I’ve been thinking about some specific-ey eating disorder-ey things as of late, but first I just wanted to share this picture with you if you haven’t seen it on my Facebook page:
Pretty funny, eh? It’s from a book called ‘Real Gorgeous‘ by Kaz Cooke and it’s simply wonderful. If you ever need a good book to sway you from dieting, here it is. Highly recommend!
Lately I’ve been pondering the topic of forgiveness and how it all fits in to the equation of eating disorders. If you’re someone who has suffered with an eating disorder previously, whether you are still suffering, whether you’re someone who is supporting someone who is in the midst of it all – then forgiveness if for you. In fact, it’s actually for all of us, eating disordered or not. So hopefully whatever these fingers type is helpful and useful for you specifically, regardless of where you are currently in your life.
First, let me talk about forgiveness, the individual and the carer. If you as a carer are really struggling with the demands and attention the eating disordered patient requires, if you currently are finding that you are slowly coming to resent them and how much time they are taking from you; how much energy they are taking from you and how much of a strain it puts on your relationship with them: you need to stop for a second. This is when we need to look at the big picture – hopefully, (we pray!) the eating disorder isn’t a permanent illness. Hopefully, it’s for a time – not a long-life issue so with very, very hard work, commitment and a helpful medical team, a full recovery from the eating disorder is possible and quite likely. The eating disordered patient will not continue to rely on you as they need to now as they continue to get better. So – remind yourself of this, and as difficult as it may be sometimes, don’t resent what you feel is being taken from you. In the long-term, it will produce wonderful things and as you see the ED’d individual continue to thrive you will recognise that the hard work has paid off! But yes, it is very hard work and it is difficult at times for everyone … but oh so worth it.
Likewise, the eating disordered patient needs to recognise that the carer can only do so much. They aren’t perfect. You’re not perfect. None of us are perfect and basically we can’t always be of use to people as often as we would like to be. You, the eating disordered patient, have needs. Which is perfectly okay. But what is often hard to remember is that your parent or spouse or friend or whoever is looking after you also has needs. And your needs are not any greater than theirs, neither are their needs any greater than yours. It’s about serving each other – and if you can both forgive each others flaws in the process, it’s a wonderful thing!
If you’ve just gone through hell and back and are just coming out of your eating disorder but can’t seem to shake the fact that it happened and yeah, there were some ridiculously hard times and you inflicted a lot of hurt and anger and sadness on those around you and you just feel so guilty for all of that – then forgiveness is for you too. Yes, you had an eating disorder. Yeah, it sucked. But people helped you, not out of obligation but because they love you and wanted to see you out of it. Yes, it put an immense strain on your relationships with them. But the best part is this: you came out the other side, you now eat regularly, you still have these people in your life and they still love and support you. I hope that blows you away. They have forgiven your flaws … so you too can forgive what has gone on. And this, I believe, is a huge part of the recovery process and will help you to continue to move forward to a new, lovelier, eating disordered free life.
Similarly if you are still suffering from an eating disorder (or any other health issue, really), it’s a wise thing to realise now that things will happen that you probably will feel guilt for. And it’s not all you, a lot of it is driven by your eating disorder but it’s also important to recognise that you can make your own decisions too. Realising that will help you recover more quickly I think: owning your actions and seeking to change behaviours; not letting your eating disorder gain the upper hand.
And if you’ve not had an eating disorder, but plenty of things have occurred in your life, things that were within your control or things completely out of your control that you still continue to rerun in your mind and blame yourself for immensely: stop. What’s gone is gone; what’s in the past has happened, perhaps things have happened to you even unjustly but being unforgiving hurts you even more so than it hurts the perpetrator.
I just think that it’s something we all need to mull over. So have a cliché: hope I’ve given you some food for thought.
(The best part about that last sentence is that it was a cliché and a pun. Food, eating disorders. Don’t tell me you didn’t smile.)