Often, after having an eating disorder for a while, it becomes part of your identity. The problem is that eating disorders are jealous things—they don’t like to share you with anyone or anything else. Your disorder doesn’t want to just be a part of your identity, it wants to be your whole identity. Before you know it, you’re wondering what happened to all the other parts of you…or maybe you’re noticing those parts slowly slip away and it scares you.
I hope it does. Because you are not your eating disorder. There’s much more to you and so many more—better—things that make you special.
I was chatting with a girl the other day who was feeling a lot of anxiety after eating an entire meal for the first time in a long time, and she said she felt like she’d betrayed her eating disorder. I reminded her that she is not her eating disorder, but she said it feels like they are the same. I asked if she is also a dancer (her passion in life!) and she said yes. But the sad truth is, she can’t dance right now because she isn’t healthy enough. Her eating disorder is consuming that part of her. She is also a mother and wife who desperately loves her family, but she’s away from them so much because of all the treatment she’s been in for years… Another part of her lost to an eating disorder that promises so much, but in reality gives so little when you really weigh the costs.
What if she looked at recovery differently…not as betraying the eating disorder or the eating disordered part of herself, but instead, saw it as nurturing the dancer, the mother, and the wife parts of her? Those parts need to be well fed, emotionally and physically, to thrive.
What about you? What parts of yourself are being sacrificed to your eating disorder and which are most important—which are you most willing to fight for?
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.