Confronting fears on the path to freedom from an eating disorder
Sarah’s fears are so intense that she rarely leaves her bedroom. Can you relate to this? My experience is that suppressing fears never helps. We need to look them in the eye (in the mirror), deal with them, and keep going. This is how we empower ourselves and grow stronger. Read Sarah’s compelling story.
The Diary Healer editor, June Alexander
I might not have the children, the husband and the home, but I have the days ahead. I’ve never seen those days, until now; the fog has lifted, and I no longer must walk with my hands blindly reaching out for what’s just in reach. It gets scarier now to see distance and feel time; can I get to where I want to go, and can I get there in time?
Memories remain and pain signals my panic into play, but something has given me a little more room to breathe, the veil has been lifted and I can feel the fresh air. I feel less claustrophobic in this world. All the things I want to strive towards are coming towards me, like ants marching, thousands spewing out of a tiny hole in the ground ready to work.
My best is what I believe to be true, but I have been blinded before by fear, and some things still are not seen clearly. However, I know what it’s like to walk out of the dark and into the light. My eyes need to adjust, and I believe mine are adjusting, maybe there is still a better life for me, my best just might be what I need and is true to my heart.
To repeat the same behaviours and expect a different result is no longer the path for me
There are things I know I need to do, to take the correct steps forward to demolish the path I’ve so far created in life, so I no longer go backwards. The same people, the same disorganised routine and the same actions; isn’t that the definition of true insanity? To repeat the same behaviours and expect a different result is no longer the path for me.
My fears are real but to manage them I need to expose myself to them, safely, in order to not fall back into the insanity that I once found comfortable. Comfortable is indeed what my mind says but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
Now it’s time to stand, walk and move forward
My bed is comfortable but it’s not living, it’s nowhere, it’s isolated and I cannot achieve what I need from where I lie on my bed, day in and day out. My muscles waste when I am trying to build my body from the scrap pile of bone which once lay where I now sit. Now it’s time to stand, walk and move forward. Yes, in my mind what I do today is better than what I did yesterday. I managed to just survive with my anorexia, but I don’t want to just be alive, drifting in time until where I lay is where I take my last breath.
I want to create a new future to create a fearless past, a prideful past and one to remember in awe, not in fear. I have tried to hide but my fears seep in no matter where I go. I may as well have them follow me to the outside world where I can leave them behind as I have done with some already.
I want the strength to carry the weights that are attached to me, I don’t want to be stuck in the same spot unable to escape this ‘life’.
I’ll be a better person, because I will be me
Who am I without anorexia? Something I won’t know until I truly challenge this disorder. It doesn’t deserve my body, I do. I deserve so much more than what my head tells me at times. I know I’m going to be a better person, because I will be me. Within this person who sits and fights everyday through this battle is a warrior ready to break free and fight for what I want and need.
I guess not everything I need is what I want but I need people to know I didn’t wake up thinking this, I didn’t wake up happy today. I woke up tired, torn, broken and beaten down. I cried and lost many tears, I had to catch my breath from the anxiety attack that washed over me. I had to think about the images stuck in my head from the nightmare from which I awoke. I had to pull myself together with all I had and today that was not much, but a thread of healthy self was inside me, and I managed to rescue it.
I am not dismissing the pain, I am confronting it
It’s okay to be sad. but what I choose to do with the rest of the day is in my control and yes, I still write through tears, and I still breathe through the pain and I acknowledge it all. I do not dismiss it, I am confronting it, I am headstrong, and I am resilient. I hurt, but that’s normal, I have too much left that I refuse to leave behind.
People get me down, that’s never going to stop, so I will listen to the people who reach out to me because they’re out there to help remove and hold some of my weight to pull me up. Just know that there is a difference to accepting help and relying on others to help and fulfil my happiness. I know they cannot do that for me, only I can, so today I have reached out to the hands that reached out to me and I have taken hold of them. I am standing up and I am saying “thank you” for the reminder that my life is meaningful. I am taking back my life. I can be in control even when feeling sad.
There is more to life than what I can see in my sight, and I remind myself of that and I ask myself today, “What is it you need, not what you want?”
Loneliness doesn’t always have to be lonely, and separation doesn’t mean severed
I need to listen to and meet my needs so that I can achieve my wants. I need to confront my biggest fears, I need to listen to my head, I need to listen to the people around me who have helpful suggestions. I need a meal, I need a shower, I need to go outdoors, and I need to learn loneliness doesn’t always have to be lonely, and separation doesn’t mean severed.
I need to trust I have the strength to learn to do things without my comfort blanket. I need to learn where and how I can do this and that means being alone for a while. I need to walk with my eyes connected to my fear and confront it until it no longer is a fear. I think the mirror is a great place to start.
Dear Sarah, hi, it is lovely to meet you.
I found your writing very touching. I could feel the struggle of your every day life, and l want you to know that because of my own experiences l understand.
Fear is a terrible thing. It is crippling and it is debilitating.
It is also something which can make us feel out of control,and it grows the more the fear is hidden inside.
Fear is also very damaging to our wellness and our sense of self. I have had to face many fears every single day for as long as l can remember.
Some l am pleased and surprised to say have been extinguished…some still rage on like a fire burning from the inside out.
The main thing is not to give up. It is wonderful that you reach out for help because as l found out, when l didn’t it was sheer hell.
You are a gifted young lady, and you deserve the best care and the best people around you for support. Settle for nothing less…because you are going to get better and look back and say to yourself “ l never want to feel that way again”…
It may take a while but it can happen…l want you to be free one step at a time…congratulations on how far you have come and all the best on how far you have to go. I believe in you….xo karyn