But beginnings are often the most crucial part of any task or goal that you may set yourself. It remains to be said that they are often the hardest part of all. Whether that be a difficult exam, the start of a marathon, a climb up a mountain or the commencement of a hospital stay. Because beginnings can be overwhelming, and scary. It is at the beginning when those voices begin to creep in, whispering to you that you cannot do it.
And it's the same with recovery, of course. The first, crucial step, is always, always the hardest.
But you must, and can, make that crucial first step.
How to do it? How can you do it, even? How can one take that terrifying first step, when it feels as if you are literally stepping off a tall, rearing cliff, into nothing but emptiness, into never-ending infinity?
I wish I could somehow reach out to you, make this first step just that one bit easier. Because the truth is the first step is painful and often very hard. But you need to do it, for there is only one choice. To remain motionless where you are, entrapped in this gulf of pain and fear and misery, or to take that terrifying step forward, forward into what seems like endless nothingness, but within that nothingness there is a beautiful glowing light which burns and sparkles like rising golden sun of the new dawn...
I suppose, in my recovery journey, I made a number of crucial first steps. That day way back in 2014 , when I finally acknowledged the excruciating truth that I was suffering from an eating disorder. Up till then, I had been in denial: but that all ended, on that day.
And my terror threatened to suffocate me, because my eating disorder had become my life and restriction, my sole purpose. The prison of ed had encompassed my world entirely. But despite all that..I took that first step. I told my mam, I told my loved ones, I reached out to them, I poured forth the secrets of my heart. And then...I started to eat, again. And then when the relapses came and the hospital admission, I knew that I had fallen, fallen back into ed's dearthly embrace once more. But every single time, I forced myself to get back up to my feet. And then though my body faltered out of the fear and my heart felt like it would cease to beat for pure terror ...yet I still took that step, forward, once again.
There is hope, there is hope, there is so, so much hope, for you. You just have to believe it, believe it with every fragment of your heart and soul. And never give up, and never let the fear paralyse you; to never let it stop you from taking that first fundamental step. <3 xxxx
If I could do it, so can you...
I thought I would break down the First Step into a number of different steps; all of which helped me when I was at that place at the beginning of that long and seemingly endless road.
Taking the plunge
Hope and self-belief
Eating disorder therapy
Facing the fear
Ignoring and defying the Voice
Reaching out for support.
Talking to others
Taking the plunge: quite possibly the hardest but most important part of the First Step. By taking the plunge, I essentially mean diving straight into recovery - the unknown, the pain, the discomfort of recovery. It means immediately putting aside your fears and excuses, It means directly confronting the eating disorder head on.
Hope and self-belief .A vital part of taking the first step. Stepping into recovery the under the conviction that your case is an entirely hopeless one is bound to end in failure from the beginning. You need to believe in yourself; believe, that you can and will get through this.For where there is belief there is always hope; where this is hope, there is a fire that will never burn out.
Eating disorder therapy:. I think it is important in recovery to get some kind of psychiatric help. And if not at the first stage, at the latter stages; when the mind is in a better state to be able to combat and fight the eating disorder thoughts.
Facing the fear. As in, doing exactly what you are most afraid of; whether that be eating a fear food, or allowing your body to rest, increasing your food intake or getting to your body's healthy set point. You have to directly face those fears. The only way to destroy those fears is to confront them head on.
Ignoring and defying the Voice. Which involves, inevitably, doing the opposite of what it says. Every time you succeed in doing so, you are consequently rendering the eating disorder that one bit weaker.
Reaching out for support. You should never feel like you are alone in this battle. Reaching out to your loved ones and closest friends One should never underestimate the power of unity, love, and friendship.
Staying strong..and refusing to give up. You have to be aware that there will be hard times ahead..but be able to face those hard times and to refuse to let them drag you down.
Time. Dont take the first step, assuming that the journey which you are about to embark on will be over in a couple of weeks, or months. The road to recovery is long and cannot be rushed in any way. Give yourself time to recover and don't expect impossible things of yourself.
Self monitoring. It doesnt matter what your situation may be; self monitoring is important, as it is you and you alone who has the ultimate control of your recovery. I would really recommend keepingwritten records of everything - food intake per day, progress made, areas you are struggling in, etc. Set yourself goals and share them with your loved ones to pressurise you into keeping them. It can be daunting but it so important!!
Talking to others.again, this one was essential for me. It involved opening up to my loved ones an telling them of each and leaving not one ED habit unconcealed.
Educating oneself. Whether that be through books, websites, blogs, or eating disorder group meetings. I think ed awareness is crucially important to both the sufferer andhis/her carers and supports. Eds ar complex mental illnesses and are very difficult to comprehend. So it is important that everyone is made aware of how they affect the sufferer to prevent tension and misunderstanding. Also I think it is very important to educate onself upon the potential health effects and consequences involved.
Positive affirmations. Just repeated to yourself, aloud or in your head, particularly when the anxiety hits. Having lots of positive quotes stuck in handy places like laptop screen, on your mirror etc..I always found those particularly helpful.
My favourite song at the moment has to be Birdy's Wild Horses..I love this song so much and I find it just so spine-tingingly beautiful. And meaningful, too, particularly in regard to recovery.
I will survive and be the one who's stronger.
I will not beg you to stay.
I will move on and you should know I mean it
Wild horses run in me... <3 xxx