DEALING WITH THE TRAUMA IN EATING DISORDER RECOVERY
Guest Post by L.Y., Alsana Alumna
Let’s be honest, no one really wants to deal with their trauma. It’s scary and it’s painful and it’s vulnerable and it’s just not for me. …Well…at least that’s what I convinced myself for so long. (Spoiler alert: my plan didn’t work out too well.)
As scary and painful and vulnerable as it is, it has to be done. This took me a very long time to figure out. I figured if I avoided it long enough, it would just go away. The more I numbed and pushed it down and denied it, the worse it got. Surprise, surprise. No matter how much I tried to starve it, purge it, cut it away, it was still there. In and out of treatment a few times, I wouldn’t talk about it. I felt too much shame, I was scared to accept it, to say it out loud and make it real. I worked on other issues in treatment, but this is where I drew the line. I convinced myself that I could recover from my eating disorder without dealing with the abuse.
As much as I hate to admit it (because I did have a very good argument and thought it was well justified, but then again I also have an eating disorder so….never mind), I was wrong. Treatment and recovery do not work like that. The abuse was a huge factor in why my eating disorder had started in the first place. I kept relapsing and relapsing after treatment, and I tried to pretend I didn’t know why, but I did. So, this last time in treatment, I decided I had to do it. I had to talk about. Silence wasn’t getting me anywhere in my recovery or even my life for that matter.
It was just as scary and painful and vulnerable as I thought it was going to be. But, I survived and honestly, I’ve never felt like I was in such a good place after leaving treatment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s hard. I still have my bad days and sometimes I wake up in the morning with overwhelming feelings of nostalgia for all the “good” my eating disorder gave me. But then reality slaps me in the face. Yes, my eating disorder did come into my life at a time when I needed it. It did serve a purpose at one point, but I’m coming to realize that I don’t need it anymore. It wasn’t fair what happened to me and I didn’t deserve it. And I also didn’t deserve all the years and years of abuse I caused to my body because of it. I didn’t choose to go through what I went through and I didn’t choose to have an eating disorder. But today, in this moment, I can choose to take care of my body and the little girl inside who didn’t have a choice. I can choose recovery. And you know what, I will choose recovery because I deserve so much better.
“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” — Carl Jung
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