One of the darkest feelings in the world is when you come to the realization that yes, you are in a relapse. Maybe you just came upon this realization last night. Maybe you have known this for the past few months. Whatever the circumstances, whoever you are, I want you to know, I see you.
I mean I see you. I see your struggle. I see your tears. I see the hopelessness in your eyes. I hear you. I hear your excuses to yourself, to your loved ones. I hear your lies. I hear your heart beating faster with fear. I feel you. I feel how angry you are. I feel how sad you have become. I feel your disappointment, I feel your guilt, I feel your frustration. I feel you.
I write this because I feel it is important to speak to you. For you. I am the first person to write about my own recovery, the moment I began to feel hopeful, my thoughts on being able to make it to fully recovered. Those pieces are so very important. Spreading hope and light is much needed among the eating disordered community. But so is acknowledging the hopelessness that comes along with being in a relapse. It’s important to acknowledge how hard a relapse is, hell it’s important to acknowledge the fact that so many of us do relapse! No one’s recovery is perfect, and so many of our recovery trajectories are sprinkled with relapses before we reach the point of strong recovery.
What may be even more important is to realize that you’re not alone in it. Eating disorders can be incredibly lonely illnesses. They are isolating and shame-inducing by their very nature, but when you start engaging in the comparison game, or beating up on yourself for having a setback, they only become more powerful. That’s why we all have to work together to fight those thoughts. When you begin to go down the path of beating yourself up for this relapse, or comparing yourself to the friend that has achieved full recovery, remind yourself of this: You are still here, you still have the option to keep fighting. And those people who are in strong recovery and singing the body positive praises? They’ve been right where you have before. They know your struggle. They have felt the hopeless feeling.
So here’s my final message- Let the distance between where you are and where you hope to be inspire you, rather than empower your eating disorder. It is ok to not be ok. It is not ok to give up. In fact, that is the only rule. Never give up and never lose hope. (Ok there are two rules). So whether you are at the very beginning of your journey, or in the middle, whether you are at the end putting the period on it, or haven’t started yet, or whether you have no idea where you are, just know that you are not alone. Keep the hope alive, keep your spirit alive, and keep moving forward. Now pick up your sword and fight warrior.