They say an eating disorder is about control. I’ve always disagreed. I feel that you have no control when you have an eating disorder. You want to make decisions but ED makes other ones; the wrong ones. So how does that give you control?
The key to recovery is taking back the control. Gaining control and making the decisions you want to make. To get better. To be well. To live.
When you have an Eating Disorder it becomes a very physical illness. People see your changes and essentially they see your “progress”. Sadly, I became great at my Eating Disorder. I was a pro. I perfected it. And that is where the perfection quality ties in to this illness.
So giving it up. What does that mean for a perfectionist? For someone that worked so hard to create this ideal Eating Disorder, what does that feel like?
It means failure. It means you can no longer engage with this illness and you are giving up everything you worked so hard at creating.
That is what ED wants you to think. That by recovering, you are a failure. You gave up and can no longer maintain this “wonderful” mental illness. An Eating Disorder is work. It is HARD work. It doesn’t come easy to anyone. There is such strong physical and emotional efforts that go into this – it becomes exhausting.
So, what’s the payoff? At what point during my Eating Disorder have I ever said that I was happy? Or proud? Or glad that I am continuing to engage in this destructive behaviour?
Never. Not once. I have never taken boxes of laxatives, spent hours in the washroom, missed out on precious life moments and walked away the day after feeling great that I accomplished something. Wait a second. That’s a lie. I have felt great afterwards on many occasions. I was relieved that it was over. That the pain stopped. That I could get up and walk from my bed to the washroom without feeling like I was going to pass out. To be able to drink a glass of water without feeling like I was going to throw it all up. That is the only positive feeling that you get. From the completion of your efforts and that you are no longer suffering. Not from the efforts themselves.
There is absolutely no payoff from an Eating Disorder.
You starve yourself, than what?
You binge and purge, than what?
You over exercise, than what?
It’s a cycle that never ends. So when you engage once, you will continue to engage. There is not an end to this illness unless you end it. The payoff is recovery. The payoff is taking control. The payoff is giving up. Even though your parents always instilled the “Do your best” shpeal, in this case, giving up is doing your best. Getting your life back and giving up something that has no reward, no positives, no payoffs. Only misery and death. That is all an Eating Disorder can offer you.
Think about your actions. Think about your behaviours. I know you aren’t enjoying them. I know you don’t like engaging with such an awful illness. So don’t. You have the power to change what you don’t like. You have the power to give up what you don’t want in your life anymore.
Give up. Fail. Throw in the towel.
Trust me, your parents would be so proud.