When I’m reading a really good book, I can’t wait to get to the ending. Sometimes I have to stop myself from peeking. I enjoy the whole book, but the end of the story is the satisfying part because whatever struggle and suffering the characters endured, things are finally resolved and they are going to be happy ever-after. (Insert wistful sigh here…)
Recovering from an eating disorder is like that. Recovery—the end of the story—is the awesome part. Recovery-in-process is a bit less glamorous, and we might want to hit the Fast Forward button.
Or maybe the Stop button…and give up entirely.
The thing about healing and recovering is that it’s not a linear path. It’s more like a spiral at times, marked by setbacks, doubt, confusion and of course, pain. And it’s usually slower progress than we want it to be. We want the mountain-top experience, but we only get there by climbing the mountain and that’s not a quick trip. Accustomed to an instant-everything society, we want fast fixes. This is especially true for perfectionists like me who think that we should do everything perfectly—including healing. “I should not still be struggling with this!” is our mantra. Sure, other people might take awhile to work through their issues, but we shouldn’t.
The truth is, deep change takes time. Just like it takes time for a serious physical wound to heal properly. You can get it stitched and do everything right to speed up the healing, and you can cuss and kick yourself for not being able to make your skin close back up faster, but none of that will make it happen overnight. Careful wound care is required, but time is also a necessary ingredient.
Our soul care is no different. You did not develop an eating disorder over a few weeks, so why would you be able to recover from one so quickly? Stop beating yourself up for how long it’s taking you to heal.
And whatever you do, DON’T GIVE UP.
Remember that you may not be where you want to be, but you’re not where you were. Progress, not perfection, dear one.
Take some time to acknowledge how important some of the steps you’ve taken recently to recover, heal, or grow are, and how much courage and strength they took. Celebrate that by journaling or talking with someone supportive.
Cherie Miller, MS, LPC opened Dare 2 Hope Counseling to help clients all over the country get free from their food, weight, and self-confidence struggles. Her specialty is eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, orthorexia and other unhealthy eating patterns. Contact her here.