Hope

This is a guest post by Gina Chirichella.

I spend a lot of time on my own blog writing dance metaphors for recovery. There are a few reasons for this. Besides the fact that I LOVE dance and finally get to take classes on a regular basis and I love metaphor (it’s my favorite literary device…do YOU have a favorite literary device?), I happen to take from teachers that throw out little sayings that apply so well to recovery.

I was in a class today and the teacher was trying to get us to “let go,” to trust ourselves to move in a way that felt dangerous or scary, but we were probably all capable of doing.

She said if you go for it and you fall, it’s just information for you, not a reason to stop trying.

My brain started reeling on that one. It was very true in the class, but this is a blog about recovery, so I’m going to head in that direction.

I’m at a point in recovery where I’ve been mostly physically stable for quite a few months. I was in intensive treatment (residential, PHP, IOP) from December to May and I worked my little butt off while I had the support. I discharged because I was really ready to step down, not because of insurance (fortunately) or because I had hit a wall and wasn’t willing to work through it.

Nonetheless, it’s been hard. My weight has wavered as has my motivation at times. I know that eating my meal plan is a realistic goal — I had been doing the SAME meal plan for a long time. I also know that the emotional work I’m being asked to do it what I need to do at this point in recovery. Yet I’m so hesitant to really commit to doing any of it. Instead, I’m spending time dancing around kiiiiind of doing it and kind of just hanging out in limbo. (Given, it’s a better limbo than I was in before I went into treatment, but still…)

A big part of the reason I’m unwilling to commit is because I’m afraid to fail. I think as a group, people with eating disorders are generally hyper-critical of themselves and I am no exception. Now that I’m actually wanting to get and stay well, I’m afraid of trying hard and failing. (I have a friend that would say, “you’re being so eating disordered about your recovery!” she’s right…)

More than “failing,” I’m afraid of trying something, faltering, and feeling too defeated to try again.

Wouldn’t it be a nice mind shift if I could see a falter as more information for myself?

What if anytime you slipped, had a hard meal or snack, maybe had a small lapse (or even a relapse) instead of saying f*ck it, you said, “okay, now I know a little bit more so that I can be more grounded, more certain next time.” (Let’s be realistic, we’ve all had the “f*ck it” experience…) The way I would like to see it is I’m never going to know what I’m capable of if I don’t try. If I try to have a harder meal, do some difficult stuff in therapy etc and I struggle, I know my limits, I know where to start next time. If I try and I succeed…well hell, now I’m further than I thought I could be.

love some samuel beckett

So often recovery seems daunting, so black and white (either you are doing well or struggling, there is no in between). What if you’re doing well and gathering information to continue doing well. Or struggling, but learning where to pick up the pieces.

Using every experience as a way to gather data is a great way to put a gray area into a world that feels SO black and white at times (at least my world feels very black and white). Sometimes it feels difficult to think about reframing an ENTIRE process like recovery so for myself I made the goal a bit more manageable. I’m working on sticking to my meal plan and incorporating more “scary foods.” I’m also working on being more flexible — allowing spontaneous things to happen with food and know that I can go back to the meal plan at the next meal or snack no matter what happens in the interim (sometimes I get lost in the interim…). So I’m going to work on noticing what happens when I let go…what is conducive to my success and what situations cause me to lapse or feel out of control.

How can you learn to let go and give yourself a chance to gather new information? Start small, don’t scare yourself doing something that’s supposed to be helpful (I’ve certainly done this. Very counter productive..).

And remember, if you fall, it’s just information to use for next time…

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Every week, I feature an inspiring person who has struggled with anorexia at one point in his or her life and has recovered.

I am all about spreading the message of hope because this is something we so often lack.When we’re in such a deep relationship with our eating disorder and these sick thoughts and behaviors take up most of our time and shape our days, it is hard to remember that there is a way out.

I am hoping to inspire and motivate you with these interviews and that you too will see that you can get your life back.

Today courageous and super active Benjamin of  A Pensive Insight will give us his take on recovery.

1. Tell us something about yourself. Who are you? What do you do in life?

My name is Benjamin, a 24 year old student currently living in the Warwickshire. I am an avid reader of philosophy, and I read and write poetry. I currently live independently with two cats.

2. When and why did your eating disorder start?

My eating disorder started when I was approximately fourteen years of age as a result of bullying, insecurity and depression.

3. What was your biggest fear? Why did you starve yourself?

My biggest fear was being ridiculed and bullied, both at home and at school. Another big fear that perturbed me was the feeling of being “out of control”, feeling rejected, isolated and incredibly depressed.

4. When did your healing process start and do you know what made you decide why you wanted to change your life?

I have been in and out of recovery for numerous years and the biggest motivation to change came from the induction of love into my life. Relationships and friendships were all a big motivation for me; a catalyst to change, a new horizon to embrace!

5. Can you tell us more about your healing process?

Without deviating into conjecture, I think a big factor in my healing was to grasp onto a rational viewpoint, to look at my position as pragmatically and with as much prudence as possible. I clasped notions to change, uttered the dangers of perpetuating this torment that this eating disorder would create and I remembered the wishes of others of whom I cared immensely for. I thought about the ideal life, the ideal me, then I contrasted that with my current life. I mused over what was needed to be adopted to deviate to that ideal, an ideal that was possible, healthy, and long-lasting and an inspiration to others!

6. Do you still have a “black list” of items that you won’t eat? Or can you now say that you eat everything you want?

I tend to avoid a life of edible privation. I eat moderately, in reasonable proportion and I remember how temporary and short life is when I feel a strong hesitation coming over me.

7. Do you consider yourself healthy now? Do you feel comfortable in your skin?

I am much healthier than I used to be and it took a lot of effort, determination and persistence to embrace the required mental and physical resilience. There are too many individuals who exert too much time and effort on their body image without ever having time to actually take the time to enjoy it.

8. Do you think that there could be done more in order to prevent eating disorders?

I think there needs to be societal shifts before the number of people with eating disorder dissipates. I think that we need to highlight the importance of love, the acceptance of oneself and how unhealthy and inimical it is to be so beguiled with one’s looks. We only live once; be the life that you would feel proud to have placed as your epitaph.

9. Is there any advice that you could give to our readers?

Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have. Your life should never be quantified, what is important is the depth of one’s life. Change your thoughts and you change your world from the inside out. Never try to change your world from the outside in. It was once said that the journey of discovery is no in seeking new scenery, but having new eyes. Eating disorders are not truly about weight, calories and one’s body image; it is much more complex than that. Appreciate the beauty of life, the importance and health and confide in those you trust if and when you feel yourself having struggles with your body image.

 

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Hope Interview Series Part III: Micah

April 18, 2012

Every week, I feature an inspiring person who has struggled with anorexia at one point in his or her life and has recovered. I am all about spreading the message of hope because this is something we so often lack.When we’re in such a deep relationship with our eating disorder and these sick thoughts and […]

Read the full article →

Hope Interview Series Part II with Arielle Lee Bair

April 11, 2012

Every week, I feature an inspiring person who has struggled with anorexia at one point in his or her life and has recovered. I am all about spreading the message of hope because this is something we so often lack. When we’re in such a deep relationship with our eating disorder and these sick thoughts […]

Read the full article →

A Tale Of Easters Past

April 7, 2012

My eyes are wide open. My thoughts are running in circles. I lay in bed anticipating this day. It’s Easter Sunday. A day where I would allow myself to eat. But not just that. I would eat everything, all day long, no big breaks in between. I’d have a huge breakfast, chocolate Easter eggs all […]

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