By: Stef Lima, IATG ContributorAugust 10, 2016
I have a personal way to categorize the healing process.
#1 A process with an end or #2 Leaning into a looping pattern.
Finding an end to a healing process is similar to cutting your finger. Once it’s cut, you know it’ll heal and recover. To lean in a looping pattern is like forgiving someone who broke your heart and living with that day by day until you feel ok about what happened. Then eventually you’ll be set free from the pain.
In both examples, time is everything. Some people heal fast, others not so much. These scenarios can be tricky, especially if we mix recovery in the conversation. Dealing with healing and recovery at the same time is difficult, because the process isn’t trivial. This is process #3, a difficult one because it’s focused on who you are and what’s going on inside of you.
When I was 16, something inside of me snapped. Sometimes, I wonder how and why that happened, and I have the same conclusion: everything. Everything made me doubt my worth. This feeling circled around me for some years thanks to an eating disorder. The worst part was the doubt. Doubting myself every single day and thinking that I wasn’t enough (or pretty or thin enough). I just couldn't find a way to fight back, so I surrendered. It was exhausting and these chapters with an ED showed me how I, only I, can put myself down without blinking. When you turn into your worst enemy, nobody can hurt you better than yourself.
My internal chaos started when my parents divorced. I absorbed all the bad feelings and then I entered the looping mod. I thought I needed to be better than the situation, my friends, my mom… better than everyone else. I needed to have everything in the ‘right’ place, but I destroyed myself in the process. It was too much weight, like carrying too many books. One day, I stumbled and lost balance.
The impact of the fall forced me to see that I just couldn't take care of everything, but it took me years for me to really see it. What I saw was a soul trapped inside my body and a heart educated to pretend, while inside I was screaming. I was angry, insecure...
In time, the recovery process began. But it doesn't mean that I'm healed.
I’m free from my eating disorder; that's the recovery part. But my mind and my heart still carry half open scars, and they pinch me when I'm about to doubt myself all over again.
Living with an ED made me scared of losing myself, my health, my bright days all over again. One of the worst feelings in the world is to feel that you’re lost and not capable of coming back. I’m vigilant. I learned to put myself first. Every day is a choice and almost every day I'm scared.
Sometimes, I’m scared to fall back to my eating disorder, because there I've found a fake sense of control. Somehow, I was safe there because it’s easier to pretend. That’s why I live in a looping mode. I’ll always carry the remnants of what happened to me. And if these remnants find a gap, they’ll make themselves comfortable and eat me alive again.
Some healing processes don’t find an end, because the scars will always be a little bit open. The remnants of an ED will always make me remember the pain and the fear. My scars are a quick reminder of my responsibility to not make them bleed.
Recovery is possible and healing is a forever process. I’m recovered. But part of me will never let that experience go. I recovered, but I’ll never forget. My eating disorder will always live with me in my memories. I didn't find an end in my healing process, but I did find a middle ground so I could live and have a life. After the ED, I've learned the that the only way to not fall again is by choosing myself every day. It’s not easy because sometimes I feel too much and my feelings have the talent to blind me.
Life, people, and our image in the mirror will always betray us, and we need to be strong. We need to struggle and deal with that struggle, not hold everything inside our minds, our bodies, and our hearts. It’s not healthy. By choosing me, I choose kindness and respect. And you can do that too. I'm not alone and neither are you.
Never be scared to choose yourself.
Choose yourself today! Show yourself some extra love by giving yourself a compliment, treating yourself to a day out, or simply taking advantage of some much needed relaxation time. You get to decide how you spend your days. Choose to spend them loving yourself!
Stefs Lima has her own world called Random Girl (www.hey-randomgirl.com.br). She is a journalist, lives in Brazil and spends a lot of her time writing (A LOT). Secret desires: continue to inspire people and create more and more stories to share.