am healthy and recovered, I will be able to walk again with my Benny, and cycle down the lanes in the summer with the sun on my face. In a way which will give me so, so much more enjoyment and pleasure than ever before - there will be no set time targets which I will feel I absolutely must meet at all costs; I will take more notice of the beauty all around me, given that I won't be so wrapped up in worry and ED thoughts; I will be able to walk without any physical discomfort or weakness, and I won't have to fret about whether I am causing myself significant damage with every step or push of my pedals.
- Be strong and have a good, long think about why this appears to be such a big issue. Why should I feel as if I have to be one specific clothes size?
- of course, some (but certainly not all!! ) of my clothes won't fit me anymore. But what would I rather...to be an unhealthy, unnatural clothes size for the rest of my life, or to be strong and allow my body to fully grow and develop to a size and shape which is healthy, and natural for me?
- No, I won't be throwing anything away - that's not in my nature, I'm a sentimentalist and a hoarder I'm afraid! ;) - but once I'm better I can go out and buy new clothes. Clothes that fit me better and make me feel good. And it sure as hell is going to be easier, then having to rummage through the coathangers in Forever 21 or Penneys or wherever, in the vain hope that they will have a extra small or a size 6...No. I will be able to buy that gorgeous strapless dress which I knew would never stay up if I bought it right now; I will be able to pull on those shorts and feel confident in the touch of the denim against my skin, rather than feeling the fabric of that very same pair hanging off my waist in being, once again, a little too big for me.
- Believe that it is not forever I will feel like this. At the moment, the bloating is quite unpleasant sometimes, but...babum...I think it IS getting easier!!! :D
- Know that it is okay to be full...that's a good thing. We should feel satisfied after every meal. Right now. my stomach's still got a bit of readjusting to do, but all I need to do is give it a bit of time.