Thought Catalog

From Resisting To Eventually Recovering From My Eating Disorder

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Aricka Lewis

My path to recovery started with resistance. Resistance of a problem, resistance of acknowledging my disorder and my past that had fostered it. My disorder and I so desperately resisted so we could stay nestled together where we had been for years.

As long as I resisted they didn’t know that I wanted it, they didn’t know I deeply I yearned for healing. They didn’t know I longed for space, for peace, for comfort of true meaning.

If I didn’t want to do it, if I didn’t try, I couldn’t fail. If I couldn’t fail they couldn’t see me defeated. Defeat was not an option. Defeat would destroy me, and I couldn’t let myself be destroyed again.

If I was stubborn. If I resisted. If I kicked, and screamed, and refused, they’d see strength. They’d see will. These are the displays of strength I had seen in my past, I had seen in society. This stubbornness was the strength I knew.The stubbornness and dismissal, it felt safe. If I didn’t fail, I was safe. I had to be safe.

But the more I deepened my resistance, the more my struggles deepened, the pain deepened. I burrowed myself deeper and deeper. I destroyed those around me with my innate denial. I became alone in my pain. I realized this resistance, this refusal to try was what really lead to complete, and utter, defeat.

Resistance only left me more broken. More broken than I could have ever fathomed. More broken than I ever thought possible.

Broken, alone, defeated. I was so close to giving up. Wasted away to nothing but a disorder and stubbornness. Rock bottom lead to rock bottom, repeat times ten.

Along the way I realized the problem is, if I don’t try, I can’t succeed. If I didn’t try, I’d never find healing. I’d never find this thing I wanted the most, recovery.

That part of me that deep down, that so deeply wanted healing and recovery was still there. It took the only strength I had left to reach out. Reach out for vulnerability, reach out for help.

It was a moment of defeat, but a true moment of healing. A moment of realizing that strength isn’t a steadfast resolve to not fail, but that strength can be admitting defeat. Strength can be admitting defeat, not giving up, but a giving in to something else.

Giving in to recovery, to a process that I knew would not be perfect, but messy, was the most difficult thing I’ve done. I had to trust those around me when they said I’d survive, even when it felt like everything was going wrong; when it felt like I couldn’t put my foot in front of the other and keep walking the recovery path, I had to reach out for the hands guiding me. I didn’t just give in once. I had to give myself to recovery each day, I still do.

Eventually, walking this path, you learn to find your own strength even amidst great struggles. You begin to believe in your own ability to survive. With the knowledge and trust of those helping to guide you, you take your own steps. They’re still wobbly steps from time to time, but you know your footsteps don’t have to fall in a perfect line. Eventually you may even forget that you’re taking these steps, they become second nature.

Left, right, meal, snack, sleep. Sessions, reflections, snacks, left, right, repeat.

When they say resistance is futile, it’s so often in a different context, but it fits here too. Resistance was futile because eventually healing won out. My disorder and resistance only destroyed me. It was futile to keep fighting myself as I was; resistance only caused more suffering.

Healing, however, is always worthwhile. TC mark

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